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.