Monday, May 16, 2011

Of Water Collecting, Sewing, and Hand-Washing Laundry...


Wild lilacs...or a Butterfly Bush variety?  Gorgeous, aren't they?  And the scent is so strong for such a delicate flower! Aren't they pretty?  I'll be digging some up from out back in the timber where they are growing relatively unappreciated, and try to transplant some up front where I can enjoy them in their season.

Yes, I did say I needed to start getting on the computer more often.  I forgot.  The netbook sits in the desk, in the drawer actually, and I simply don't think about turning it on and logging in. I should.  Facebook is all fine and dandy, but I do have friends (with more common sense perhap?) who don't have time to follow my inane ramblings on social networking venues.  They visit here, and while I'm hardly anything exciting, I'm sure they would appreciate my showing up once in a while.

Around here lately we have...checked the oil in the van.  Exciting, I know.  Dewey appreciates my checking it once in a while. It has over 203k miles on it and well,it drinks a bit of oil now and again.  I forget to check it. I mean, I'm not an idiot...I can change a tire and change the oil and all that stuff if I have to.  I just don't give it all much thought. It's just one of those things. That, and with vans like these, the dadgum oil checker stick thingamabob is like 2 yards long and it's just a nusance.  But, I did check it...and added oil.  I aim to please :)
                                                    

We've also been collecting water.  I get comments and notes all the time (surprise, surprise, I know) about how we live like poor, Third World inhabitants, how backwoods we are, how this, how that we are compared to the world at large...a decidedly not old fashioned world. Yeah. Ok.  Our water district out here in the hinterlands, Blackland Water Association, has absolutely awful water.  Nasty stuff.  No, it's not "dirty" in appearance, but it's loaded with chlorine.  Smells like the swimming pool at the Y when you fill a tub or the sink.  Chlorine is a carcinogen.  And it's heavy in our tap water.  We prefer to collect water every of weeks at a local spring.  On average, we fill anywhere from 22-26 3 gallon jugs every couple of weeks. We live rural...these are some of our roads coming home...
             


I've been sewing.  Aren't I always?  Well, no, actually, I always have it on my RMD list (Really Must Do), but it's always relocated to the next list.  I am working on summer clothes.  Summer...you know, that season that is upon us already?  My plan is always Spring/Summer clothes ready by April and the Autumn/Winter clothes ready by October.  It's just a plan.  We aren't set in stone.  Obviously.
However, in the past 5 days or so, I have whipped out 2 dresses for myself, 2 for Emily plus her bloomers and a couple pinafores, as well as 1 each for Abigail and KatiAnne, plus their bloomers. I have 2 mnore for Emily ready to stitch, and 1 more for the other girls with all the fabrics ready to go for more as well as shirts and pants for the boys. I'm behind. It's the story of my sewing life. I should stress over this lack of sewing, but I don't.  Maybe I should.  We cou ld all be running around here au naturale....


I've also been crocheting on things.  The Bavarian Stitch (aka Catherine Wheel) afghan is about finished, and I think I might just send it along with Dewey on his work trips.  Maybe a Father's Day gift :) Socks have been worked as well...yes, Mom, those are the ones I'm sending you.  Dishcloths have been hitting the hook again as well. I sold or gave away as gifts most of last year's handwork so time to replenish. I'm working most of them in the Tunisian Stitch I have made our "house pattern".  I've been asked alot about 'teaching' the stitch and it's variations, but I don't know the first thing creating a YouTube tutorial, or even a ebook for that matter, so unless someone out there wants to give ME some lessons, I'll just leave all this to the pro's who have already done the goodies.
               

Laundry.  It's like my sewing....always on the list, always relocating because of a seemingly endless supply.  Yes, we are a large family, and yes, this is a working homestead and we get dirty just living every day life here...but seriously, why does the flow of laundry grow instead of shrink?  I have a fancy washing machine that takes longer per load and doesn't clean as well as we can do hand-washing.  Yes, I'm talking buckets and soaking, scrubbing, and a modified plunger :)  We get our clothes more clean washing by hand than that fancy "high efficiency" washing machine does, and it takes us alot less time to do it.  We can have non-soaking loads of clean clothes ready to hang on the line with a couple hours of work, where each load in the machine runs 54 minutes if I'm filling to capacity.  We are still washing blankets and bath towels in the machine, but I'm hoping to get a couple wringers set up for those. I'll post a pictorial of our laundry washing in the next post :)

With Judy back in business here, we've been making butter at least twice weekly again. Yum. I missed having fresh, homemade butter. It's super easy to make....we collect the cream off our milk twice daily, morning and evening, after the milk has set and chilled for the day or overnight. This is collected in a jar and kept in the fridge. Once I have my jar filled (I collect a half gallon before making butter), we pull the jar out and let it sit on the counter a couple of hours to take the chill off and then it's butter time.  I use my KitchenAid mixer and the whisk attachment, but you can easily use a blender, or simply a jar, a couple of marbles and alot of shaking. A half gallon of cream makes just under 2# of butter, and that's a bit much for a blender to pop out in one shot, and I'm not sure I could rock and roll long enough to shake that into butter, so the mixer it is :)
        
Depending on the room temp, consistency of the cream, and all that stuff, we have butter within the half hour.  After skimming it from the resulting buttermilk, we begin pressing it out. I have a wooden  Paula Deen spatula from WalMart that works perfectly for pressing out the butter.  We press and rinse with ice water 3 times, pressing out the liquid thoroughly each time, and then I salt the butter with about 1 tsp sea salt per pound.  The butter is then pressed into containers and frozen.  I have some small round cheap tupperware (in the picture) that holds about 3/4 of a pound.  I've also used my mini loaf pans.  Once frozen, I transfer the butter to a quart sized freezer bag and it's weighed and dated and back to the freezer until needed.  My 'butter dish' is one of those glass Pyrex dishes that has a nice rubber lid.  Fits the butter I've made wonderfully.

Other news....hmmm....the garden is planted, but I have some flooded beans I need to replant when things dry up a bit more.  The goat kidding season is over, I hope.  Kendra isn't milking worth a hoot again this year, but I suppose I can live.  Happy has decreased her milk as well...big ol' piggy Jeremiah needs to relocate to the male pen.  He's past age, and honestly, being the same size as Gideon (last year's buck), he can certainly handle himself. I just hate separating him.  He bellows like a baby all night.  I'm such a softie.

Dewey has been home the last couple weekends, and we get this coming weekend with him home as well before he's sent back to the Indianapolis job. We're planning for a Father's Day weekend. I'd love a Memorial Day long weekend...there's some fencing to be done :)

So...anyone want to give a lesson on creating youtube clips and ebooks?

1 comment:

I am his help meet said...

Well I too would love to live in the manner that your family is. I am learning to sew and crochet. Be not of this world comes to mind and I love the feeling that I get when I make a dress, bonnet, or whatever it is that I've made. Don't let those people bring you down. Also, where we live right now we have city water and I pay a lot of money to have it, yet I would chose to drink water out of a Lowes bin (with a lid) it tastes so much better. I used to have well water and I loved it. There is nothing like country water. Well I think that's enough rambling. Thanks for posting I really enjoyed.

Jer.6:16

Jeremiah 6:16
Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls.

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