Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Homestead Tips on Tuesday: Baking Soda.... Your New Best Friend

There are certain things in life, that once you get to know them, will blow your mind. Take our old friend baking soda..... Oh sure, it works great as a leavening agent (aka it makes stuff rise) when you bake, but did you know that this simple item has a million and one other uses too? Okay, maybe not a million and one, but it is sure handy!! It's not just for baking folks!

How handy is baking soda, you ask? Well, what I'm about to share with you is an list of things you can use baking soda for besides baking. And I promise, I am sure I have missed a few! But I am hoping you will see why you might want to start hoarding this stuff!!! No seriously!! Baking soda is one item everyone has and should have more of. Baking soda really is amazing stuff........

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Simple Saturdays Blog Hop July 18

Simple Saturdays Joey
 Welcome to Simple Saturdays Blog Hop

This blog hop is brought to you by a group of wonderful co-hosts committed to the Simple way of Life and learning to be Self Reliant in all they do.  Simple Saturdays Blog Hop is a way for each of us to share the various ways we are learning to be more Self Reliant in our homes and on our land. This is all about building community, learning new skills and growing more self-sufficient!

Please join us, submit YOUR Self-Reliant post (maybe even 2 or 3), browse around, visit a site or two and learn some new Simple tips or Self Reliant How'To's!


 This Blog Hop is being hosted by:

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Italian Cookies With a Twist

So one thing I have never mention before (at least I don't think) is that I have some wonderful Italian blood running through my veins. My great grandparent immigrated from Italy and Sicily. In her very old age, the woman who once made yummy biscotti, began to refer to Ritz cracker as cookies (insert gagging here.) It saddened me that I never got the chance to bake with her. So many wonderful culinary secrets left this world with her. But I digress.... you're here about some cookies.....

What we have here folks is the basic traditional Italian Easter Cookie. Let's face it, every Italian family puts there own spin on this simple recipe. Some add lemon or almond flavor, it really is a personal thing. I added a few simple, commonly used American spices, nothing that would scare my hubby like anise. I personally love black licorice flavor! Hubby, not so much. These cookies also come in a variety of shapes. There is the flattened ball, which is what I made, but you can get fancy and do twists or braids! I am about to hand you the basic recipe and you can run with it as far as your taste buds desire!!! You add your twist!!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Homestead Tips on Tuesday: The Making of an Egg, Why Calcium is Important to Hens

If you own chickens, you know there is nothing so wonderful or delicious as fresh eggs. Every day we go out and feed the hens and in return they give us those glorious eggs. But how much do you know about how an egg is made? Do you know why calcium is so important to your hens? Do you know how to supplement their calcium intake? Fear not, I have all the answers for you, right here, right now!

First off the egg..... It takes about 25 hours for a hen to "make" an egg. But how does she do it? Once the yolk leaves the ovary it enters an area called the magnum. For the next few hours the membrane is added to the yolk before it travels to the isthmus where the white is added. Once the egg gets to the uterus it spends the next approximately 21 hours getting the shell put on. And what is that shell made of? Calcium!!! Yeah, it is kinda of important to the whole egg process.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Make Your Own Brown Sugar

Have you ever been baking or ready to make a BBQ rub and realized you were out of brown sugar? ♪♪♪ dunt, dunt, dunt ♪♪♪ Fear not! With just two simple ingredients, that you should already have in your home, you can make your own brown sugar. Seriously! I kid you not!! Now put down those car keys and head back to the kitchen and lets whip some up.

Now you only need two little things to make your own brown sugar, and if you bake like me, you have them both already on hand....... plain old white sugar and molasses. Really, that's it........ The secret has been revealed, and the universe didn't end!!

Go grab a mixing bowl and for every 1 cup of white sugar, add 1 tablespoon of molasses and whisk it together till there are no clumps. You have just made light brown sugar! Bask in the glory of your beautiful brown sugar.

But wait, your recipe calls for dark brown sugar? No sweat! Dark brown sugar just calls for more molasses. I bump up the ration to 1 cup of white sugar and 2 tablespoons of molasses. Now isn't that simple! Honestly though, if you want, play with the ratios. While the dark brown sugar may taste stronger off the spoon, it bakes just right.

Now aren't you glad you put those car keys down? So what are you waiting for? Go bake!


Saturday, July 12, 2014

Simple Saturdays Blog Hop July 12

Simple Saturdays Blog Hop
Welcome to Simple Saturdays Blog Hop

This blog hop is brought to you by a group of wonderful co-hosts committed to the Simple way of Life and learning to be Self Reliant in all they do.  Simple Saturdays Blog Hop is a way for each of us to share the various ways we are learning to be more Self Reliant in our homes and on our land. This is all about building community, learning new skills and growing more self-sufficient!


Please join us, submit YOUR Self-Reliant post (maybe even 2 or 3), browse around, visit a site or two and learn some new Simple tips or Self Reliant How'To's!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

I Fought the Law and the Law......

So if you have been following along with the tales of Fred the duck, you will remember that last time, he and the new female duck, Betty, were starting to hit it off. There was love in the air. It was such an exciting time! And then one day the phone rang...... It was the village manager and he asked "Do you have two ducks?" I gulped and became silent..... I knew ducks were against the village ordinance, I had know all along. I took a deep breath and said "No, of course I don't. Don't be silly." We hung up and I got sick to my stomach. I then drove down to the village hall and confessed our sins of having Fred and Betty.

Someone had walked by our property and seen (not heard) the ducks and had reported us. Was I ticked? Sure I was!!! Who has nothing better to do then nark on a couple of cute ducks!?! Seriously I was POed but what was done was done and now we had to fight to keep them because I was so not giving up our Fred and his new woman. Fred is our boy!!! We have been through way to much together.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Homestead Tips on Tuesday: Dog Gone Fleas (A Natural Alternative)

My dog has fleas and no, I am not trying to tune a ukulele! Seriously, look it up and that's all you get, people teaching you how to tune a ukulele. But since I don't own a ukulele, but I do have dog with fleas, what is a girl to do? I know I could get all those chemical remedies from the vet, but after using them on both the dog and the cats before and seeing their physical reactions to the poisons, I'll pass! Trust me, after seeing the animals reactions, there is no way I'll set off a flea bomb in this house, ever.

Our "lovely" former neighbors who lived behind us had WAY to many dogs who sat in the yard all day..... a yard that was rarely mowed. What a perfect place for fleas. After they moved and the house went back to the bank, it was still rarely mowed. And so the fleas stayed. It was horrible. I was hoping after the harsh winter the flea population would be knocked on their tiny rears, and while their numbers seem to be dropping..... they are still around. So how do you fight tiny little fleas without using harsh chemicals?

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Simple Saturdays Blog Hop July 5

simple saturdays3 300
 Welcome to Simple Saturdays Blog Hop

This blog hop is brought to you by a group of wonderful co-hosts committed to the Simple way of Life and learning to be Self Reliant in all they do.  Simple Saturdays Blog Hop is a way for each of us to share the various ways we are learning to be more Self Reliant in our homes and on our land. This is all about building community, learning new skills and growing more self-sufficient!

Please join us, submit YOUR Self-Reliant post (maybe even 2 or 3), browse around, visit a site or two and learn some new Simple tips or Self Reliant How'To's!

 This Blog Hop is being hosted by:

Friday, July 4, 2014

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Campfire Cones

With summer comes backyard BBQs and camping fires..... and that means S'mores, right? Well here is a twist on the old boring s'more with a few hidden surprises! Now you may be saying to yourself, oh I saw that on Pinterest, and your right. There is this one amazing photo floating around, and no matter how hard I tried to find a link back to where it came from, I couldn't! No directions on doing it, nothing. And if you notice, it is a "before" photo of some filled cones.... but did you ever notice, there are no "after" photos floating around? Yeah and I am going to tell you why....

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Homestead Tips on Tuesday: Making Homemade Jam

There is nothing in this world like homemade jam on your toast in the morning. Strawberry, blueberry, raspberry, blackberry, and the list goes on. Maybe you buy your jam at a farmer's market.... but why when you can make your own! Making jam is really a simple process and the rewards.... well there is the jam, but there is also the pride in doing it yourself and knowing what is in your jam.

The first time I ever made jam, I purchased a bunch of strawberries on sale at a local grocery store. I had heard of making freezer jam but I wanted to do it on the stove top just like my grandparents. As I stood in the checkout line I struck up a conversation with a little old lady behind me. When she heard what I had planned for all those berries she said "your gonna burn yourself!" Curse that evil woman, I did indeed get a little burn from splashing boiling berries because I had my temp to hot!! But that is the only time I was ever burned and I am still pinning it on the old lady and her bad juju.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Fred the Duck Finds a Friend

Back at the end of April, I shared with you all the tale of Happiness, Heartache, and Hope. It was a little tale of two ducks, loss, and maybe, just maybe the chance at new life. So if you have been wondering what happened after that, well here is a peek at the ongoing tale of Fred the duck.....

When we left you last, we had two out seven of Ginger's eggs developing in the incubator. It was so exciting to candle them from time to time and see movement. But then, sadly, the eggs stopped developing. I will never know what happened. And even though I knew in my heart they wouldn't hatch, we left the eggs for the full time in the incubator. Hatching day came and went and we knew, there would be no baby duck from our dear Fred and departed Ginger.

Fred was still very depressed and something had to be done. Should we give him away to a home with more ducks? Never! Fred was my boy and we would get him through this. I went to the farm store, sat on the floor, and sexed every Rouen duck they had to find Fred the perfect little female duck, who I hoped one day would grow up to be his new mate. That night I brought baby Betty home and we started all over with the stinky duck in the house routine. Lucky it was later in the spring this time and with the weather improving she did not have to spend as much time in the house as last year's ducklings.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Simple Saturdays Blog Hop June 28

simple saturdays3 300

 Welcome to Simple Saturdays Blog Hop

This blog hop is brought to you by a group of wonderful co-hosts committed to the Simple way of Life and learning to be Self Reliant in all they do.  Simple Saturdays Blog Hop is a way for each of us to share the various ways we are learning to be more Self Reliant in our homes and on our land. This is all about building community, learning new skills and growing more self-sufficient!

Please join us, submit YOUR Self-Reliant post (maybe even 2 or 3), browse around, visit a site or two and learn some new Simple tips or Self Reliant How'To's!

 This Blog Hop is being hosted by:

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Salt Caramel Pineapple Upside Down Cake

My hubby is not an emotional man. Wait, what does this have to do with cake? Be patient, I'm getting there.... Like I said, he is a man of very few emotional out pourings. When I present him with this lovely pineapple upside down cake, I was a little taken aback by his response. He gushed!!! Yes, my manly man, who rarely shows any emotion G-U-S-H-E-D about how great the cake was. He even suggested entering it in a cake contest, should I ever have the opportunity! He told his dad about the cake.....  Yes folks, this twist on your standard pineapple upside down cake is, well, just that awesome!

This cake is easy to slap together.... I mean my sou chef is an eight year old boy and we knocked it out of the park on this one. So grab yourself some rum, for the cake, though if you want to take a nip, that is your business and lets impress the heck out of whoever your so choose.


Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Homestead Tips on Tuesday: Homemade Pie Crust

Too often today, when someone makes a pie, they buy the crust. While I know it might be simple to just throw one in the shopping cart without a second thought, it is also simple just to make one from scratch! I know you're probably saying something like, but I've heard it is hard or that is a lost art. Well I'm here to tell you, not only is it a simple thing to do, but it just tastes better!

When I make pie crust, I use the same recipe for both a fruit pie or a pot pie. This simple recipe is very versatile and tastes great no matter what you put in it. I am an old school believer in the use of lard for making pie crust. Why? Because it makes it so tender and flaky! You're starting to drool aren't you? Well then let's get started!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

DIY Recipe Plate


Do you love giving baked goods as gifts? Do you sometimes include a recipe card? I bet that card gets misplaced 8 out of 10 times! Why just give food and a misplaced card, when you can give a dish that keeps giving!! Let's say you take aunt So and So a pound cake for a family Sunday dinner.... Just think how surprised and delight she will be when the cake is finished and she finds the recipe for it on the plate!

How many times have you been to a dinner party and brought a gift? I can't say I have ever been invited to that fancy of a dinner get together, but I know a bunch of you do. Not only did you bring desert, the recipe plate is a lasting gift of not only your wonderful recipe, but the time and thought it took to make it!


Saturday, June 21, 2014

Simple Saturdays Blog Hop June 21

 Simple Saturdays Joey

 Welcome to Simple Saturdays Blog Hop

This blog hop is brought to you by a group of wonderful co-hosts committed to the Simple way of Life and learning to be Self Reliant in all they do.  Simple Saturdays Blog Hop is a way for each of us to share the various ways we are learning to be more Self Reliant in our homes and on our land. This is all about building community, learning new skills and growing more self-sufficient!

Please join us, submit YOUR Self-Reliant post (maybe even 2 or 3), browse around, visit a site or two and learn some new Simple tips or Self Reliant How'To's!

 This Blog Hop is being hosted by:



Thursday, June 19, 2014

Sunny Side Up Cupcakes

At a recent 4H craft club meeting the oldest county kid got to learn about cake decorating. I must say as I sat in the back, thumbing through through recipe books and listening to the instructor talk, my creativity was sparked. I mean, who says decorating cake or cupcakes has to be all about icing tips and fancy designs! Sometimes, simpler is better! When she present the kids with a pile of candy and told them to be creative, the oldest country kid came up with a centipede made out of red hots, a cinnamon flavored candy. Leave it to a boy to make a bug!

Why am I telling you all this when this post is supposed to be about Sunny Side Up Cupcakes? Because this folks is how creativity struck! My son likes bugs..... I like farm critters. And that is when Sunny Side Up Cupcakes came to be!


Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Homestead Tips on Tuesday: How to Get Rid of Flies... This is War!!!

Flies.... those little insects who have no respect for your home or yard. They fly anywhere they feel, sit on your counter and rub their little legs together.... mocking you.... taunting you to come and get them. This is war!!! But how do you do battle with such a mobile adversary? You build a diverse arsenal!

First off you need to know your enemy. You can't fight what you don't understand..... and flies are creatures of habit, so getting to know how they operate makes battle so much easier! As with most critters, flies like anything they can eat.... be it crumbs on your counter, the decomposing material in your compost pile, or *gasp* animal poo. They say cleanliness is next to Godliness, but you can't always be Mr. Clean now can you. So what can you do? Identify the buffet areas and attempt to neutralize them!