Monday, September 16, 2013

Homemade Granola with Flax Seed

I was playing around with granola recipes and found one that tastes pretty good. The boys like it as it is or on top of plain yogurt with maple syrup or honey. It is an easy snack to make and is a healthy grab and go option for the busier days.

Homemade Granola with Flax seed:
  • 1 cup Rice Crispies
  • 1/2 cup oatmeal
  • 3/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 Tbs Flax Seed
  • 1 Tbs brown sugar
Mix everything in a  bowl being sure to coat all the pieces with the syrup and sugar, then place it on an aluminum foil lined cookie sheet and bake it in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes, mix the granola and bake for another 20 minutes.

Let it cool and enjoy!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Updates from the Homestead

My husband and I get a lot of people who are interested in what's new on the farm, and what we have going on around here. Since most of the people the know are not farmers the life we live appears to be sort of exotic, and kind of intriguing. We just moved out to the country about a year and a half ago so for me at least it still is kind of exotic and certainly an adventure. We came this way to start a homestead for our family and begin living a more self sufficient and meaningful lifestyle. So far it has been a success...with many, many mistakes lessons learned... 

So this is what has been happening...

I finally have been able to grow sunflowers! I have tried a few times but nothing has ever come of them but I must have earned my green thumb because they have arrived and survived the chickens. I will definitely be growing more in future years I want enough to keep growing and some for bouquets. I also want to make a good batch of seeds eventually. 

Our pumpkins are also right on time too, and will be ready to be harvested soon! I was hoping to get at least 5 this year so I could carve a couple and try my first ever from scratch pumpkin pie, and as it is turning out I will have closer to 25 or 30! So that's awesome. Next year with my sun flowers I will try a few different strains of pumpkins along with some gourds. I want to devote a part of our land to autumn harvesting so maybe I will get some Indian corn in there too. I am a lover of the fall and autumn decorating so I could see this area getting out of hand.


Chris, aka my Hubby, is the idea guy when it comes to planning our livestock. Right now we have about 35, five week old chickens that we are raising for meat (this is where the name Crooked Coop Farm comes in), and they appear to be ready to move out of their brooder (starter) coop and back by our laying chickens for the last five weeks. The layers also have been keeping up with production and we have been getting about 10 -12 eggs a day. Chris has been doing a really good job when it comes to ordering our animals, we have more people that want them than we can keep up to already, plus plenty for ourselves! So props to the hubby!

We harvested our potatoes, and they were the best potatoes I have ever eaten! We still have some blue potatoes I am pretty excited about trying but those won't be ready for a bit yet. In the place of our red, and German butterball potatoes we planted some cold hardy crops so we have kale, radishes and spinach. It looks like the radishes have sprouted and the others should be following soon. I think we will be able to harvest the kale up until winter.

We still have a couple different cabbages, rutabagas, tomatoes, tomatillios and a variety of peppers that are doing good yet too. We are able to harvest something every day and have extras to give to other people.

This is one days worth of tomatoes so I will soon be spending my days sweating over our canner in no time. My goal is to get us through the year without having to buy canned tomato anything. I love grabbing home made sauces from a stockpile in our food storage area. It is a lot of work to grow, harvest and can your own food but it is so worth it to know where your food came from. It also saves a lot of money. With our new attempt at self sufficiency we are also trying to live a more frugal lifestyle. Which can be tricky for a family of four but we are making it work.

And the last update from Crooked Coop Farm is that I should be selling some of my wood signs and chicken feed bags turned totes at a few craft fairs this holiday season. I have a couple lined up and am working out the details. I will update when I know more details. This sign has been my top seller so far, and I have been getting a lot of good feedback from it in my Etsy shop so I am keeping positive about the upcoming shows. 

So far this this homestead idea has proven to be quite the journey, and one that I am anxious to continue. I really like blogging and sharing the adventure too! Although I did kind of space there in August while I was organizing our blogging plan, it helps me keep in touch what is really happening around here, and also documents the process so one day if this blog is till accessible I will be able to share a with memories with the kiddos. Alright then, so keep an eye on us and I would love to hear about your self reliant ideas and homesteading adventures too!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Creamy Late Summer Cucumber Salad

We had some extra cucumbers left over from my sister's garden and were looking for something to do with them before they turned bad. The cucumbers were already starting to go soft so a salad like this, that uses vinegar, would help preserve them for at least a week longer. Since the cucumbers are sliced thin the softness isn't an issue. The acidity of the vinegar together with the salt prevents bacteria growth similar to pickling and will keep your vegetables longer... plus it tastes super good.

Many people have their own versions of a cucumber salad recipe, and this is the one my husband came up with, which is also a version of the one his grandmother used.

Creamy Late Summer Cucumber Salad:
  • 2 cucumbers thinly sliced
  • 1 small onion thinly sliced
  • 1 cup vinegar
  • 1 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill (or fresh if you have it)
  • pinch or two of white pepper
  • pinch of garlic
Make  your dressing first by combining vinegar, sour cream, salt, sugar, dill and garlic being sure to taste it as you go and adjust the salt, pepper and sugar to taste. Then add your cucumbers and onions, stir well making sure everything is coated with your dressing, cover and chill in the refrigerator 12-24 hours before serving.


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Painted Optimus Prime Night Stand

In yesterday's post I mentioned it was our oldest son's birthday and shared some homemade party decorations. Today's post is to share his birthday present, an old table turned into an imaginative night stand . This table was found at a rummage sale and originally was a pink color perfect for a  little girl's room but....I have boys. I wanted to turn this into something fun that was both useful and interactive. Like many 5 year old little boys out there he is in love with transformers especially Optimus Prime so what better way to take advantage of the tables boxy shape but turn it into a representation of the character himself. First I primed the table and blocked in the colors, then I went back and added the details using photos I found online as a reference. I then outlined it using sharpie paint markers and gave it a final coat of a clear satin finish to protect the paint. Our five year old loved the final results and now he has a new place to keep his treasures.

I love mural painting and decorating furniture most especially projects for children, and I think both are a fun way to heighten imaginations. Here are a couple more examples of  children's furniture pieces I have transformed from old  furniture found at thrift stores. 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Easy Sew Rustic Party Bunting

Today is our oldest child's 5th birthday! When there is a birthday in the house I like to start the birthday boy's day by decorating so when they wake up the decorations are the first thing they see. I used to buy the streamers and other colorful hanging things to decorate for them, and the house would always look good, but I would have to buy them for every birthday every year. Wanting to look for a more economical approach to decorating decided to start making my own party bunting using scrap fabric I was given by my Grandmother and ribbon. It turns out the bunting is super easy to make and I really like the rustic homemade look they have when they are complete. 

To make them I took quilting scraps that have been cut to 5 x 5 inch squares put two squares together with the wrong sides facing in, and used a zigzag scissors to cut the pieces in triangle shapes. Since I pieced them together with the wrong sides in they can be hung up  in any direction and they ares still pretty to look at. Once they were cut I sewed them together with a straight stitch as they were without hemming them. Since they are not hemmed I think they are a bit more rustic looking...which I like. I will probably try to make more bunting with a hem to just to see how it goes. Once the triangle pieces were sewn together I sewed them to two pieces of ribbon of equal widths and lengths with a zigzag stitch. I sewed one piece to the front of the bunting and one piece to the back so when I hang them I can just tie them up. And that is it. The whole project took less than an hour.

For the sake of photography I used our chicken coop as a backdrop. I like it's weathered look and often use it to photograph my artwork....

like I did here with my Pallet Wood American Flag.

I like to piece the scraps together in a random pattern to give the bunting more of an eclectic look. I also use two different colored ribbon for the same reason.

The smaller bunting here was made the same way only using scraps from cutting the larger triangles I don't like to waste my art supplies so I always try to use each scrap. The smaller one is a bit more tedious but still took less than an hour to make.

Today I used the bunting to decorate for our son's big day but I think they work great for and party decorating inside or out. I imagine I will be making much more of these in the future for different occasions and you may eventually see them on our farm's Etsy shop.


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