Sunday, January 22, 2017

Homestead Themed Address Labels by Colorful Images

The Country Lodge Classic address labels
I have recently ordered new address labels from Colorful Images and I was beyond thrilled to have several homestead themed designs to choose from. The variety of designs is one of the things that keeps me coming back to Colorful Images - there is a design for nearly every mood, season, holiday, and interest.  

As you may know from a recent post, I have recently discovered that not only are bears in the general area near The Shack, I caught photographs of a bear in the yard!  I am both thrilled and afraid with this new information. I love bears. But to have them in your back yard... that is a bit intimidating.  The good news is, it will take awhile before I can live on my land so I have some time to get accustomed to the idea of having bears in the yard.

When shopping for new address labels a few days later, I chuckled when I saw the Country Lodge Classic design. Perfect to represent my life at the moment - and my fervent desire to live in my "country lodge" with the wildlife just outside the door. The "rustic" artwork, full moon, bear, and small lodge art caused me to purchase without looking any further.

Country Lodge Classic address labels (4 designs)

However, if you prefer a homesteading style address label with a different size or design, there are still plenty to choose from. 

So many homesteads have chickens. And with chickens often comes colorful Roosters.  The Year of the Roosters labels are large labels of 12 different artistic illustrations of gorgeous roosters. 

A Year of Roosters Select address labels (12 designs)

Another great option is the 12 different designs of the Farmscapes Select.  These designs are seasonal portraits of farming landscapes that includes cows, round hay bales, autumn leaves, snow, and of course a green and yellow tractor. I enjoy having the ability to change my labels with the changing season.

Farmscapes Select address labels  (12 designs)

This is a very small sample of the homesteading address label designs offered by Colorful Images.  I have had nothing but good experiences when ordering from Colorful Image and am glad to have address labels that express me so perfectly.

*This article may contain affiliate links. If you shop via one of the affiliate links, I may earn a small commission - at no additional cost to you.  I am very appreciative of every reader who visits my articles. Thank you.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

My NEW Favorite Bread Recipe

You may have already heard of this ultimate bread recipe shared from Patara's homestead. After all, it appears to be a trending topic in the homesteading world. At least it is on the homesteading social media sites that I've been lucky enough to become a member of. But just in case you haven't heard of it, I wanted to share my success with this awesome recipe. This is an incredibly delicious and easy bread recipe and I'm very excited about it.

Pullman Loaf Pan

Have you ever heard of a "Pullman Loaf Pan"? I had not. Not until I read about this recipe. Skeptically, I ordered one from Amazon and I baked my first attempt of this bread recipe in it just days after receiving the pan.

I think this pan is the greatest thing since sliced bread! (sorry, I couldn't stop myself). A Pullman loaf pan is rectangular and has a lid that closes. This results in those square sandwich bread loaves.  I was skeptical because, as I believe I've mentioned about a million times, I'm not so good in the kitchen. I couldn't imagine how a bread pan with a lid could possibly work and I expected disaster. Instead, this pan worked out great and I'm going to order a second one.

Pullman Loaf Pan

The Ultimate Bread Receipe from Patara at Appalachia's Homestead

I don't recall how I first came to hear about Appalachia's homestead. I believe I pinned one of her articles. Then I started to follow her on different social media sites - as I do many homestead bloggers.

I also joined her Homestead with Patara of Appalachia's Homestead facebook group.  Those members (a great group of folks, I have to add) started posting photo after photo of their successes with this bread recipe.  So I jumped on that hay wagon and ordered my Pullman pan, honey, and SAF yeast.  I already had the salt, flour, warm water, and oil.

After all, I was feeling slightly more confident after my success with the Peasant Bread recipe. I felt like maybe I could branch out with another bread recipe. But I still wasn't very optimistic.

These are a few of the many reasons I recommend this recipe to you:

  • only 6 ingredients
  • you can bake this bread in Pullman pan, a flat sheet, regular bread loaf pan, or probably just about any pan you have handy 
  • the recipe made two large loaves - plenty of bread for me for a week or more
  • quick prep time - knead for about ten minutes, let it rest 10 minutes, divide, and let it rise for 10-45 minutes, bake.
  • forgiving recipe - substitute the SAF yeast with the yeast of choice, use wheat flour instead of bread flour, and so on.

SAF Yeast

As proof of my success with Patara's Ultimate Bread Recipe, I'll just post my photos.  And following the photos, I'll add the links to finding Patara's sites.  If you are at all interested in a bread that is easy enough for even me to bake successfully on the first attempt, or if you are at all interested in homesteading, be sure to check out some of the links below. 

The Pullman Loaf Pan loaf

The loaf I baked in a cake pan

The sandwich I took to work today

Related Links:

Appalachia's Homestead youtube channel. You will find the bread recipe on video as well as many videos about chickens, eggs, gardening, recipes, homeschooling, and virtually all things homestead.

Appalachia's Homestead with Patara facebook page. Here you will find Patara's photographs, give-aways, links to her other pages, links to the annual homesteading conference, and more.

Homesteading with Patara of Appalachia's Homestead is a closed group facebook homesteading page. Homesteaders (and those of us who have homestead dreams and plans) everywhere are sharing homestead joys and woes. This is a "G" rated group of supportive folks who are willing to share and support.

Intro photo design created courtesy of  FotoJet

*This article may contain affiliate links. If you shop via one of the affiliate links, I may earn a small commission - at no additional cost to you.  I am very appreciative of every reader who visits my articles. Thank you.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Tales: Homestead Rescue TV Show Review

Are you interested in homesteading? Do you want to live off-grid? I have a new favorite television series that is perfect for beginning homesteaders and off-grid dreamers. Homestead Rescue airs on the Discovery Channel but I discovered it on Amazon. Homestead Rescue is a reality TV show in which the Raney family visits people who are living on off-grid homesteads and who are struggling. While every homestead and homesteader is different and unique, there are lessons to be learned in each episode.

Beth and Mike Need Immediate Assistance to Survive

In the first episode of Homestead Rescue the Raney family rescues Beth and Mike. This empty nest couple sold their "regular" home  6 months prior and moved to a very remote homestead in the Wolf Creek Mountains of Montana. This gorgeous mountain area is as breathtakingly beautiful as it is frightening. Multiple empty dwellings are reminiscent of a ghost-town and are constant reminders of the failed attempts to homestead here by the prior owners.

With no water source, no food, and with predators large enough to be serious dangers to humans, Mike and Beth are at high risk from not being successful on this homestead. Their location so remote that one good snow storm and they will be at high risk of death.

Who are the Raneys?

Marty Raney has lived off-grid in Alaska.  He has worked in logging while living on a floating camp and has lived on a homestead in  a very remote area of Alaska. 

In this TV reality series, Marty and his adult children, Misty and Matt, are visiting struggling homestead families for 10 days at a time in order to help them with the steep learning curve of homesteading and be successful. Misty brings skills of farming and gardening. Matt brings skills of hunting, fishing, and understanding how to protect the homestead from predators.

The Take Away from this Episode

I found this couple to be endearing, even though Beth is a bit rigid and frustrating initially.  Homesteaders have their dreams of what they want their homestead to be. But Beth's dreams were so big that they weren't getting started. I understand that mentality.  My little piece of land is not as large or as remote as their homestead. But I have dreams. And sometimes those dreams hold me back from doing things that could be done immediately.

The lesson learned from Mike and Beth is to just get started. Do what you can to start being self-sufficient immediately. And make sure that your dreams are attainable and make sense for your property.

Beth butted heads with the Raney family in the beginning. And in the end, she did not get what she thought she wanted. But in the end, the look on her face and the pride in her voice said it all. She did not need that grandiose long term dream to be implemented in order to be successful and happy on her homestead.

*This article may contain affiliate links. If you shop via one of the affiliate links, I may earn a small commission - at no additional cost to you.  I am very appreciative of every reader who visits my articles. Thank you.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Moultrie Camera Update - At The Shack

It had been months since I've visited The Shack and I missed it oh so much. There were many, many reasons I wanted to spend the last few days of December 2016 camping there, but the Moultrie Game Camera was one of those reasons.  It had been so long since the last time I checked it. I couldn't wait to see what had been caught on this wonderful little game camera up until the time that the batteries went dead - because after so much time the batteries had to be dead. Right? Wrong.

The Moultrie Game Camera Update

I purchased my game camera in the spring of 2016.  You can read the full review of the camera here. At that time, I found it easy to use and reliable at taking good photos of the wildlife and domestic dogs who were visiting my place on the ridge.  I highly recommended this game camera to one and all who were looking for a camera for wildlife, security, and similar purposes.

However, at that time, I did not know exactly how impressive this camera was!  You see, I last visited The Shack in the end of August/beginning of September. The camera was re-positioned on September 2nd.  I was not able to return until the end of December.  I thought surely the camera batteries would have expired by then. But they had not!

This little camera has taken some amazing photos from April to December 2016 on one set of batteries. In fact, the camera continued to take photos as I opened it up in order to turn it off on December 28th.

My only irritation with the camera has been some user error.  If you aim this at blowing tree limbs or the tops of tall weeds, you will end up with many, many photos of leaves blowing in the wind. However, aimed well, this camera takes great photos.  With a lot as steep as mine, it's not always easy to aim it away from the blowing flora.  But when I aim it away from the leaves, I am amazed at what visits my little bit of land.

Wildlife Visitors at The Shack

Dogs, cats (domestic), and deer have been the frequent visitors to my little camping cabin in West Virginia. I was thrilled to see what I would find on the camera during this trip. I hope you enjoy viewing my wildlife visitors and the changing seasons as much as I did.

Whether using a game camera for hunting purposes, security purposes, or just to watch what is going on outside, I highly recommend the Moultrie. What great fun to see what is happening outside when you are not there. And when nature is going about it's business without humans present.  

My dream is to someday build a little gazebo or viewing deck under the crest of the hill (where my "yard" meets my woods) so that I can view this clearing which is invisible from my little shack deck. It will take some planning because I would want to build in a way that has low impact on the woods and wildlife but allows me to watch this activity in person. Until then, I'll just watch remotely via this wonderful little device.

*This article may contain affiliate links. If you shop via one of the affiliate links, I may earn a small commission - at no additional cost to you.  I am very appreciative of every reader who visits my articles. Thank you.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas to You

Whether you celebrate Christmas, or Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa  - or don't celebrate any occasion during this season at all - I want to take a moment to send you good wishes.

I want to especially send good wishes to my readers, friends, and those who visit and support my blog.  I hope the season brings you every treasure you hope for.

To all of our first responders, law enforcement, and military personnel.... thank you. I wish you safety and peace - not only this day but this coming year. To all of you who are deployed, I especially thank you. You are always in my thoughts. May all of your Christmas wishes comes true.

Whether you celebrate the season with boisterous gatherings or quietly at home alone, my hope is that the good things come to light and are the focus of the day. I hope the gift of silver linings shine bright.

This is the season of charity. I hope we all give more than we take - not only today but in all of the days to come.

May your day be bright, happy, and full of love - no matter where you are or what you are doing. Merry Christmas to you.

From me.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Got Wine - Need Glasses

I just spent the day with a friend and was given a bottle of my favorite wine.  After I arrived home, I realized that I have no wine glasses. I believe having at least one favorite wine glass is important and having no wine glasses is a problem. I am going to share some of the treasures I have found during my search for my next wine glass.

I prefer to have a variety of different wine glasses - buying by the stem. That eliminates the "is this my glass or yours?" confusion.  And while wine glass charms are adorable, they are an extra thing to keep track of during times between gatherings.  Below are four wonderful wine glass choices I have found.

New Year's Wine Glasses

I am seriously leaning toward a wine glass that is decorated with a New Year's motif in order to commemorate the New Year. This past year has been a year that has felt productive. I am continuing to more toward some of my life goals. While I likely will not be at any public celebration to ring in the new year, I am feeling excited about welcoming a new year and continuing my journey.  

Last year, I rang in the New Year at The Shack (my little off-grid cabin on a mountain ridge).  I drank wine from a plastic cup because I had forgotten to bring a glass. But this year, whether I end up at The Shack or stay at my apartment, a New Year's Eve glass may be the perfect thing.

However, wherever, and for whatever personal reasons you are feeling celebratory this year, a glass for 2017 might be the thing for you.

Lolita hand painted and jeweled wine glass for New Year's Eve

pros: beautiful, unique, welcomes the new year in with BLING
cons: hand wash only

Mouth blown Wine Glasses

I love mouth blown wine glasses.  I think they are beautiful and they often come in gorgeous colors. Since they are hand-crafted, no two are exactly alike. I love watching the artists who make mouth blown items.  It is magical to see the red-hot soft glass form into a functional item

This mouth blown and hand painted LARGE wine glass is gorgeous and is a best seller on Amazon. At the time of this writing, over 1,300 reviews indicate this glass is the one to buy. 

Antoni Barcelona large hand painted wine glass

pros: beautiful colors, unique, delicate
cons: I break them more easily

Leaded Crystal Wine Glass

I lean toward cut crystal wine glasses.  They are usually heavier than the mouth blown glass and can withstand my clumsiness a bit more.  But what attracts me most about crystal wine glasses are the cuts.  I love how the cut designs sparkle. 

Crystal wine glasses come in a large variety of designs and sizes. From a few cuts to an intricate pattern and from a small, modest size of just a few sips to a bowl large enough to house a happy goldfish, you are likely to find what you want with crystal wine glasses.

Waterford Lismore Hock, 6 oz

pros: heavier, tend to be more durable, and it is fun to make that ringing sound by running your finger around the top of the glass
cons: good crystal tends to be more expensive

We have a Winner - The Luigi Bormioli Romantica Wine Glass

I believe I have chosen my next wine glass set. This is out of my ordinary, as I often purchase by the stem, and a mixed set. But this set of 4 eye-catching glasses are a perfect bowl size for me (13 oz), are priced within my budget, and have received good reviews. 

Luigi Bormioli all purpose wine glasses, set of 4

pros: beautiful, reasonably priced, and can buy water glasses, champagne glasses, and double old fashioned glasses to match
cons: the tall (9") stems are too tall for some cabinets and dishwashers

One final thing, are you aware that in many states wine can be purchased from Amazon?  I was aware of this a few years ago but had not looked at the selection again until recently. While my favorite wine is not available through the Amazon Wine & Champagne Shop, I see several other wines that I enjoy listed there. 

*This article may contain affiliate links. If you shop via one of the affiliate links, I may earn a small commission - at no additional cost to you.  I am very appreciative of every reader who visits my articles. Thank you.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Handmade Treasures: Slouchy Crochet Beanie

I am in the process of crocheting an adorable, lightweight slouchy beanie. I am so excited about this cute and easy crochet pattern and yarn that I have to share this treasure with you - before I have even finished the project. If you like to crochet, or if you would like to learn, this is a cute and easy pattern. Simple enough to finish in a few days and cute enough to give as a gift. 

I am unable to take credit for creating this pattern.  I am not that talented. In fact, I had chosen the yarn before I even had a pattern. I feel fortunate that I was able to find this yarn and this pattern for this particular project.

There is a young lady at work who has tentatively expressed a desire to learn to crochet.  In order to try to tempt her to give crochet another try (we have tried on one other occasion), I decided to have her choose the yarn, and I would try to crochet something easy for her. 

She chose this cheery red and white yarn.
Red Heart - Team Spirt (red and white)

I am pressed for time.  Because I did not feel that I would have time to mail order it, find a quick and easy pattern, and then complete it in the time frame I had set for myself, I went to a local craft store.  In fact, I went to two craft stores, trying to find her red and white yarn.

Stitch Studio by Nicole - picnic
I was unable to find the yarn she had chosen. Instead I found this beautiful, lightweight yarn at AC Moore.  It is Stitch Studio by Nicole - Picnic. It is a lightweight and soft yarn.  It will make a beautiful beanie.

I then located an easy and quick crochet pattern by The Crochet Crowd.  Fortunately, they provide both the written pattern and a step-by-step video tutorial. 

In the tutorial, they are using Caron Cakes yarn, which is a gorgeous, soft yarn that is dyed in a way that it creates a beautiful change in pattern without changing yarn. I was tempted by the Caron Cakes yarn while I was shopping at the stores, but unfortunately there were no bright red options. Because I have chosen a slightly lighter weight yarn, I did test the gauge and chose the hook that will give me that gauge. However, even with that preparation, I believe these hats will not fit large heads (like mine). But that works out well for this project. I believe it will end up fitting the young lady perfectly.
Caron Cakes yarn

Introduction photo credit: author's photo of beanie in progress (graphic courtesy of FotoJet)