Summer Cold

It has been quite a while since I have written anything. As soon as I got back from Portland my daughter got this nasty cold and of course being three we’re still working on the whole “cover your mouth while you cough” thing. That being said my husband and I came down with it as well. Needless to say the last few weeks have not been as productive as I’ve liked. Side note… it has actually taken me two weeks to write this. My son just got over a three day 104 fever. Mom life am I right?

did have quite a bit of fun learning how to treat colds as naturally as possible though. Thank goodness for essential oils and herbs from my garden. Mint tea, lemon, and raw honey was the BEST for my sore throat. I also diffused On Guard and lemon almost constantly and made a cleaning spray with them as well that I put on EVERYTHING trying to kill whatever it was we had. There was this drink called the “cold bomb” that I found in my essential oils book. It has 2 drops each of rosemary, lemon, lavender, and peppermint. That did WONDERS for me. If you’re not quite sold on essential oils I can not stress enough how amazing these “magic oils” (as my husband calls them) are. I was super skeptical at first but I will never go back. It’s so empowering to take your health into your own hands.

I digress though (I get so excited about my oils, haha). Even through my summer cold haze I did learn how to make two new things…kombucha and beer.

The kombucha was so easy. I’m not sure why I didn’t try making my own sooner. We didn’t add any flavoring to it this time which to be honest I was a little nervous about. I’ve only ever had the flavored ones so I thought it was going to be gross. It wasn’t. It was delicious. You just make black tea, add some sugar, and then add the scoby (Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast). That’s it. You let it sit for about a week, taste it, and if it’s still too sweet for you let it sit a bit longer. Keep tasting it every few days until you like it then, bottle it and put it in the fridge. Now in regards to the scoby you do have to keep it “alive” which you can do by putting it a sterilized jar and cover it with black tea. Keep it covered and in the dark until you are ready to use it again. I’m thinking of making strawberry “booch” next time since strawberry season is in full bloom right now. I’m excited to experiment with flavors.

Now for the beer. I had gotten stinging nettles in my CSA box and had found a recipe for stinging nettle beer so I thought… why not? It was also super easy, I boiled the nettles for fifteen minutes. Strained them into a gallon glass jar, added fresh lemon juice, sugar, and brewers yeast. Let that sit for three days then transferred it to mason jars. I was skeptical at first because the boiled nettles smelled like spinach and I was pretty sure spinach beer would not be a hit… BUT it turned out great. You tasted more of the lemon than anything. It was very refreshing and actually had 5% alcohol in it! I was surprised I liked it really since I’m more of a wine person but it was really good!

I’m hoping no one in my family gets sick for a while now so I can get some stuff done that’s not laundry or dishes. With everyone being sick I’m a bit behind on those. Diffusing On Guard and Lemon as we speak to keep all the “bad stuff” away! Hope everyone had a wonderful fourth of July!

 

Dandelions

Our yard has SO MANY dandelions. We moved in almost a year ago now and we have been focusing more on the inside of the house than the outside, so when Spring rolled around and we finally were “surveying our land” we realized that we had work to do. A lot of work to do.

As we were looking at our yard my mind immediately went to Weed and Feed. Kill everything bad and we’ll have a nice green grass to mow and water all summer and we’ll win the “best yard” contest that our HOA does over the summer months, and… Then I realized how ridiculous I sounded. Trying to keep our lawn luscious and green over the summer is so stressful and a complete waste of water and money in my opinion. So after talking about it, my husband and I decided that we are going to get rid of our grass and do an edible front yard.

Now we are a little late in the game to get a full edible garden for this year but we are definitely going to start heading in that direction. In the meantime I was brainstorming what I COULD do with the edible weeds that I already had growing in abundance. Pinterest here I come!

A lot of the dandelions that we have in our yard as of right now are not actually in bloom yet. They are just long stalks with little green balls on top. Looking at them I remembered reading a recipe called Poor Man’s Capers with which you use… dandelion buds. Lucky me!

IMG_1269 (2)

 

Fortunately I have a very enthusiastic three year old who is always more than willing to help forage with me. She spent ALL afternoon picking these dandelions, plucked all the “capers” off for me, and then fell asleep right away at bedtime. All of which was awesome. She really was amazing though, she was as proud of her hard work as I was.

 

After we had plucked all the soon-to-be-capers off I boiled some apple cider vinegar, water, and salt. I poured that into a sanitized jar, turned it upside down, let it sit for about 20 minutes, and VOILA! Poor Man’s Capers. It will take them a few weeks to actually pickle, so I’m just keeping it in the back of my fridge anxiously waiting to see how it turned out. I think the next thing I might try is Dandelion Jam. Let me know if you have any great recipes for dandelions! I’m always up for trying new things. Until next time… peace and dandelions.

Mother’s Day and Chicken Feet

Aww yiss

 

As part of our homesteading dream, we want to make everything from scratch. We are tired of buying almost everything from the store. There are so many ingredients you can’t pronounce and have no idea what they even are. But the biggest thing for us is the pride and feelings of self-sufficiency we get when we learn how to make things ourselves.

So if you’re new to homesteading (like I am) or even making anything from scratch (again, like I am) then you’ve probably never made bone broth. Let me tell you, it was SO much easier than I thought it would be, and the result was so much better too. So… homemade bone broth here we come!

Now in the early stages of researching homesteading I came across The Eliott Homestead. That family is what made me want to finally jump in with both feet and start this homesteading adventure. They have an AMAZING book out, Welcome to the Farm: How-to Wisdom from The Elliott Homestead, that I recommend everyone who is thinking about homesteading (or even if you’ve already started) should read. It has SO many tips, tricks, and recipes that I call it my homesteading bible.

 

 

In this book Shaye Eliott tells you how to butcher chickens, and she emphasizes to KEEP THE CHICKEN FEET. Now, as we all know chicken feet are not pretty. They are even LESS pretty when they are not connected to a chicken… BUT they make for an AMAZING bone broth. I’m lucky enough to have a friend who just butchered all their chickens on Saturday (what a great way to spend Mothers Day eh?) I bought two chickens from them and she also gave me a bunch of… you guessed it… chicken feet. At first I was just a little hesitant to accept but in the back of my head I kept thinking about how chicken feet were “gold” to the homesteader so I couldn’t say no.

I kind of followed the recipe from the homesteading book but at the same time winged it… which is how I roll when it comes to cooking.

First Step

I cut off all the calluses (if there were any) from the bottom of the feet. It was pretty tough, actually, and I had to use my fingers. Ew. Now I don’t have a picture of that because… well it was really gross and not very photogenic at all. So instead here is a picture of my daughter who was SO excited to help mommy cook.

MonkeyButt

Second Step

Chicken feet, onion, celery, and some water all went into the crockpot. This has to simmer for at least 12 hours so what better appliance to use?

Just getting started...

 

Third Step

After letting it simmer for quite a while, it was done. It’s that easy. And now I have some gorgeous homemade bone broth. I poured all of it into mason jars, let them cool, stuck them in the freezer… and voila, done.

 

Twelve hours later...

All done!

My husband had some right after it was done with a little salt and cayenne pepper – it’s pretty bland by itself, but with some spices it’s delicious and nutritious.

I am so happy that I stepped outside of my comfort zone and used chicken feet to make bone broth. It filled nine mason jars, so I’ll have it for a while and it was easy! Soon I’ll be posting some info about why bone broth made from chicken is actually pretty good for you as well. If anyone has any tips on bone broth or a really good recipe let me know! Until next time… Peace and chicken feet.

WELCOME TO OUR PALEO HOMESTEAD

June 1 2016. That was when my husband and I realized we had the exact same dream. To become homesteaders.

That weekend we were heading to my best friend’s wedding. We live in western Washington and she was getting married on the east side of the state, so as we drove over Snoqualmie Pass we talked about our dreams, what our homestead would look like, and the first steps we would need to take to make this dream a reality.

Step one

Our first day in our own house

The first thing we wanted to do was buy a house.
We were renting at the time and decided that it would make more sense financially if we bought a house. We wanted a house that had some land with it OR could bring us a supplemental income so we could save up to by our “dream house.”

We found a house that has both. A little land so we can have a small garden and the downstairs has its own kitchen and everything so we rent that out for some extra money each month. We are definitely not in our dream house (I mean we’re still in city limits, which limits what we can do with our land) but it has everything we need right now.

Our first livestock

Heeere chickywicky!

After we bought our house we got chickens, of course! I was a little hesitant on starting backyard chickens to be honest because (ask my husband) I am NOT an animal person… at all. But once we got our four fluffy little chicks I was immediately in love. They each have their own personality and are so fun to watch. And of course the main perk… EGGS!!! Our chickens, Dagon, Teddy Bear, Sparkles, and Baby Duck (all named by my wonderful three year old) should start laying in October and we cannot be more excited for those first eggs.

Our next step is meat rabbits. My husband and I have actually never even had rabbit to eat let alone raise, so we will be trying rabbit meat from a local butcher before we get started.

My husband has also been threatening to start raising mealworms for human consumption, but I’m not so sure I’ll be trying those. Either way, the chickens will definitely appreciate them.

So even though we are not in our “dream homesteading home” we are still working with what we have at the moment. Which right now entails a teeny tiny container garden, some backyard chickens, and making all of our own food. I signed up for a CSA (I’ll be going over what that entails in another post) which will help supplement everything my garden is not growing. We will also be buying a TON of fruit and veggies from our local farmers market for me to can, which I’ve also never done before.

Ancestral health

Now let me bring it to why we are a paleo homestead. So we are really (like really) into podcasts. In the morning while the kids play, we drink coffee and sit around listening to them. One of our favorites is Joe Rogan’s podcast. On episode #935 he had Robb Wolf on who wrote a book called The Paleo Solution (I highly recommend it.) This changed our lives. We were so tired of feeling gross after eating, we never had any energy, and both of us never really slept that great. Once we switched to paleo everything changed. Now I’m gonna be honest. The first week was hard. Getting rid of dairy, gluten, sugar, and legumes was not an easy task. But after that it has been amazing. I sleep better, have so much more energy, have lost weight, don’t feel tired or bloated after eating, AND I am not hungry all the time anymore. We are on our third week of being a paleo family and I do not see us ever going back to the way we used to eat.

Paleo Homestead

I am so excited for all the learning that my family and I will be doing together over the years. Even though we are in city limits someday we will have land for all of our chickens, pigs, goats, bees, ducks, sheep, and whatever other livestock we decide to have. So in the meantime we work with what we got and learn all we can. Thanks for joining our journey and WELCOME TO OUR PALEO HOMESTEAD!