Tuesday, October 23, 2012


Now that the house is finished, it's time for me to kick it into high gear cleaning and organizing for the holidays and before the baby comes.  One thing that has been bothering me for a while has been our couch.  It is a microfiber sectional and has help up well.  It has gotten quite dirty over the last year from living at the apartment to construction here.  We got the stain guard protection on it when we bought it, but that doesn't totally help for day to day things.  So, to the internet (and Pinterest!) I went.  I found a tutorial on the best way to clean microfiber.

What you need:
rubbing alcohol
spray bottle
white or neutral colored sponge (as not to bleed color to your sofa)

How it's done:
Spray the area you wish to clean with rubbing alcohol.  Yes, it does have a scent, but it is not overpowering.  Using the sponge, scrub the area.  Let dry.  If you wish, you can use a soft bristled brush to soften the cushions.  Mine weren't too bad after drying, so I skipped that step.

I was expecting my sponge to look a lot worse when I was done as I saw some pictures online of people going through three or four sponges and the sponges being completely black.  Perhaps our stain guard helps our more than I thought!

In the evenings, I tend to research online things on my mind.  The last two evenings I have been looking at goat barn ideas.  We have been talking about building a big pole barn to house animals, equipment, etc....but, I am looking into building a smaller barn for just the milk goats initially.  It's fun to dream up ideas for the future!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Foggy fall morning and garlic

One of my favorite things about living here is the view.  It is quite spectacular both in the morning and at night.  When we bought the property, it was identified by the timber company as "Misty Meadows" and as we live here, we can see why.  This picture was taken this morning as I was looking off of our side deck.  This is the west side of the house, so it is also the best side for seeing the sunset.

In the future, we hope for our barn to be to the left of where the composter and raised beds sit.  It is a relatively flat spot and we can utilize some of the hillside for pasture.  That way we don't have to mow it!

This afternoon, Kole and I worked in the raised beds.  Due to time constraints this spring and summer, I chose to do the "square foot gardening" technique and have three smaller raised beds instead of a large garden.  It worked out relatively well, although could have been better had we devoted more time to it.  Pregnancy and a deadline on our house took precedence.  While we do plan to have a large garden(s) next year and hopefully some high or low tunnels in the future, we will still try to use the raised beds.  This fall, we will plant garlic.

I mainly order seeds and plants from Seed Savers Exchange.  I have had great luck with them and I adore their variety.  I ordered three varieties of garlic, which is perfect since we have three beds!  We have two softneck varities and a hardneck variety.  Here are the descriptions:

WHITE SEEDLESS Donated to SSE in 1988 by David Ronniger via Filaree Farm in Okanogan, Washington.  Large white bulbs and cloves.  Softneck, 10-14 cloves.

LORZ ITALIAN Northwest heirloom brought to Washington State's Columbia Basin from Italy by the Lorz family before 1900.  Medium warm with a zesty flavor that is not harsh and lingers on the tongue.  Great for roasting.  Softneck, 12-18 cloves.

CHESNOK RED (aka Shvelisi) Originates from the village of Shvelisi, Republic of Georgia.  Beautiful striped paper with red cloves, easy to peel.  Good lingering taste, retains flavor well when cooked.  Rated as one of the very best for baking or roasting.  Hardneck, 8-10 cloves.

I ordered 2 bulbs of each variety, so theoretically if everything goes well, we could see anywhere from 30 - 42 bulbs of garlic next summer.  We are looking forward to braiding the softnecks.  How pretty will that be hanging in our pantry and root cellar next winter?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

All in our PJs!

Today was a super productive day for Kole and I!  Energy comes and goes, so I try to take advantage of it when I have it.  We started out by doing some Q-tip art.  Kole loved working with glue :-)  He made several pictures and I helped him make a skeleton for Dan to take to his office.
I love the layout of our kitchen - it has a large peninsula where Kole can sit and color or play while I work.  He was really into coloring and playing today, so I was able to can 9 jars of carmel apple butter and roast another pumpkin.  I got 3.5 cups from the pumpkin :-)  Kole picked out all his broken crayons and we made "new" crayons in the oven!  I was going to make pumpkin chocolate cookies, but I'm pooped!
More later...

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Books, books, books

I love to read.  In high school and college, it was Patricia Cornwell and forensic type novels.  As I started to think more about what I was eating, I read The Omnivore's Dilemma and Animal, Vegetable, Miracle.  Then I started reading more and more homesteading type books.  Books on keeping a family cow, self sufficiency, bread baking, gardening, and foraging for  wild foods now don our bookshelves.

Last year at the Mother Earth News Fair, Dan and I went to a talk on the home dairy.  The presentation was given by Deborah Niemann of Illinois.  Her family makes a plethora of cheeses, soap, yogurt, and other goodies from their herd of Nigerian Dwarf goats.  It had never crossed our minds to have a small herd of dairy goats - we had always assumed we would have a cow.  This got our mind reeling.  Deborah had just released a new book, Homegrown and Handmade.  It is an excellent resource to get one thinking about making things at home - from gardening and cooking, to having your own home dairy and fiber flock.  As I was reading it last year, the ideas seemed lovely.  But, since we were still in the building process, it was hard to imagine ourselves with a barn, large gardens, and an orchard.  Now that we are mainly done with the house, our (or at least mine) minds are drifting to our garden next year, the coop we plan to build, and where we'll build our barn.

Deborah recently released another new book, Ecothrifty.  The subtitle is "Cheaper, Greener Choices for a Happier, Healthier Life."  I pre-ordered a copy directly from Deborah - she was offering autographed copies and I was incredibly happy to buy directly from the author.  It is an absolutely wonderful book.  And there's a quote from me in there!  I love that she talks about cloth diapering, breastfeeding, and using resuable menstrual pads (which is what I gave my opinion on).  She really shows how easy it is to make the green choice and see that it doesn't have to break the bank!

Deborah has two blogs: www.homegrownandhandmadethebook.com and antiquityoaks.blogspot.com.  The lifestyle that she and her family lead very much inspire us in our journey.

Besides that, what isn't inspiring about seeing this sunset every night?!

Monday, October 15, 2012

It's done!!!

So, when I started this blog, I had every intention of documenting everything about the building process....from foundation to flooring and everything in between.  Well, I never realized just how incredibly stressful and overwhelming the building process can be.  Throw in a surprise pregnancy and things were really interesting.

But, the good news is....we are done!  In terms of the bank, at least.  That was one of the major stressors in our life as of late.  We had a deadline to have all of the major work done.  While we have lived here for 4 months now, it is finally feeling like home.  Our inspector was here last week and confirmed that we are done :-)

Now, we can bring to reality more of our dreams.  Now that the grading is complete, we can get a better feel for where we want our gardens, the kid's play area, barn, chicken coop, and orchard.  Our house will forever be a work in progress, but we are looking forward to it!

Tomorrow - I'll share with you what I've been reading lately :-)