Thursday, March 24, 2011

On the Move

Yesterday we got the keys for our new home - no, not our farm, although I am more than ready to have it work out for us to buy our farm apparently the universe is not yet...I shall endeavour to remain patient.  However we did find a lovely rental home that is back down in the valley MUCH lower in altitude and we were especially happy about that when we woke up to a fresh 2 inches of snow up here (we still have over a foot on the ground).  We are left this (our current lake view - note the snow and the peak of the mountain on the right side of this photo...
and arrived to this - if you look carefully on the left of this photo you can see the same mountain but now we will see it from down in the valley instead of being up in the mountains behind it, sort of the opposite view.  However we still look upon the same gorgeous lake, we'll just be quite a bit closer to it now and the boys are thrilled.
But, what thrills me the most...
is that I took an hour's break from cleaning and packing (Oh OK, it was more likely two hours) to get out my edger (yes, my I'm addicted I missed it) and my pruners and get to work on some springtime gardening. I can't tell you how delightful it was for me to be back where I could be digging in the dirt and fixing up some neglected flower beds and yes, I was giggling to myself almost the entire time.  Life really is good and we're all feeling very blessed...tired and looking forward to being done with moving but blessed. 

Monday, March 21, 2011

Homemade Soft Scrub Cleaner and Toothpowder

Those are two separate things...don't mistake the soft scrub for use on your teeth. ;-) I was looking at a informative website and came across this recipe for homemade tooth powder.   Since I've got a 2 quart jar of my dried sage (that I am trying to use up before summer) and the other necessary ingredients on hand I thought I would give this toothpowder a try.  I put the sage, salt and baking soda into the blender (I left out the optional clay because I didn't have it) and blended it to a fine powder then poured it into a bowl.  I mixed in the peppermint essential oil and that was it.  It works very well and, possibly because I am used to using plain baking soda on my teeth sometimes, I find the taste of  this, with its peppermint flavour, to be quite nice. I'll definitely keep making it.
I've also been doing quite a bit of cleaning as we get ready to move, normally I am very happy with  using just vinegar and baking soda to clean our bathtubs.  I spray vinegar water on then sprinkle with soda ( I keep mine in old, large spice containers with a shakeable top), scrub with a cloth and rinse - this method has done  me well for years - but every once in a while I like to make a soft scrub to give a bit of an extra clean.  I put about a cup of baking soda in a bowl and add 6 Tbsp of castile soap (have also used Dr.Bronners before) and 6 Tbsp of vinegar and then added just a bit of water to get it to a sort of soft ice cream consistency. 
I put it into a squeeze bottle (or you can just keep it in a container and dip your cloth into that) and it works great on tubs and sinks or on the inside of cupboards. 
Now, I've got clean teeth, tubs, sinks and cupboards...if only I could find some magical way of getting clean (very high) walls that didn't involve me waaay up a ladder. ;-)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

A Little Cabbage Love

Cabbage is a staple veg around here through autumn and winter but, happily, we've yet to tire of it (don't ask me how my boys feel about butternut squash by this time of the year).  Our favourite way to eat cabbage is the cabbage salad from the book A Homemade Life - the salad that E calls "the cabbage salad that you should make if you don't like cabbage...or even salad.".  But the other day I brought home a red cabbage as well and decided we should have a bit of a different salad.  I used my slicer to thinly slice half a head of cabbage and grated some carrots to add, then I put half of this into a container and popped it in the fridge for the next night.
I thought a creamy dressing would be a nice change so I mixed a couple spoonfuls of mayo with some garlic, dry mustard powder, a squeeze of lemon and some salt and pepper.  Then I added some roasted sunflower seeds and mixed it up.  I tasted-tested it before dinner (just two small bowls full!) and then set it out with the rest of dinner.  E let me know that he really liked it after one helping and then quickly helped himself to two more helpings.  Needless to say I was pleased that I already had a container full grated and ready to be dressed in the fridge.   Although...all that said, we are very much looking forward to fresh baby greens from our garden too.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Elderberry Syrup

I've been  busy packing up the shelves of my coldroom, there were still plenty of jars lining the shelves - things we hadn't used yet (it seems I do tend to go a little overboard with my preserving each year).  I kept a couple jars of Elderberry syrup out just in case we needed them before we moved - lucky thing.  W and I had both been feeling the start of something coming on and so I made good use of the syrup (my boys have decided that they don't really like the taste of this syrup so they are sticking with oil of oregano or garlic/lemon tea).
It certainly seems to be doing the trick because I have no feelings of illness today at all.  Love being able to stave off bouts of illness with homemade goodies.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Scottish Oat Cakes

My Oatcake recipe has been with me a long time - since I was little.  These have always been a favourite snack for W and so I like to be sure to make them regularly (anything to help fill up a 15 year old with an endless appetite plus they connect us with our Scottish heritage).  Last week I thought I would make some for our tea time but I couldn't find my recipe.  It took the third time looking through my recipe box to find it (W had put the recipe card back upside down after he made them last time?!?!).  I had a moment of worry that I had lost the recipe and was wishing I had posted it here just in case I'm going to.  I find one of the handiest things about blogging is having another record of my favourite recipes.


1 1/2 cup flour (whatever kind you like)
1/4 sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cup oats
1/2 cup melted butter (I use 1/4 cup butter and 1/4 cup grapeseed oil)
2 eggs beaten with 2 Tbsp water (I used to sometimes use flax seed as an egg substitute and have also used apple juice instead of the water)

Mix dry ingredients then add liquid ingredients/  Mix and then roll out to 1/4 inch on floured board.  Cut.  Bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes.
I love these served split open with a bit of butter and a spoonful of our homemade jam - this time we had blackberry jam on one and blackberry peach on another. Such a simple tea time treat.
And now I'm going to link this in my sidebar so I will more easily be able to find this recipe...just in case.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Things Take Time

I love to go for a walk each day on this property - 10 acres of woods makes for a very peaceful place to walk and think - or not think, if that's preferable.  I always see animal tracks, usually rabbits, different birds, deer, coyotes, squirrels, mice and raccoons.  When we first knew we were moving up here I was told that I might see a moose because we are near to the creek.  I've seen moose at a distance before and been surprised rather close-up by one once when I was snowshoeing but wanted to see one again.  I've been keeping my eyes peeled the whole time we have lived here but, although I've seen tracks on my hikes further up the road, I hadn't come across any on this property. 
Sunday I went for my usual walk down to the ridge above the creek and on the way back I saw tracks where there hadn't been tracks on my way down. When I got to the house I told my family that I thought there was a moose on the property.  E and I went for a walk together on Monday and, sure enough, we were part way down the hill and saw the moose across the fence in the neighbour's property.  We enjoyed watching for a bit and then off she went.  The next day I took W with me and I went to show him where we had seen the moose, as I was scanning the property to see if I could see her in the distance W pointed out that he could see some big ears under the tree right across the fence from  us. 
Not expecting to get so up close and personal with such a huge creature we backed off a bit towards the closest tree and watched and took some photos.  We called up to E and he came down to join us  to watch for another while.  Such an amazing creature - they seem so massive, strong and majestic to me but, at the same time, sweet and almost comical looking.  Truly beautiful. 

Lately my walks have helped keep me present while I've been working at not worrying too much about finding our next home.  I am a big believer in signs - although the last while I would have liked some signs to be bigger...and clearer...and much easier to understand - so it occurred to me when we saw this moose that this was a sort of closure on our time here - a time fraught with many stretching lessons and many ups and downs - and that things would be, and were, working out just as they should.   I had been watching the whole time we lived here and now, at last, just weeks before we leave, here was this moose...right in front of us.  A very good sign indeed.  So, I guess the moral of this story is that while at times things might seem quite...well, poopy...
there is likely a lovely surprise right around the corner from all that poop. ;-)  A lovely reminder for me that Things Take Time.  Life really is good!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Vintage Melmac Plates

Apparently I truly cannot resist thrift stores (anyone who knows me knows this but one would think that I would be able to show some restraint when we are in the middle of packing up all our belongings to move).  We went to a thrift store on Saturday to find an old metal trunk for W (his plan is to fit all his stuff from his room into the trunk for the move) and as we went into the store I could be heard to say (quite firmly), "We are ONLY looking for a trunk, we're not getting ANYTHING else!".  And then....
Yes, exactly!  How was I to resist?  Vintage Melmac plates...made in Canada!  Perfect for my picnics.  Beach days.  Tomato pie at park days.  One of my favourite colours.  And, they fit perfectly in my vintage picnic basket (er...better make that, baskets). was I to resist?  Anyway, since the picnic basket was being packed and moved it might as well be filled with pretty plates(plus that way I can leave the flower ones I found this summer in with our camping supplies and not have to swap them out each week through summer to the picnic basket).  Right?  Right??  Thankfully my family loves me very much and no one pointed out that I was the only one buying something and it wasn't, ahem...a metal trunk.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Can't Stop Knitting Slippers

Apparently these slippers are addictive.  I can't seem to stop myself.  Is it that I want to use up lots of my wool stash (so that I don't have to pack it) and that this pattern lends itself so nicely to doing that?  Is it that I need a distraction from packing and looking for a place to move?  Is it that they are so quick and easy to make (so quick that I can make a pair before I can even finish watching Bleak House)?  Or is it just that I find them so fun and cute?  I don't know.  Probably all of the above.  Whatever the case I now have four pairs knitted and just need to finish with the buttons and weaving the ends in. 
And...I have a feeling I will be making another pair tonight so that I can finish Bleak House.