Sunday, December 29, 2013

Bloody Butcher

We are big fans of heirloom seeds. It's so fun to read the descriptions of the seeds to see how old they are and really learn their story. One of our local farmer friends grows bloody butcher corn and sells it as corn meal at the farmers market. We love it!

We decided to grow our own this year. It's really quite pretty and I can see where it can be used as a decoration in the fall. It has been around in the US since 1845! No GMO corn here! The variations in color are really quite pretty.

Now we just need to find a small mill for our home to grind it up! I'd love to find something so I could grind fresh wheat as well to make bread. And yes, growing wheat is on the agenda for the future!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Merry Christmas!

We had a lovely Christmas. We spent all of the day hanging with our kids, family close by, and video chatting with those far away. Isn't the internet awesome?

My dad made us my grandma's famous ham loaf for Christmas Eve dinner. And we enjoyed it Christmas day as leftovers, too! I feel like Duke from those Bush's Baked Beans commercials, always trying to steal the secret family recipe. But, I didn't have to steal it since my dad shared it with me!

Ham Loaf

3 lbs ground smoked ham
1 lb ground fresh pork
2 eggs
2 cups bread crumbs

Mix well and form into two loaves.

1 1/2 cups warm water
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1/4 vinegar
Heat until the sugar dissolves.

Bake at 350 for 1/2 hour, then reduce heat to 275 or 300 degrees and bake slowly for another hour or so. Baste with sauce every 20 to 30 minutes. The more you baste and the slower you bake them, the better they get!

And the day wouldn't be complete without another great sunset. I'm so grateful to be able to see the sky ablaze with such amazing color! I hope you and yours had a wonderful holiday!

Monday, December 23, 2013

CSA Monday

With the holidays this week, we got our CSA box this week! Brussel sprouts, potatoes, spinach, micro greens, carrots, bok choy, and acorn squash! The brussel sprouts will make a lovely side dish tomorrow with our ham loaf - I'll share the recipe, it's a family favorite!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Tonight's Dinner

I'm not a planner when it comes to meals. I have tried. It just doesn't work for me. I tend to wait until the morning or even the afternoon and see what strikes my fancy for the day. Since we've been getting all our CSA veggies, I have been trying to focus my meals around them.

Today, I was in the mood for something with acorn squash. I also knew that the Swiss chard needed to be used sooner rather than later. Cue Google! This recipe fit the bill. And it used a local onion and apple as well so all the produce in this meal was local! I love it!

I tried to get some action shots. While I'm no pro at photography (yet!), I do have fun playing around.

I really, really love my Silpat!

There's just something about squash seeds...

I forgot to get a picture of the finished product and the apple. Baby steps, right?

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

CSA Wednesday

I really love greens in the winter. I am more of a winter salad type of girl. And parsnips. Oh, parsnips!
This week's CSA box definitely didn't disappoint. Fresh greens, Swiss chard, bok choy, turnips, parsnips, a butternut squash, and giant beet!
I feel so much better while eating seasonally. Nature has a way of providing us with what we need during each season.
What would you make with these veggies?
Check out to sign up for a box or get some last minute Christmas goodies!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Snow Day!

We awoke this morning to some snow and freezing rain. Dan attempted to make it to work, but the icy roads had many cars in the ditch. He turned around and came home. So, when the weather outside is frightful, we make pizza!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

On My Kitchen Bookshelf

My name is Heidi and I have a problem. I like cookbooks. All kinds of cookbooks.

I'm not partial. I like them all. Cookbooks for kids. Slow cooker cookbooks. "Natural" cookbooks. Weight conscious ones like Weight Watchers and Cooking Light.

And baking. Who could forget baking?! Bread and pizza cookbooks. A darling little Cake Pops book. Cakes and cupcakes. Like I said, I'm not partial.

Some of the coolest cookbooks are like these:

You know which ones I mean? The ones that churches and other groups would put together for fund-raising.  I have a bunch of these from around where I grew up. It's so fun to browse through them and see what was "in" at the time. Do they still make these?

Take these "Trick or Treat Cookies" for example. I'm not sure how I feel about using two dozen soda crackers in a cookie. Or, how about these:

Yum. Potato chip cookies. That begs the question, though - regular potato chips? Baked? Oh, I know! Maybe we could come up with some sort of wild flavor like Snickerdoodle Lays. Or Peanut Butter Blossoms. I think I'll send an e-mail to the flavor development department at Lays. Just as soon as I finish making and devouring these Bon Bons. I'm a stay at home mom. That's all we eat, right? I'm just kidding!

What I do plan to make sometime soon is these sugar cookies. These three cookie recipes are from my grandma. I think I'll enjoy making something she enjoyed making years ago.

And since it's rapidly approaching the solstice, these two are taking up residence on my counter. Since we make most of what we eat from scratch, I can't stomach hot chocolate from a mix. The real stuff is incredibly rich and that's why we save it for those cold days. Nothing like being out in the cold, sled riding and coming in to a warm woodstove and warm hot chocolate.

What's YOUR favorite cookbook? Let me know in the comments!

From The Farm Blog Hop

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

CSA Wednesday

Mmmmm....brussel sprouts, potatoes, parsnips, carrots, arugula, spinach, and an acorn squash. The eating is good for December!

Roasted parsnips make an excellent alternative to fries. And we love our roasted brussel sprouts. I'm going to bed soon and will be dreaming of them!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

Two weeks away from Christmas Eve and it's starting to feel more festive each day. We baked some gingerbread cookies over the weekend. We have decided that no matter how much fun it is to bake for the holidays, it's better for our waistlines to wait for the solstice to start our baking!
The weather is turning colder and snow is coming down. We're thankful for the warmth of our woodstove and even more thankful we don't live in Antarctica!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Holiday Knitting

My main reason for learning to knit was to start knitting for Kole. It was exciting knitting in anticipation of Jenna's arrival. Now I am branching out and learning to knit new things, just in time for the holidays. Jenna will be getting a baby doll and Kole will get some mittens.

It is kind of hard to choose a hair color for a baby doll when the recipient still doesn't have any!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Exciting News

I've got some exciting news to share! A few weeks ago, as I was reading my Grit magazine, I came across a line in the editor's opening letter. It was encouraging people who keep a farmstead journal to get in touch with the magazine to explore the possibility of becoming a Grit blogger. I sent an e-mail off and quickly received a reply. I submitted my first blog post and it went live today!

Check it out: House on the Hill WV

I also created a Facebook page: House on the Hill WV

I'm looking forward to sharing my journey with you!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

CSA Wednesday and a Farm Visit

It's Wednesday and that means another excellent box of goodies from Fish Hawk Acres! I packed up the kids and we ventured to Rock Cave to visit Dale and the gang and also get a glimpse of how exactly they give us vegetables three weeks before Christmas and throughout the winter.
This week's box included red potatoes, salad greens, Swiss chard, Asian greens, onions, garlic, and granola. The salad greens are so scrumptious right now that Kole had two full bowls at dinner!
High tunnels are what allow Patti and Lupe to grow greens and other cold hardy vegetables through the winter. Kole is in the first picture to give an idea just how big the tunnels are. It was so exciting to see fresh greens poking out of the dirt.
Patti uses succession planting, meaning she will plant greens a few weeks apart so there is a continuous harvest. They are harvesting some green onions now and she showed me where the next planting is starting to poke through the ground.
The greens are harvested and the root vegetables that were harvested this fall are taken out of cold storage to be packed in boxes and delivered for the weekly CSA. Sometimes other goodies are added in, like this week's granola.
I don't think I'll ever be able to go back to eating supermarket produce through the winter. Eating locally and seasonally brings a certain rhythm and we love the dance. 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

A Welcome Sight

The weather today made me long for spring as afternoon temps neared 60°. The kids and I spent time outside, bike riding and getting a good dose of vitamin D. Needless to say, bedtime wasn't a struggle tonight!

Seed catalogs don't generally arrive until the bitter winds are howling in early January, but we received Seed Savers today. Our garden this past year was filled with about 90% of Seed Savers seeds. Everything did quite well (as is evidence by our over 2 dozen butternut squash!).

We are contemplating joining Seed Savers as it would give us the ability to obtain more rare varieties of seeds. Perhaps a Christmas present for ourselves?

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Holiday Handprints

I'm a big fan of crafting with Kole. It's fun, constructive, and we end up with a great keepsake. Two years ago, we made handprint tiles for all of Kole's grandparents and great grandparents. We decided this year to make another tile, this time with Jenna's little paw print as well.
It's quite a fun gift to make and pretty darn thrifty. Here's a breakdown of what I got for the project:
8 - 6x8 white tiles from Home Depot
      $0.75 each/$6.36 total
2 - 2 oz jars of paint from AC Moore
      $1.39 each
1 - can of sealer spray from AC Moore
Total cost for the project: $14.60

Paintbrushes are also handy for this project, but not required :-)
I would have loved to capture more action shots of the making of these gifts, but Jenna seemed convinced we were going to melt her hand off with the paint and had a meltdown the whole time. Kole was able to get nice prints, while it was a race to get Jenna's done. Hopefully next year will go a little more smoothly! We hope to make this a yearly tradition, along with picture calenders for grandparents.
What things are you crafting with your kids for gifts?

Shared over at the Homestead Blog hop!

Friday, November 29, 2013

Coop dreams

Baking cookies tonight and dreaming of chicken coops. That's how I spend Black Friday!

Our spring plans include getting our first flock of chickens. We will be spending the winter poring over hatchery catalogs, books, and online preparing ourselves.

What is your favorite chicken breed? Any tips for a beginner?

Thursday, November 28, 2013

CSA Wednesday

Parsnips, carrots, beets, sweet potatoes, red, white, and blue potatoes, and eggs.
The eating is good around here!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Pantry Staples

Our local food co - op is starting a program called "pantry staples." The idea behind the program is providing members with a box of pantry goods and local produce at cost. For just $80, we got everything in this picture plus two 12 oz packages of organic dry milk powder.
Here's what it includes:
* 5# organic rolled oats
* 5# organic unbleached whole wheat flour
* 5# organic short grain brown rice
* 3# organic dried black beans
* 2# organic green lentils
* 1# banana chips
* 2# organic raisins
* 2 jars organic marinara sauce
* 2 1# packages of organic whole wheat spaghetti
* 18 oz jar of organic crunchy peanut butter
* seasonal produce: garlic, onions, carrots, parsnips, acorn squash, butternut squash, and apples
Tomorrow will be spent re organizing our pantry. Along with our CSA, the eating will be good at our house next month!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Gosh, We Love Our Woodstove

75° inside while it's 20° outside. I'd say our woodstove is pretty awesome!

Saturday, November 23, 2013


Carrots don't have to be orange. How about a lovely purple with yellow interior?

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

CSA Wednesday

More yummy veggies from Fish Hawk Acres! Butternut squash, acorn squash, Swiss chard, carrots, peppers, radishes, turnips, and greens. And who said you couldn't enjoy fresh local veggies in November in West Virginia! Details throughout the week as to how we'll gobble them up!

Sunday, November 17, 2013


The big pile of wood is all chopped! Dan spent the entire day splitting and stacking yesterday. We should be good for the winter!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Turnips, anyone?

Our fall harvest of turnips included some monsters! They are a variety called purple top white globe. They'll make a lovely addition to soups and roasted vegetables this winter!