Sunday, 26 December 2021

Betty saved the day

Christmas morning began like any other, Robbie & I piled onto Brad at 6:15am screaming that Santa had been and left presents! Time to get up!! Robbie is very patient but sure does love Xmas morning and opening presents. I bought a stocking from Walmart with a bunch of toys in it and wrapped each toy individually so he had a lot of presents to unwrap. He just loves it so much!

A gift from my Mum

Robbie opening one of his presents, we just hold it and he pulls the paper off. He gets soooo excited.

A gift from Brad's Mum, a letter opener from his Father's desk

Excitement 101

Opening another gift

Psycho Xmas morning dog

Elephant gift from Stacey

Robbie had about 8 gifts under the tree, including cookies from Grandma, which he looooooves

By the end of it, he was worn out from the excitement

On to making our Christmas dinner....

Brad always makes Christmas dinner so he was in the kitchen having just put the turkey into the preheated oven, we were talking through the pass through when something went bang.

The cooktop and oven are each on their own and separate individual breaker boxes which are in the cupboards below them and they are each about 6 feet apart.

The cooktop flipped a breaker -- except it wasn't even on! I flipped it back on and it started sparking. I quickly reached in to turn it back off while Brad was yelling at me not to touch it.... I didn't think we should leave it on given it was sparking and smoke was billowing out of the knob which is missing (we have to use needle nose pliers to turn it because the knobs are made of plastic and the stove is often hot - go figure, so they have all to some degree melted and split making them hard or impossible to turn anymore)....  Man, the electrics in this house are certainly questionable, this isn't the first time this sort of thing has happened since we moved in.

Cooktop in question

Flipped breaker

Oven stayed on.... 

Since the oven remained working, and the potatoes were in with the Turkey, we decided (since we can no longer use the cooktop) we could boil the kettle and finish our meal that way. We had Stove top stuffing (in a box), and plenty of freeze dried food so I went downstairs and found some freeze dried gravy I made last year and corn. We just boiled the kettle, added the hot water to the gravy and corn and managed to salvage a smaller but wonderful Christmas meal regardless of the cooktop. 

I messaged our Landlord and advised her of the situation and she is having someone come and fix it after the holiday. We don't have a operational woodstove either, she has been sending someone to fix that for the last couple of months. Hope the cooktop gets fixed faster.

Turkey out of the oven

Freeze dried foods soaking in hot water

A lovely dinner in spite of it all

Robbie with his new toys

We hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas with as many friends and family as possible given the state of the world today. 

PS Betty is the name of our Freeze Dryer.

Friday, 24 December 2021

Busy day on the homestead

Thursday Dec 23rd

Having 1.5 Gallons of raw milk in the fridge, I decided to skim the cream off the top and make butter...

Churning cream to butter

Finished butter (spoon for scale)

I pulled out a load from Betty. 
1 tray of 18 farm eggs, 1 tray of lemon peel, 2 trays with 1 Liter of raw milk on each.

Egg load
I also had over 60 eggs on standby and so I prepped 3 trays (18 eggs per tray) and 1 tray of crushed egg shells which I feed back to the chickens to return the calcium to them. This load will go in first thing in the morning.

While I was waiting for the butter to finish, I figured I'd start a quick loaf of bread.

Voila, soft, chewy and delicious
My ever faithful assistant was at the ready to clean up any mess

Brad found a great deal on chicken breast and turkeys at Superstore yesterday. I threw the chicken in a crockpot with chicken broth, garlic, salt & pepper and put them in the oven for an hour and 15 min.

First load of 7 chicken breasts

Added a second load of 8 chicken breasts for a total of 15

I then split the breasts to thin them slightly (with Brad's help) and put them on 3 trays to feed to Betty along with 1 tray of the chicken broth I cooked it all in (waste not want not). 

I had time to kill while waiting on the second batch of chicken breast so I made some Lemon & Lavender body lotion. 

Once cooled

1 for my Mother
1 for Brad's Mother
1 for me

To be perfectly clear, this is not a normal day around here. It was a day when I had no need to leave the house and so I was able to get some stuff done. 

Tomorrow -- ordinary laundry day.... 

But Saturday...

Merry Christmas one and all!!

Thursday, 23 December 2021

Homemade Ketchup Recipe

I came across this ketchup recipe while watching Off Grid with Doug & Stacy so since our organic Heinz ketchup was almost empty, I decided to give it a try.

As you might expect, that very morning Brad came home with 2 new and massive Heinz ketchup bottles... so I put them in storage.

Refilled with homemade ketchup

5 Tbsp Honey
1/8 tsp Cinnamon
1/8 tsp Cayenne
1/8 tsp Cloves
2 tsp Salt
2 can Tomatoe Paste
1/2 C Apple Cider Vinegar  ** See not below
2 Tbsp Fermented Veg Juice (sauerkraut, etc.)

Put paste in bowl, add spices, ACV, Honey and Salt. Mix and add water to consistency (3-5 tsp ish). Allow to sit 3 days. Lasts months in the fridge.

Having a small amount of the Heinz available I was able to easily match the consistency.

 ** The recipe calls for 1/2C ACV but I personally find it too vinegary... but Brad LOVES it and said he prefers it to Heinz. If you are vinegar sensitive decrease ACV to 1/4 C and increase Water to consistency.

Monday, 20 December 2021

My first fermentings

As I mentioned in a previous post, I ordered a fermenting kit. Fermenting raw foods creates a probiotic effect which is good obviously, for your digestive health.

The kit is not a requirement, in fact only the canning jar is required and those can be purchased at any goodwill store quite cheap. I will explain how to do the process without the kit also.

Recipe from the booklet that came with the kit

but I intended to make more than that

All prepped and ready

Just put 1 tsp per 1 cup of water (known as the brine) and the veg (any veg or mix of veg) in the jar with any spices you like with that particular veg and add the weight (* or even a sterile rock) to keep the veg under water.

Put on the nipple cap (allows it to self burp) and store in cool dark place for 2-4 weeks.
*Alternately, if you don't have a nipple cap, manually release pressure very carefully twice a day for same duration.

I made 4 which is what the kit comes with

This allows me to have them ready once we finish the one I purchased the other week and as we finish each one I will refill it and rotate them that way. 

Once the ferment is finished (2-4 wks) put a 'normal' canning lid on them and they will keep in a cool, dark place for up to 3 months. Which allows me sufficient time to rotate them.


Sunday, 19 December 2021

Spaghetti & Meatballs

Brad has an old family recipe for Meatballs and Spag sauce he likes to make and since I had recently picked up a brand new spaghetti roller/cutter gizmo we decided to make the pairing for supper.

Meatballs prepped for cooking

then added to the sauce

My turn to ready the spaghetti

Had to use a more linguini cutter because the spaghetti one got all gunked up.

Laid out the extra for drying

I made fresh buns for wiping the plates after

It turned out fantastic
A good gut bash.

Saturday, 18 December 2021

Fermenting and IBS update

Fermenting: I've no idea what I'm doing but it seems like this fermenting thing is literally just putting veggies in a jar with optional spices, salt and a nipple lid so it can self burp and leaving it to sit for 2-4 weeks. 

Someone stop me if I'm wrong. Please?!

So I ordered a kit from Amazon, below is a pic of the benefits which explains why I thought it a worthwhile investment, not that it was expensive.

I'm excited to give it a try. I bought a jar of organic kimchi about a week ago and we have actually been eating it. Sure it wasn't an enjoyable experience the first time but it actually gets better each consecutive tasting. Note: you only need to eat 1-2 Tbsp with supper. Not a handful.

Because I have moved Betty's camera out to the chicken coop, I have ordered another for Betty because if I don't see the screen (Betty is in a closed room) then I forget to put a load in and it can run 2 odd hours before I remember (not that that uses much power, but..) I try to keep on a rough schedule of putting a load in each morning and taking it out the next morning and this has been messing me up. Yup, control freak.

Not sure if I mentioned about the milk. So I've had IBS for -well, since I was just over 20 (I blame this on my red head son since it started right after his arrival).... I learned recently that raw milk helps so I got some from a neighbour willing to sell milk and butter.

Its been well over a month now, I've been having a cup of warm milk every morning instead of the Tim Horton's (Canadian coffee brand) French Vanilla Cappuccino I've been drinking every day for the last 16 years!!! 

IT IS WORKING!!! Sooooo grateful. 

That french vanilla is something like 350 calories and 32g (8 tsp) of sugar. EVERY DAY for 16 years because it was the only thing that worked.

SO... since the raw milk worked -- how about the eggs?

I haven't been able to eat egg white for 20 years because it was one of the worst foods for setting off my IBS. When I order bacon and eggs I dip my toast in the yolk -- God forbid I get a tiny bit of white on the toast in the process because I would be laid up in pain for a few days.

I tried it. Scared to death because I know how that goes.... IT WORKED! I can eat farm fresh eggs! LOLOLOLOL WTH do they do to our food in these places?! 

Honest to God, I can't even believe it! Me, eating whole eggs! That's a coup -- from the coop. :D

Thursday, 16 December 2021


I gave in. 

After having to carry water out to the rabbitry 2-3 times a day for ages now (rabbits don’t have heated waterers like the chickens do) - when Bambi’s very expensive thick plastic water bowl cracked I said “sod this” and looked to Amazon for the rubber bowls I’ve seen people use ( I hadn’t found them when I looked before) 

I found them:  3 for $75 CAD… basically $25 each. Brad had to go to the city for some house related something he had to copy and send ( yes, still dealing with that gong show), so I went to check at the Alberta farmer’s shop where I found them for $7.99 each!!! I bought all 5 on the shelf. Same 2qt size. I was/am thrilled with that!! 

It’s been super busy around here and I know I haven’t been writing like I used to, I’ve been pretty off my game since my Dad passed in Sept. and I realize that, I have to get back into the groove. 

I haven’t even been reading my morning ritual blogs. Like I’ve e said before - I’m a terrible person., but I’m cute so what the hell! :D

Honestly, I will be making an effort, and I know Dad would be some choked at me for being so put off my game by his passing…. but as long time readers would know we have more going on than just that and there is even more I haven’t mentioned here as yet.

So I apologize to my regular morning blog reads and commit to getting back to that routine immediately.

Wednesday, 1 December 2021

Christmas is coming

You may remember a  Christmas tree I picked up a few years ago for $10 off a local FB page, we had it outside in our spot after leaving the campground.... anyway, we tossed it in the trash before moving out here....

Monday last week while Brad was having his massage and before I went for mine, I was perusing Home Depot - I don't remember for what and I was in a rush as it was almost time for my appointment since I'd already been to 2 other shops... I found the most beautiful fake tree for $318! 

But didn't have to time get it so...

We don't get up to 'town' very often so this Monday when Brad was getting his massage, I went to go get it. (My tree goes up Dec 1st every year)   Sold Out! Man I was fit to be tied... I should have gone earlier. 

So I checked Canadian Tire.... Do Not get a tree there this year, what a ridiculous set of trees they look like those trees from a fake train set. Soooo bad!

So I checked Walmart.... yeah, nothing worth getting. (I like unique things)

Picked up Brad from massage and while having our lunch in the truck I noticed a 'Rona' next door. We decided to look there.

Found it! The original tree I had wanted from Home Depot was only about 6ft... this one is 7.5ft. Essentially the same tree though. Very different branches with acorns on them, frosting and pre-lit... All for $159!

Naked tree
Pre-lit lights in yellow

and pre-lit in multi colour

Lit up in the evening
Our first prezzie under it, thanks Ma.

Finally have our nativity out of storage. Love this concrete set. Big and Heavy.
Our first Christmas card arrived today too from a frequent commenter on the blog - LW
Thanks ol' girl!
Picked up 2 advent calendars too

Next on the agenda: Quality Street and After Eights. Christmas just isn't complete without those.