Another day of repetition around here. Today, I began putting up the second large stock pot of turkey bone broth and some leftover turkey meat. It feels good to put a bit of quality food back in the pantry for use later. I like that I know what goes into my jars, where I might not be entirely certain when I purchase products.
Today’s tally is 15 quarts (actually 13 quarts and 4 pints, but it all adds up the same) of turkey bone broth and 5 pints of turkey meat that was packed tight with a bit of bone broth added in to fill the jars. Not too shabby, if you ask me.
It turned out to be a lovely day to work on canning chores. Hubby’s car requires a new fuel pump that has been ordered, so he needed to use my van to go to work today. Being at home allowed me plenty of time to cook and chop and process with minimal interruptions.
I still have more bone broth to process tomorrow at some point. Maybe a 7 quart canner load, more or less. But, it will wait on low heat overnight until it is time to get started.
My lovely cousin gifted me with 5 big bags of collard greens from her food co-op this week and I will get those ready for the freezer. It’s time to get off of my sore, broken feet for tonight and it can wait a few hours more.
All in all, a good productive day that has included this blog post and the start of an article for my magazine editor and a mad search for a previous one I had written (she found it first, thank goodness).
In many ways, repetition is the stuff that life is made of. I wish I could put up another blog post that shares another fabulous idea for the homestead. Alas, I can’t do that today as what I am doing is a repetition from another day and post.
I tend to worry a bit about not posting frequently enough and sometimes life does get in the way. Other times, though, I just feel like I have nothing to share because my activities are largely a repetition of previous events that have been previously documented.
For example, today, I am making turkey bone broth…again. Yes, I did this last week as well (using our frozen carcass from Thanksgiving), but we had another turkey in the freezer that we defrosted, cooked, and are now making bone broth from the remains. The meat from the bird was divided into enough for one meal for our family of 6 and the remainder is waiting in the refrigerator until I have time to pressure can it for future use.
Some practical tasks can be performed once and do a great job in saving money or helping to get these done around a homestead. Building a greenhouse to start seeds in is a great example of this. Perhaps a bit of maintenance will need to occur once in a while, but once the greenhouse is built, it can be used season after season to help grow flowers and/or vegetables.
Other tasks are equally useful, but are far more repetitive in nature. Planting the plants in the greenhouse mentioned above will be done season after season, year after year, in pretty much the same way each time. Both projects are helpful in getting the job done, but don’t always make for a life changing type of blog post.
Making dinner is the same. My family tends to enjoy the same or similar foods in repetition. My father has a short list of dishes that he really would like to see every week. Hubby, the kids, Mom, and I enjoy a bit more variety than he does and use a longer rotation. Dad, on the other hand would enjoy meatloaf and mashed potatoes every week, made the exact same way, without fail. Never trying a new recipe would make writing about food a little dull for both writer and reader.
But, these simple, often repetitive tasks are the heart of keeping house, saving money, living healthier, and being a little bit more self-sufficient. Repairing a loose button on a favorite shirt will save money over replacing the shirt. You may repair several buttons on one garment or many buttons on several garments over the course of a lifetime. Each repair is not necessarily newsworthy, but these little acts add up over time for your household economy.
So, I can’t promise that all posts will be exciting and full of new ideas. Much of life revolves around repetition of little tasks and habits that come together to help make life comfortable, and, even meaningful.
And, these extra jars of bone broth will give us cheap, healthy food for many months using only things we would have thrown out anyway. It’s a totally win-win situation, if not worthy of another post on bone broth today.
I got a wee bit smitten this summer with this cute baby elephant flannel. It is a nicer weight than most flannels I have seen recently and the design is just darling! So, when a former colleague, Jonathan, and his wife Amy were expecting a baby boy, I couldn’t help but look for more of this particular fabric.
I mixed it with a simple, blue and white, gingham check and made a receiving blanket for sweet, baby Noah! It was a simple design, but it is two sided and nice and soft. Unfortunately, I didn’t get great photos before I sent it to the expectant parents, but I will share what I have.
Another of my former students, Dana, and her husband, Tyler, welcomed a bouncing baby boy named Avery this summer and I sent them a little gift for the baby.
The theme for this one is polka dots. The “pretty” material is blue with white polka dots and the minky fabric is white with raised, white polka dots. It made for one really snuggly blanket. It was soft enough
and cute enough for the Mama, while being cuddly enough for a nap on a cool day. I hope it is something that they will enjoy using and find useful!
I have been horribly remiss about posting the baby gifts that I made back in the summertime. It has been such fun creating something fun for each of the babies that are waiting to arrive. Of course, this blanket was made for a baby who has made her arrival already and I am just now blogging about it.
One of my former students, Reba, and her husband, Tommy, have a beautiful baby girl! I made this blanket to celebrate her arrival. It is made from a very swirly-girly print and white, raised dot minky fabric, so it will be pretty and super soft for her. Hopefully, it will be a good
size to take in a stroller or car seat to stay warm this winter.
Many, many years ago, my bestie and matron of honor at my wedding, Beverly, gave birth to her oldest son, Aaron. I got to watch Aaron grow up into a strong, handsome, smart young man.
I even was able to teach him in High School, much to his chagrin. It was a pleasure to see him grow into adulthood, attend college, enter the military and eventually meet Cameron, the lady of his dreams.
Now, Aaron and Cameron are married and have just had their first born son, Luke. How fun it was to finally get to meet Cameron (they live in Texas and I am in Georgia) and help with her baby shower. It brought back loads of memories of attending Beverly’s baby shower and meeting Aaron for the first time.
Beverly was in the process of making an adorable quilt for baby Luke with Peanuts and the Gang fabrics and Cameron got to see it at her Snoopy themed shower. It was a hit! Beverly always does amazing quilt work!
So, I thought back to a cute memory that my family had with Aaron. When he was little, my parents took him to a local circus. He was always a quiet child and didn’t talk very much, so when he announced that he wanted to ride the elephant at the circus (and they were allowing children to safely ride on the elephants) that my parents couldn’t wait to see if he would like it.
He rode the elephant and was all smiles! Contemplating his adventure on the way home, he announced, “John (my dad), I want an elephant!” It may have been the first time he had initiated a conversation with them and they have laughed about that over the years. When he was deployed to Afghanistan, my dad mailed him a little, plastic elephant toy for his birthday, so he could finally have his elephant!
When I stumbled upon blue flannel with baby elephants on it while looking for something else, I knew that I had to make a
receiving blanket for the baby that his Daddy would also love!
Unfortunately, I have a photo of the flannel that I used in the double sided receiving blanket, but not of the finished blanket itsself. I will have to get one with the baby one day soon.
Baby Luke made his appearance on October 9th, 2015! We are thrilled that both he and his parents are healthy and well (if exhausted)!
I am not sure exactly when it happened, but the entire world has changed. Kids simply don’t play outside anymore and it’s a crying shame!
Perhaps parents are working more hours and aren’t home to supervise latchkey kids. Perhaps video games and movies on demand are so much more common than they should be. Perhaps the increase in global news coverage and communications has convinced parents that there is a pedophile lurking around every corner. Perhaps we are too lazy to go outside ourselves and then our children follow our lead. Perhaps our lifestyles are overly scheduled and the only time that a kid gets to touch the grass is at an organized sporting event, and then that grass is manicured and sprayed to be perfect turf.
Perhaps we should just GO OUTSIDE!
Kids need free play time outside in order to help to stimulate their sensory nervous system. And, believe it or not, this stimulation also leads to a sense of calm in ADD and ADHD kids. Kids need to run and play and swing and spin and roll and get dirty, sweaty, and stinky. Looking at images formed in the clouds and laughing and dreaming while laying in the grass are not wasted times for a kid (or an adult), it’s all part of who we are meant to be…connected to the Earth, our home.
In generations past, children had chores to do, sometimes inside the house, often in the barn or yard. After chores could come fun–swimming in a creek, traipsing around the woods, building forts, playing chase or tag, etc. This allowed kids to burn off excess energy, be connected to the dark/light cycles and seasonal weather changes that we experience. It made them healthier, hardier folks who tended to understand the world around themselves in a more meaningful way.
I recently ran across a wonderful article by Angela Hanscom that explores what has happened to eliminate outdoor play from our children’s lives. She begins with a tale of a trip outside with children,
The third grade classroom that was visiting our nature center for the day consisted of mostly boys–rowdy, loud and rambunctious boys. As we started out into the woods, the children spoke loudly to each other in anticipation of what was to come. After playing a quick game and explaining the ground rules, it was time for free play. As soon as the children realized they had the freedom to explore and build in the woods, something funny happened – they got really quiet. They dispersed and many of them started working together to build a large teepee.
Nothing gives me more pleasure then to see children contentedly building a structure using branches and logs out in the woodland. That is, until fear kicked in and everyone’s pulse increased a few notches at the shrill cry of alarm.
“Put the sticks, DOWN!”
The article goes on to explain some of the many sensory inputs that children receive from outside free play and why they seek out and find certain ones at certain times in their lives. It’s a great read and I hope that you will take a few moments and check out the full article here.
I love trail riding and playing in my tiny garden. What is your favorite outdoor activity as an adult?
Today is the day that is set aside in the United States for thankfulness. Often, families get together and spend time over a feast that commemorates how the Indians helped European settlers during their first year on this continent. Without such help (for which the Pilgrims were quite grateful, we are told) none of them would have survived.
I hope that wherever you are, you are finding reasons to be content and thankful for all that you have and that you are either with those you love or will have a chance to be with them soon.
From our family to yours, may your heart always be thankful.
While looking for a new idea for a baby quilt that needed to be made in about a week, I remembered my friend, Beverly, made a baby quilt that I adored. She used French General fabrics and it was so soft and sophisticated looking, perfect for a little lady in the making. I didn’t have any French General fabrics, but with inspiration, I looked all around the internet to find an idea to use.
And I stumbled across the disappearing 4 patch in several tutorials. I could use a charm pack (which I adore) and find a coordinating solid to put it all together. After looking at what options that I could lay my hands on quickly, I ended up with brights against a background of pure white muslin. Crisp and cheerful. Not the same feel as my inspiration quilt, but a good feel, nonetheless.
Here is the tutorial I used for making the block. There are several other good tutorials out there and some videos, too. If one way of presenting it doesn’t speak to you, do a Google Search and find another method.
I must admit that it was really scary to cut up a perfectly good 4 patch block! I just knew that one slip of the rotary cutter and I would botch the job and I used up every charm square I had. Nothing like putting a bit of pressure on yourself. But, the quilt block you get after you make those four cuts and then move some things around and sew it all back together is nothing short of amazing! It was stunning to see the transformation with each and every block.
And even better, a cool secondary pattern comes together when you put 4 blocks together. I could really see how one of those pricey rotating cutting mats would be ideal for this. I managed just fine without one, but held my breath a lot when moving my cutting mat so that nothing moved a smidge out of place.
I could totally see this block made up in varying sizes. Hmmm. How about Layer Cakes (10 x 10 inch squares) for a bed sized quilt? I think that plaids would be cute like this, too. Actually, everything from 30s reproductions to Civil War to French General fabrics could look fresh and interesting with this pattern.