Two wings lift a person up from earthy concerns: simplicity and purity. Simplicity should be in intention, purity in feelings. Simplicity reaches out after God, purity catches hold and tastes. ~ Thomas A’Kempis

Sunday, 31 May 2020

Stepping Back & Stepping Out

Hi everyone,
Sorry it's been so long since I've written. My last post was at the start of the awful Virus outbreak and I think as we as a country went into lock down, I sort of withdrew from a lot of social media and the internet.  It wasn't really intentional, it just happened, so I just wanted to let you know what has been happening here in our life. I continued on with cleaning and clearing and have now worked my way through every cupboard and pantry, as we have several, and most of the bookcases. Oh how cathartic it is..much less clutter. We also purchased two inexpensive white pantries to store a lot of the packaging that I use for my small soap business...just things like that :) It takes a lot of sorting through, and I find I have to stay focused on the task to just complete it properly and not try to do a whole lot of other things at the same time. 

A question: How did you feel about the Lock Down? Are you still in Lock Down? in your country?

We are out of lock down now and nearly everything is open again. I personally loved the lock down, as did a lot of people I have spoken too. Our world is just so busy these days. I found it a joy to look out the window and see neighbours at home, out in their gardens or people as families going for walks together. When the lock down was over I was saddened that for so many people the thing they missed most was shopping ?? 
We still haven't even left our small town. It reminded me how fulfilling it is to take time to make special things for our home, to go through my own fabric stash and not just order something new online or rush into town to buy something. 

It was so quiet on our streets...I felt so nothing was expected of me and I didn't need to be anywhere. Apart from missing friends and family, I was able to be think...and to start and complete projects I didn't think I would ever get around too.

Here's pictures of some of those things:

We have four apple trees and three of those produce quite abundantly, so May sees me bottling apples, making apple butter and we eat a lot of them too.

I made some little reversible elastic cotton covers for my sourdough. I love the pretty floral fabrics.
They were quite simple to make. Here's a link to a great tutorial on You tube that I used:

I made several face masks, and while the lock down was in place we wore them when one of us needed to go to the supermarket. I also made them for my parents and was pleased they actually wore them too!

...and lastly I made three new aprons for myself :) I've been alternating two shabby brown aprons for several years now and are so pleased to have finally completed them. I even added pretty lace trims and also a lining. 

My husband has been working from home for two months now (because of Covid) and will finally return to work next week. It's been lovely having him here even though I had to be very quiet :) It's been a lot less stressful for him too. (please excuse pictures of laundry hanging in every picture..he he. It is Winter here now !)

We kept ourselves entertained playing board games :)

I made more soap (of course).. Goats Milk - Lemongrass & Lavender and a special soap to encourage people during the pandemic, called the HOPE soap.

We've been continuing on with our plant based meals, even though we still include eggs, occasional fish and chicken. We've been enjoying curries with paneer or Haloumi, homemade pasta, roasted cauliflower and Lentil Bolognaise recently.

I hung some herbs to dry - Sage, Basil and Thyme..and enjoyed stripping them off the stems once dry, putting them in jars and making pretty labels. They taste wonderful in our meals and it's so good to know they are organically grown too.

H O M E:  It's such a joy for me to care for my husband and our home. I know I've said it before but I truly do love the things I do here - cleaning, placing vases of freshly picked flowers here and there, turning on a lamp to make a room feel cosier, recovering cushions to freshen up a room, using the vegetables in our garden to make our meals healthier, preserving our harvest so we'll have fruit to enjoy during the cold Winter months, stripping down the beds, washing blankets and quilts and putting on fluffy warm winciette sheets as the cooler nights come closer. All these things I enjoy. 
I found this old notice called the Homemakers Creed and just love the words:

I love to save images of  homes, especially country style or vintage, pictures of simply prepared food like bread, baking, washing on the line or someone tending their garden. They remind me of my childhood and lovely days spent with my Nana, where we would just laugh and laugh. 


Well that's all from me, I pray you are all keeping well and 
trying to stay close to God (the only way to stay sane in these troubled times the world is in!) 
God Bless ~ Linda

1 Peter 2: 29 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. ~ May we all remain and walk in that light.

Monday, 16 March 2020

Cleaning & clearing Part 2

Hi everyone,
I hope you are all washing your hands :) It is silly really that people need to be told to do this, but obviously not many people were before, or at least not doing it properly. There's no worries here at the little homestead however, especially considering I'm in the soap business lol !! he he, but seriously, whoever saw all of this coming !!! certainly not me.

As we are now in Autumn here in our little corner of the world, the mornings and evenings are cooler and wouldn't you know it sniffles/colds/virus etc have arrived as well. My husband is currently tucked up in bed with a sore throat. 
I decided to make up another batch of Theives. If you've never heard of it, it's a blend of 5 essential oils: Rosemary, Eucalyptus, Lemon, Clove and Cinnamon. I'll attach a link if your interested in making it. I know companies like 'Young Living' essential oils sell it, as do other companies, maybe under a different name? I had the oils on hand anyway, so chose to just make some for my family. From my research I know it is not effective against Coronavirus, but it is still effective against germs and bacteria. I will be diffusing it to purify the air in our home and also adding drops to my homemade spray cleaner. I also purchased some hospital grade medicated wipes which I'm using to wipe door handles etc with (at the moment), just to be hyper cautious. Every little bit helps in my opinion.
Also I will attach a link to a really informative video regarding hand sanitizers. If you are at all interested in making your own their are certain facts to know regarding what will actually be effective against these virus's like coronavirus.

~ ~ ~ 0 ~  ~ ~

Other News:
I've just been super busy here at home cleaning, clearing and sorting and oh my does it feel good. I am steadily working my way through this house sorting cupboards, wardrobes etc. The last post mentioned my linen cupboard, well last week it was the Pantry. I actually have two. One is smaller and its more of a prepper style pantry where I just store extra canned goods, dry food etc. I am including before and after pantry pics. I havn't properly cleaned this large pantry out for a coupe of years. All I've done is wiped shelves down, but not properly emptied it out o clean as I've been too jolly busy...anyway you can see for yourself: (the big pantry)

 A big jumbled up mess..packets, bottles, cake tins, bags of flour..everything very disorganized. It was hard to know at times where things were and if I even had pinto beans hiding in there? I hate to be wasteful and if I end up having to throw something out because it was shoved to the back of the pantry and then has expired, that makes me upset. Food is something to be very thankful for ! 
I know with some people having to stay home and self quarantine right now, its the perfect opportunity to get stuck in and make that time work for you.  Get cleaning :)

Okay, this is where it got ugly...oh my what have I started !! ?? It took me two and a half days to empty it all out, sort what I wanted to keep, clean and reorganize in new jars. The original jars were preserving jars, so they are just going back into my canning cupboard :)

and then finally ta da...

One side contains the dehydrator, electric frypan, crockpot, cake tins..non food related items etc. and the other side is all food. The white plastic baskets contain things that are not used that often and I don't particularly want to look at all the time. I wanted the pantry to be simple, clean, tidy, and functional. Now I know exactly what's in there and it's so easy to find everything. I also arranged things so the weightier items (like large jars of bottled fruit) are all on the bottom shelf.

 ~ Of course I had to make my own jar labels. I have label paper on hand that I use in my soap business. Its water and grease proof, so will stand up to some handling. I'm pleased with the result and think they look a tad vintage too.

These other labels were made with an electrotag maker..but then it broke half way through..grrr, so that's why I made my own, and I actually like my ones better. (smile)

...then just because I don't know when to stop, I rearranged, cleaned and sorted out my spice drawer !!! That was a big job too. I didn't do a before pic (forgot), but this is the completed look. I colour coded the labels to make it easier for me to see without my glasses :). I had all the wee jars already up in my jar that's another story !!

Our garden is winding down for the year and didn't do as well as other years. Because of that I haven't been able to preserve as many jars of relish/pickle. I normally make tomato salsa every year, but the tomatoes haven't done as well either. It truly has been odd weather. We've made a lot of jam though :) And for the first year we have been able to harvest some figs. They are little, but still delicious and such a treat for me.

~ A simple lunch for me: Fresh Cox's Orange apples of off our tree, some sliced edam cheese, and a pumpkin muffin with homemade almond butter in the middle = delicious

Other baking:  'Date and Orange Scones'
Our oranges are starting to get a bit dry now, but the zest is still lovely and they do still give
 a little juice, so I made a simple scone recipe: (1/2 wholemeal flour and 1/2 self-raising white) - all up it was 3 cups of flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1 cup or more of milk, I squeezed in some fresh orange juice, and grated the zest of 1 x orange. I added about 1.5 cups of chopped dates and a pinch of salt. 1/3rd  - 1/2 cup brown sugar.  I rub 50 grams of butter into the flour. Then I stir in the zest, sugar, salt, dates, sugar, and pour in the milk and orange juice. Mix to a scone dough consistency. Continue to make as you would a scone recipe. I bake them at 190 Celcius for about 15 - 20 minutes.

~ 'Kale Burgers' ~
I follow a couple of ladies on YouTube. The channel is called Jane Essylstyn. They have some great recipes for plant based eating. Her father is a heart doctor and the recipes are for people who may have a history of heart disease and need to be careful of their diet. I have just purchased their book. Anyway I ramble, I just wanted to say I tried one of their recipes. They are Vegan and it was really good :) We will eat these again !! 

 ~ I served them on English Sourdough Muffins - homemade of course ~

Here is a link to their channel. The recipe for Kale Burgers is on there. It just consists of Kale (obviously), sweet potato, kidney beans, other veges and hot sauce). I added a couple of extra tweaks and may make my own video of me making it in the future.

Well dear friends and quiet followers, that is about all for now. I just wanted to check in with you all and let you know how we are. We haven't managed anymore painting of the house and quite frankly it will probably have to wait until next Spring now...and that's okay :)  We feel we did well this summer.
 If anything I've written here has helped or encouraged you in anyway I would love to hear from you.
Feel free to leave me a wee comment. I love to receive them and will write a reply.

and prayer is for all those in the medical profession who are working so tirelessly to help those who are ill. They themselves could be at risk, yet they faithfully serve in their professions to care for others in need. Oh Lord please protect and bless these people.

Stepping Back & Stepping Out

Hi everyone, Sorry it's been so long since I've written. My last post was at the start of the awful Virus outbreak and I thi...