Our Notes

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Practicality vs Frivolity, a tax season review

So, the income tax refund has arrived, in part anyway, and has been just about dispatched among the plans and ideas around here. We don’t have a great deal of bills here, so we were freed up to use the money for projects and plans on the homestead. What did we do?

Practicality: We got those 2 buildings. They are set up in the yard and being put to work holding the various building materials needed to push forward on that long-suffering back addition. I went this week and loaded the trailer with 30 sheets of plywood, 40+ 2x4s, all our feed needs for the livestock, the metal screened security door and half window door for the new kitchen entry. We came home and unloaded everything into the building, ready for the men of the homestead to put to use this rainy weekend. They are running the remainder of the electrical outlets, and hauling in the wood for the ceilings today and the windows are in place. If the weather would cooperate and warm just a bit, we could easily move a few things out there and start using it now.

Practicality and Frivolity both: While in town, I also stopped by the sewing machine shop and picked up my new embroidery machine. Pretty sure that will fall under the frivolity heading, but I have plans to put it to good use around the homestead. I ended up with a Baby Lock Ellure Plus. No, I didn’t research this purchase at all, it just sort of happened. We talked about one, we glanced a bit without any real plan in mind, and just happened upon our sewing machine go-to man and he struck a great bargain for us. Now to learn how to use it and get some embroidery going. We are hoping this machine will add to a slowly growing homestead cottage business here. The crocheted items are selling as quickly as I can make them, and I’m working on some summer yarn items as well, but there’s got to be a market for various embroidery items I would think. The machine will double as a traditional sewing machine,as well as a quilting machine, to add along side my current MemoryCraft machine. Now to get the girls more interested in sewing on a regular basis so we can put these great machines to better use. I’m still hoping to grab one of the buildings outside for a dedicated sewing and craft space. I think we can easily fit the book-related schooling materials and my fabrics, yarns, notions, and machines all in one together. If not, poor husband might just lose his new tool shop, LOL

Practicality: I ordered our 4 cases (160#) of chicken from Zaycon and will pick it up in a couple weeks. In light of that, we picked up a 5 cu. ft chest freezer for the menfolk to take with them back to the work apartment so they can prepare decent meals from real foods and not work long hours just to end up with fast food or worse. We also planned ahead to the packaging of all that meat, and bought a Food Saver, and several large rolls of the sealer bag material, as well as the regular and wide jar sealer attachments. I also hit Sam’s Club and stocked the pantry basics, like yeast, baking powder, flour, etc.

Frivolity: Thanks to some great deals we encountered along the way, there was still a bit left over for a few goodies. Amazon provided me with some shopping goodies…a few old westerns to add to our movie collection (some Jimmy Stewart, John Wayne, and some Tom Selleck ones), a couple cookbooks, including The Prepared Family Cookbook by Enola Gay, and a couple medicinal herb books I didn’t have yet.

I also went ahead and picked up the Paths of Settlement curriculum. You can see some of our schooling with Paths of Exploration here on the school blog. We went thru it and enjoyed it, but I had put off going on with Settlement. I had a good discount available, so I went ahead and grabbed the curriculum. We have several of the necessary readers already so we can integrate this right into our Westward Expansion and Civil War studies. I haven’t changed our game plan any, next year will be totally Civil War adventures here, so getting the POS this late in the season isn’t a problem.

Oh, almost forgot my yarn buy! I have been planning a shawl and went ahead and ordered some superwash wool in a sort of rust toned heather from Jimmy Beans Wool. It came last week and I love it. Now to find time to start the shawl. I’m terribly slow with knitting, so I plan on it taking me a while to get this finished. I have a couple shawl ideas in mind, but this is a favorite I have wanted to have for some time Wooly West Tasha Tudor style shawl. You can’t possibly go wrong with something Tasha Tudor liked, right? In the box, was some soft baby yarn in pale blue and beige so I can get started on a hat and afghan set for Liam, who has a new arrival date of May 15th as of the last doctor appointment. I need to get moving…I haven’t even picked a pattern I want to work yet! Any ideas for a great afghan design?????

Practicality hopeful: Another purchase was getting set up with several essential oils and items. I went with Young Living Oils because of all the various stories and reviews of actual users, they kept coming out on top in my estimation. I’m not doing this as a seller persay, but that was the most efficient route to get the items I wanted for a good price. I also grabbed some of those wraps from a friend to help her business along. I plan to get in better shape…not that round isn’t a shape mind you, just thinking I might try a different shape for a while :-) and what the heck, a wrap or two isn’t going to hurt, right? Like I said, I’m not going to say yea or nay about whether you choose to use EOs, or even the ItWorks wraps, and I’m not going to throw a million ‘advertisements’ at you for either. I plan to use them until such time as I stop using them, kwim? If you’re interested, I’m almost positive there are about a hundred or so of your friends selling these products you can talk to about getting your own, but if by chance you don’t know someone, then drop me a line and I will do what I can to get you facing the right direction for placing an order :-)

Coming up in school fun, we will be working on learning some watercolor techniques. I’m sure there are countless great sites out there, but here’s what I’ve saved

Watercolor Painting Lessons with Jacqueline Burke

Handbook of Nature Study Blog’s Watercolor Pencil 101

Harmony Fine Arts site here with lessons, and here with units and free downloads

And just for my own reading, I’ve been browsing thru Kitchen Stewardship and taking lots of notes along the way.

So there you go. A fun and ultra-exciting account of how one family just dropped their tax refund on some practicality and several bits of frivolity.

I wish I could get some scenes from around the area of our homestead this past week, as we were hit with frigid temps and ice coated everything, to upload for me. It was breathtaking how beautiful the Southern winter world was. You could not possibly ignore God’s Hand in painting such an intricate design of ice and frost this week…perhaps I can share SNOW pictures this week as well LOL The weather folks are all saying there could be some snow tomorrow here. I won’t hold me breath though.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Wintry Mix



According to the various weather guessing stations out there, my little pocket of Deep South is possibly lined up for some “wintry mix” coming at us in the form of at least ice and sleet, but maybe some fluffy white stuff too.

Dare I dream?

Probably not. I will prepare just in case, fluffing the bedding, adding a heat lamp here and there in the barn, giving everyone a bit of extra rations and some ACV in their waters. I will make sure there are extra blankets on the beds, a couple laid out around the woodstove for the pups to cozy up on, and load the wood stash for easy gathering. Water will be gotten early this week, and I’ll plan some good, comforting meals…like a big pot of chili, maybe a thick stew, lots of homemade rolls and the like. And cocoa and hot tea.

And I will get all kind sof excited if we really see snow, and even moreso if it lands on the ground and sticks…but most likely my reality will be frozen mud with some ice cover. Sigh. Such is my life I suppose.


Around the Homestead:

We have one more girl in the barn possibly ready to kidd. She wasn’t a planned breeding this year, so perhaps not. We are watching her plump up and show all the signs, so we keep a closer eye on her. One good thing…if she is bred, we will very soon know, and probably have a baby during the next several days of icy bitter cold weather. Goats are just wonderful like that. If they can, I swear they hold on to those little ones waiting for the nasty weather to move in before they allow birthing to take over, LOL.


buidlings arrive

We had 2 sheds delivered last week. Nothing huge, just a couple of 10x16 wood buildings with a loft in each. They arrived mid-week and are set in place. Now to get them insulated and wall boards put up, then we can start moving in. One will be a tool and work shed, but the other has been planned out to be a sewing and school area. The kids have already claimed it as school house, and are itching to move bookcases and such in. With the cold coming, I’m fully prepared to wait a bit though :-) There’s no heat, no electric for lighting or anything, and they have no windows, so I don’t relish the idea of being in there, all cave-like, with school everyday just yet. But the idea of moving all the sewing supplies out there and setting up a designated sewing area is exciting. I would love a school house, if for nothing else than to spread some of the accumulated books and materials around outside the great room here. I could set up the computer out there (and effectively limit my bunny trail time…), and the new laser printer is rather large and taking up a fairly big space now, so moving it would be nice as well…but seeing the shelves of sewing supplies, yarns, patterns, and maybe that new embroidery machine, all together and set up for instant, any-time stitching on the fly would be pure heaven here. Right now, sewing is a production of clearing space on the table, moving the machine, setting up a folding table to cut patterns, finding a space to set up the ironing board…you get the picture.

In the medicine cabinet, we have ordered a few EOs to use here in the diffuser, and I’ve started setting in new recipes that decrease sugars and the like for a new health plan here. Always tweaking it as we go, but it’s a start, and that’s what matters, right?


In the Sewing Basket:

I have baby items to work on, including a graphed afghan design if it works out. I also have wedding things to work on, gathering fabrics I need for a project in mind. I also have in mind a cool weather shawl for the needles. Yes, it’s almost past winter this year, but I am still very  much a slow, fumble-fingers kind of knitter, so my plan is for next winter. This is the design, a basic knit for a Tasha Tudor style wrap…

shawl_lgPattern at: Wooly West

And I’ve ordered some Plymouth yarn in a washable wool blend for it. I went back and forth between color ideas…a cheery deep red would be perfect for winters gray days…or a pretty, rich heathered green…even a basic heathered slate gray would be nice. In the end, I gave in to sale prices and available quantities, and went with a  burnished heather that is sort of rich, medium brownish. Well, I think I did. It was rather late when I settled on one and placed my order, LOL. For good measure, I added in some pretty baby blue and taupe for more baby goodies.


Aside from those few bits, things are just rolling around here as usual. We haven’t settled on the remaining tax refund plans yet. We still have the addition to get settled into use, the new pantry set up and workable, and the yearly supplies to lay in store here. Could be, with prices they way they are always going these days, there won’t be enough ‘bonus money’ for it all to get taken care of on the spot.

stand alone



Before You Comment, Read Our Guidelines...

Share it