Merry Christmas, Wicked Weather

Guess we’re in Texas now :-0

Our first Christmas in Texas was really quite nice.  The girls were excited Christmas morning to discover gifts under our little tree.  Of course it meant more stuff in our small space that have no home, but I’ve managed to find places to put some things and today I’m off to buy a couple more storage items in an effort to get things a little better organized.

Christmas afternoon we me my sister-in-law, brother-in-law and niece at a local movie theater to see the spectacular movie, Chipmunks Road Chip.  Yes, it was your typical Chipmunks movie.  Good music, decent entertainment and an enjoyable afternoon spent with family.

The next day we got to experience Texas weather at its finest.  It was warm.  Quite warm in fact and then the rains moved in.  Shortly after dinner, sirens went off and we headed to the RV clubhouse to take cover.  Fortunately, the tornadoes that moved thru the area were east of us.  Unfortunately, the tornadoes were deadly and there are many families without homes.  I really can’t shouldn’t complain much about our little space knowing that others have lost so much.  We woke up to a dusting of snow, but we have a roof over our heads, heat on this cold day, food to eat and clothes on our back.  Maybe I don’t have as much room or storage space as I would like, but we’re safe and together.  For that I’m truly thankful.

In a few day we’ll celebrate a new year and I’m hoping for some really good things to happen in 2016.

A Homestead Kind of Day

Winter Storm Nika moved through last night and early this morning leaving us about 6 – 7 inches of snow. This required another snow shoveling work-out and after my work-out I decided it was a good day to enhance some of my homesteading skills.

Since I was down to just enough laundry soap for maybe two more loads of laundry, making laundry soap was my first order of business. I’m now set for the next few months with 6 jars ready to go to work.

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My next challenge was making some body butter.  Now I say this is a challenge because my past attempts haven’t turned out the way I had hoped, but I just can’t give up so I tried again.

First I measured out 1/2 c each of Shea Butter, Cocoa Butter and Coconut Oil.  I put them in the top of a double broiler and melted them down to a liquid form.  I put it aside to let it cool and once the pan was cool, I put it in the fridge for about 15 minutes to cool off a bit more.

After it began to thicken along the edges, I stirred in 1/2 c extra-virgin olive oil, 1 t Vitamin E oil, and several drops of lavender and orange bitter essential oils.  (Sorry, but I didn’t count the number of drops.  I went strictly by scent and quit when it smelled good.)

I mixed in the oils and put the pan back into the fridge until everything began to thicken (about 20 – 30 minutes).

Now it was time to mix.

The moment of truth . . . . . . . .

And success!!!!!

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Creamy!
Buttery!
And it smells scrumptious!!!

It seems the problem with my previous attempts was not allowing the oils to cool off and thicken.  Which didn’t give me the consistency I desired.  I’m so glad I didn’t give up.  Of course now I’m anxious to try some new blends, so stay tuned for Debbie’s delightful body butter combos.

And I must point out that I love my canning jars.  They have an amazing multitude of uses.

My last homestead adventure for the day is something I’ve been doing for many, many, many years.  It was something the girls have been asking to do for several weeks, so we got out everything we needed and created these.

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The girls got snowflake cookie cutters in their Kiwi Crates at Christmas and have been wanting to use them and use them we did.

Overall, nice day on the ranch . . . I mean farm . . .  I mean a nice day at home.

What to Wear?

It’s snowing again.  “Hello Winter Storm Nika,” and this winter I’ve begun to think a lot about my homestead wardrobe.  When the weather is hot, I wear a lot of capris, short-sleeved tops and flip flops.  It works well for the gardening and housework I do now, but I don’t think it’s going to work as well for all the jobs on the farm.  I need to find comfortable clothes that will work well for housework, gardening, feeding animals, as well as cleaning coops and barns.

This is very Little House on the Prairie, but isn’t quite my style.  Although I do like those boots.

Wearing jeans on the farm makes good sense . . . .

I just need to find that perfect fitting pair of jeans and haven’t accomplished that task yet.

Maybe a nice pair of overalls with a cool short-sleeved shirt.  When I look at these overalls I think “farm.”  Exchange the short-sleeved shirt for a long-sleeved shirt on cool evenings and I’m set!

And I could have overalls in a variety of colors . . . .

 

 

Maybe a pair of these for a fancy day on the farm.

Probably not though.

Of course a good jacket is a must on the farm.  One that will work for rainy mornings or cool nights.

And one to add a little more color on the farm.

Farm work doesn’t end in the winter, so warm clothes will be a necessity.

Like some quilted overalls.

In a variety of colors because the same outfit over and over again is boring.

And a nice warm work coat to wear under the overalls.

 

 

And I can’t be on my farm without owning a few flannel shirts.

 

Last, but certainly not least, I have to consider footwear.

I’m going to have animals on my little farm, so I’m going to need a good pair of muck boots.

And there is going to be a lot of garden work to do, so a decent pair of gardening shoes is in order.

And a work boots are a necessity.

And I can’t forget work gloves.

Okay, I don’t really need ‘everything’ I on this list, but my wardrobe is going to be expanding and I really think I’m going to like the changes.

What are your must have clothing items for the farm?

Snowy Thoughts

The snow is coming down. It’s not coming down vertically as light fluffy flakes, but instead millions of tiny snow flakes are blowing horizontally across the yard.

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Every once in a while a stronger gust of wind sending even more flakes blowing off the roof of the house, spiraling down to the ground. Drifts of snow forming across the yard.  Our fire pit slowly being buried in white.

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According to the forecast, we have several more hours of snow yet to fall.  A total of 6″ – 8″ inches expected, with winds becoming stronger and temperatures continuing to drop as the day goes on.

Our dogs don’t seem to mind the snow at all.

Snowy face Zoey
Snowy face Zoey (Keeshond)

 

Jagger (Papillon) and Jada (Keeshond)
Jagger (Papillon) and Jada (Keeshond)

 

As I have been watching the winter storm today, my mind has been wandering to what our life on the homestead might be like in weather like this and I realize just how unprepared I am.  No insulated overalls, coat, or gloves for working in weather like this.  No insulated work boots either.  I do have a couple of pair of really thick, warm wool socks.  I suppose I could start a new farm fashion trend with my Vera Wang wool coat and Ugg boots, but somehow they just don’t ooze ‘farm life.’

So much learning and preparation that still needs to be done for our life on the farm.  And no time like the present to start learning and preparing.

 

Batten Down the Hatches

2104 is ushering in lots of snow, wind and bitterly dangerously cold air.  The snow is expected to begin here in the next 1 1/2 – 3 1/2 hours and while we are only expected to get 5-8 inches here, friends to the south of us are expecting up to a foot.  Either way, once the winds kick in, it’s not going to be safe travels for anyone traveling across Central Illinois with lots of drifting snow and wind chill factors as cold as -40.  Unless there is an emergency, we are battening down the hatches and staying home.  I have several jars of soup in the fridge, a fresh loaf of bread and cornbread made as well as salad fixings.  Enough food to last us several days and the ability to heat everything if we should lose power.

We already have about 4 inches of snow on the ground and I like it.  Snow, especially a new fallen snow, is so clean and fresh.  It’s like a clean slate.  A fresh start, like a newly fallen snow.  It’s quiet.  It’s peaceful.

Of course there is also the practical part that says the snow will one day melt and seep into the soil.  My garden is thankful for the snow and so am I.

For those in the path of this storm, I hope you have no need to venture out.  Remember to take care of your animals.  Keep them warm with lots of fresh food and water.

Stay safe.  Stay warm.

 

Snow, Thru the Eyes of a Child

It began snowing early evening yesterday and as the sun went down, the snow continued. We watched the snow falling, sparkling in the glow of the street lights. Slowly, it began to cover everything in a blanket of white.

When we awoke this morning, we peeked outside and saw our winter wonderland. Everything covered in white. So clean. So bright. So beautiful.

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After breakfast we bundled up and headed outside. We measured the snow – 7 inches of newly fallen snow. If we had any hopes of getting out of our driveway, the shovels had to be put to work and work they did. We shoveled a path down the driveway, just wide enough to drive in and out. Then the snow building began – a tiny snowman, a snowy tunnel, and a small hill for sledding.  Things I loved doing so much as a child, my girls were now enjoying. The three of us outside for hours, creating fun in the snow.

Digging out the snow tunnel
Digging out the snow tunnel
Crawling thru the snow tunnel
Crawling thru the snow tunnel
Looking thru the snow tunnel.  No way I could crawl thru the narrow tunnel :-)
Looking thru the snow tunnel. No way I could crawl thru the narrow tunnel 🙂

The girls took turns climbing onto the inner tube in hopes of a successful run down our little snow hill.  I held onto the tube, trying to keep it from prematurely sliding down the hill without them fully in place.  Deep belly laughs from all three of us when one would slide the wrong way or fall off before reaching the end of the run.  Cheers when making it to the end of the run.  I was seeing snow thru the eyes of a child.  It wasn’t something that created more work for me.  Instead, it was something that created joy, laughter, fun, memories and a tighter bond between mother and child.

As I stood there enjoying the moment, I found myself feeling more childlike.  I forgot my true age and climbed onto the inner tube, first sliding backwards down the hill onto the driveway.  More laughter!!  Then I plopped on the tube again, sliding forward down the hill.  My legs and feet dragging along behind me.  Smiles and even more laughter.  A feeling of accomplishment that I’m not too old to enjoy those things typically enjoyed by a much younger crowd and remembering once again what it’s like to be a child.

(Sorry that there are no photos of our inner tube fun.  Although photos of me sliding down the hill would have been awesome I’m sure.)

Three hours later, we made our way indoors again with only one casualty in the snow –  Naomi’s lower lip, which she bit when hitting her chin on the hard snow covered ground trying to get on the inner tube. Some tears, a little blood, but nothing serious. Yet even a little accident wouldn’t spoil the joy, laughter, fun and memories that were created today.

Tomorrow will be another day. The temperatures getting a bit colder allowing the snow to stay around a few days. Maybe another round of snow fun simply to bring more smiles to these cute little faces.

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