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Posts Tagged ‘Learning’

Bunching onions, sauerkraut, local lamb roast, and working in the garden….

Chopping up bunching onions to go in my neighbors freezer

Chopping up bunching onions to go in my neighbors freezer

What do all those things have in common? …. Just more “not dabbling in normal” normal.

Over at the neighbors getting things ready to plant.

Over at the neighbors getting things ready to plant.

Cleaning and clearing out the winter garden. the onions are starting to flower. I let a few turnips and some of the kale flower so I can collect seeds. The monster spinach is just starting to bolt, so will leave a few plants in the ground for seed saving also.

I was over at the neighbors yesterday to help clear out winter plants and get some spring things in the ground. He uses a hoe (made in the USA) that belonged to his grandmother. (my neighbor is 81 years old, so that is one old hoe that he is using.) we planted some cucumber and zucchini seeds and got a few bell pepper plants in the ground. My body is still playing catch up from being sick a year ago…. so that was all we got done. We will work out there again on Saturday. I plan to work in my garden today and hopefully get some plants in the ground. I still get out of breath, but it feels good to work out there and I need to keep pushing myself a bit to keep getting better. I have certainly come a long way, especially when i think back to march 2013 when I couldn’t even walk across the room!

chopping cabbage for sauerkraut

chopping cabbage for sauerkraut

I have picked my cabbages and they are in the crock turning into fermented sauerkraut. I picked up some more local cabbage at the local swap that I go to and those are also fermenting in another second crock. A Roasted lamp shoulder

Dinner the other night was a roasted local lamb shoulder (picked it up at the swap/barter.) I had a second pan in the oven roasting sweet potatoes and onions that I also traded for.

Making a cough syrup

Making a cough syrup

I am also taking an herbal medics class. Learning a lot, and So much more to learn. It is a lot of fun. I am harvesting some wild herbs and edibles as they are popping up this spring. The lambsquarter is popping up so I am potting some up to take to plant swaps and also the month swap/barter.

So, like I said…. Life. There is a lot going on. Spring is in the air (It was 87F yesterday – I think we skipped Spring!)

What are you up to this time of year?

Sincerely, Emily

 

 

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It seems that my list of bookmarks on my computer just keeps getting longer and longer, and I just keep adding to it. The bookmarked things ranges for herb websites to blogs of all sorts, recipes and crafty things I would like to try. (ya, I have heard of pinterest, and I should probably use it more, but it seems I get lost in time when ever I log in there)

Every time I bookmark something it ends up at the bottom, and the bottom seems to be pages and pages down there, so I started working on organizing the bookmarks and as I did that I came across things I had forgotten about (what a concept!)… so I decided to try to either do something, like a craft, each week or try a recipe or read a certain blog I bookmarked but never got back to.

I have a lot going on right now, so I picked a few simple things that wouldn’t take up too much time. I started with a bookmark. I figured it would be perfect for my niece that had a birthday this week. This was a super frugal gift, because I used some of those left-over scraps of paper that I save. I found the original on The Girl Creative.Book marks 1I tweaked the pattern for me and simplified it. The original bookmarks are cute, but my niece is 11, and I wanted something a bit more tailored for her.Book marks 3I picked out some designer card stock/scrap-booking papers that I thought that she would like (blues and greens) and made a few. Another niece likes hot pink and animal prints, so I made a few for her at the same time.Book marks 5This was a quick and easy project for me to do and it felt good actually getting around to one of those things I had bookmarked off the internet.

Do you have a long list of bookmarked things? How do you organize them?

Do you ever have things you want to try? Do you ever get around to them?

Sincerely, Emily

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I went to my first swap this past April. I had heard of swaps but didn’t find one in my area until a friend found this one on a MeetUp page and told me about it.

Swap July 2013

Swap July 2013

The organizer set up a few guidelines and the rest is history. She holds it once a month.

There were a few guidelines to follow:

  • No money was allowed – this is all about the trade and bartering with what you have for what you want/need.
  • Items should be sustainably-minded. Something you have grown in your garden, something you conned/cooked/brewed/baked/preserved/dried, etc. Something your animals made (goat milk, hen eggs, lamb wool, etc.) Something you sewed/knitted/re-purposed, etc. Items to do with sustainable interests are also good (Mother Earth News magazines, cookbooks, cooking/camping gear, etc)
  • The items you should leave at home: this is not a garage sale, items should be about sustainability. Leave the knick-knacks at home.

Once we set up, we were allowed 15 minutes to walk around and check out the items other people brought so we could see what we were interested in.

Lemon pickles, Dill pickles, Homemade Teriyaki sauce

Lemon pickles, Dill pickles, Homemade Teriyaki sauce

Each month I have been posting about the swap over on my personal blog. About a month ago I realized that I hadn’t posted about the July swap and I thought it would be a good topic to post here. I have known the swap and barter system is out there and alive, and I realize that there may be others out there that are interested, but don’t know were to look or even how to get started.

Here are the other swap posts I have done”

Here are a few places to look to find swaps in your area: Note: I will add additional information to this post as I find it or as people comment. (updated 19 Sept 2013)

Would you go to a swap if you had one in your area?
Are you participating in a swap in your area?

Please use the comments to let others know about how to find a swap. If you out there participating in a swap, please comment with the general area you are in and add a link to the swap information.

Sincerely, Emily

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No, not Flower Power from the 60’s and 70’s, we’ll save that for another post. I’m talking about Flour Power!

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Flour takes on a whole new meaning for me (Sincerely, Emily) in the past 5 years.

mixing up granola bars

mixing up granola bars

foodsaver play 3

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Flour just taught my high school best friend how to create her own pizzas, Stromboli’s and calzones (narf7 from theroadtoserendipity.wordpress.com )

Simple flour is what memories and prospective feasts are made of…

DSCF3663

Flour, yeast, salt, oil and water

DSCF3669

Kym learning how to manipulate the dough to make a Stromboli

DSCF3670

“Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day; show him how to catch fish, and you feed him for a lifetime”

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I never thought much about flour before trying to go all-local several years ago. It is really hard to find flour milled within a 4-hour drive, even when you live in a farm state. I finally found a Wisconsin farm called Great River which ironically mills flour just a couple of hours away, but sells it through a jobber in Arkansas, so it travels there, then back to me. So I buy $2.20 a pound flour, grown and milled in Southern Wisconsin, as opposed to 70c a pound flour, grown and milled god knows where– you can’t tell from the packaging. India for all I know. I worked out the cost– if I make all my own bread, the expensive flour makes each loaf about the same price as the store brand. If you count my time as having no monetary value.

Flour- counter Flour- hand***

Here at Tanglewood, flour has also taken on new meaning. After discovering that I am gluten intolerant (No, it’s not a fad I’m going through. Yes, it really does make me sick…) I had to switch from two main flours to… well… a gajillion.

I now keep more than twenty different flours in my kitchen, from teff to tapioca to millet – whatever it takes to add variety of texture and taste to the things I make. Early this spring I devised this shelving and storage system and I have to say – I’m intensely happy with it! Now I just have to get some snazzy labels to replace the dry erase marker on the jars.

(P.s. Can you tell I’m a huge Doctor Who geek from my shelves? My geekiness has gotten out of hand…)

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What are you doing with flour these days??

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Eager to Learn

Mr Chiots and I were talking about our three favorite things to do the other evening. Along with hiking and gardening, reading and learning new things was also on my list. I’m an avid reader, always have been. As a little girl I read through all the books in the house and then discovered the local library. When we lived in South America there was no library, so I read through the Childcraft: The How and Why Library (15 Volume Set) (Childcraft, 1 – 15) many times and through a lot of those Reader’s Digest condensed books. I also read the bindings off my copies of the Little House on the Prairie Series and the Chronicles of Narnia Series.

I’m still an avid reader. You’ll always find stacks and stacks of books on my coffee table. Often you’ll find 4-5 books about one topic, whatever I’m researching and trying to learn more about at the moment. I’ve heard that reading and learning new things keeps our brain young and functioning well into old age. It helps prevent cognitive decline and memory problems. I’m not old or nearing old age, but keeping myself learning now will help me continue this well into old age. The more open and willing we are to learn new things when we’re younger, the more open we will be when we’re older. Keeping us from uttering the words “Oh, I’m too old to learn new things…..”

Of course, I don’t just continue reading & learning to keep my mind active. I do it because I’m curious and love to learn how to do new things and helps improve the skills that I’m already proficient at. I find that studying a topic in depth provides months of learning and gives me something valuable to do with any spare time that I have. It also gives me a lot of knowledge in different areas that comes in handy in social situations. Sometimes learning new skills or honing our current skills in certain areas can turn into a career change or a possible back-up career should the need arise.

My current area of fascination is sourdough bread, traditional long fermented wood fired hearth loaves. I’ve been making sourdough bread for a long time and I’m pretty proficient at it. That doesn’t mean I know all there is to know. I certainly want to learn more about how it was done back in the old days with especially with freshly ground flour and long fermentation times. I have a lot to learn when it comes to making bread with freshly milled flour, especially rye. Now that I have a source for a variety of local wheat and rye, I want to learn how to consistently make beautiful sourdough loaves with it. I also want to learn about baking in a wood fired oven. As a result of my current fascination my coffee table contains: The Bread Builders: Hearth Loaves and Masonry Ovens and Classic Sourdoughs: A Home Baker’s Handbook. If you want an in depth look on classic sourdough read the first book, if you’re more of a quick skim the topic person the second will be perfect for you. I’m hoping that next spring I’ll even be able to build my own wood fired oven in my back yard (of course you’ll hear all about it if I do).

What new things are you learning now? Any great ideas for future learning? 

I can also be found at Chiot’s Run where I blog daily about gardening, cooking, local eating, maple sugaring, and all kinds of stuff. You can also find me at Ethel Gloves, Simple, Green, Frugal, Co-op, and you can follow me on Twitter.

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Take Time to Read

Chiot’s Run is located in NE Ohio, so gardening outdoors is pretty much not an option during Dec/Jan/Feb. The earth it covered in an insulating blanket of snow and we’re snug as bugs in our warm little house.

Since I can’t garden, I take the winter months to recharge, getting some much needed rest from all the garden chores. I also make sure I read a lot of books about gardening, natural health, nutrition, novels, cookbooks, old favorites, and more gardening books. This is my time to learn things that I can put into practice during the gardening season.

I find myself often sitting in a chair by the window with a good book and a cup of tea. Throughout the year I keep a reading list on my computer and add books to it as I come across them. I start requesting the books from the library in November and keep a big stack on the table throughout these cold winter months. I read while drinking my morning coffee, during lunch and dinner and in the evenings.

This winter I’m reading through the Little House on the Prairie books again. I loved them as a girl and since my nieces are reading them, I thought it would be nice to refresh my memory. It gives me something to chat with them about. They’re wonderful books for young and old. Great stories of true homesteaders living during a time when life was much more difficult than it is today.

I’ve got a list of things I want to learn more about this winter. I need to read up on maple sugaring before the sap starts to flow. We’re hoping to get a good amount of maple syrup this year. I want to read Eliot Coleman’s new winter gardening book; The Winter Harvest Handbook: Year Round Vegetable Production Using Deep Organic Techniques and Unheated Greenhouses to see if I can put some of it into effect this coming fall/winter to give us more food from the garden in the winter.

What’s on your winter learning/reading list?

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