Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Our Thanksgiving Week

 This is just a glimpse of our Thanksgiving Week.   For the week or two prior to Thanksgiving in home school we have been learning all about Thanksgiving .Why it was started. Why the pilgrims left England. We discussed the Mayflower, how 50% of those that made it died the 1st winter, we talked of Squanto.   I learned that the famous Pocahontas story happened before the "Pilgrims" came to America. That is how Squanto learned English. He was taken back to England as a slave by John Smith's men & later escaped & came back to America. When he arrived he discovered his entire tribe to have been killed by the plague.  I am impressed with Squanto, because after all that,  he still found it in his heart to help the pilgrims & teach them to plant food & help them survive.  

Anyways along with learning all about pilgrims & the first Thanksgiving we had to do a few Thanksgiving games & crafts. 

My Monkey doing a puzzle. 

The Completed Puzzle 

We made a Garland with things we are thankful for. 

We cut out & reviewed our shapes to create Indians. 

Little Dude's 

My Monkey's Indians 

& Cowboys finished Indians. 

We used to Oreo s & Candy Corns to create little Turkeys.  (Just in case you ever do this, use the double stuff Oreo. The Normal ones were quite big enough.  

We usually do an activity the Monday before Thanksgiving & make treats & notes to take around to those we are thankful for. We missed it this year because a few of my boys were sick. 

Then later in the week,  we packed up & made our journey to my hometown to have Thanksgiving with my family. Sad to say we were there for 4 days & I have hardly any pictures to show for it. To make it worse the ones I do have don't really have any people in them. Oops. I guess we will do better next year. 

Because this year we still met with all of my dad's brothers & sisters & their kids this year we did it at a church. So there was room for everyone. 

My boys with their cousins. 

We ended up taking my two youngest home back to Grandma's house because my Monkey started to run a fever, but everyone else stayed late into the day playing games & visiting. 

We had a great time & my hubby realized that it was the first time my sister & her kids have ever been to Thanksgiving with the family in our entire marriage. Which is almost 9 years, but I think it was even longer than that. So we had a great time & visit. We are so blessed & have so many things to be grateful for! 

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Homemade Laundry Detergent

My little Dude hand feeding the Pigs.
We do a lot of laundry at this house. A lot.  Some day I think my boys change their clothes more than girls, but then again, I doubt too many little girls spend part of their day trying to wrestle pigs.

See that is what happens almost daily when we head out to do chores.  3 little boys trying to tackle growing pigs. It funny to watch, but usually means a change of clothes when we come back in the house. Which is fine, but we do usually check the animals more than once a day . . . so our laundry pile grows quickly.  Back to the point . . .

We do a lot of laundry  & I finally discovered a home made laundry detergent I  like. It only require 3 ingredients & saves me a lot of $$. I usually go through about a big container of laundry detergent a month. (80+ loads a month)  Or close to. An average  of $15 dollars or so a month. Depending on which type I buy. This new detergent only cost me about $8.50 to make  & it last me somewhere between 3-4 months., usually closer to four. That means instead of spending  $15 or more dollars a month for clean clothes I only spend $2.25. It doesn't sound like much to some, but over the course of  a year I save over $150 dollars a month on only switching 1  item. That could add up.

Back to the soap. It saves some cash, I like it & it quick to make. You need 3 ingredients. Here is what they are:  a bar of  Fels -Naptha Soap, a Box of Borax, & a box of  Washing Soda. That is it.

Dial Corporation 76Oz 20 Mule Team Borax Laundry PretreaterChurch & Dwight Co 03020 Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda

Here is what you do.  Grate the bar of Fels-Naptha. Put in a big container, dump the other 2 boxes in & mix.  Mix it as well as you can.

That is it. Homemade Laundry Detergent.  It works, it's simple & you only need 1 to 1 & 1/2 Tablespoons a Load. I have a HE Washer Machine  & I use it all the time.

I keep a small container like this one: & the rest somewhere else & just refill as needed.

When I do run out, I do switch to a different laundry detergent for about 3 weeks, and then I go back. Someone once told me it was better for your clothes if you rotate your type laundry detergent a little. So I do, but I use this most of the time.

Try it.

Then use that extra $150 dollars  a year on something you really enjoy.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Kind of A City Girl . . .

I'm back, finally. And I apologize for the leave of absence. Life has gotten interesting  & well one day I will explain, just not today. I hope you all had an amazing Thanksgiving & I will share mine tomorrow. But there is something about going on "vacation" & coming home again that seems to create a pile of laundry, & a messy home. So for today you get a different post.
      Last fall I saw an add in the local Farm & Ranch paper that I love to read, looking for a new columnist. I was immediately interested. It sounded like a challenge, it sounded like fun. So I wrote something as an intro in my new life as a columnist in a Farm & Ranch paper. All I needed to do was write about living life in rural america & life in the country. Well, I let my fears get the best of me & I never applied. Stupid yes, but sadly true. I have regretted it much since. So today I would like to share with you that intro column I wrote still as it was one year ago & maybe one day I will actually apply.

       Housewife & Hobby Farmer

The first time I remember someone calling me a city girl, I was in college. He was a blonde-haired, blue-eyed cowboy, and I was ticked. Knowing myself as I do, I probably punched him for that comment. It was an insult, and I couldn’t believe the words that had just came out of his mouth.  I was studying horticulture and had to take a Farm and Ranch Management class for part of my degree requirements. I may not remember all the details but I remember the exact words Darrin said. Yes, I still remember the cowboy’s name too. He said, and I quote: “You know you’re kind of a city girl.”  Still astonished, I probably just stared at him for a moment. Now, I wasn’t raised ranching, farming or running a dairy, but I was raised in small town in western Wyoming. The nearest Wal-Mart, until I was in college, was two hours away.  I could have walked to the base of the mountain from my house in five minutes, ten if I meandered.  I never had the pleasure of wearing the blue and gold jackets of the FFA or showing animals at the county fair. If truth be known, the extent of our livestock operation growing up was around 20 laying hens. I think one year we did 60 chickens:  mostly for meat and the rest to lay eggs.  I did spend my fall months in the mountains chopping down trees and hauling wood with my family so we could heat our home during the winter.  Until my teens, I spent my summers working with gardens and helping my mom and dad with the family business.  Trust me – it was rural.  I may have not have had all the same experience as he did, but I still could not believe he called me “kind of a city girl.” I spent a good portion of my college days trying to prove to that cowboy that, despite his opinion, I was a country girl. A year or two later, I met my husband and life got really interesting. I drove a tractor for the second time in my life when he took me home for the first time, and I had to help feed the cows.
  Since then a lot has happened.  I have become a housewife and hobby farmer.  I can now say I have raised more than just chickens. I can add to my list goats, sheep, pigs, pastured poultry, rabbits and a steer that is currently grazing behind my house – not to mention the stories to go with it. Oh yeah, and three little boys who are determined to grow up and be cowboys.  No, we have never gone big into farming and ranching. I do, however, enjoy it just enough to have some animals for my boys to do chores and maybe be considered a cottage farm.
I have lived in eastern Montana - in a small town of 400 people. I felt like a pioneer some days, which wasn’t that far off because it is still categorized as a pioneer town because it so small and so rural.  It was as if we had stepped back in time 20-30 years when we moved there.  That was the first time in my life I truly felt like kind of city girl. That was mean cowboy country. I felt some days as if I was in a Louis L’Amour book. In fact, more than one cowboy I met could have fit the description in his books. We lived in a small town, in the middle of no-where. In town there was a small market, about the size of a convenience store. It was your only store to shop.  If you needed more than that it was a 40-mile-drive to the next town.  If you lived in Ekalaka, Montana and only ranched and farmed a section (640 acres) of land you were small time. It was a place that only had one paved road and the rest were dirt. Oh the stories I could tell about my experiences there. Yes sir, I learned a lot in Montana.

Since then I have returned back to Idaho, we have a few acres of land, and I am still trying my hand at raising a small number of livestock. My farming consists of my family garden which we try to raise as much as we can. I spend my days like most ladies that live the rural life, raising kids and trying to get dinner on the table. In the fall season I spend days canning. As I have been in the middle of writing this, I have made plum jam, processed and frozen two deer, canned salsa, dried plums, and made jerky. As I speak, I currently have bread rising. I have boys who want to grow up to be cowboys, and one son that wants to raise only pigs like his grandpa used to do.  I must admit that some days are spent convincing my boys that even cowboys and pig farmers have to pick up their bedrooms. I continue trying to spend my days raising good kids and good products whether we sell it or just put it in the freezer. I have to learn to call Idaho home, to relish in watching spud trucks go up and down the rows. I love the sight and smell of fresh-tilled dirt.  I grew up in the country, and I still love living in the country.  I realize now as the years have passed that even though that young cowboy’s comment wasn’t completely true, he wasn’t completely off base either. I may not know it all, but I plan on figuring it out along the way. So to Darrin, that blonde-haired, blue-eyed cowboy, and to anyone else that shares his opinion:  I may be “kind of city girl” on some things, but one day cowboy, this housewife and hobby farmer will still prove you wrong.