Family Day!

So today is family day. I think it’s more an excuse to have a long weekend in a month that feels like it will never end despite the fact that it’s the shortest month of the year. Plus, Ottawa is a government town, which means that family day is only family day for those who don’t work for the feds. So this means that you have 3/4 of a family day, or kids have fun with someone while you and your spouse go to work. I don’t think this is fair. Either call it a federal holiday, or don’t bother 😦 

That’s my rant for today, you can all go back to reading this without fear that I’m going to blow about something else. Today I am relaxed and mellow. What have I done to put me in such a state you ask? Nada, nothing, zip, zilch. I have sat around and knitted, or soaked in the tub for over a hour with a book- and before you ask, no I didn’t drop my book in the tub, that was last week. I purposely have chosen to do nothing. I have written, my family has not gone hungry and the house is not breeding dust bunnies. How did I accomplish that? I have no idea, it just worked out that way 🙂 don’t you love when crap like that happens!

I’ve come up with an official name for my website/blog when it eventually gets going. I think I’m going to go with Canadian Homesteader. What do you think?

As for garden planning, we have decided to go with the usual and, depending on the cost of food next week, we will get our seeds and soil and get them started. We are going to go with carrots, peas, pole beans, zucchini’s, cukes, tomoatoes, cauliflower( yes we are now aware that we have to fold over the leaves) broccoli (yup, same thing), pumpkins ( pie) and butternut squash. We are also going to try potatoes in a box. My father offered the use of his backyard as some added growing space, and I think we will take advantage of that.

I have been trying to pin down what I want as a floor plan for the future house and what I think our property needs to have. There is a lovely list of WANTS, but what do we NEED? We need a water source and preferably one that is clean and clear ( for obvious reasons). We need trees for building materials and firewood. We need to be on land zoned in order to have animals, which sort of rules out Rural Residential or Recreational properties unless a nice person at the local office gives their ok. We also need to have access to the sun for potential solar use and some game for hunting would also be awesome.

In my future house I need a cooking area, 2 sleeping area’s and a washroom. Hubby is not ok with an outhouse- I am, for the short term ( we’ll see who wins that battle). I also need cold storage, which I am willing to have as a separate underground space or built into the foundation. I have decided that I would like cement floors for their passive solar capabilities and have settled for a shower instead of a tub and I don’t want there to be a lip on the shower, just a drain in case we have mobility issues when we get older.

I also want NO corner cupboards, none. Did I say none? I meant none. I really, really dislike them. I also don’t want upper cupboards either. Not too picky am I! lol  I also insist on a main floor bedroom. I do not need a big closet, just a small one ( see I’m easy). I have also been looking at woodstove/ovens. Holly caboodles they’re expensive!!! Still, I think one will do the trick nicely, since I rarely use the oven in the summer, we BBQ. In the winter, I will be able to heat our small place and cook at the same time, which is a win win in my books.

I still haven’t worked out the style yet. I like rustic modern, but I don’t like unfinished, or rough looking rustic. I know that doesn’t make much sense. Let me see if I can clear it up. I like ‘old’ furniture more for its style and functionality. I want it to look like it did when it was made, not distressed or partiatly painted, as that would mess with my need for things to be orderly and I would just take it outside and repaint it so it looks neat. That being said, I love the clean lines of modern 🙂 ahh, they put me in my happy place. Now,on the flip side,  I grew up loving the Little House books. I wanted to be Laura. I loved the wooden cabins Pa made and I would love one for myself. You now see my dilemma. Sigh… somehow I will make this work. I am determined to find the way.

In the meantime, I am going to get some story ideas started so that maybe they can get out of my head and leave some space for the revisions that are happening with book #3 so I can finished up book #4.

Enjoy your week!

ps If you needed it, here’s the menu for this week.

Monday- pork tenderloin with cranberry -something jelly on it, riced cauliflower and veg of some kind

Tuesday- pumpkin, squash and black bean soup along with bread- we’re expecting a dumping of snow and the boys will be out cleaning the neighbourhood so need something quick and easy.

Wednesday- Salmon with maple jelly, roasted potatoes and broccoli

Thursday- pasta with homemade sauce

Friday- you should know by now that I don’t menu plan for Friday 🙂

Saturday- kids -likely pizza, but we’re having adult supper with the lovely Fiona and Geoff! so I’ll come up with something extra yummy :). Wine might be involved…hmmm.

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Ah, Winter

This year has had one of the strangest winters I’ve experienced. Here we are, mid February, and the grass is coming up green! We shouldn’t even have grass visible!! I’m not complaining, I quite like the warmer weather. I’m just kicking myself for something I couldn’t control- the weather. If I’d known it was going to be so mild, I would have planted some winter crops or set up cold frames or something. I feel like I’m wasting this lovely warmth. I’m silly like that sometimes. Next year I will be prepared! That is my goal.

Wow, its been a while since I wrote. Life sometimes, I tell ya. In my last message I was looking into chickens and which ones I wanted to have on our future homestead. There is no set answer. I think its going to be one of those decisions I make last minute. I’ve learned about all different kinds and the pros and cons to each. I really like the look of the heritage breeds and their lovely colours, but I also like the Barred Rock with their sturdy make up.

Last weekend we got a chance to meet a local farmer, Amber, who gave me a scoby to start my own kombucha and some of her pastured pork. The kombucha is still in the works since its a bit of a process for the fermenting to take place. The pork was absolutely delish! If you ever have the opportunity to try pastured pork, I highly recommend it. Amber walked us around her farm – Arc Acres – and told us about her set up and patiently answered my millions of questions. She also lives in the cutest wooden cabin!OMGoodness!

I could feel the peace on the property. I know that sounds awfully granola, as my good friend Linda would say, but it’s totally true. Totally! The smell of the wet earth- admittedly a bit ripe seeing as she has cows- mixed with the wood smoke and the smell of pine trees… sigh. Through her I was able to see a few more options for our homestead which I’m hoping I’ll be able to implement both next season and in the future.

Sorry, got sidetracked there for a minute remembering the smells and daydreaming. Back to the subject at hand- chickens. I also learned that we could choose to deal with our own birds- sorry, I was trying to find a kind way of saying… well you know. Anyhoo, the short answer is yes we can deal with our own, but the meat could not leave the property and we could only give it to immediate family members. This would pose a small problem in that if you came out for supper, I would need your permission to eat my meat, I couldn’t just serve it to you. At first I was really upset about this and could only see all the difficulties, but I have gotten past that and am fine with it.

Soon it will be time to start seed and for some reason I am very apprehensive. As some of you know, I hate wastage and I think my anxiety is kicking in around the whole seed starting thing as I can’t control how it’s going to turn out. I can give it awesome soil and water and lots of sun, but I can’t control if the seed will start to grow or not. If they don’t, that will be a wasted effort. My husband calls them learning opportunities and he’s right. This is a chance for me to learn what might and what might not work while we’re not depending on this as our sole source of food. By the time we get our homestead I will be a pro at it, and then will have to learn all over again in a different type of soil. Sigh :/

As for my writing, I received some great feedback from a fellow writer and have been doing lots of revisions to book #3. I have a bunch of other book ideas running through my mind and have been trying to get rough outlines of them when they come to me so I can explore them later. Sometimes easier said than done, but that’s just the way it is.

Gill and I have also tried our hand at washing our hair with collected water from recent rain and melting snow. It is definitely a laborious task and quite awkward to do over the sink with cupboards, but we are quite happy with the results. We also use a shampoo that I made up myself with Dr. Bronner’s castille liquid soap mixed in a ratio of 1 part soap to 2 parts water. Then we spray in a 1:3 ratio of apple cider vinegar to water in an old spray bottle. Gill is very happy with the results and finds she has much fewer knots in her hair and that its much smoother. The boys now almost exclusively use a homemade hair pomade- which reminds me, I should make more- and are also quite happy with it. I also got thumbs up on the shaving cream that I made for Christmas.

I’m looking forward to taking an advanced soap class with a friend in Bonnefield. They will teach us swirls and all that cool stuff. I’m also going to attempt a batch of crock pot  ( hot method) soap soon.

I hope winter is finding you safe and warm and happy and healthy. Make sure you get out and enjoy some fresh air every day and call a friend on those days you’re having trouble getting the will to move through your day. We all need to be looking out for each other. HUGS!