Wednesday, January 15, 2014


Well,I have finally gotten around to adding the recipe for Angel Biscuits.  I made these for supper a few days ago and was asked for the recipe.  I am sorry that I didn't get it posted before now.  But, we delivered puppies on the 13th and that just simply threw my whole week off. 



Angel Biscuits

Ingredients:
1 Tablespoons dry yeast
2 Tablespoons sugar
5 Tablespoons warm water
2 cups buttermilk (I use powdered buttermilk reconstituted.)
1/4 teaspoon soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 teaspoons baking powder
5 cups flour
1 cup shortening

Directions:
Dissolve yeast in warm water and set aside.  Sift together into a large bowl flour, baking powder, soda, salt and sugar.  Cut in shortening.  (I use two table knives.)  Add buttermilk and dissolved yeast (It is okay if it is bubbling.  This is okay.  If it isn't bubbling it may be that your yeast is too old or your water was too warm.)  I mix this with a fork.  Turn dough out onto a floured space and knead until smooth adding dustings of flour as needed.  Do not let rise. Press out to about a thickness of 1/2 to 3/4 inch and cut with floured biscuit cutter. Place on an ungreased baking sheet and bake at 375 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes.  (If not using all of dough or not baking immediately, place dough in a zip lock bag and store in refrigerator.)   Makes approximately 25 to 30 biscuits.

Notes:
I use this dough to make cinnamon rolls. Divide dough in half and press out into a large rectangle about 1/4 to 3/8 inch thick.  Spread generously with soft margarine and sprinkle a generous amount of cinnamon sugar over margarine.  Roll up dough across short length making a long roll.  Cut across roll of dough making pinwheels 3/4 to 1 inch in thickness.  Place on baking sheet and bake 15 to 20 minutes until dough is cooked through and lightly browned.  Drizzle with powdered sugar glaze while still hot and serve.

I also use this dough to dough.  Press dough out into pan.  Spread with pizza sauce, put on favorite toppings, top all with shredded cheese.  Bake at 400 degrees for 20 - 25 minutes until dough is cooked through and browned on bottom and toppings are hot through and cooked to desired doneness.

I hope you enjoy making these as much as I do and that you and your family enjoy them as much as we do.

Have a blessed day.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

WELCOME 2014

     A very Happy New Year to all my family and friends.

     It is a beautiful day outside to start the new year.  I don't make New Year's resolutions.  But, I do make goals and plans.  I will be sharing my goals and plans with you over the next year. 

     It is my thought and plan to be a more active blogger.  I realize that I haven't blogged in well over a year.  For this I am sorry.  I will make every effort to do better this year. 

     I am sure that much has happened here on our homestead since my last entry.  I will be looking back over my posts and bringing everyone up-to-date over the next few days and weeks. 

     I am retiring from working outside the homestead.  This is going to give me much more time to concentrate on building the homestead and finishing many started projects.  I will be exploring ways to make an income from the homestead and ways to save money and to live more simply and frugally.  I will be sharing these explorations with you in hopes that some of you may find them useful in some way.

     I will be learning how to write and organize my blog.  This is still all new to me.  I thank you all in advance for your help in my endeavors this new year.

May you have a blessed day and a prosperous new year.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Crushed Pineapple Upside Down Cake, Jar Savers and Canning

I decided to try a new recipe.  We like pineapple upside down cake but, I have never thought that pineapple rings made enough pineapple.  So, when I discovered this recipe in some of my old recipes from family and friends I decided to give it a try.  And, we loved it.  I could have gotten it a little more centered on the plate.  But, it was the first time that I had baked a cake in my cast iron skillet and it was so heavy.  Next time I will get my wonderful hubby to help me dump it onto the plate. 







Crushed Pineapple Upside Down Cake

INGREDIENTS:
2 ¼ cups flour                                   ½ cup shortening
3 teaspoons baking powder              7/8 cup milk
1 teaspoon salt                                 2 eggs
1 ½ cups sugar                                1 teaspoon vanilla

2 ½ cups crushed pineapple, well drained
2 cups brown sugar, packed
½ cup butter

DIRECTIONS:
Sift flour, baking powder, and salt. Cream shortening and sugar. Add eggs, slightly beaten. Mix well. Add flour and milk alternately. Stir in vanilla last.

Melt butter in heavy pan or skillet. Press brown sugar firmly into this. Place crushed pineapple evenly on sugar. (Slices or cubes may be used.)

Pour cake mixture in large skillet or pan on top of pineapple. Bake at 325 F for 30 to 40 minutes. Cool 5 minutes and turn out on platter.

QUANTITY:
Makes one 10 inch layer cake

FROM:
Unknown

COMMENTS & SUGGESTIONS:

To melt the butter, I put it in the iron skillet and popped it into the oven to melt while I mixed up the cake.

Next time, I think I will use all the pineapple. I had about 2/3 cup or so left over from the 2 cans it took. I am also thinking of substituting pineapple juice for the milk in the cake.

When using crushed pineapple if the pineapple sticks slightly to the pan it can be scrapped out and spread over cake and your cake will still look nice.

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Filling the Pantry

This past week, I have also been canning sweet potatoes.  I put up 14 quarts.  I still have a few sweet potatoes left and have found a recipe for sweet potato butter.  I will be trying out this recipe.  Mom and I like pumpkin butter so, I think this will be just as good. 

I got my Jar Savers to use with my Food Saver this past week.  I had already bought 15 lbs quick oats, 5 lbs corn starch, 5 lbs elbow spaghetti, 1/2 pound each of spearmint and peppermint leaves and 25 lbs pinto beans to put up in canning jars.  A friend gave us about 3 lbs red beans that I have also put up.  It has been a real experience.  I had never done this before.  The corn starch has been a real challenge.  Because it is powdered it wants to seep up between the seal and the jar during the vacuum process.  Sister Barton suggested I use rounds of paper toweling or put it in plastic bags in the jar.  I am trying the paper toweling as I wanted to get away from the plastic bags.  We will see how it goes.  The oatmeal was also a challenge, but it seems to be staying sealed now.  A big thanks goes out to Sister Barton and Sister Gross for telling me and showing me about these wonderful devices for preserving our dry food. 

"Divide your portion to seven, or even to eight, for you do not know what misfortune may occur on the earth." -- Ecclesiastes 11:2

Saturday, January 7, 2012

IT'S A NEW YEAR!

     Happy New Year everyone.  I am looking forward to this new year.  I don't make New Year's Resolutions.  I do however make plans and try to create goals to implement and complete my plans.

     Since I last blogged, we have added a boar/nubian mix buck goat to our homestead.  His name is Dobby after the house elf on Harry Potter.  When we add a doe, I plan to name her Winky.  He is the beginning of our meat goat herd.  He really is kind of fun and kind of mischievious like Dobby the house elf.  We don't have any other goats so he has adopted us as his herd.  This can be trying sometimes when he is loose as he likes to get into everything including the car.  He's managed to make it through the door into the house once.  We do have him trained fairly well to walk on a leash.  We are wanting to add at least 3 does to our herd no later than early Summer if at all possible.  We will most likely do this one at a time.  We are most thankful to some friends that are willing to teach us about raising goats as this is an all new experience for us.  In return for their teaching, we try to help them with caring for their herd.  This is in keeping with learning to use the bartering system.

     We had our pot-bellied pig butchered in early December.  I did find out that I don't like meat being vacuum packed as it takes up too much extra room in the freezer.  We usually wrap our meat in plastic wrap and then in white butcher paper.  The vaccuum wrapping took almost twice as much freezer space and it doesn't stack well and likes to slide out.  We got about 150 pounds of meat from her and have found it to be very tasty.  While I don't recommend buying a pot-bellied pig to raise for meat if you should have the opportunity to get one for free or nearly free it isn't a bad thing to raise it for meat.  We did keep ours a lot longer than we should have.  She had a tremendous amount of fat on her that was wasted.  In the future, we won't make this mistake and will take a pot-bellied pig to the butcher just as soon as it is large enough.   Say about 180-200 pounds.

     One of our neighbors will have piglets ready to wean sometime in March or early April.  The plan is to have a pig pen ready for at least 2 or 3 piglets to raise for meat to be butchered late fall or early winter this year.  We aren't quite ready to get into breeding hogs.  This is still a maybe.  But we definitely want to raise them for our own eating pleasure and to share with family.

     We now have 4 small pullets.  They have grown quite a bit since we got them.  I believe they should be laying by Spring.  We don't really know how old they are or what kind they are.  We have them in an open bottom cage together and will be adding  on some laying boxes.  I should say if they don't lay they will make great chicken noodles.  My thinking is we will need about a dozen and a half laying hens.  We average using about 7 dozen eggs a month.  That will probably increase as I get to making more of our bread.  I'd like to have some extra eggs for trading.

     We have one rabbit at this time.  I need to get out there and get her a bigger cage built.  Yes, I know how to build rabbit cages.  We have all the materials now.  I am wanting to build at least 3 doe cages and one buck cage and a cage for the weaned babies to get us started.  I am planning to raise large meat rabbits.  We raised rabbits before and 3 does and 1 buck made plenty of rabbit meat for us at that time.  It would be nice if we would be able to raise enough to do some bartering with.

     I am planning to make some drapes for our windows.  This will be my first experience at making drapes.  I am looking forward to seeing how this is going to work out.  I will be making some curtains for the kitchen and bathroom.  Also, in my plans for this year is to make at least one recycled denim throw rug.  I have already begun collecting the denim to do this.  I also want to make myself some scrub tops and a couple of skirts for summer.

     So far, we haven't had much luck with gardening here.  Our soil is really bad from the strip mining done here in the past.  We are trying to do some container and raised bed gardening and we are working on improving the garden soil bit by bit.  This year I plan to use a different kind of soil in my containers to see if that makes any improvement in our harvest.  I also want to get a fence up around the garden before Spring to keep the wildlife and livestock out so that we might be able to harvest at least a little from the garden.  Last year we had a continual parade of deer, turkey and ground hogs in the garden.  I want to can a lot of veggies and meat this year to help stretch our food budget and maybe even reduce it.  We did have good luck this last year with habeneros, jalapenos and cilantro.  I got a few small green peppers off my plants before they died.  We also got a few tomatoes off our plants.  All these were in containers except the cilantro.  I planted the cilantro in the trays like tobacco plants are started in.  It worked very well for it and I had a nice harvest with only about 1/4 of the tray planted.  It took very little soil to fill the tray.  I just needed to remember to keep the tray floating in water.  I am going to do this again next year and I want to try growing some other herbs this way.  A couple of years ago, my brother built a frame and lined it with heavy duty plastic to float my tray in.  It worked very well.  I am thinking of starting some other plants this year the same way.  Cabbage for early spring cabbage should work well.  I am wondering if it would grow leaf lettuce?  If this works, I will be building some more frames and getting some more trays from the tobacco barn.  I can grow in these on my front porch where the varmits can't get to them.  I'm thinking of making a cold frame type cover for it so I can start earlier.

    One way that we save money is to buy our food in bulk.  We buy our sugar and flour by the 25 pound bags.  I have two large wheeled containers, we bought new that were meant for dogfood that works very well for storing my sugar and flour.  We also buy whole cuts of meat.  Wayne cuts it and we wrap it in family size packages for the freezer.  Most stores will cut it for free but we prefer to do it ourselves.  Just today we bought a whole NY strip steak for $4.99 per pound.  It made 15 steaks and a small roast.  For the 3 of us that is enough meat for 6 to 7 meals.  We are big meat eaters.  I buy my plastic wrap in commercial rolls and my butcher paper the same way from Sam's Club. 

     We are making progress on the house.  Wayne is finishing the drywall in the living room.  We should be able to move upstairs soon.  Definitely on the planning agenda is moving upstairs.

     These are only a few of the many plans for this new year.  We are continuing to live off-the-grid and learning new ways to do things.  Until the next time...

    

    

Friday, September 16, 2011

Background on Our Beginning to Live Off-the-Grid

     We moved here from a small recreational area in Indiana.  Where we lived in a subdivision.  Our home there was about half the size of the one we are building here and was total electric.  We had about 1 1/2 acres and a pole barn that we built from a kit.  We acquired our first horse while we were still there.  During the ten years or so that we lived there, we at different times raised a garden, chickens, rabbits, a guinea, and some pheasants that we hatched from eggs.
     We began to look for acreage when the subdivision became crowded with close neighbors.  We wanted more acreage.  I wanted waterfront for fishing.  We couldn't find acreage in Indiana in our price range.  So, we expanded our search and with God's leading bought 116+ acres with 2 ponds in December, 2004 here in Kentucky.  We continued to live in Indiana for about 2 more years and began preparing to move onto our land.  In October, 2006 we moved our 5th wheel camper on the property where we had previously had a septic system installed as well as the foundation and basement walls of our home.  We are building our home ourselves with the help of some family, friends and local hired help.  We are building without a mortgage, so it has been a bit slow going.  I'm happy to say we have made a lot of progress and will be able to move out of the basement soon.
     We had bought a generator for our previous home for when we had power outages.   We moved it here with us and used it to power the camper for a bit.  It wasn't long until we realized we needed more than the generator as it could only be ran for 12 hours at a time and it used gasoline.  We began to build up a battery bank that could be charged during the hours the generator was running.  We started with two 12 volt deep cycle marine batteries that we took out of our boat and a Black and Decker invertor from Walmart for less than $80.  Shortly there after we added two used D8 bulldozer batteries Wayne got from a friend.  We then added a set of solar panels that we bought from Harbor Freight on sale for about $199.  (I've seen them recently from there for $149.)  The solar panels helped keep our batteries charged during the day and lowered the amount of time we needed to run the generator most days.   
     We moved from the camper into the basement of the house in June, 2008 when we sold the camper.  As time has passed we have added more batteries, a larger invertor we bought from Harbor Freight for about $149 and we now have 3 sets of the solar panels from Harbor Freight.  We currently have a battery bank of sixteen 12 Volt deep cycle marine batteries.  We buy our batteries from Walmart.  We have also bought a 45 amp charger from East Kentucky RV Sales for about $300 that allows us to charge the batteries in less time.  (However, at this time we don't have the solar panels hooked up so we can do some grade work.)  We have bought a larger electric start generator from Harbor Freight for $500 and Wayne has converted it from gasoline to natural gas.  Our old generator is now a backup for emergencies or other uses around the homestead.  (We are blessed to own our own natural gas well.  So, we get free gas.)  On the generator and the invertor we have bought the extended warranties and have found them to be most useful when problems arise with the equipment. 
     We can still only run the generator for 12 hours at a time as it is not a water cooled generator.  As money permits, we will purchase a larger water cooled generator.  When we are operating off of the batteries, we do have to be mindful but not obsessive of our power usage.  So, we run the generator during the part of the day that we seem to use the most power.  This really isn't a hard thing to do, once you get used to it.
     Some of you may wonder why on earth we decided to live off-the-grid and generate our own power.  Well, we did have the engineer up from the electric company.  He said they would be glad to run power to us for about $14,000.  That was a no brainer for us.  We said, no and went to work on doing it for ourselves.  The engineer then promptly told us we wouldn't be able to generate enough power to live off of.  Was he ever wrong!  We do have some electric expense, we don't have an electric bill.  What electric expense we do have is minimal most months and we control when we make larger purchases like batteries or upgrading equipment eliminating surprises.
     I have mentioned only the main things we have purchased.  There are other items that are needed such as wire, connectors, etc. when one is setting up a system or upgrading it.  I have tried to mention stores where we have purchased our equipment and basic prices when we made our purchase to show you that you can start small and not completely break the bank.  It doesn't really take long to build an efficient system if you work at it consistently.
     In my next post, I'll try to tell you about how we conserve power and the kinds of things we have that are electric.  You may be surprised!
     Until we meet here again, may you be inspired and at peace.  God's love to you and yours.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Welcome to Our Homestead

     I'd like to welcome you to our homestead and to my first blog.  We live off-the-grid here generating our own power and hauling in our water.  We have been here since October, 2006 and are making improvements all of the time.  We started out in a 5th wheel camper and have since moved into the basement of the home we are building ourselves.  Things are moving along well at this time.
     I wish I could say that we have a great garden going, but that just isn't so.  We are working on amending the soil and hope that soon we will have a thriving garden.  In the meantime, we are making an attempt at growing tomatoes, green beans and peppers in 5 gallon buckets and half barrels.  The peppers this year have done alright, but not the tomatoes or green beans.  I have determined the top soil we purchased to fill the buckets and barrels was less than desirable.  So next year we will use potting soil or a top soil and compost mix.
     We have 4 horses at this time.  We also have a full-grown and very fat pot-bellied pig that we intend to have butchered in the near future.  We have a rooster and a hen.  Some very good friends are going to give us a couple of doodlers to add to the beginnings of our flock.  We hope to add meat goats to our farm by next Spring.  Rabbits and cattle will also be added to our livestock in the future.
     In future posts, I plan to tell you more about how we live off-the-grid and I will try to include some pictures.  I also plan to tell you how we are turning our acreage into a farm and providing food for ourselves.  I enjoy cooking and inventing new dishes.   So, I will be posting recipes from time-to-time.  I crochet, sew and do a lot of other crafts and I will enjoy showing you what I have made.
     Until we meet here again may you be blessed.