Monthly Archives: May 2016

Packing up

Tomorrow (May 18th) begins our three-day moving adventure.

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Tomorrow, a friend and I take the filled Uhaul down to Nevada. Then, the following day, we drive back here to Oregon with my mom’s RV. The day after that, we pack our suitcases, camp chairs, and mattresses (the only thing left in the house!) into the van, and ourselves into the vehicles, and off we go.

It still hasn’t sunk in that Friday’s trip to Nevada will the the last one for the foreseeable future. We’re so used to making that trip back and forth that it doesn’t seem real that it will be the last one.

So, today, we’re loading.

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And cleaning. And clearing out.

Well, most of us are, anyway.

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There are times I will shamelessly use the electronic babysitter. This is one of those times. 🙂

Just think, in three days, we’ll be living on the homestead!

Oh, the anticipation!

Maridy

“I lift up my eyes to the hills, where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth.” Psalm 121

Spring weather on the Homestead

We traveled to Nevada at the end of March and while we spent most of the time at my mom’s house, we did get to spend some time up on the homestead.

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This is the main reason that we decided not to stay in the trailer while we were there. It snowed on us!

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But the girls and I went up to check on the homestead anyway. And had a bit of fun while we were at it.

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And three days later, nearly all the snow is gone. We decided to try “witching” for water in other places around the house pad to accommodate the change in location of the septic system.

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This is “Ahma” (my mom) using the copper rods. It’s amazing how they really do react when near water.

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Flower Girl loves trying new things and having “pickmicks”

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Yeah, three days ago and now it’s warm enough to play in the water. That’s spring in Nevada for you!

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Our little “lion” in her cage.

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And look what we found while rummaging around in our log piles (placed there back when my parents owned this property and tore down an old barn).

Logs!

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Y’all remember my post about the logs right?

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And here I have some sitting right there on the property just waiting for me!

Oh, the possibilities!

Re-purposed garden boots/clogs

So, when we were in Nevada a couple weeks ago, we spent some nights in the trailer, and it became very evident that I needed to find myself some slip-on shoes of some sort. Putting on real shoes in the middle of the night to visit the outhouse is not fun.

They needed to be waterproof for the rain and mud we occasionally get there. But also because waterproof also means dirt proof, which is more my concern seeing as how our homestead is in Nevada, afterall. I hate tromping out to the outhouse and having to empty the sand and pebbles out of my shoes before coming back in the trailer.

So I started searching in various stores as I was in them. Not a concerted effort, mind you, just seeing what they had since I was there.

And then my wonderful hubby reminded me I had some old rain boots which could work. You see, the rain boots had developed a hole in the sole of one which, when worn in heavy water, leaked. General mud and dirt and dampness, however, stayed out. So they still worked just fine as muck boots, so long as I wasn’t standing in actual water.

But seeing as how I won’t be needing muck boots in the near future, and I DO need some slip on shoes, I made the change.

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It was very simple. I just took a sturdy pair of kitchen sheers and cut the tops off.

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Now I have a pair of clogs that I can slip on and off easily for use while living in our trailer. I didn’t have to spend any money, and I am re-purposing something which was “broken”.

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Recycling/re-purposing/re-using for the win!

Blackberry Syrup with Honey

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So…we’re moving in just a couple of weeks. And we had a freezer full of food to eat up since we will be living in camping trailers and won’t have freezer space available to us (have you seen how small those freezers are?).

We had several bags of wild blackberries in the freezer from two summers ago. First of all, they just needed to be used. Because, you know, two summers ago!

Second of all, as I said, we don’t want to transport frozen food to Nevada. So we either needed to eat them or transform them into something that is doesn’t need to be refrigerated/frozen.

We had so many that we could eat cobbler several times a week from now till we leave. And as much as we all love cobbler, we’re just not that into desserts around here. We see them as a treat rather than a staple.

So a canned good of some sort was the order of the day.

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I coulda made jam. But as much as we had would have probably made about 5 pints of jam. Way too much for us to go through. That would have lasted us years! We just don’t eat that much jam.

So I chose to make syrup. By straining out the pulp and seeds I knew I’d get a smaller volume of juice. Not only that, but one jar of syrup will be gone in just a couple of days. We don’t make pancakes all that often, but when we do, we open a jar of our delicious homemade fruit syurp, use it for the pancakes, and the remainder gets used in oatmeal till it’s gone a day or two later.

I started out with 10 cups of frozen blackberries. I put them in a pot with about 1 cup of water and heated them till boiling, then cooked them for about 5 minutes. I then took a potato masher and mushed them up to get out as much juice as possible.

After that, I scooped them into some jelly bags to drain. You could use a piece of muslin or linen fabric, or several layers of cheescloth if you don’t have jelly bags.

I hung the jelly bags from a cabinet doorknob and let them drip into a bowl.

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They drained like that for about an hour or so. I probably could have let them drain for several more hours and gotten more juice out of them, but I was in a hurry.

I ended up with 4 cups of juice. I added this and one 1 cup of honey to a pot on the stove and started heating it. I chose this amount of honey because that’s what tasted good to us. Feel free to adjust the amount to your liking. You can also use any other kind of sweetener you’d prefer.

Once it was boiling, I sprinkled in about two tablespoons of no-sugar-needed pectin. I figured this would thicken it up into more of a syrup consistency without waiting for it to boil down on the stove. If you’d prefer not to use pectin, you can just let it simmer for a while on the stove, but be prepared to lose a bunch of volume. If you do use pectin, be careful not too add to much or you’ll end up with jelly!

Once it boiled good for a minute or so, I ladled it into prepared jars and processed it for 15 minutes in a boiling water bath. For detailed instructions on water bath canning, check out this site.

You can see from the following picture that the syrup is thick enough to coat the inside of the jar. Yummy!

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I ended up with 5 cups of syrup in 4 jars (two 12oz jars and two 8oz jars).

Can’t wait to have some pancakes!

And yes, we left enough blackberries out to make a couple cobblers. 🙂

Maridy

“I lift up my eyes to the hills, where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth.” Psalm 121