Fresh Perspective.

My last post was about a year ago. I look back and wonder how time got away from me like that. A lot of things happened in late summer and fall of 2018 and to be quite candid, it sapped a lot of my ambition. Coupled with the fact that I felt this blog seemed to me like white noise. There are thousands of people out there writing about the same things I am. What makes me or my perspective different? Honestly I’m not sure. I just do a bunch of different things – Not much compared to others, but more than most. I do these things because I like to do them, I like to be busy -not to feel superior.

I realized that I have no desire to set myself up as an “expert” in anything, in the grand scheme of things I’m a newbie, there’s always going to be someone who knows more and I’ll always be a wanna-be. Not because I don’t ever accomplish a goal but because I learn something new every single day. I wanna try new things, I wanna-be more creative, I wanna-be successful, I wanna-be better, I wanna continue to grow and evolve and be willing to change and adapt when needed. My friend and I butchered our combined flock of roosters (15 in total) together a couple weeks ago and we both learned a ton not only about the process, but ourselves as well (like how we pamper ourselves with Aleve liqui-gels). Next time we’ll have it down to a science. Do I feel the need to write a tutorial about it when there are tons of how-to videos, blog posts, and books about the subject? Not a bit.

Here’s what you can expect. I’ll be posting more about what I am doing to (slowly) bring this 1890-something farm back to life, and all the things I’m learning. Maybe some videos of the process (if you thought I couldn’t possibly get more annoying you’re wrong lol). There will also be recipes. I hope to bring about free learning experiences in things I feel very solid in; basic canning, crafting, and gardening etc. -Again I’m not an expert, but I can get you rolling in the right direction- and offering a place for expert friends to teach a skill. You’ll be seeing more posts from my friends talking about their passions (most of them don’t even know it yet…) these are my go-to people when I need help and I appreciate them beyond words.

What’s in the works for next season?

  • A resource tab up top listing the most useful information I’ve came across.
  • A small market garden is planned – We always have more than enough to go around plus it’s something I know I can do.
  • Blueberries and Red Currants have been planted as our family’s memorial to my Grampa, Dale Bernath. He’d be over the moon to see this place and I still don’t know who is going to fabricate things for me. He was an inventor that’s for sure.
  • The laying flock will be expanding in the spring and by late summer/fall we should have free range/pastured eggs available.
  • Maybe Broilers – If there is enough interest. we shall see.

How To Freeze Blackberries (And pretty much every other berry for that matter)

Blackberries bring back a lot of memories for me.  My Grandma Newt used to take us to Aunt Jan’s house, usually because I begged and begged to go see her beautiful buckskin gelding “Buck”, and the best donkey in the world “George”.  I always got to sit on Buck, my sister always managed to get George, a point that would be (and still is) brought up to me throughout the years. – I got the horse and my sister got the ass.  There has to be a photo somewhere of an ecstatic me on Buck and a happy but slightly miffed Lauren atop of George.  Both were calm elderly creatures that were treated like kings and we always brought them apples and carrots and plenty of scratches for their ears and backs.  They were well loved and lived to very old ages, both being 36 years old or more before passing.

Big Beautiful Ripe Blackberries

Aunt Jan also had an enormous back berry patch.  I could not reach the top of canes, and they had to be about 4 feet thick.  We’d pick a quart or two and want to go make jam with Newt (because she makes the best jam).  But what happened inevitably every. single. time. was Newt would come out and see so many unpicked berries…the biggest best berries left behind for the birds, which was simply not allowed.  There was a reason they were unpicked, these berries were about 3 feet back into the impenetrable bramble thicket and grandma wasn’t satisfied until we pressed back there and became human pin cushions.  By this time my sister had retreated to George and Buck and I was left picking the damned berries.  At least I got to munch them as I went along, which one day came to a screeching halt when I popped a berry into my mouth and felt something cling to my tongue, panicking spit everything out but the thing was still stuck there, by now I’m totally freaking out so gather up the balls and I reach in and pull out a japanese beetle.  Blackberries weren’t the same for years after that.

Sometimes blackberries begin to ripen at uneven intervals and the easiest way to accumulate the quantities needed for large recipes is to freeze them as they come in, and it couldn’t be simpler.

How To Freeze Blackberries:

  • Rinse berries
  • Dry them on a towel you wouldn’t mind getting stained
  • Spread them one layer thick on a cookie sheet, and freeze 4 hours or overnight
  • Place in a freezer safe container of your choice

To use them after they’ve been frozen, measure when they are still frozen then allow them to thaw.  Drain excess liquid and use in the recipe as directed.

 

 

 

How Our Days Actually Start, Plus Easy Morning Muffins

Every morning at 6:30 AM on the dot our youngest son wakes the whole house up crying for milk. Then it begins. Our older twin boys wake up. They too begin crying for milk. While I’m warming the milk of the first crying boy, the second boy says that he has to go potty. I tell him to go potty. He whines that he can’t unzip his jammies, so while holding the first crying boy, I kneel down and attempt to unzip the jammies without dropping the first boy that’s yelling “Mewk! Mewk!” that he can plainly see is ready from his vantage on my hip. Finally the jammies are off and the milk is handed off to the first boy. The third boy comes out of the bedroom half asleep and asks for his sippy cup of milk. I attempt to put the first boy down on the floor, he is having none of it and insists on laying in our bed. I pour one milk with one hand and I’m screwing the lid back on when the second boy yells “Mommy I need heeeeeeewp” from the bathroom. I hand the milk to the third boy, yell “hang on!” to the second boy, plop the first boy down on the couch and throw a blanket on him and go find out what could possibly be going wrong in the bathroom. The second boy is stuck on the toilet because the stool wasn’t pushed up correctly, I rescue him and while I’m helping him put on his undies the third boy comes in asking to watch a “show show show”. I put in The Land Before Time, while I’m skipping through all of the previews the second boy comes up to me and say that he needs milk, I push play. I’m pouring the milk when the third boy runs up to me shouting “potty!”. I hand the milk off to the second boy and tell him to watch the show, I help the third boy go potty. I’m helping him put his undies on when the second boy comes to me and says “mom….I can’t watch this” to which I reply “tough”. Crying ensues. I point out that the show has a t-Rex in it and all is well. I go back to the bedroom shake my husband to wake up, he gets up and gets around for the day (we take turns doing morning) and I get dressed, I shut both bedroom doors. I manage to have my bra on just in time before the first boy busts in the room and shouts “MOM! BOOBS!” I realize I forgot to lock the door. He climbs up on the bed and the stench of a morning diaper deuce hits my nostrils. I finish getting dressed and take care of the first boys dirty butt.

Blueberry Muffin

With mornings like this, I like really simple breakfasts with even simpler clean up. If the breakfast is hand-held and I don’t have to pick up and wash plates even better! For a while now I have been taking our families favorite recipes dissecting them and storing them for quick assembly. One of my favorites in the morning is muffins of any flavor or size. They’re sweet so the kids love them and I can sneak all kinds of fruits and veggies into them to make myself feel like a mom that’s got it together. I mix the dry ingredients in a wide mouth quart jar, write “muffin mix” on the top along with the cook temperature and time. On the underside of the lid I write the dry ingredients, so I can re-fill the mix without having to dig through my recipe cards. I realize coming from the “Jiffy Mix” state, this isn’t really earth-shattering new information here, everyone can make a muffin mix. It’s what I do with the muffin mix that makes it amazing. If I think about it the night before I will get out a 2 cup package of the pumpkin puree I have in the freezer and get it thawing. In the morning I can whip up a pan of spectacular pumpkin muffins. Want blueberry? Add 2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries, or whatever fruit you’ve got that’s muffinable.

The Mix:

2 Cups All purpose flour

2 tsp. Baking powder

½ tsp. Salt

¾ Cup sugar

Store in an air tight container (a quart jar works nicely)

When you’re ready to muffin preheat your oven to 375 and add:

½ cup melted butter

2 eggs

½ cup milk

1 tsp vanilla

2 cups fruit/berries of choice

Bake for 20-25 min

Makes 12 + regular sized muffins

Some of our favorite variations:

Pumpkin Spice Muffins– Omit milk and add ¼ cup maple syrup, 2 cups pumpkin puree, 1 tsp pumpkin spice.

Cranberry Orange Muffins– Add ¼ cup orange juice, 2 Tbs orange zest, 1 Tbs honey, 2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries. Sprinkle with raw sugar before putting batter in the oven.

Honey Oat– 1 cup rolled oats pulsed in food processor about 5 times, 1 cup chopped nuts if desired, ¼ cup honey, 2 Tbs ground flax, 1 tsp cinnamon, ¼ tsp nutmeg. Sprinkle with oats, nuts, & brown sugar before putting batter in the oven.

Chocolate Zucchini: ¼ cup cocoa powder, 2 cups grated zucchini, 1 cup chocolate chips + more for tops.

Banana: 3 smashed ripe bananas, 1 tsp cinnamon.