"Wisdom has built her House, she has hewn out her Seven Pillars" Proverbs 9:1
I look forward to having you come join me as we work to turn our houses into homes.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Homestead Supplies: laundry liquid

Well the rain is pouring down here today, so no outside work is going to get done!  However my supply of laundry liquid is getting low, and I have to admit that working close to full time march to mid June, I ended up having to buy lots of washing powder.  I just didn't have the extra time, or energy, or maybe I was just in one of those ruts of " I don't care" mode.......until that is, the shopping docket made me sit up and gasp!   Turns out laziness can be an expensive habit!!!!  So, time to get out the pure soap and get it grated up.   I'm using some of own plain soap, otherwise use velvet soap or a pure soap.
You want to grate up 1/2 cup into small bits.... Bigger bits take forever to melt down.  If you grate up more you can store it in a jar so you have it already to use for next time, and it looks kinda nice in the glass jar!
So stick the grated soap into a large pot over heat..... Today mine was done on the wood heater, where i have my kettle sitting during the winter months, to save using any electricity.  Add 1 1/2 cups of boiling water and stir the soap flakes until they are dissolved.  If they are not properly dissolved then your liquid will separate later.  Once completely dissolved, add 1/2 cup each of washing soda and borax. (Now if you have a grey water system set up going out to the veggies, then omit the borax).  

Add another cup and a half of boiling water and keep on stirring until its all dissolved.  Now we are ready to pour this mixture into 1 large, or equally into 2 smaller buckets to which we add hot water (from the tap). To make up to 9litres in total.  

At this stage I like to put my buckets aside to cool down and begin the setting process ( today, that means out in the cold LOL ).  If use more soap, or less water, you will get a thicker gel.  Just remember that if you plan on being able to pour the liquid from the bottles, you don't want a really thick gel (but you do use a little more in each wash).  In other words, the thicker the gel, the lesser amount you use in the load of washing.
Before they cool down I like to add some essential oil to give a nice smell to my washing....today it happens to be lemon.  Usually I like to use apple, but apparently I'm all out of apple, so lemon it is! When you are happy with the consistency, you are ready to bottle it up.  Using a funnel helps with the bottling process and don't forget to label your bottles so everybody knows what it is AND how much to use.  For this recipe I find 1/4 cup works well, but add more for heavier loads.

I leave a bit of room at the top of each of my bottles so I can give it a good shake before using.  Now that  works out to less than $1 per bottle, and I know exactly what is in it!!!  Print this out and stick it in your binder.   Now im off to do a bit of crochet!     Hugs,  Sharm

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Your Own Homestead Binder

Remember the homestead binder I mentioned yesterday?  It's a great tool in a road to simplicity and you don't have to have a house on a hundred acres for it to work!  You can also call it whatever you want to.  We live on a large quarter acre block in the country, and because of how we utilise our block, I like to think of our house as a little homestead.  After all, it's all just a matter of how you look at things.

So gather up your supplies........ A 2 ring binder (cover it to reflect something you enjoy), some divider sheets, paper and a pen.......oh, and if you have those plastic dividers like I do, a pair of long nose tweezers sure helps to get the paper tags into them......
Keep it simple........ 7 dividers each marked pillar 1 to 7.  I printed out a photo or picture onto a sheet as a header page for each pillar, and it also gives me a mini "chapter" reference guide for what I can expect to find in each pillar........   Like this.....
And this.......

You can find a basic list of what is under each pillar on the section of this blog that refers to them.  Now sometimes you already have a kind of a folder started that is a bit of this and a bit of that, and you might wonder how in the world you can get those into pillar headings.......... Soooooo, keep it simple, write out your headings one under the other on some scrap paper, then pop an arrow beside those headings with what they might refer to, and then you will suddenly discover they fit under one of the pillars......... Something like this.......
Now, I really like to have a section that is just devoted to the kitchen..... It covers menu planning, which tells me the types of foods I can grow, and of course that leads to preserving etc etc...... But in reality, that all comes down to organisation ......hmmmmmm, so, Pillar 3!   See how it works.
I do however keep the plastic pages that hold the various business cards right at the front of the binder for easy access.   So there you have it,  gradually add things into your binder under each of the headings and enjoy having it all together in one place that is easy to access and easy to store.
Hugs, Sharm

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Simple Things

I don't know about you, but it's the simple things in life that I seem to get so much pleasure from, like these flowers that I just picked from my front garden...... The one that runs along beside the gravel driveway leading to our front verandah......... Come on in and have a cuppa with me...... The lovely little cow whistling kettle is sitting atop my wood fire at the ready....
Hahn, that cuppa is great after being out doing some of the weeding!  I have a saucepan on the stove with some diced meat in getting it nice and tender for my beef burgundy pie I'm making for dinner.  The recipe is here on my blog under the recipe tab if want to give it a go.  It's quite simple and always seems to be a hit!    There is just something really appealing about living a simplified life, but simple does not necessarily mean that work and organisation does not come into play!  The flowers did not grow by themselves..... I had to plant them, well, actually I had to dig a garden bed first of all, then consider what I wanted growing there as people entered the house (us included), and I wanted to have something in that bed flowering that would give joy during each of the seasons ( which meant having a couple of different things planted ).   
My homestead binder is another essential item that helps to keep things around here simplified....
My binder has sections as you might remember from earlier posts, it also has a plastic page that holds business cards, or any other type of card that is of that size.  Anything to do with the household & homestead, I try to keep here so that it is all in a central place!  Simple, easy to use, easy to file, easy to store!  You just have to set it up........ Maybe we can work on doing that tomorrow if you would like to.  Enjoy the rest of your day,    Hugs, Sharm

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Winner of the little giveaway

For some reason I pressed the wrong button on the iPad and deleted this post from a couple of days ago, so I am reporting it!    The winner of the giveaway of the apron and crocheted dishcloth is Shez.  From.  http://www.shez-enjoying life.blogspot.com.   All entries from both Facebook & the blog were put together into a dish and dear daughter pulled out the winner!   Please contact me shez by email. sharmshere@yahoo.com   To give me your address so I can post this off to you.  Hugs sharm


I used my cake batter receipe, the throw it all in together & beat it up one,   Then melted a bit of chocolate in one bowl, heated up some of my home made plum jam in another and then swirled them both through the uncooked batter and popped them in the oven......this was the result! It was really quite yummy and needed no icing and came out of the oven in time to serve to visitors on Sunday arvo.  So if you need a quick cake and know you won't have time to ice it, then this works a treat!    I will pop the one bowl cake receipe into the receipe list later today .   It's one of those that you can change to make it either a chocolate, vanilla, coffee, etc and has been received very well for the past 29 yrs!!!     Hugs. Sharm

Monday, July 8, 2013

A little giveaway

So today  my bible reading took me to Proverbs 3:9     Which seemed to just scream.... The 7 pillars home.  It made me remember how blessed I am to have all the things I have, home and family, and after my close call last week, even more so.  I'm thankful for the friendships that have been made with all you guys and so I thought I would get out some fabric and make up one of my aprons, and crochet up one of my dishcloths to use as a giveaway.  All you need do is leave a comment here or on the Facebook page telling me what one of the 7 home making pillars are (hint: you can see them here on this blog on the separate page).  If you share this on your own blog or FB please let me know so you can get a 2nd chance in the drawer.  The giveaway closes on 14th July 2013 and is open to everyone.

Hugs,  sharm

Thursday, July 4, 2013

The soughdough Starter

If anybody watched the first episode of river cottage Australia, you will know they made a sourdough starter.  Well I've decided to fly with the idea of beginning a starter here to celebrate a fresh start ( and the gift of a lucky survival thanks to God looking out for me with that steel beam).  My starter is just a little different from the river cottage one which used whole meal, spelt & rye flours......... Instead I have used what I already have on hand........ Whole meal, buckwheat, and plain old white flours.  I expect it will take between 5 - 10 days to be ready, and of course it is winter down in this part of the world right now, with some very frosty mornings!  Why not join me in making up a starter so we can begin baking the odd loaf together.    You can head over to river cottage to get the full directions and the recipe for making the loaf, but basically you start with a cup of 3 lots of flour, mixing with enough water to form a soft dough, then cover with a damp teatowel and leave in a warm place...... You will need to add to it each day and I do hear that it is better not to use any metal when doing it, although I can't be sure of that.  Leave me a message if you plan to have a go at this with me!

Monday, July 1, 2013

A literal Hit over the Head!

After all the extra work I was called in to do at the hospital, I found myself slipping further and further behind on things here on our little quarter acre homestead.  Gardens are full of weeds, plants and trees not tended to, baking replaced by processed supermarket substances.........  I realised that my stresses and our costs of living have increased substantially during these past 3 months of close to full time work.  I took the dog for a lovely walk down along the river yesterday morning thinking I need to get back on track somehow........

Well, I did begin digging the front garden over when hubbie needed a hand to "hold this pole so I can see how this carport would fit"........  The carport that was purchased for a house we were renovating, but it didn't end up going in and made the 3 day move to our next house up in Townsville ( our lifestyle change which lasted 9 months), and then it came the 3 days back to this house.........where it looks like It will finally go up..........   Except it managed to come apart and fall onto my head yesterday afternoon........   I must have been blessed with a hard head.... No cuts, no fracture. And after a brain scan, there is no sign of a bleed either....... I did have quite the headache as you might imagine!

Well, the mighty bump over the head has made me remember my priorities and thank God for His blessings, to get back to turning our house into a home, using those 7 pillars, and making it a place that provides so much for our family.
The lovely steel beam that decided to land on my head when it fell from the pole......