How do you move on?

I have been at a crossroads for quite a few months, really trying to define my priorities and the priorities for my family. As a result, I have been silent here, not knowing what direction I want to move in. I find the best thing to do when you don’t know which direction to go in is to sit still. Not real good at sitting still. lol…

To give you a quick follow up – I have checked my potato towers – and NOTHING! It was an epic failure! But, next year I will go and try a different method.

We have been crazy busy this summer, and I have TONS of new things to share from our journey.

That’s all for now! I guess the best way to start to move again, is to just take a step.

See y’all soon!

It Snowed, It Rained (hard), It’s 90… and other reasons I haven’t planted those potatoes

For all of you NOT living in NH, let me tell you that this has been an INSANE week for weather. Memorial Day saw snow in many areas around us. Wednesday (when I promised to plant my potatoes) was very cold and rainy, and therefore I did not go out and make my potato tower.  And today? ya, it’s over 90 degrees out! Only in NH, I tell you.

The weather this past weekend allowed me to feel quite vindicated in the fact that I had not yet planted my garden. See? You can get a frost in (almost) June!

This week I have had many things rolling around in my brain, and of course I feel the need to share them with you all! So, welcome to my randomness:

On Homesteading and pretty nails:

I have always enjoyed being “prettied up” – getting my hair done, getting my nails done, etc. Last year when money got tight, we had to have a hard conversation with ourselves and decide what was truly important. Many things went, but I held out on my nails. I tried giving it up, but that seemed to be the thing that made me feel like everything else was ok. But, for Shelac nails it cost $35 every 2 weeks to have them done in the salon. So, I poked around and found that you could purchase everything needed to do them at home for about $70! We bought the supplies and I have been doing them at home myself:

At Home Shelac

At Home Shelac

 

And they come out JUST like they did for $35 at the salon

Salon style nails at home

Salon style nails at home

Geesh, maybe I should be a hand model?!?! Have I missed my calling? lol… These supplies have lasted me since September. 10 months, twice a month, $35 a pop (plus tip), that’s $700 saved! For a $70 investment and a few bad manicures while I figured it out.

Another place we looked at to save money was my husbands haircuts – he has a high and tight type of haircut, and in the Sales industry he like to keep it cut close and neat at all times. He was going to the Barber shop every other weekend, spending $20 a cut. We tried going longer between cuts to save money, but he felt sloppy and unkempt, so again, we looked at doing it at home. We splurged, and bought a pricey set of clippers and then all of the things you need (cape, comb, clippers, guards, those little paper thingys that go around the neck, etc). All together we probably spend just shy of $150. Doing the math, that’s 10 months, and around $450 saved!  (and only 2 or 3 sub-par haircuts to get it right)

I guess what I am getting at here is that you can be working towards living a more self-sufficient lifestyle, but in doing so you don’t have to give up the things that make you feel good. You just need to evaluate, re-evaluate and get creative.

 

On couponing and splurging:

Many of my friends think I may be a bit compulsive with my couponing, some may think I am a hoarder. I admit, I have 30 cases of soda, and I just bought over 20 deodorants, and I have enough cereal to last us the next 7 months. We are all set for pasta and sauce til after Christmas. The list goes on. But I think this is what they are missing – I buy these things while on the cheap (sometimes FREE) not so I can have a full shelf, but so I can save money and NOT have to buy them when they are full price. When I save money (BIG money) on my everyday staples, that gives me more flexible spending money for things like:

Yummy Splurges

Yummy Splurges

 

A $4.99 jar of Nathan’s pickles and German Mustard! When you save all the time, you have money to buy that mustard that was an impulse. And can I tell you how goooooood this mustard is? Had it for lunch yesterday and again today – ham and cheese with mayo and this stuff! To die for! With a pickle on the side.

In the end, it’s all good. Life balances out. I don’t think you can live super extreme to one side or the other. The trick for us is finding a balance we can live with by doing  what we feel is right (by becoming more self-sufficient) while not giving up things we absolutely love. Everyone has their own list of things that are must-haves or must-dos. When those are kept in tact, I find the other peripheral things can go. Balance.

 

On Potato Towers:

Fear not, I will be making the tower this weekend. Meantime, I have cut my seed potatoes and they are drying on my counter so they won’t mold when I plant them. Maddy assures me this is the grossest thing she has had to endure on the counter. I take that as a challenge!

Cut and Drying Seed Potatoes

Cut and Drying Seed Potatoes

 

Happy Homesteading all! Talk to you soon!

 

 

 

We had a fabulous weekend, and you?

We have been busy here on Marcaritaville…

We were grateful for the rainy weekend as that gave us guilt free time to relax, sleep in and run out shopping to pick up the things we needed. We started out at Home Depot where we picked up 4 rough cut 1x8x12’s for our raised beds. We were originally going to buy a smaller board, but when we got there we found these for only $9 and change a piece! One thing I love about Home Depot is their staff – we found a guy right off who was able to cut the pieces for us, and then just like that we had our raised beds all set to nail together.  (another thing I love about Home Depot is the sausage guy – we always get a sausage, pepper and onions – but due to the incredibly horrible weather the sausage guy was closed *insert sad face here*.

We also were able to go to this fabulous new (to us) local garden shop. It is called Roberts Greenhouse, and if you live in middle NH area, it is definitely worth visiting. It is a small-ish farm, with gorgeous sheep there to greet you. The people who work there are so very helpful (they didn’t laugh once at me as I asked them to explain to me how to pick seed potatoes). Their prices are seriously some of the best I have seen, and their plants are gorgeous! While there you can sample local foods they have for sale, and if you love handspun fiber you will be in heaven. It was a great surprise on a VERY cold (45 and drizzly) Sunday afternoon. *More about the seed potatoes in Tomorrow’s post! You won’t want to miss it!

Monday was definitely the day I had been waiting for! Beautiful, sunny, warm… with a slight breeze to keep the black flies at bay. After sleeping in we decided it was finally time to pull the cut boards out of the van and get started.

My husband is AWESOME!

My husband is AWESOME!

As he worked on assembling the raised beds, I surveyed my spot…

Destination Garden!

Destination Garden!

While I got to mowing the clover (which I left where it fell, because my Mama told me it was rich in nitrogen and good for my garden), Kevin was hard at work screwing things…

Kevin Screwing the Beds

Kevin Screwing the Beds

OH! I almost forgot! See those posts int he corner? They came in a box of 6, and were some sort of outdoor stakes, for only $4 and change! We had the wood guy cut them in half for us as well – he didn’t even look at us funny! I LOVE HOME DEPOT!

First Box Done!

First Box Done!

But I love my husband more! After all of the raised beds were finished, I played with placement, and this is what I decided on:

Bed lay out

Bed lay out

They still have to be pounded into the ground, but we were just about done for the day. I would have pushed through, but I hadn’t gotten my mulch yet to mix in with the soil. I discovered that my local dump/transfer station has a MASSIVE mulch pile the size of a house, and we can take all the mulch we want… FOR FREE! So I have to wait until the dump is open on Wednesday to go and get some. FREE! I love free!

After we finished the beds, we went to check out the chicken coop, and realized that there was a leak in the roof – GAK! – so we went around back to see just how bad of shape it was in.

Mind yourself… This is not for the faint of heart!

Roof in Desperate Need of Repair

Roof in Desperate Need of Repair

And the back side was in no better condition, so it will need to be fixed up before the chickens come home to roost (lol, get it? home to roost??? I crack me up!)

Boards needing replacement

Boards needing replacement

Our baby chicks have been procured, and are being well cared for by friends. I am blessed to have a great friend (Duffy!) who went and picked me out 5 darling chicks! And for another friend who will raise them until they are ready to be out in the coop by themselves. They should be coming home mid-summer, plenty of time to fix this mess up! But… if you should find yourself with some time on your hands and a truck we would love to have you over and send you home with a truck full of old shingles… Just sayin’…

Don’t forget to stop on back by tomorrow to read about my impending Potato Tower!!!!! Fun stuff!

Me? A Prepper?

Here’s the problem with media and ‘reality’ tv. They never show the ‘normals’ – it is always an effort to show the most, the weirdest, the best, the worst, the extremes, the extremists. The result is that often times through the negative images sent through reality tv, people who are associated with those things are viewed in negative ways as well.

What am I talking about? Prepping. Or Homesteading. Or self-reliance. Pick a label.

You may have noticed that I have been missing (yet again) from Marcaritaville. I have been struggling with what I want this space to look like. I have also been struggling with what I want my home-space to look like. We are a family in transition, and in the midst of growing and developing it is sometimes difficult to articulate the path. Particularly when you are trying to move into a space of more self-reliance. Particularly when this move is occurring at the same time as all of this attention is directed at this tv ‘reality’ show called “Doomsday Preppers”.  *Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE THIS SHOW! It just isn’t reflective of my beliefs or goals*

So, where am I going with this? Well, I am coming out of the closet. Our family is getting back to a more self-reliant way of life. It started a couple years ago when I decided we needed to grow our own veggies and can them for the winter. And then we had the massive logger fiasco, leaving my garden-to-be area covered in downed logs.

Future home of my canning garden

Future home of my canning garden

This summer we have already hit this area hard, getting much of it cleaned off, and renewing my hopes of a fabulous garden. While we were out there over the past month, looking around, I decided it was time to really get planning. Not just the “someday” type of planning. But planning with a time frame.

After the loggers came in and pretty much clear-cut our 1 1/2 acre fully wooded lot we had a great deal of anger. A month ago, I thought I was past the anger, but as we were working outside I realized I was still so angry. IT was then that I decided that the only way to make the anger go away was to plan on how we could best use this land FOR us. The trees are down. The land is a mess. We can’t take it back. We have to move forward. So plans are now set in action.

Welcome to my massive garden site which be small this year, but by next summer will have a Corn field, as well as all of the veggies any respectable gardener would want for harvest:

DSCN8101

This? Old broken down screen house?

DSCN8099

 

Is becoming my chicken coop. For Mother’s Day it was cleaned out

Last remnants to be cleaned out

Last remnants to be cleaned out

 

And Kevin laid sheet vinyl as a base for easier cleaning

My love being a handy man

My love being a handy man

 

Our coop-to-be is 9ft x 10ft. We are starting small with only 4 chicks, but once we get it all figured out, I have plans of growing my flock and including roasters as well!

We have plans for a small fruit tree grove, as well as some other fancy ideas in the mix.

So, do I plan to stop blogging about knitting and sewing and cooking? Heck no! All of those things are a large part of being self-sufficient.

Am I a prepper? well, not in the “Discovery Cannel” version of the word. I am preparing, I am hopefully more prepared than I was last year at this time.

Am I preparing for a global economic disaster? No. But a family economic disaster? I am ready for that. A short term family emergency? Yup, ready for that as well.

I grew up watching my grandparents garden and can and prepare their stores for the winter. I grew up milking cows at a dairy farm for fun during the summer. I grew up with a mom who taught us by example how to garden, and cook, and sew, and how to make a home. It is strange how all of these skills were lost to so many over the past 30 years. I think it is time to go back to that place of producing for our own families (even if it is just a small portion).

Maybe a little less time running around town and a little more time running around the yard is what we all need.

 

 

 

Egg McPinterests… Breakfast in the Freezer???

OK, I couldn’t pass up pinning this one. It is an imitation of the McDonalds Egg McMuffin. Monica from The Yummy Life blogged about it close to a year ago, and I have to wonder how it took me this long to see it!

While her version is healthy, I opted to make mine full on processed white grains and all.

Ingredients

Ingredients

She suggested using a jumbo muffin tin, but I didn’t have one, so I used these fabulous little milk glass ramekins. I cracked an egg into each one, and baked them at 350 for 20 minutes. I totally forgot to add the salt and pepper. They came out a little bland. Bummer

Eggs

Eggs

While they were cooking I fried up the canadian bacon and toasted the english muffins lightly.

Canadian Bacon

Canadian Bacon

Then assembled them.

DSCN7744I chose no cheese for mine, as I really don’t like cheese on my McMuffin.

My original intention was to have some stocked for the freezer, but the bus had just stopped outside, and the kids all came scrambling int he door, and POOF – no more McMuffins.

I would say they were a hit, and will make them again.

 

 

Pinterest saved my tub!

What you are about to see may be alarming. It is NOT for the faint of heart. It is *gasp* my tub! When we moved in to our new house 7 years ago this tub was the bain of my existence. I am a bubble bath taker. I take one most nights before bed. I relax, decompress and read. For 7 years I have been grossed out by my tub. For seven years I have tried every cleaner ever made. I have used bleach, comet, toothpaste, that “incredible magic” mixture that is on pinterest (btw – this didn’t even make a bit of a change, and all I smelled was vinegar for a week).  Everything! Spray, foam, gel, powder. I really should have kept track of all the money I spent on all of these products. Glad I didn’t.

So, 2 weeks ago I told Kevin I wanted to go to Home Depot and pick up that paint that paints over the tub. He said we should wait until spring when we could open the windows. I couldn’t wait. I went to Pinterest and started looking around more. And this is what I found:

Pinterest Tub Cleaner (I am sorry, but the picture for this won’t cooperate and show up for me, so just trust me when I tell you, it is a picture of a nasty before and a pretty after of a tub)

This pinner suggested the Magic Eraser! So, desperate, and determined to not spend any money (so that I can continue with my No-Spend Challenge) I went off to the kitchen and checked under the sink… SCORE! I had a box of magic sponges! Immediately I went to my bathroom and started scrubbing with the damp Magic Eraser.

Not even 10 minutes later I had finished half – a “before and after” for you so you could see a real life, non-staged, result:

 

Half done!

Half done!

WOOOHOOOOO! And the choir of angels sang! A clean tub was within my reach. But then tragedy struck… my camera battery died! So, being the devoted blogger I am, I had to stop here. My youngest came home from school and asked “Mom, why is the tub half clean?”

Yup. This is what happens when your Mama is a blogger! :)

The moral of this story? After spending hours and hours and hours bent over, scrubbing, cramping my arms and hands… Mr. Clean was the best man for the job. And now? I don’t have to go and spend a ton of money on paint to paint my tub (although once it gets warmer, I am TOTALLY painting this old and outdated tile)!

Now, I am off to get my knit on. I will be knitting at The Monarch’s Game this evening. It is Pink in The Rink – Our local hockey teams’ breast cancer awareness game. I will post pics tomorrow.

 

***If you decide to try the Magic Eraser on your tub, I would love to hear how it worked for you****

Knitting Marathon – How do you track your rows?

I am knocking off row upon row of sleeve! Knitting sleeves for me is worse than having to knit the second sock. So I have to come up with things to keep me engaged. Like checklists. I am a wicked list maker. So, when things need checking off, I’m your girl. This is what I use to keep track of my sleeve increases…

Sleeve Increase Tracker

Sleeve Increase Tracker

Now, back to sleeve knitting, so I can finish this arm by bedtime.

First Sleeve

First Sleeve

 

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