Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Day

Happy Birthday Jesus!
Merry Christmas
from all of us here
at Blessings Farm!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Magical Swing

When I was a child...
I longed for a Tree swing..
there is something SO magical about a tree swing
I had a swing SET
in the far back corner of my suburban yard...
it was metal, with stripes, and I played on it and played on it 
it was VERY fun
but NEXT to it, we had an Apple tree
and I longed for a Sing on THAT
but apple trees are NOT the sort of tree you do that to
I have NEVER had a tree with a swing..
until NOW
HUGE selling point right?
The Blessings LOVED this!  
The told all their friends about it!
They would swing on it often,
Like I had dreamed of doing as a child!
They even got ME to swing on it
and IT was grand!
after a storm a few weeks back..
and I am certain ..
MUCH wear and tear...
I am sad to share with you
that on of the ropes broke
and my  OUR swing IS no more..
we grieve
are on the hunt
for MORE wonderful spots to 
put more wee swings

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

different... equal.. but NOT the same

It is WINTER here on the Farm...
and while I am falling in LOVE with each season thus far here.. 
I am chilled..
and preparing for Christmas
but my thoughts wander to buggy days in the summer
when berries are RIPE
ready for me to eat..
I started looking at some of the fun photos I took of the house this past summer
when I noticed for the FIRST time
THIS berry
is NOT the same as THIS berry

there is a DISTINCT difference
though ..
they both tasted FABULOUS
and grow abundantly...
so exciting!
now.. to discern exactly WHAT each one is..
I think the first MAY be boysenberry
and the second.. black raspberry

Friday, December 16, 2011

Why Machine Man?

WHY do we call the Papa of this clan
Machine Man?

He really LIKES machines...
he builds them, 
precision ones..
talks about them,
fixes them,
and has friends JUST as excited about it as HE is..
we've traveled and seen a LOT because of this passion..
of BUILDING Machines..
Machine Man is awfully good at what he does..
It's rather... one of his passions..
do you have a passion?
 I wanted you to see what sort of thing THRILLS him..
he just emailed me this video
it is NOT a video of Machine Man..
but something one of his "Machine Buddies" sent him
that he HAD to pass on to us.
This is the type of thing HE thinks about, and gets excited about..
In fact, he emailed this to C.S. & the Princess..
because EVERYONE simply MUST love Machines the way he does!
and I have to admit, this is PRETTY darn cool..
check out this video to see 
what GETS Machine Man excited,
I think you'll understand our Nick Name for him
(it's 9 minutes, so grab a cup of coffee, and the kids, it's educational)
The video is on the worlds TINIEST 
V12 Engine

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Cooking Nutritiously, ON a Budget, the Blessings Farm way

LOVE to eat!
do you?
most people on the planet LOVE to eat, 
and given some flavor, and nutrition 
makes that daily chore a BLAST!
but HOW to cook for the farm
cook nutritious
cook for a variety of dietary needs
when I have NO "real" kitchen?
I don't
I cook ahead of time...
I freeze or can my foods 
bringing them to the farm ready to heat and serve
Planning and preparation are HUGE...
for example, IF we are making C.S.'s Chili,
did I also pack corn bread, or tortilla chips to go with it?
what about all the toppings?
some sour cream perhaps, chopped scallions, some sharp cheddar shredded?
Planning Meals ahead of time is tricky at first
but getting a handle on my Menu's really makes
 an imprint on my budget.
a good imprint!
Some days, like today i just make an EXTRA large quantity of a soup or stew 
some for this evening's meal
some for the freezer to be eaten later
So I thought it might be fun to journal some of those recipes here!
Today's is a Personal Favorite
Beef Stew
please note that I have many variations on this,
and it works EXCELLENT with Venison..
oops.. is that Salt in the wound?  
one more hunting trip this season..
maybe then?
anyhow, here we go!

starting off with a Mirepoix
which is French for the combination of carrot, celery and onion
I cut most of my carrots a bit small, leaving some a bit larger...
for texture...
and I cut my onion in 1/2 moons.
they look SO pretty in the stew that way....
but I highly recommend chopping finely IF you have onion fearing children in the house!
I saute this over med/med low heat till translucent
then, I add some finely sliced garlic..
not crushed, I slice mine...
but if YOU make this, do it How you like it! 

here is a nicely diced rutabega

and one small diced turnip

and about 5-6 large baking potato's 
I sliced mine in a different shape... instead of dicing... 
it really doesn't matter 
but I was in the mood for a quarter circle..

this is lemon salt...
I use organic lemon peels layered in Kosher Salt
I need those peels for some recipes
and the lemon salt for others..
neat flavor!
Thanks to Shauna at for the fabulous posts mentioning this idea!

Turmeric!  Cancer fighting, inflammation fighting WONDER spice!

LOVE love LOVE this!  
it has a distinctly different flavor than it's counter part
 "Hungarian Paprika"
and still different than that "hot"
it's wonderful!
have you tried it?
it's a new favorite here
I even added to my Pazole the other day!

ooo and one of my FAVORITE grains
KEEN - wa
Once considered the Gold of the Inca's 
this gem of a food is rich in Magnesium,
and even folate
it is excellent for high cholesterol
migraine sufferers
high in antioxidants
and wonderful for the cardiovascular system of post menopausal women
it's also HIGH in fiber, and excellent for Cancer Patients or those hoping to Prevent

I bought mine at Costco... 
but I have often gotten it through my co-op

when I cook with it, it sprouts, and gets all curly
do you see those darling little curls?
that is my Quinoa!
Ok.. so HOW?
I saute the miropoix
when it's all beautiful and translucent
I toss in my sliced garlic
I add my rutabaga & turnip 
stirring about
only when I am JUST about ready do I add the Quinoa
this time I added 2/3 cup
I stir about
and add my beef broth
while THAT comes to a boil
I chop up my stew meat 
(I only needed about 1 lb, this may have been 1 1/2 )
and  I brown it in a good cast iron pan
I want it seared and brown
not gray and boiled
so drain if it's too juicy
be certain to get a hot pan to start off too!
I season with my lemon salt, pepper, smoked paprika & tumeric

I toss this into the stockpot boiling away...
i am NOT done with that cast iron pan though
I add some of the stock to the pan and whisk the "goop" on the bottom.. 
scraping and getting it super cleaned off.. 
Then I pour this into the soup..

simmer for a couple hours 
stirring occasionally
seasoning a pinch more of this or that
as YOU like
hopefully, we won't eat it ALL, 
and I can freeze some for the Farm!

Exploration Hike with Cousins!

confession time
(clearing my throat)
This past trip... 
I did not accomplish much of ANYTHING..
did not build anything
sand anything
scrape anything (do dishes count?)
did NOT paint anything,
saw anything
nail anything
do much OF anything
anything that you can photograph..
I DID cook, but I pre-made all the meals BEFORE the trip
because we still live in the MOCK kitchen..
really I didn't accomplish 
anything that you can look at, and say... 
My brother CAME!  
it was a rather social trip...
Machine Man and Opa DID chop down some things.. 
that really weird 6 ft tree stump directly in front of my house...
(do you see that tall thing on the FAR left... that TALL Stump?
next to it is a beautiful maple)
it's gone now..!
Not the maple, just the creepy stump
and some other stumps just layin' about

It was a hunting weekend,
and cousins weekend!  
Machine Man, C.S. were hunting,
there was food
and Princess & I did do some shopping for Christmas 
But that doesn't seem like it counts.
What we DID do, that was SUPER fun
was take our little explorers on a good 

ok.. sometimes it was more of a run than a hike

here the Blessings are showing the Cousins 
the bones of a coyote
fun right?

ever discovering things

i don't think they even NOTICED how beautiful this view is..
they just see the faint images of 
a trail that needs remembering

a little attention and this trail will be simply gorgeous!

my wonderful nephew has discovered a GREAT 
deer rubbing
and they all WANT Uncle Machine Man
to PLEASE PLEASE explain
why he hasn't got a deer yet?

here we are at the "EDGE"
see the groovy old forgotten car ?
it's in our neighbors yard..
and the tales of HOW and WHY and WHEN 
have already begun to be spun...

love this tree.. so sad it was probably struck by lightening..
kids thought it was SUPER

apparently this is THE thing to do...
touch the bubbles?

yep.. we ALL have to take turns..
parents: bring muck boots in the Spring, 
I have a feeling we will have VERY messy children!

pretty Queen Anne's lace

rabbit fur.. 
more evidence of coyote issues...
did you know it's SHOOT on SITE here ??
neighbor came over to make CERTAIN we knew that..

a different edge to our property.. 
looks like my fence needs a wee repair

blissfully pretty!

ginormous foot prints of ???

frost in a hollowed log

blessings on a bluff

ending in Christmas Tree forest :)
What a glorious time with Family!
I feel so thankful to spend time with my niece and nephew 
my brother and my father
Family is a true gift from God

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Views I LOVE!

There have been a few views I have loved..

ok.. MORE than a few
This was in Lyon France

LOVE this RED walking Bridge

The stairs we walked down nearly every day
and yes..
that means we walked back up them
oh how my calves got into shape!

LOOK at that gorgeous view!

here we are in Bavaria with WONDERFUL Family!
walking the mountainside
because God IS that amazing

and let us see this too!

Wine country in the South of France
PINCH me Pretty!

We actually Stopped the car on the side of a 
VERY narrow
VERY twisty turn-E road
for me to get this shot
LOVE this sweeping view 
you've seen the Eiffel
you've seen the Arch
but this ...
 I LOVE this walk!

sunny sunny Florida
Rainbow and ALL!
There are so many more views that I have seen in my life
but I must share these

because I have to say,
in my humble opinion 
These two Views from the farm fits RIGHT in
with the best of them all

and it's a wonderful feeling to have found 
a slice of the planet 
that sort of fits you

Farm House Sink

Here's a sneak Peak at that KiTCHen sink for ya
it's NOT the FULL view
I can't be giving you the FULL view yet
with all the fancy shots and that
that would mean coming in close
and THEN you'd learn
that the sink is straight like an arrow
and our wall is NOT
and we have to build a shelf ON to the sink to make it bridge it to the wall somehow
ALSO see how I haven't caulked yet
and all that ...

Reader opinion
I think I want to paint the trim White..
(perhaps Annie Sloan's Chalk Paint Old White)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Craft Fair for those Wacky Blessings!

when NOT at Blessings Farm
they still do things they will readily tell you
they'd RATHER be doing AT the farm
and getting ready for the Craft fair was definitely one of them!
One Craft WAS done at the Farm
ONE has a funny story
and ONE is plum delicious and adorable!
Wanna step inside the blog for a minute and catch a bit of Christmas spirit?

These we named Mello Men
aren't they ADORABLE
inspired by 
a desperate HUNT on Pinterest for delicious ideas

I just KNEW this would be AFFORDABLE
and I was right!

The kids had a BLAST making them
we melted the bittersweet chocolate with a wee bit coconut oil in my fondue pot
and dipped the mello's in
they are on these NEAT-O lolli-pop sticks we found at JoAnne's!
fun right?

We got the groovy sprinkles on Sale at Aldi :)
We also got the mello's there and the darker chocolate there too!
aren't they pretty!

see how shiny they are
after we decorated them
we put them in the fridge
to chill them out
and then packaged them

aren't they cute 
standing there like little soldiers stuck in boxes?

This is the VERY wonderful project Buddy made..
because the project he was GOING to make
he LEFT at Blessings Farm
and I had to TRY to come up with something 
that was
NEARLY as Terrific and Wonderful
as THAT in JUST a couple days you see..
and THAT is a LOT of pressure for a mom to live up to...
especially as I am NOT one of THOSE mothers
who will DO the project FOR The child
and pretend the child did it
I had to find something 
Buddy COULD do
Buddy WOULD do
because BUDDY is and ARTIST
and that means
he can be temperamental about certain things
adding to the STRESS of the "sitUation"
IF you catch my meaning! (wink wink)

THIS is what I came up with
(and YES, I tied the ribbon! doesn't it look FABULOUS?)

It really is VERY sparkly..
The photo isn't showing JUST how sparkly it is

These are the "hard wood" puppy sticks
to keep your pup from gnawing on your furniture
give 'em a bone
or one of these

hand whittled by the Princess
Puppy tested 
(Thanks to Cinder)
and Puppy approved

here is THEIR presentation AT the 
Annual Home School Craft Fair 

See our Artist Buddy preparing his display : )

the very SERIOUS Business Woman

more of the Fair and display

oh.. these are IN the sleigh..
see how NICELY Princess wrapped them up!
The whole evening was a HUGE success!
All the students did and excellent job!
Thankful to be part of such a wonderful community