Monday, September 24, 2012

On the Business Front

In other news, or lack there of. I still have no clients, or money coming in and am starting to get nervous. I do have a logo that is getting a positive response. The Website needs serious work!!

Stacking and Shovel

Living Off the Grid requires a lot of stacking and shoveling. It is pretty much how I spent most of last week and the weekend. We have come to the conclusion that we will be doing road work every year. In the three years we have lived here we have replaced three culverts, re-crowned and re-graded the entire road, and every year we put down at least one dump truck load of Stay-Mat to fill in washouts. Other years we needed other excavation work done,  so we have just had it spread for us. This year due to the tightening of funds we did it ourselves. Also because we lack the foresight have it deposited in our truck we were handling it twice. We had a dump truck load delivered and then had to shovel it into our truck and then off again onto the road. 

Here is Casey with his broken finger about three quarters of the way through the pile (about five truck loads).

How did he break his finger you ask? Well that is where the stacking comes in.  He crushed it between two rocks fixing our culverts.

The Arrow Points to the Offending Rock     

This one didn't come out that good for obvious reasons. Also that rock is huge. The culverts are 2 foot culverts to give you a sense of scale. Lots of cursing and one emergency room trip later, we were back at it the next day. Albeit much less enthusiastic. We need a tractor.

Speaking of rocks and tractors. I was having a discussion with a girlfriend the other day about engagement rings.  I stated that at this point in my life I would much rather have a tractor than a ring that I will never be able to wear with all the shoveling and stacking. She wants to sell hers and use it as a down payment on a new truck.  I think that makes us official homesteaders now.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Endless Summer

I just finshed taking my third to last ARE and it feels like someone beat my brain with a stick. I am also drinking a beer at 3:00 PM on a Thursday.

Harpoon Summer Beer has been my choice alcoholic beverage this summer. This is most likely the last one I will have since the fall beers are in the stores already and this it the last one in my fridge. I only mention it because its so good once it hints your lips it ties in with this post. Fall is by far my favorite season, but I am always sad to see summer go.

Fall is just starting sneak into Vermont with the red leaves and 40 Degree mornings. I am not at the point where I am changing out decor based on the season (not counting christmas, We were decorated for christmas the second we moved in December 15th almost three years ago) but I do try to switch up the mantel.

The round zucchini help to hold onto the freshness of summer, while transitioning into the fall squash season. The poster  adds a little nostalgia for hot Julys and carefree youth. The sunflowers are kind of the traditional end of summer symbol. Wow that was a lot of over analyzation for a mantel with a frame-less off-centered poster.

Here's a dog, because he is cute and makes my brain not hurt so much.


The tomatoes are purely functional. We have blight, so they need to come off the vines a little early and this spot gets the best sun and is out of the reach of mischievous paws.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Broke Girls Guide to Canning

I lack a canner and the funds to purchase one, but I do have a large enamel stock pot and a very resourceful mother.  She let me in on a little homesteader trick to get around that whole big fat canner/ rack thing.  This little trick happens to include one of my favorite things: cord wood rounds. There is a special little place in my heart for these little wooden pancakes and I get excited whenever I find a purpose for them (other than firewood of course)
We end up with a lot of these because someone (not me) always cuts the logs longer than our splitter

I used roughly 3" diameter rounds, 1" thick (they have to be even so the jars sit level).  I washed and scrubbed the seasoned (dry) rounds to remove any loose bits.  I was able to fit 5 jars around the edge of my 10" diameter stock pot.  I washed and scrubbed the seasoned (dry) rounds to remove any loose bits before laying them in the pot.

It worked fairly well, but they floated to the surface when the pot was filled with water, which made inserting the jars into the boiling bath cumbersome. Had I followed my mother's directions of using a round slightly smaller than the diameter of my pot and about 2" thick the problem would have been avoided. You will need a jar lifter if using this method.

Garlic Dill Zucchini Pickles using this Food in Jars recipe. My go to source for all things food preservation.  The jar with the orange curved pieces is round zucchini that I believe cross pollinated with the pumpkins. I only made one jar and plan to eat them first to see if they are tasty.

Round Zucchini