Monday, August 31, 2009

August tally

This month the garden produced 68.7 lbs.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Saturday, August 29, 2009

I'm on TV, sort of

My soap made it on TV. Here's the link.

It's about a 10 minute clip, the part that my soap is a part of starts at 4:04 Pretty cool, huh? We have some of the most wonderful people at the Farmer's Market. Molly's a real mover and shaker, as you can tell from the video clip.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

chickens in the rain

I haven't talked about the girls for a while. They have taken over the back yard. They run around, eat bugs, eat grass, eat whatever. They destroy my garden (when there's an opening in the chicken wire). They dust bathe. And they sure look funny in the rain. You'd think they'd huddle away from it, but no. They don't really seem to care how scraggly they look. I find them amusing. AND they're still laying eggs!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

new year of seminary

I'm the new seminary teacher. We started on Monday. Seminary is the before school religion class for high school students. I knew a lot of kids might come but I was shocked when 24 kids actually showed up! That is such a huge sacrifice for them, to go to church at 5:30am every day before school. Sacrifice brings forth the blessings of heaven. They are a wonderful bunch of kids. I'm so proud of them. We are reading the Book of Mormon this year. About half of them have read it before and for half of them this is their first time to read it all the way through. I have two kids who don't speak English as their native language and one kid who is readjusting to English after speaking German for the past four years. Some kids are well-grounded in their testimony of Jesus Christ and some kids are searching and some kids just don't care. In other words it is a pretty typical class. I want to be a good influence on them. I help them find their own testimonies of their Savior. I heard a couple of the kids talking after class and one said to the other that his day just doesn't go right unless he attends Seminary. And the girl agreed. So if all they get out of Seminary is that life is better by going to Seminary then I've accomplished something.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

garden pics

Just showing off some garden pictures. The pretty flower is from the sweet potatoes. Isn't it gorgeous? The plants have tons of these lovely purple flowers on them. It is like a show plant. I'm getting tons of peppers, of all varieties. The lettuce looking plant is Chinese cabbage. It is so easy to grow and tastes fine. This was my first year growing it, but it's a keeper! The beans are from my mother-- Fortex. I'm so impressed with those plants. Easy to grow, productive and tastes delicious. Isn't that why we garden?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

pretty treats

I'm the new seminary teacher for our building. That means I teach the teenagers the Gospel every school day at 5:30am. It is a privilege and more then a little scary. For our first meeting I wanted to do something a little special and I made these mini-cupcakes. I don't have anything to show how tiny they are, but they are about the size of a piece of chocolate from a valentine candy box. They turned out really cute. People went nuts over them. They are different from a normal cupcake because they are frosted with candy. So they are half way between a piece of candy and a slice of cake. I thought they turned out really cute, especially all put together on the tray like this.

soap room

With five kids off on their own I actually had a spare room. After raising seven kids in a three bedroom house this is sort of amazing. S~ preferred to stay downstairs (where she has half the basement as hers). With my DH's encouragement I took over the smallest bedroom and converted it into my business office/workroom. I bought a desk and chair at the thrift store and reassigned the wire shelving to myself. The boxes are all full of soap. The chemicals are on the white shelving. I call this my meth lab. It is really wonderful having a place to keep all this stuff. It almost feels like a real business.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

It was so hot today

We finally have a miserably hot summer day. It's August and I think this is the first one. July set records for being lovely, it just isn't normal. It was pretty steamy today at the Farmer's market. People still showed up, but it was just hot, how else do you say it? I LOVE air conditioning. That is probably the biggest crack in my "naturalness." I could live without a lot of things, but summer in this part of the country air conditioning is needed. That year we lost electrical power for over a week in both the summer and in the winter everyone (EVERYONE!!!!) agreed it was easier to deal with no power in the winter. When it is cold you just keep putting on more clothes and blankets, but in the summer you suffer. But today we have air conditioning and it is truly a blessing.

The chickens are so funny when it is hot-- they find the coolest, most shady part of the yard and hunker down on the ground. I think the dirt helps to cool them off. They all become mouth (beak?) breathers. They hold their wings out from their bodies, I assume that lets their body heat out. And do they ever drink a lot of water!

Friday, August 7, 2009

soap business

This blog started out as a chance to chronicle my attempts to live more simply. Then a business happened before I even realized it. It just sort of happened. I'm probably spending too much time messing around with the soap business and not enough with the simple living business. I haven't gotten much sewing done ever since I started this business and I miss it. BUT I'm learning all sorts of interesting things in the soap/beauty products world. Soap? I've got that one down pat. I'm still learning, but I'm way past the basics. Beauty products? Whoa. That is a much bigger challenge. My goal is to make natural products that are good for us (me). I'm really having fun with this but the biggest problem is shelf life. It's easy to make products; it's hard to have them last. I could just put in a chemical preservative, but that would defeat the whole reason I got into this. The more water in the batch the harder it is to keep it fresh. I just made a lovely batch of lotion and I'm very happy with it. I'll be selling it on Saturday. See if anyone else likes it. I' d love to expand into all sorts of products, but the shelf life is my biggest thing holding me back.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

love them eggs

We have chickens, chickens lay eggs, we eat eggs. Here are two dishes we make fairly frequently. The omelet is an .... omelet. The hamburger looking patty is a black bean burger. It is usually in a bun with tomato and lettuce and cheese. I'll give you the recipe because it is delicious, vegetarian and uses up my food storage and they charge a lot for it at the store. It is good cheap food.

Black bean burgers (no real need for measurements, just throw it together)

2 cups of cooked black beans, mashed
1 cup of frozen corn (or fresh)
Optional- 1/2 cup of misc. chopped vegetables
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves minced garlic
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
1 Tablespoon whole wheat flour
1/2 cup dry potato pearls or flakes (more or less)
1/2 cup dry onions
2 eggs (more or less)
salt, pepper, red peppers, to taste

Mush it together like meatloaf. If it is too watery add more potato pearls, if it is too dry add more eggs. Drop, by plops, onto wax paper. Smoosh down into a burger shape. Fry in oil, on both sides, until brown. Serve hot on a bun with all the fixings.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

July tally-ho

I've been weighing what we bring in from the garden and keeping track. It is truly impressive. In the month of July we brought in 80.7 lbs of food (that includes eggs). For the calendar year of 2009 we've brought in 363.1 lbs. I think farming my yard is well worth the effort, besides the food is totally organic and fresh. Fresh means standing in garden popping peas in my mouth. That's fresh.