Notes from the Homestead: Fall 2011– Putting Up the Seasonal Bounty, Prepping for Winter and a GREAT GIVEAWAY!
Welcome to Notes from the Homestead!
Fall has arrived here in the mountains of the northwestern US: brilliant yellows, red and oranges blanket the trees and speckle the mountainsides! The Holy Days are here, and God’s blessing surrounds us! There is a heavy frost this morning being chased away by the warmth and flicker of the woodstove burning brightly, yes Fall is definitely here!
As we embrace the season, it seems we are always looking upward and onward to the upcoming season, as well! In this issue of “Notes” we’ll put up the Bounty of this season, look ahead to our Winter Preparations, I’ll share a recipe from our Homestead Kitchen, and we’ll learn about the blessing of Baking Soda (!?) not to mention have some GREAT Giveaways–be sure you read to the end!! Let’s get to it!
Are you Prepared for Winter?
To keep myself and my homestead organized and on top of all the chores that need to get accomplished, I love to use this “Basic Household Cleaning List” from DonnaYoung.org, (to find it, scroll about a 1/4 to 1/2 way down the page and look for the title of “Basic Household Cleaning List” and you can click and download a copy for yourself it helps me look at the seasonal things that we need to do to keep our homestead running somewhat smoothly…and remind me of those ‘once a year chores’ that I may otherwise forget! I also love the weekly section that lists areas that I can fill in with those monthly/weekly chores that will, and do, slip my mind without this great chart to keep us on track! Things like flipping the mattresses and cleaning the coffee pot…things I ‘intend’ to get done, but without my reminder chart….tend to get forgotten! I was looking over my chart today, as I stood in the kitchen, tanking down that first cup o’ coffee and noted we had really got a lot done and are pretty much ready if the snow that is being predicted does fly, starting this evening. My husband is really the one who does the bulk of the outdoor prepping, but all in all the whole family participates in one fashion or another
This year we have over 10 cord of wood stocked up, and thanks to Adonai’s provision & much hard work by my husband, it is seasoned, stacked and ready to keep us toasty! Kindling and all!!
The frost free is shut down and wrapped, faucet covers are in place to help protect our pipes & water system from freezing up, the hoses have been drained and put up (ah…back to hauling water to the animals!) & we needed a bit of weather stripping around a particular door, a little caulking around a window and that is done as well.
Tools that won’t be used over winter are stored (great to store with a coat of WD40 on them , or in a bucket of sand and olive oil, to keep them from rusting) tools that will be used, such as the snow rake, snow blower, snow shovels, wheelbarrow (for hauling wood from the main wood pile to the racks we have on the deck to hold a few days worth at a time), etc are ready to roll! Machines that won’t be used are cleaned up and made ready for winter (riding mower and such).
Gutters are cleaned and ready for the snow and ice–as ready as they can be.
We have the wood stove cleaned and it’s already keeping us warm and fed! Using a real stove/chimney brush, I say ‘real’ because I’ve heard of folks using other ‘things’ to do this job (they are easily used and saves on having a chimney sweep come out and do this for you—however we do have our inspected once a year! keeps creosote down and ensures a great draw! I love to keep pots of soups or chilis going on the stove during the cold months, we also keep kettles of water on the stove–that we can keep moisture in the air with, and add essential oils, such as Eucalyptus, Lavender, Peppermint, etc for colds, sniffles, or just ‘cleaning the air’.
Fuel! We have our propane tanks and smaller fuel tanks full, we’re holding out on filling up larger fuel tanks, hoping prices will DROP! When winter hits with a vengence–it’s nice to have propane for using our outdoor heaters or cook stoves if need be, and gas for snow blowers, chainsaws, etc. or even filling a vehicle if caught in some sort of longer than a few days, winter event.
If you use rock salt, get it now–have it at the ready. Cat litter is another help (although messy to clean back up) to get traction for feet or tires! Sandbags in the back of pickup trucks is nice for traction too!
Vehicles are ready, (with the exception of snow tires) antifreeze, ice scrapers, tire chains, jumper cables, and emergency bags are all taken care of in both rigs. Although I DO need to get my G.O.O.D bags (’get out of dodge’) repacked with extra clothing and blankets, couple candles, etc., etc. (etc = whatever you think your family will need in a “Get outta dodge” situation–I’ll leave that to your imagination) and put back in the vehicles–I took them out to go thru the clothing and wash it, etc. Need to get that on the list of immediate TO DO’s!
Now is also a great time to put extra straw in the goat barns, chicken coop and dog houses (or whatever critters you have on your homestead!) for the animals to stay snug and warm during winter! Also to get a rubber hammer out break ice up, in animals water containers.
I also try to have the pantry totally stocked by this time of year, so all I need to do is keep up on things, rotate and can soups, stews, chilis–meals, as I make big batches I also make sure all blankets (extras included) get a good washing and are ready for tossing an extra on the beds in cold weather, the camper has a few extras, and for using as indoor window coverings in extreme cold.
Another thing we do each Fall, is ‘family inventory’! Does each person have a good pair of snowboots that still FIT them? What about snow pants? Coat? Gloves? Hats? What can we toss or donate, and what can be passed down to the next person? What about our emergency medical supplies? Do you have a family member that needs certain medications? NOW is the time to be sure those things are on hand, rather than get hit by an weather event and not be able to get them (and that is a good plan for the entire year, emergencies don’t just happen in winter–manmade disasters can happen at any time, we’ve all been witness to that!)
Last but certainly not least…just for fun–make sure you have a few decks of cards, and games (with all the pieces) handy, sleds ready, some hot cocoa fixins’, coffee and teas and OF COURSE candles–so when your power goes out or you have a winter weather event, etc.– you have some comforts that make things more pleasant than they would be without them!
Let the snow fly…
Putting By the Bounty of the Season: APPLES
Dehydrated Apple Chips!
Fall is Apple season up here in the Northwestern US- and the NW is known for their wonderfully homegrown Apples! We take advantage of this and use up every apple we are blessed with in a variety of ways! One of the absolute, SIMPLEST ways to enjoy and preserve them is by way of dehydrating! Now I’ve read about and heard every manner under the sun for dehydrating apples– many just make it too complicated.
I’ve done this for years, so I know it works–and really, why make something harder than it has to be?!
1) Wash your apples
2) I cut off the top and bottom skin areas
3) I start peeling (some folks like the peel too–if your apples are ORGANIC–go for it!) and slicing thin pieces off the apple down to your core. (I never understood the ‘core it first’ method?!) OR use this EXCELLENT TOOL– I love mine!! Makes this job FAST AND EASY!
4) Place on your dehydrator trays or cookies sheets (however you choose to dehydrate) in a SINGLE layer, and close but not touching or any overlapping of your fruit.
Store in a canning jar or sometimes I store by removing air/sealing with my FoodSaver too! I dehydrate for about 12 hours and BINGO- apple chips! I don’t do ANYTHING else to them. NOTHING. Now, sometimes my husband will sneak behind me and sprinkle a little cinnamon/sugar on a tray or two for variety– but the children love them plain or w/a little cinnamon & sugar. This is so simple, so easy and preserves those apples all year long. I store mine in canning jars. I’ve stored them for over a year, with no complaints. They make a great snack or alternative to greasy potato chips for lunch with a good sandwich–especially nice compliment to a TURKEY sandwich…..mmm, I’m getting hungry.
Apple season is here! Thankfully, apples are so very easy to ‘put up’ in a variety of ways! One way we like to do just that, is Applesauce! Applesauce making is so simple, when you employ the use of your crockpot!
Now there are as many ways to do this, based on your taste, as there are apple varieties! For us, it goes something like this:
We take our apples (any variety or mixture–we love them all) and wash them. We then peel them & slice off pieces (smaller sized chunks or thinner slices-no ‘half apple’ pieces here) of apple down to the core, right into the crockpot. Make this process SUPER SIMPLE with an Apple Peeler!
Once we have our crockpots about 3/4 full or so, I turn them on low, add in about a cup of water, put the lid on and let it cook for about 4-6 hours, checking it every hour (or a little more often-you do not want it sticking or burning–if it gets dry, just add a bit more water–although I rarely have this problem) and giving it a good stir. Once it has cooked down and is the consistency we want we water bath can it into jars and put it up on the pantry shelf. Everyone LOVES just the plain apple taste and why add anything else if it is not needed?!
Now, that being said, you can certainly add in some other goodies to create a different flavor to your applesauce! We’ve done ours with cinnamon, sugar, brown sugar…I’ve even heard of folks adding a few ‘red hots’ candies to each jar! Some folks will sprinkle their apples with a tiny bit of lemon juice before putting the lid on the crockpot, some cut up their apples into a bowl of water and lemon juice to prevent browning; however it will brown up a bit when cooking in the crock nonetheless. Crockpot applesauce is extremely forgiving and simply adapts to the makers personal preferences, it’s a beautiful thing! It truly is a matter of taste, of personalizing the flavor to your family’s liking! When I do make a batch with cinnamon, I just sprinkle a bit in at a time and stir, until my taste-testers unanimously agree on the end result.
You can eat your applesauce fresh, it will keep in the fridge for about 4 days. You can freeze it in tupperware, or freezer bags; whatever your preference is there. I prefer to can it, so I am not reliant on my freezer and we do put up quite a large amount of applesauce each year since everyone loves it, so that just makes sense for us. I waterbath my pints for 20 minutes and my quarts for 25 minutes–check your Ball Blue book or County Extension office for times based on your elevation.
Putting up homemade applesauce is one of the easiest ways to preserve the harvest of the season, try it today–it is so simple, and so delicious; you will never buy store sauce again!
Happy Apple Season!
From Our Homestead Kitchen to yours….
Homemade Ranch Dressing & Dip
Mix in a blender the following ingredients until smooth ( I just use a big bowl and my hand wisk):
3/4 cup mayonnaise
3/4 cup sour cream or cultured buttermilk*
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dill weed
1 Tbsp finely chopped onion
1 Tbsp parsley
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
You can thin this dressing with buttermilk or milk to the desired consistency. Authentic Ranch Dressing uses buttermilk. Another option is to use 1 –2 Tbsp buttermilk powder and get the same effect. Refrigerate.
*I use sour cream for making a Ranch Dip and I use buttermilk for making the dressing.
The Blessings of Baking Soda!
Baking Soda is making a comeback! It’s not just for chocolate chip cookies (although, that IS a wonderful way to use it!)–back before all these fancy schmancy toxic, chemical laden cleaners lined store shelves, folks tended to use elbow grease….and Baking Soda to clean their homestead!
Baking Soda IS a blessing– it is so inexpensive and can do SO MUCH around the homestead!! Frugal and Simple–the way it should be!!
We’ve long been singing the high praise of this often overlooked mineral, after all it is GREAT for everything, from making Homemade Baby Powder to Tub & Toilet Scrubber, to absorbing odors–and MUCH more!
Learn how to make this wonderfully inexpensive mineral work for you– make your own frugal homemade cleaners, homestead tips and goodies for Baking Soda and more in our latest installment in the “Homestead Simplicity” series, “Frugal Clean”– CLICK HERE to pick up your copy today!
The nice folks at Home Educating Family/Well Planned Day are offering our readers some FUN giveaways today!
Organize your busy days all in one place with this beautifully-designed planner. The Well-Planned Day is a family homeschool organizer, designed especially for moms. This effective, yet easy-to-use format will ensure that each day at your home is smooth and profitable. ( I love mine–and they are gorgeous too!)
The Well-Planned Day Planner is spiral bound and includes over 230 full-color pages. In addition to homeschool planning pages to track up to four children’s lessons at a time, there is also a weekly cleaning schedule, monthly projects, monthly budgeting pages, meal-planning and grocery shopping planning pages, and much more.
To enter to win a free Well-Planned Day Planner, just EMAIL ME: Lisa@HomesteadOriginals.com with PLANNER GIVEAWAY in the subject line, FIVE winners will be randomly chosen and notified on Monday the 17th – enter now!
Home Educating Family magazine is giving away 20 free one-year subscriptions to my readers. If you are a homeschooler, and are one of the FIRST TWENTY TO EMAIL ME: Lisa@HomesteadOriginals.com and tell me that you would like a FREE SUBSCRIPTION, I’ll get you your sub! Closes on the 17th of October, 2011–email me now! : D
The mission of Home Educating Family Magazine is to keep you abreast of all that is crucial and all that is available so that your family can have the very best home-educating experience possible. HEFM is committed to addressing topics that influence homeschoolers as well as offering buckets of practical advice on implementing the newest and best ideas in homeschooling.
Well, that is all for this issue of Notes– we hope you’ve been blessed and stop by to visit us anytime at our “homestead on the web” at www.HomesteadOriginals.com/blog!
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Posted: Sunday, October 16th, 2011 @ 11:23 am
Categories: eNewsletter, Musings from our Homestead to yours!.
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