A Real Update

Farm life can ruff.

So much has happened since my last post. I started a new job and I an learning to be a dialysis nurse. I have had a heart attack and triple bypass, and a few other health mishaps we shall call them. But I am still here, kicking and finally getting the farm, though only as a supervisor because of a health mishap, fully underway.

Going in the right direction.

Our current projects include modifying the new barn to accommodate the chickens and goats. Getting fencing up around the new field. Which includes a pond for our silly ducks. And getting our garden beds prepared. We also have seed starts in the greenhouse.

It’s a hen party.

For those of you that get our not so monthly, monthly newsletter, or on one of our customer emails may have seen that after last year’s abysmal garden we decided not to do a CSA program. We keep tossing it around, especially of late. What we will do is send out an email when we have a surplus of produce. The same with eggs. I will be setting up forms on our Contact page so that you can let us know which list you would like to be on.

I will attempt to post more often and get the newsletter out in a more timely fashion.

Tammy ~SSM~

Creating a Culture of Change

I am not looking to change a business, society, etc. I am looking to change the way I live personally. That includes how I eat, think, buy and sell. Do I hope that others will join me? Of course, but this is really about my personal journey to live a quiet, peaceful life.

What do I want to change?

A lot of things I would love to change about myself. I want my body to be about 15 years younger. I want my brain to not feel quite so bogged down. I want my spirit to be lighter. I want the energy I used to have. This where I started this new part of my journey. I made a list of what I wanted to see happen in my life. The question really has become how do I make these changes more than just what I want to do.

I am a list person, including putting my goals down on paper. So I have set out to make these changes happen by creating a culture in my home that accepts change. There is no reason to keep doing the same things over and over again and expecting different results. So I made of lists of who, what, when, where, and how I want those changes to happen.

Where do I begin?

I began with searching for a job that would bring me closer to home. It has been a drawn out search but a friend stepped in and helped me find what appears to be a perfect match. We will see, honeymoon phase begins in that but I have a feeling becoming a dialysis nurse is what I have been looking for.

I also I have had to step back and look at things that stress me. Finances is a big one. So how do I change from spending and living pay check to pay check. I have to look at expenses that can be cut. Look at the items I buy and become more conscientious about whether or not I really need them. This includes chickens and ducks, I really need to do a 12 step program of some sort.

Another big stressor for me is clutter and disorganization. For so long I have lived in organized chaos. The chaos has to go. This goes with every part of my daily life. I need to find a system that works for me. Including getting my children on board with how things need to be done to create a peaceful household. I am not talking about the energy that kids bring into a home. I love that actually but I cannot enjoy it when things are helter skelter.

Making a plan

I am making a map of my life. I am taking all of the lists I have made and setting goals. These goals include health changes, organizing time, organizing my home, and organizing my finances.

Health goals include keeping my diabetes under control. Working on rebuilding my health and energy through meditation, yoga, and exercise. They also include gardening and creating a landscape that is productive.

Organizing goals are a little more difficult. I am great at making a plan but sticking to it can be hard. So instead of making big huge changes in how things will get done I am making mini goals that are easy to accomplish and will make a more permanent change in the life I live.

Finances are undergoing a change as well. I should be able to live off of the money I earn at work. It is a matter of getting other spending under control. This is going to be one of the biggest challenges on board for me.

Changing with the seasons

Maybe it is the influence of the changing of the seasons. I have always felt a draw to the sun, moon, earth, and stars. We are heading into autumn. My goals seem to be following the path of the seasons as I create this culture of change in my life. As the Earth changes with the passing of seasons so must we.

 

Water Bath Canning vs Pressure Canning

Some links are affiliate links. I receive a small commission from these but it does not affect your purchases.

There really is no debate on which you should choose. There are somethings are safe to water bath can but everything can be pressure canned. Why can’t I water bath can low acid foods? My grandma only ever water bath canned. I have heard pressure canners can explode. Tons of reasons to avoid pressure canning. But one big one to use it. BOTULISM!! A silent, odorless killer. Other things can happen as well but this is the big one.

What is botulism?

Picture courtesy of the CDC.

Botulism is a bacteria that can kill you. If nothing else it will make you feel sick enough you want to die.

It is a rare, potentially fatal illness caused by a toxin. The toxin is produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. The disease begins with weakness, blurred vision, feeling tired, and trouble speaking.

It is a nasty illness that we can avoid by properly preserving our food bounty.

 

What can I water bath can?

Things that are considered high acid foods. Tomatoes are a big one, unless of you are growing low acid tomatoes, those varieties are a story for another time. Jams and jellies, pickled anything. Fruit preserves and most anything that you add lemon juice, vinegar, or are fermented.

Some fruits are considered naturally high in acid:

 

  • apples
  • berries
  • blackberries
  • blueberries
  • cranberries
  • peaches
  • pears
  • raspberries
  • strawberries

What should I pressure can?

Anything that is not on the above list. Those things can also be pressure canned. There are no safe ways to can fresh squash, including pumpkins. Those need to be prepared how you want them and then pressure canned. Or simply frozen.

Other items, not produce related, that you should pressure can are meats, soups, and broths. Your other option is to freeze them. All of this will prevent you, your family, friends, and customers from being poisoned.

Finding Resources in Your Own Backyard

It has been a massive search for things to use for building materials. I was considering pallets but as right now I have no way to transport them without paying someone. Remember I like free and cheap. I can’t afford to put out money and run to Home Depot, Lowe’s, or any other type of store.

So what to do to get stuff done has become the question. Well here are some ideas I have come up with, inspired by my new friends over at Accidental Hippies.

Where to get wood?

It is all around our property honestly. From trees that need to come down to the ones that have already fallen. Not to mention the pieces from various older projects that are just hanging out. We already have a chainsaw and many other tools to make them all work.

How to put them together?

Well that is a little tricky. We have various size screws and nails already. Some cam be recycled from old projects and well there is always tongue and groove. They are also inexpensive enough to just go and buy. Free is best but cheap works well too.

Tools?

Well with what we already have and family members close by we can find what we need. Somethings we could even possibly make. There are plenty of options here including for human power. We want to be self sufficient not hermits. I am lucky to have a family equipped with multiple trade skills.

My main outlay will hopefully be in food. Nothing like working hard and having a good heart meal to celebrate a job well done.

Upcoming projects

  • Garden fence
  • Rabbit cages
  • Our own henhouse
  • Property fencing
  • House repairs
  • Barn
  • Outdoor kitchen

Not all of these this year but as time goes by. And many other things that will come up over time.

Light, Love, and Peace

Tammy~SSM~

Calendula Flowers

Common Name

Standardized: calendula
Other: marigold, pot marigold

Latin name

Calendula officinalis L.
Plant Family: 
Asteraceae

Overview

Calendula is a well-known herb and garden plant that has been used topically, ceremonially, and as a dye. It is also used as a companion plant in many vegetable gardens. This is an edible flower used in teas, tinctures, and various other recipes. Used in home crafted skin care products it helps with dry skin.

Flower Background

This is a self sowing, annual that will come back year after year once you establish it in your garden. It is a member of the Asteraceae family and produces a daisy-like flower with orange or yellow petals and pale green leaves. Though it can now be found through out the world it was originally native to Europe, the Mediterranean, and Middle East.

Cultivation and Harvesting

There is no need to start this plant in a green house it has simple requirements and does well as part of a garden or a pot. Simple spread the seeds or mix with other wildflower seeds and cover lightly with soil. They require full sun and well draining soil. They bloom from early summer and until early fall. Mid summer is the best time for harvesting flower to dry. The middle of the day when the resins are high and the dew has evaporated, clip the flowers just below their base. Place them on a screen to dry, avoid high temperatures and direct sunlight when drying to keep the bright colors.

Common Uses

  • Dried
    • Teas
    • Tinctures
    • Infused Oil
    • Skin Care
  • Fresh
    • Salads and other dishes (was once known as the poor mans saffron)
    • Teas
    • Tinctures

Medicinal Uses:

  • Anti-inflammatory to skin and mucosa
  • Lymphagogue (moves lymph)
  • Vulnerary (promotes healing of damaged tissue)
  • Anti-fungal
  • Anti-bacterial
  • Emmenagogue (stimulates menstrual flow)
  • Cholagogue (stimulates bile)

Indications:

  • Gastrointestinal: Purported to help with gastrointestinal disorders and discomfort. Use as a tea.
  • Lymphatic: Used for various infections of the respiratory system and localized infections. Also used to boost immunity by stimulating the lymphatic system. Use as a tea or topical salve.
  • Gums and mouth: Make a tea to gargle with for sore throats, periodontal disease, inflamed gums.
  • Emmenagogue: May help to stimulate menstrual flow.
  • Topical applications: rashes, stings, wounds, burns, sunburns, abrasions, swellings, eczema, acne, surgical wounds, scrapes, chicken pox, cold sores.

Disclaimer:

If you have a known allergy to other members of the Asteraceae family such as feverfew, chamomile, or Echinacea species be cautious when using calendula.

Always consult with a qualified healthcare practioner before using herbal products. If you are pregnant, nursing or have medical conditions and are on prescribed medications this is essential.

This information is for educational purposes only not to be used to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease. None of this information has been evaluated by the FDA.

Single Sustainable Mom vs Enchanted Farmstead

There has been some question as to why there are two different names floating around. I am Single Sustainable Mom and my farm name is Enchanted Farmstead. It really is that simple. I use SSM for Facebook and Twitter and Pinterest. For farm business I use the farm name.

Single Sustainable Mom

I have spent the last few years establishing an online presence as SSM. I talk about family life, farming, work, basically my entire life. The trials and tribulations of being a single mom, trying to be eco-friendly, and life as an adventure. I am a mom, nurse, farmer, crafter, and so much more. I want to inspire other people to look at life as a journey, adventure. I want people to realize that no matter the cards you are dealt you can always discard and pick up new cards and take off with it. That is Single Sustainable Mom.

 

Enchanted Farmstead

I own the farm. It is not a person but a place, my home. It is part of the lifestyle of sustainability that I am creating for my family. I am creating a home that is a sanctuary, a life that I do not need a vacation from. The end goal is that the land pays for itself by providing most of what my family needs. Whether it be food or products to sell. It is a business, escape from the world, and a place of peace all rolled into one.

 

Light, Love, and Peace
~Tammy~SSM

 

Venison Tenderloin

Bambi

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs venison tenderloins
  • 1/2 lb bacon
  • 3 cups dark brown sugar
  • 2 cups soy sauce

Directions:

  1. Mix brown Sugar and Soy sauce together in a bowl. They should combine nicely into a soupy soy liquid.
  2. Put Deer Loin in a cooking tray and pour Brown Sugar/Soy Sauce mixture over loin. Roll tenderloin over in mixture, completely covering it.
  3. Let meat marinate in mixture at least 3 hours or overnight in fridge. 
  4. Remove loin from tray and place on a bake sheet. Save the marinade.
  5. Wrap a piece of bacon around the very end of the tenderloin, securing the bacon strip with a toothpick. Repeat this process until the entire loin is wrapped in ten or so bacon “loops.” 
  6. Drizzle remaining marinade over deer loin. You can continue to baste the loin with the marinade throughout the cooking process with either a brush or a turkey baster.
  7. Place on center rack in oven and bake at 350°F for 30-40 minutes.
  8. Remove from oven and place on cutting board. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before slicing. 

Check Your Local Code Before You Get Urban Chickens

IMG_1197Looking to keep poultry in town? Here is an example of our local code that says yes, we can keep chickens within certain limits, such as keep your chicken house clean. It even says that pygmy goats would be permitted as pets. So are you allowed to milk pets to keep them healthy? Hhmmm…something my urban and town living friends need to look at. I just wish we could do it in our apartment complex!

While most of us would like to do what we want but when you live in town or a city it doesn’t hurt to check out the local codes. Avoid becoming a news item because someone who doesn’t like gardening and such turns you in, become a news item for doing it according to code or working to change code so that everyone can enjoy gardens and such.

Busy Mom Menu Planning Tips

mom cooking

Pre-planning your menu will do several things for you. It will force you to double check your calendar. It will force you to go through your pantry, fridge and freezer (helps keep things fresh). It will also force you to make a grocery list (which will help you stay in budget). Quick note about budgets, I know they are hard but we will discuss those another day. 

This is where I start. I get paid every two weeks so typically that means 42 meals (3 meals per day for 14 days) need to be planned out. You guessed it, breakfast, lunch and dinner all need to be planned. So now that we have figured that out I check out what I have on hand. If I am lucky I have some things left from my last grocery shopping. I try to add one or two extra meals to my budget each week and/or bulk items. 

Next I get out my calendar to see what is going on during those two weeks. What is my work schedule, what is on tap for the kids, what is on tap for Daddy aka Papa. That will also determine what gets made on what days. 

By now I am using what limited “extra” brain power to see what I have on hand to make and write down those meal ideas. I have a habit of starting with dinner ideas. Now I take a piece of paper and divide it in thirds. One column I put the day of the week with the appropriate date on it. List what I know I have for dinner, list what would work on each particular night depending on our schedules. Now in the third column I start writing my shopping list. 

The next thing I do during the school year is pull out the lunch calendar. Lunches are frequently left overs when school is out but in honor of going back to school I am going to add this tidbit. I ask the kids which days they are buying and which they are taking. From there we get down to the nitty gritty and figure out what they want for those days they are taking. I write these down on the calendar so that I know what they have planned (yes they some times change their minds, too bad it gets carved into stone). I make sure to add any extra items to the grocery list. 

Next we look at breakfast, ours is usually pretty basic. I need to have pancakes on hand (make them and then freeze them for future use). Eggs, bread and/or biscuits, cereal and the like. Though honestly if there are “favorite” left overs they will get eaten for breakfast as well. Mac and cheese anyone? If I am running low on any necessaries they get added to the grocery list as well.

Ok, so dinners are on the calendar, lunches are on the calendar and breakfast is fly by the seat of our pants. It really all comes down to schedules. Are these plans written in stone no, except for planned school lunches, those are written in stone. Now you have not only planned out your menu for two weeks, you have a realistic working grocery list and perhaps a budget!

Light, Love and Peace!

What is Your Favorite Seed Company?

Time to plan next year’s garden!

It is that time of year for me, I am going through my left over and saved seeds (not many this year) so I can plan my garden next year. I have a ton of heirloom and old fashioned plants to grow for next year but I can’t help myself. I have started making a wish list for next year already. I tend to order from a variety of places. A few of my favorite companies are:

I am also very big on getting together with friends and neighbors to trade seeds. I think I might be able to start a small seed exchange program for this spring, I need to assess what I have and what I can purchase.
What are your favorite seed companies?
Light, Love and Peace!