Tuesday, February 14, 2012

~:February update:~

Mother and child, circa 1890s

In the above photo, notice the childs handmade attire. It reminds me of my sister's recent project...
~She's been crocheting baby clothes for a dear friends newborn, and just finished up a matching blanket. I'm hoping to begin hand-quilting soon, and I'm looking forward to it!

~On a chilly afternoon, I catch a glance of the clothesline-- earnestly hoping the wind isn't too fretful. Thankfully the warm sun is out for a moment, so I hurry outside to finish up garden chores.
~Sunday Morning.
After a filling breakfast of warm pancakes {with homemade preserves & thick vanilla syrup..yum :) }, it was mentioned that perhaps we could go up to the woods. With much excitement, I picked up some shawls to bring along while my Mother gathered a few worn quilts--and together we made our trek up to a favorite area.
____

"..Joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody." Isaiah 51:3

____Under the shade of the pine trees, how delightful to spend time surrounded by nature itself. Frequently birds would come near us, hopping amongst the crunchy leaves in search for a late breakfast, I suppose. Yet, I couldn't help but notice, in the midst of it all: Reading together and earnestly praying together...
Draws you CLOSER together, indeed.
~
It's wash day, and time to put together some homemade liquid starch.
The recipe is simple, and it really does work!
~Mix 1/4 cup corn starch into 1 cup of water until it's dissolved. Then stir that mixture into a quart of boiling water. Continue to stir constantly until it comes to a boil and thickens...then remove from heat.

~When the starch has cooled off a bit, dip your garment in plain water-- then wring out well. Then you add it to the starch...working it in to make sure its soaking through evenly. Wring out the excess starch, then repeat with any other garments. Hang the items on the line to dry, until barely damp.

~While my corded petticoat was still a little damp, I began to iron. Talk about crisp! haha the store-bought spray cannot compare! It took a while of ironing, but turned out nice & stiff ;) So with my plain cotton dress, I wore 3 layers of petticoats (including my wool one) all day, cooking meals & working in the garden etc.

~Privet berries, Quince blooms, and Arugula blossoms.

A primitive bouquet of the wintry season.
~One evening, we visited our neighbors homestead to stop by & pick up some organic produce. Soon enough, we were greeted by a small herd of cattle. These old heritage breeds are beautiful!

~Curved staff in hand, their owner kept a steady eye on 'em as I quietly stepped closer to observe. I watched as the calves leaped about, yet didn't wander too far from their mothers. As we continued to walk down the property, they followed right behind us!

~The wind swept up clouds of dust as the sun rapidly began to set, casting its warm rays upon the cows. These primitive breeds are so hardy-- well suited for the rough terrain and climate of our area.

~A ewe and her lamb

*~*

Before heading home, we walked further to get a glance of the flock of sheep...They kept their distance, but nevertheless were a serene sight against the woodland surroundings.

~ Later that evening, my father shared childhood memories, read out-loud, and together we all discussed this years hopes for the homestead. I can't believe we've been out here in the country for 3 years! Time has flown by so quickly.
~ We ladies in the household wear aprons for everything.
I'm finding that they're actually wearing out, as we keep our favorites in daily rotation. So I'm going to start sewing new cobbler aprons & bibb aprons using our current garments as an easy pattern.
~Recently we mixed young broccoli leaves into our salad (we've been eating fresh salad leaves daily and ran low..so we turned to broccoli!) Not only are the leaves tender and sweet, but they're actually more nutritious than the heads of broccoli usually consumed. You can cook them the same way as cabbage or any other greens, or even as a wrap-- stuffed with seasoned rice etc.

~February garden activities:
Ordering from garden catalogues.

Pruning trees, shrubs and bushes.

Weeding and tending to the garden.

Relax and read a new book off the bookshelf.

Protect cold-sensitive potted plants.

Repair the fence.

Put straw mulch over garden beds or new areas not planted.

Prune and mulch dormant perennials.

Enjoy the bulbs and rosemary in bloom.

Repair and sharpen tools.

Continue the gardening journal..attempt to sketch alongside writings.

Take a slow walk through the garden.

Observe. Create new goals.

~I'm looking forward to the next few weeks of seed starting. I just finished planting more red onions and sweet onions as well. They'll do the best out in the field, while we'll keep the veggies in the smaller cottage garden areas. The anticipation for the upcoming season nurtures our homesteading dream.

~My brother dug up some clay, and began to make bricks. He enjoyed figuring out what to mix with the clay to make it sturdier.
~I thought I'd share with you a few tips for preparing cake/baked goods..
1. Always, always use room temperature eggs. This gives the batter more volume and aids in the mixing process.

~2. Adding whipped egg whites makes for a lighter, fluffy batter.
Make sure the egg whites are room temperature before you start!

~3. Previously soften the butter before creaming with sugar. Also, I like to use salted butter ( to give the cake more flavor), then omit the regular amount of salt called for.

~4. Sifting flour is an important (an often overlooked) part of the baking process. It softens the flour, and its able to absorb liquids more evenly. This will create a noticeably lighter cake!

~The comforts of home--how sweet the name! A place we sought and humbly came.
Wherewith I am content.
-Mia

60 comments:

Heather's Blog-o-rama said...

Your post was absolutely delightful. I really liked the photo of the mom with her baby. I've always loved photos from long ago...and her hat with all the lovely gauzy fabric is just beautiful :) :)
I smiled when you talked about starch. When I was a girl, I went to dance school, for a total of four years. Every time we had a show, we'd have to starch our costumes. So I well remember how stiff the costumes were, but they were so beautiful!!!
Thanks for the tip about room temperature eggs...and for the recipe :) Happy Valentine's Day. Love and hugs from the ocean shores of California, Heather :)

AuntLou said...

Oh, Joy! A new post! Thank you, Mia. :)

Steven and Mandy McRae said...

Thank you for sharing!

nanasknoll said...

Your starch recipe was interesting. I have made the one below to use in a spray bottle.
Also when I was a girl, my mom had us put water in some kind of shaker with holes in it. We sprinkled the clothes to iron and rolled them up and put them in a basket. We took them out one at a time and ironed them. I remember starching my dads shirts but our clothes we did the damp method.

Homemade spray starch recipe

Dissolve 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon cornstarch (depending on amount of stiffness you want) in a few tablespoons of cold water in a heat proof 2-cup measuring container. Add boiling water to make one cup, stirring constantly. Then add cold water to the 2 cup line. Let cool and use in a spray bottle.
Shake it every time you spray.
You may have to dilute it a little if it is too thick or builds up white flakes.
Discard after a week or so and make a new batch.
Thanks for the tips for making cakes.

Shana said...

I enjoy your updates so much. They are refreshing and make me want to go outside and enjoy all the beautiful things God has given us. Thank you.

Mia said...

Ms. Heather,
Thank you so much! That's sweet that you still remember the starched outfits as a girl :) I'm glad you liked the baking tips..I've been learning more about it and thought I'd share!
~
Aunt Lou and Ms. Mandy,
Thank you for your comments!! I'm delighted that you enjoyed the post ;)
~
'Nana's Knoll',
That's wonderful!
Thank you for the homemade spray recipe! I'll definitely try it soon.
~
Ms. Shana,
How sweet, I'm so glad you liked the update and were encouraged to enjoy the outdoor elements :) Please continue to stop by!

Blessings!!!
~Mia

Stephanie Ann said...

I love that last photo! I agree that sifting flour is a forgotten part of baking. It helps make a recipe more accurate as compacted flour is a lot denser than sifted. Great post! I can't believe how nice it looks there. We have snow on the ground.

Anonymous said...

Hello Mia
I love your blog! With all your planting that you do, I was wondering just how many acres do you have? It's just amazing of all the veggies that you've got planted.
Thanks Mia
Irene
-ps my son is always telling me that we should be self-sufficient by planting all of our veggies, but it's kind of hard here in the suburbs (NJ)

Mia said...

Stephanie Ann,
Wonderful to hear from you! Thanks so much. Yes it seems like a cold front has swept over many states this week--We had a hail storm last night!
~
Ms. Irene,
Thanks so much for stopping by! We have about 4 acres. There's quite a bit of lawn that will be (hopefully) used for new garden beds this year!
Well, if you have a little area in your backyard, perhaps it can be done! We gardened in the suburbs for over 10 years :)


~Mia

Ann at eightacresofeden said...

I am about to take up hand quilting too Mia after saying it would be a hobby for when my children left home! A few years ago a dear neigbour who was moving away gave me a quilt that was almost finished. It just needs 3 sides to be bound. It is completely handstitched and her stitches were so neat and tiny I thought she might have used a machine but a friend who quilts assures me they have been done by hand. A second quilt she gave me requires some more pieces inserted. It is a hexagonal quilt and I am a complete novice! It is being thrown in the deep end for sure. The quilts are so lovely they are beckoning me to finish them! I will enjoy seeing what you create and I'm sure it will be lovely!

Joy said...

Hello Mia,

This is a really beautiful post! How beautiful and simple life is on a homestead... thank you for sharing all those sweet pictures and tips too =D, I especially enjoyed reading the cake/baking ones!


In His love,
~Joy @ joy-live4jesus.blogspot.com

Sage Kaplan said...

Lovely pictures, I was wondering what do you use the stand for with the bowl in it in your bedroom. Could you also please post more pictures of your lovely house and your bedroom for some ideas ?

Amy Jo said...

Mia,
Inspiring as usual! I will definitely be putting some of your tips to use....

Blessings,
Amy JO

Esther said...

Ooh, a lot of those baking tips were new to me, especially about the room temperature eggs! I never knew that! :) Thank you!

Love,
Esther

Ameera said...

Greetings Mia, I ran into your blog today and emailed you too. Really inspiring and beneficial.

lismtih22 said...

I loved your post. So glad to see a new one. Oh the memories your starch brings back! The time you are spending as a family is so precious, treasure it. I have wonderful memories of my grandmother and grandfather sitting around with all the kids and us grandkids reading God's word and sharing the past. Thanks for sharing.

Karen Bates said...

I loved my visit to your farm...home. The photos are just so stunning...I love seeing them.

Mama Pea said...

Hello, Mia - I am new to your blog and this is only the second post I've seen. Your photography is unbelievable! Each one looks as if it could be a painting. Homesteading is our way of life also but with our daughter grown and out on her own it's just the two of us here now. Your writing is a breath of springtime. So calming, serene and beautiful. It reminds me to keep trying to live more in the moment instead of always thinking of the next task to be done. I'm enjoying your blog immensely.

Donna said...

Oh Mia, I have been eagerly awaiting your post. I have been checking each day to see if it is up. I spent 3-4 evenings last week going over all your old posts so I could get to know you better. I have recommended your blog on my own blog http://middleagemamaw.webs.com/apps/blog/

and if pinned you on Pinterest. lol Can you tell I am a big fan? :-)

But seriously, I really appreciate you and your family for living your lives in ways that glorify God. It gives me great hope and encouragement to see a young lady who really loves the Lord with all their heart. God Bless.

elizabeyta said...

Mia,

Thank you so much for sharing. I always look forward to your posts and the window into your life and home.

Blessings,

elizabeyta

Brittany said...

I enjoyed your post so much, as usual. Thank you for sharing your lovely life with us.

Quaker Cottage said...

Lovely post Mia ~ beautiful writing, and spectacular photography. The photo of you holding the bouquet is so charming.
Blessings to you and your family,
Kim

Tiff said...

Miss Mia, I can't begin to tell you how much I love reading about and seeing glimpses of your blessed life. Thank you for sharing. And I can't wait to try the starch recipe with some linens.
Tiff

Dawn said...

I had been waiting for another post from you. I kept checking for one. I was so happy to see you posted, and of course it is so lovely. I enjoyed the sweet pictures and your writing is always a joy to read.

Dawn

dlogan said...

HI Mia,
Everytime I read your updates, I just want to live like you do! Could you share with me how all this got started? Do your parents have jobs off the homestead site?? I turly think this is the best way to live fully. Thank you for any advice you can give. Blessings, Darby Logan

Anonymous said...

If I emailed you my address could you send me a copy of your pattern?
Amy

Sue said...

I Mia! My name is Sue. I've been following your beautiful blog for about 2 years and never left a comment to tell you how much I love it. I've nominated your blog for a friendship award called the 'Leibster Blog' award. Just visit my blog for further details. It's: http://shortfatmormonchick.blogspot.com/

This is not spam. lol The award is real I assure you.

Lisa said...

Mia, I adore your blog. I come here afte a stressful day and my blood pressure drops immediately. You are a true blessing to all of us who appreciate the simple qualities of life. God Bless!!!
Lisa

Iyana said...

Mia, with all the outpouring of invitations and awards, I hope you continue in 'minding your own business'. There's an old saying: ' I scorn man's silence but dread their applause'. It is not Scripture but poignant enough.

I love your blog. I am encouraged about how you choose to stand up for Jesus Christ without being contentious. Keep the Author and Finisher of your Faith always before you Mia, amidst the ever increasing popularity of your blog and folk desiring comments and acknowledgements from you.

Remain settled, quiet, young lady.

Shelley said...

Beautiful post Mia..as always. Thanks for sharing your blessings with us :)
I love the picture of the mother and child...so very sweet.

Hana - Marmota said...

That bouquet is beautiful. Totally exotic to me, yet with very familiar colours...
And bricks, wow!

Joanne said...

Hello from Australia Mia. I have been enjoying your blog for sometime. It is a joy to read. Thankyou for sharing. I love the last photo of you looking out the window, just beautiful.

janice15 said...

Helo Mia, I'm always so glad when you post because I know it will be a great pleasure reading it. I'm always amazed by you new and refreshing things. I have thinking to make a apron myself but was thinking I didn't have a pattern but I do have some old ones so great idea. I could only imagine the day under the trees was lovely together sharing. I'm waiting patiently for spring to arrive. I recently got a huge bag of free fresh hay to use for the garden. I have been looking for some free red bricks to make a path way. I have my collard green and Swiss chard still growing and some green onion and pansy's parsley. Today I order some Irises for the garden I had been wanting some and couldn't find them in the local nursery. Thank you Mia for all that you share it is so inspiring..hugs to you my dear and blessing to you and your family..see you soon..with love JANICE

Chris said...

Hi Mia, just stopping by to say how delightful your blog is. Thanks so much for sharing. I have recently found your blog and am now following you, and will visit often. Please stop by my blog and perhaps you would like to follow me also. Have a wonderful day. Hugs, Chris
http://chelencarter-retiredandlovingit.blogspot.com/

Dragonfly On My Finger said...

A fantastic new post Mia. I look eagerly (and sometimes obsesively)for a new post and you never let us down. Between your descriptions and your photos ~ your posts are always filled with wonder and joy. May you and your family have a blessed and safe February.

Lisa M. said...

Hi Mia!! I enjoyed the update ") We are currently expecting 50+ chicks to raise for pastured meat and eggs. Don built 2 more "tractors" based on Joel Salatin's...Hosannah got a bunny for her birthday with hopes of beginning to raise more in future. We've got ~30 various more kinds of fruits and berries to plant from a recent trip to the nursery wholesaler!! Now to the full schedule of fitting all of this into the coming days! I'm also starting a maternity skirt out of festive spring material for Caroline, who is expecting our first grandbaby in June...It's a GIRL!!!

Check it out said...

Wow!!! You're the best!

Ellecee said...

Hello Mia, This is my first visit via Sue of "Short Fat Mormon Chick" and I know not my last. Your blog is picture perfect. I enjoyed my vist so much

April said...

Dear Mia,
another wonderful and inspiring post. I'd love to know how you deal with the excessive supply of beauty products/make up, skin and hair care stuff. I sometimes can't stop myself from buying one or the other creme/soap/lotion although i know it's all poison. If you one day feel like blogging about what you and your family use for skin and hair care i'd be very delighted! I want to keep things more simple but don't really know which products to choose.
Thank you for sharing your beautiful life!
~April

Kennesa said...

Mia,
There are no words to describe how I feel when I read your blog. I LOVE IT! Thank you, thank you, thank you, for inspiring me so much.

Kennesa

gail said...

Hello Mia,
We are getting ready for autumn on this side of the world. I really enjoy the cooler weather as our winters are very mild and it's a nice time to garden. I too use the home made starch, however I put it in a spray bottle and spray it on the clothes. just a little hint I add a couple of drops of lavender oil which gives a lovely fragrance to my linens and hankies. Thank you for your lovely post.
Blessings Gail

ღ soraya ღ said...

nice post thanks for sharing looking for to visit more...loves soraya

Laura Lee said...

Someday soon when the days get a little longer, I am determined to take a "sabbatical" from life and come spend a week with you ;)

XO Laura Lee

Anonymous said...

BTW ~ I think you shall be giving me some sewing lessons instead of the other way around :)
Sister Brannon

Stephanie said...

What a beautiful post, as usual, Mia. Your blog is so encouraging to me! Thank you so much for taking the time to post. Have you seen the documentary "Back to Eden"? To view more about it, please view my most recent blog post at http://hopefulforhomemaking.blogspot.com/.

-Stephanie

Mary said...

Hello, Mia! I am also an aspiring homemaker. I'm so pleased I found your blog today! The photography is absolutely beautiful, and feels like home for someone like me who values old fashioned things as much as you do. You are quite the inspiration! And I'm also doubly impressed that you make your own laundry soap,I do so want to try that!!

Bonnets and Boots said...

Beautiful and inspiring post, as always!

Rhonda said...

Oh my! It has been three years since you moved out to your lovely cottage, and I have been following you for that same amount of time!
I absolutely love the Mama and her baby! So sweet! I love the clothing they are wearing too!
Mia, lovely blog as always!
I do so enjoy reading what is going on at the lovely cottage!
Many blessings to you and your lovely family!
Rhonda

Check it out said...

Hello, Mia! I am also an aspiring homemaker. I'm so pleased I found your blog today!

Linda, NE Iowa said...

With all the bad storms lately, I've thought about you and your family. I was wondering about the plans you have in case of a tornado warning. do you have a tornado shelter?

Magnolia Tea said...

Hi there! How blessed you are to live as you do! I love your posts as they are wonderfully discreet and feminine and not in the least offensive to Christian character. Many blessings to you and you family!

Anonymous said...

I love your blog, Mia!! Have you ever done a post on how/why your family moved out to the country? It sounds like you lived a fairly "normal" life in the suburbs prior to moving where you are now. What prompted your family's move? How has your life changed in the last three years? And I have a question: does your family have a television? Your blog, and the life you live, seem so overwhelmingly peaceful, and makes me long for a life like that. I REALLY hope you post again soon. I just love reading your posts!

Marina said...

Hi Mia!
I just can't get enough of your blog, your photos, your style and your bubbly personality! When I discovered your blog, I sat at the computer reading it every spare minute I had for three days in a row. Thank you for being so honest and true, you are an inspiration. You are also living my dream! But I see it as God providing me with this time to learn, for now, so I will not waste it:) I look forward to reading about your adventures and thoughts: keep them coming!
Yours truly

Anne@A Little Fur in the Paint said...

Just beautiful! You have a lovely blog, Mia, and I'm a new follower! ♥
Best,
Anne :)

Anne@A Little Fur in the Paint said...

Oh ~ may I add your blog to my sidebar? (I always like to ask first) ♥
Anne

Julianne said...

I love your blog so much! Just wanted you to note that it's time for a new post!

Jackie said...

Hi Mia,
I really enjoy your posts and pictures. I find them so very joyful!
I like the receipe for the starch and will try it. I love to iron and love all your long dresses and aprons. I wear aprons as well.
Look foward to the next time.

Carol said...

Mia,
This is my first time commenting here. Your blog is beautiful. I look forward to reading previous posts and the ones to come.
Blessings

PhoenixCrusader_1 said...

It is both encouraging and inspiring to read what you have posted on your blog. The pictures are breathtaking and I really enjoy what you have to say. I am too a black aspiring homemaker. I am trying to honor my parents however and they prefer me to commute instead of taking online classes. I live in New England. Your site is so refreshing. God Bless!

Anonymous said...

Where did you go??