Saturday, May 7, 2016

Glimpses of...April-ish.

There is so much going on around here right now.  Trying to de-clutter and simplify our lives seems to be something everyone is doing these days.  I like to think I am an original but I guess I will choose to be like everyone else and continue to reduce our chaos.

And make our home our haven.

Music, nature, new drywall to be painted, yes...that is Chicken and Dumplings!!...and music while I paint new drywall, after a supper of Chicken and Dumplings, where we can see the Easter Cactus.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Crocheted Temperature Blanket...April

April was something else!  I don't remember a year that has been so warm...and quite dry.  Let me tell you, crocheting this blanket...any blanket in warm weather is a labour of love.  It is WARM under this beautiful blanket!

It wouldn't be so bad if I would manage to crochet a row each night.  Just a few minutes under the blanket then I would have relief from the heat for another day.  The fact of the matter happens.

I don't know if you noticed but this post is a few days late.  I was behind.  Behind 10 rows!!!  Eek!  Remind me to NEVER do that again.  So, the last few days I have been crocheting like a mad woman trying to get the blanket done to the end of April.  Thing is, it has been almost 30* Celsius here for the last three days.  

Did I mention it is hot under a crocheted blanket?  Well, I get to use the HOT colours, now!  I love the Orange and I don't know about you but I love the way the Red looks next to the Orange!  Mostly, I just love Orange!

This last picture is the Temperature Blanket folded into months.  Not exactly but close enough for the fluke that it was when I took it.  The colours are not exact either.  I fiddle with the pictures to get the colours closer but can't get them all correct in each picture.  The top photo is the closest.

So now we are going out for Slurpee's and a little walk.  I have four days of May to crochet tonight and the temperature is 29*.  Maybe I'll wait for tomorrow where they are saying it will be 16* with showers.  Yes...definitely going to wait till tomorrow!

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Road to the Farm

Anyone who knows me, even a little, know's that I am a dreamer.  At any given moment I am thinking or planning or dreaming of how to do something...or do something better.  And not just one thing at a time.  I am thinking or planning or dreaming about everything, always!

Well, maybe not EVERYTHING but close enough.  Plans about the garden, school, de-cluttering, painting, renovating, the restaurant, blogging, promotions, vacations, crafts, cooking, family gatherings and what the future holds.

 The thing is, with so much going on in my head, I don't feel like I can get any traction.  All of these ideas swirl around and around in my thoughts that nothing really happens to them.  I read recently about how the difference between a dream and reality is writing it down.  Somehow the act of writing down your dream makes it come true.

It isn't magic, of course.  Work is involve after the writing, but putting your dream on paper makes it tangible...a longer in the aether but something of substance.

That's when we can finally get to work and we can make some progress!!

Here I am to say...I want to live on a farm.  Not just an acreage...I want a FARM!  I want to own it, LAND, with my husband and I want to live there with him and our children.

This a dream that has lived in my head for so many years without anyway to become reality.  I don't speak of it to many people.  I have pushed it down and to the back because of the impossibility of it's reality.  Many times I have buried my dream under the laundry or cooking or any other of the million and a half things I do everyday because the idea of this dream, dreamt but unrealized, was more than my earthly heart could bear.

The thing is...

I want to live on a FARM!

And chickens!  I can't tell you how much of my brain computing power and time I use thinking about chickens.  It's ridiculous.  Planning the chicken tractors.  Housing in the winter...should they stay in the greenhouse to add warmth for the plants?  Growing fodder in the winter.  Growing mealworms for winter protein.

The same for pigs and cows and sheep (maybe) and rabbits (maybe).

The dream needs to be given wings by my incredible, God given Imagination, to take flight and become whatever it may become.  Hopefully, prayerfully, it will become of my own!  If not, hopefully, prayerfully, it will lead me to where I am to be.

Although living on a farm is not going to happen this week or even this month, there are thing I can do now to get me closer to where I want to be.  I am going to take this time in my life to learn (Mmm, delicious) everything that I can about farm life and natural living and the skills I will need when I am 30 minutes or more away from a town.  I'm going to learn everything I can about me!  What am I willing to do?  More importantly, what am I NOT willing to do?

So, I have written my dream down here on my blog.  Now what?  Well, I need to make this house sellable!  Fix it up so it will sell quickly when the time comes.  And do that with cash!  No more debt!  Speaking of debt...time to pay everything off!  The less debt we have the more available cash we have to build our dreams!  That is a very good start.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Crocheted Temperature Blanket...March Addition

This lovely blanket of mine just keeps growing!  One row at a time.  Sometimes 6 rows at a time but I won't tell you how easy it is to fall behind.

 We had some very nice weather!  I love the one stripe of orange in there.  It is my favourite colour...I think.  I know it looks's orange.

I am surprised by how looking at this blanket jogs my memory.  I wasn't expecting to remember the days like I do now.  I remember the walk we went on the day I crocheted that orange stripe.  I remember those days where is was surprisingly chilly...for this year.  I remember conversations and movies and cuddles and snuggles and children falling asleep under the ever-growing blanket while I work one more row.

It is a beautiful and mystical time.

Also, this is 3 months worth of blanket.  I think I should have done a single crochet!!  This thing is going to be huge!!

Go and take a look at my Niece Emily's Temperature Blanket!  So different than mine but so very lovely!  

Monday, March 14, 2016

Glimpses of...March 6 - 12

Feb. Temperature Blanket
Micro Greens
Flourless, No Bake, Chocolate Almond Bites

It was 17*C when we took this walk.  Such a beautiful day spent with lovely people.  A mix of dry grass, water, slush, ice, mud and snow for a trail.  It was the best way to break in new shoes!

Friday, March 11, 2016

Flourless, No Bake, Chocolate Almond Bites

Are you thinking you would like something a little sweet...chocolatey...crunchy...oh, and a little salty?  This is the recipe you have been looking for.  Plus, they only take a few minutes to make up with no flour and no baking.  They do go in the fridge for a while, but seriously, you can eat them without the fridge time.

These little bites are absolutely delicious!  They are sweetened with the dates, which are sticky enough to also hold them together.  AND they are healthy!  Dates, almonds, coconut oil, sea salt and chocolate...what's not to love?

Even the kids love them!  My 15 year old hates dates but loves these bites and frequently asks me to make them.  He was washing up the lunch dishes when I was putting this batch together and was repulsed and fascinated that I always make them with dates!  He was thinking I was trying to sneak something healthy into the bites when he wasn't looking.

If some how your family does not enjoy these chocolatey, round, drops from heaven...GOOD.  More for you.  These are perfect for when you get a craving for "something" sweet and salty and crunchy.  And if you make them bite sized, you can have 2 or three little mouthfuls to enjoy while seeing to that need.

Chocolate Almond Bites

1 1/2 cups whole almonds
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup coconut oil
1 cup of dates + a few more
1/8 - 1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Chop up the almonds in a food processor until crumb like.
Add the cocoa powder, salt, coconut oil and 1 cup of dates.  Process until the dates are ground up and sticking everything together.  Add more dates, if needed, to make the bites hold together.

Form into bite sized balls and lay out on a parchment cover cookie sheet.  Put in the fridge or freezer to firm up.  Store in an air tight container, in the fridge.

These would be even more delectable coated with dark chocolate and sprinkled with a few grains of sea salt!

My plan was to take photo's of these in a pretty dish, all staged and lovely but, you see, I blinked...and the kids ate them all.  That's what happens in my house.  

My inspiration for this recipe!

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Micro Greens: Growing Pea Shoots Indoors

Dry pea seeds.
It is the deep, dark winter here...and by deep and dark I mean not really.  This is the mildest, snowy-less winter I can ever remember.  The sun has been bright and beautiful most days and the temperature just warm enough to make you wonder if you need your winter jacket when you go out. Still, nothing will grow in the frozen earth.

But, you see, I have an itch.  An itch to work in the earth and to make food grow!  An itch for sun and warmer days.  I itch for the green that you can only see in the first shoots of spring after the cold, grey winter, in the rays of the mornings warming sun.

I wanted to have some lovely fresh greens to nourish my family.  I admit, it was out of fear, too.  We are dependant on the grocery store.  If I want fruits and veggies, I will need to pay what they tell me to pay.  Or...we can become less dependent.  What if I took back some of that power and freed myself, a bit, from the fear of not being able to nourish my family...of not having enough.  I decided that we needed to DO something.  So do, we did!

Micro greens are (one of) my new favourite hobby.  More specifically, growing pea shoot since that is the only micro green I have tried, as of yet.

Pea seeds soaking.
I researched online but I was having difficulty trying to find a supplier of organic pea seeds from Canada.  Don't like paying the exchange and shipping, let me tell you!  After many long hours looking and looking on line, I happened into my local health food store and found Organic Peas for sale.  Why not see if they would grow!  They cost me $3.  Crazy, right!  The prices on line would have cost at least $12 for the same amount...then exchange...then Canada.

So, for $3, the use of a little potting soil I had laying around and the plastic clam shell that salad greens come in at the grocery store, I was able to grow some fantastic, tasty and nutritious pea shoots!

They are so very easy to grow and a great project to do with kids.  Start with your seeds a few days before you want to plant.  Put about 1/4 cup of the seeds into a glass and add spring water to cover.  Swirl the clean the seeds and remove any half seeds or broken ones...they will not grow.  Pour off the water and add more clean spring water to cover the seeds plus two inches.  Let them soak for 6-12 hours, changing the water once.  The seeds will have absorbed water and be much larger now.  Pour off the water and let the glass, with the seeds inside, lay on it's side for 12 hours.  Then you want to rinse the seeds with spring water and lay the glass, with the seeds, on it's side again, for 12 more hours.  Keep rinsing and leaving it lay until you see the seeds begin to sprout.

Soaked peas, drained and sprouting.
When the seeds begin sprouting, get the soil ready for planting.  I mixed potting soil with vermicompost at a 4-1 ratio.  I don't know if it is necessary to use the vermicompost because of the short time the seed grow before they are eaten but I have it, and I'm itching to use it.

 Moisten the soil.  I had to mix in a container large enough that I wouldn't be flinging the soil everywhere but still small enough that my youngest wouldn't decide to climb in if he found it while I happened to blink.  The cat was not allowed to even smell it.  She was kept in another room.  No cats aloud by potting soil...just NO.

This is my vermicompost from my wonderful
indoor worm bin.

You will need to make drainage holes in the plastic clam shell you are using for the pot.  Poked holes in the bottom of the clam shell plastic with a knife, carefully, because it is not very sturdy and you will need to support it with your hand whilst trying to jab a knife through.  Next, add two inches of the moistened soil/vermicompost to the bottom of your makeshift planter and gently pressed the soil down.  Not too much. You want the soil to be easy for the seedling to push roots through.  They are not going to need much support because you will be harvesting them when they reach 4-6 inches.

Sprinkle your sprouted seeds on top of the soil.  You want them to be planted thick and close together.  Remember, these are not going to grow out to full size.  They do not need much space.  Cover the seeds with more soil.  Just cover them...don't bury them.  A quarter to half an inch is great.

The fun and messy parts are now done.  Clean up your mess and put the planted clam shell on the lid as a drip tray and place everything in a bright window.  For me that would be a south facing window.  As luck would have it, my worm bin sits under a south facing window and has plenty of space on top for growing lovely sprouts!

As the peas start to grow, monitor for moisture and rotate the planter every day or two to keep the seedlings from straining towards the light.  Harvest in 7-10 days when the pea shoots are 4-6 inches tall.  Oh my!  That first bite of pea shoot after months of store bought, barely edible greens...I can't even tell you what that is like.

If you are anything like me, you could end up with many more pea shoot than you can eat.  When I have more than we can eat fresh, I dehydrate and grind them up for future use in smoothies and the such!

These are freakishly delicious.  Scratched my itch for the moment.

Hurry up, Spring!

Monday, March 7, 2016

Glimpses of...Feb. 28 - Mar. 5

Ever have one of those days where no one can get along with anyone else?  We had one.  The crazies were so thick in the house you could take a step without some of them sticking to your foot. They are tough things to get off, too.

A day full of crazies at home makes a great day to go for a walk.  Crazies seem to go on vacation for a few days when you add fresh air and activity to children.

My, how the kids are growing and growing!  

And then, the Cat!  He looks so comfy laying there.