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

Thursday, 17 March 2022

Living Simply

 Hello friends,


I just wanted to pop in here quick and share a couple of 'frugal living' things with you a recipe & an idea. These days most people are being a bit more mindful about spending and looking for ways to cut costs. Like many people I spent many years having to live this way out of necessity, especially when the children were small. Now life is easier but I still enjoy being a good steward of what God has blessed us with, and like looking for creative ways to do that.

First up: the recipe 'Pillowy Potato Bread' - oh my word this bread is so good.  It was fairly easy to make and I used our garden potatoes and that made it even better and cheaper. We ate a slice each with our dinner tonight and will have it for sandwiches for the next couple of days. The texture was simply divine, very soft and delicious. I made two loaves because if I'm turning that big oven on I may as well make it count and use the power wisely. The only changes I made were I didn't have regular yeast, only instant - so I used 2 teaspoons of that instead per loaf. I also added 1 T of light olive oil to each loaf and added a little oil to the bowl that the loaves were rising in. Here's a link to the ladies recipe and blog: https://www.attainable-sustainable.net/homemade-potato-bread-recipe/



 

Next up - here's a little idea for homemade cloth napkins to save on purchasing paper serviettes.

~ C L O T H   T A B L E   N A P K I N S ~


I wait until tea towels/dish towels are on sale (normally at KMART). I cut them in half across the middle and hem them. They look good are lovely to use. I much prefer them to paper ones. Also cloth napkins are expensive in New Zealand and often come in shades I don't like or the material is synthetic.
Pics of what I did:
 
        ~ Then I store them stacked up in this little wire basket, so they are always handy to grab. ~
 

...and finally. I got an Instant Pot. :) and I'm quite pleased with it. I'm taking my time and apart from one bad experience where I disintegrated the vegetables, it hasn't been too bad. Mind you I've only made two other things in it ...he he :) One of the things I made was to cook a whole chicken. I followed a dear lady on YouTube and did exactly what she said. Mine somehow took a little longer to cook completely (48 minutes), and also made about 2.5 Cups of delicious chicken stock too. I like that it is saving money as I'm not using my big oven and it cooks so fast. I can use ti to cook beans (which we eat a lot of), Rice and even yoghurt. I also made a Thai Chicken Curry another night and that was very delicious too. I purchased the 6 litre and that is a good size for our needs. If you also have one I would love to hear what you've made in it plus your cooking adventures, be they good or funny :)


Video tutorial to cook a whole chicken in the instant pot: https://youtu.be/vjQzADYqSow

Well that's all for now. I hope you try the bread recipe - let me know if you do. I also hope you enjoy reading about how I make our little cloth table napkins. Blessings to you all ~ Linda





Wednesday, 16 March 2022

Light a Candle

 



Hello dear friends and quiet followers, Welcome to the Little Homestead.  First up I just wanted to say what a blessing it is to have a home; I know many of you out there will be saying 'Amen'. I know how you love your homes and that you strive to create a place of calm; a welcoming refuge for your children and husband as they return at the close of the day.


A home is a place that almost wraps its arms around us during hard times. I know when I am unwell I can retreat to my clean and cosy bedroom and I'm always so thankful for its comfort and warmth - it feels like a little sanctuary. 
If we have a disappointment in life or someone has hurt us, to be able to go home and be surrounded by our family and sit by the fire while they listen to our woes is a great comfort. 


To come through that door and smell food cooking, or just that familiar smell that is your home, is comforting. You can be yourself, put your feet up; you can relax.

...I've tried to lay a little ground work, build up a feeling..an atmosphere of what a blessing, that physical dwelling and its furnishings are and equally what a blessing those people that live within those walls are - your family.

So imagine if all that is suddenly taken away from you; or you had to abandon your home? That's what's happening to millions of people right now. Many of them no doubt our brothers and sisters in the Lord. I am of course talking about what's happening in Ukraine right now. The images on the news are so terribly sad. For me what really hits me is seeing elderly people and also young mum's with children looking frightened, cold and walking along carrying a single backpack or suitcase. It's seeing fathers having to farewell their families as they stay to defend their country - families broken apart. People headed into the unknown and for how long. Will they get to return and if so will their home still be there?

This scripture came to mind: You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.(Matthew 5:14-16). 

I see people in Poland and other villages taking in refugees. I hear of organisations collecting clothing, bedding, food, pushchairs to help the refugees. I see Go Fund Me sort of pages set up to help individuals to escape from Ukraine. I've received emails asking me to pray into specific situations for the leader of Ukraine and for the people. What motivates people to want to help others? It is LOVE. It is compassion. It's merciful hearts. I see all these efforts as people shining their light; shining the gospel light. I know not everyone would be a Christian that's helping but the impulse of the heart to help another, comes from a place of love. That spark of God in all people, that part of them that's created in the image of God even if they don't realise it, is shining the light, showing the heart of God. If all people acted in this way, putting others ahead of themselves this situation wouldn't even exist. 

I just wanted to encourage you to shine your light today in any way you can- let that spark of the divine be evident to all around you. Bring God glory this day and all days. 

Blessings to you all ~ Linda

*All pictures sourced from the internet/pintrest.



Sunday, 6 March 2022

A Pioneer

 


Hi friends and quiet followers,

it's Autumn here in New Zealand, that glorious season has arrived once again. O the blessing of seasons. But I must say this year I am sad to see the end of summer. I think this is the first time in many years that I've felt this way. Maybe its because I've been so busy in the garden and equally satisfied processing the abundance. Every time I'm out there I just stand in awe, and walk around with a heart of gratitude. There's been endless bouquets of fragrant sweet peas to grace my kitchen window sill, and always some sort of surprise, whether that be an enormous pumpkin growing quietly hidden under something that I missed or a few strawberries still hanging on for me to pick.  All I know is I just didn't want Summer to end, even if I do need a rest. 


The garden also provides me with an escape from what's happening in our world. I can only hear so much; too much and I become overwhelmed. In the garden or working quietly away in my kitchen my thoughts often just turn into prayers and I can lay all that heaviness down at the Lords feet. Then I come away feeling refreshed. I look around at our cosy handmade home and pass shelves laden with all the preserving I've spent the Summer doing and it feels good. Its satisfying work, and it brings me joy to know what I'm feeding my family came from the work of my own two hands and mostly from our garden.

~ Apple Cider Vinegar from apple peelings ~
                                      ~ Our Cox's Orange Apple harvest - yield x 5 baskets ~

Ever since we extended the garden I've had this pioneer mentality that nothing should be wasted. Everything we grew had to either be eaten fresh, canned, frozen, dehydrated or given away if we had surplus. My daughter made a joke the other day saying "You better watch out when you go to Nanny's she may just stick you in a jar and put you in the water bath" :) !!! 


I spent my childhood watching shows like 'Little House on the Prairie', The Walton's, Bonanza and lots of old movies. I always loved the simplicity of their lives then. I know they had to work extremely hard and their were no modern conveniences, but their days also had purpose and a rhythm to them. They lived in harmony with the seasons.  Most if not all people would have had a garden.


Crops had to be planted. Harvesting and canning were a necessity for survival. A mountain of wood was needed to keep the woodstove going, to not only cook the food but heat the home and water for bathing and cleaning. Their was no time to waste. And nothing was wasted. I remember hearing someone say in remembrance of earlier times "If you didn't can it (preserve) it, you probably wouldn't be eating it". There just wasn't the money to go out and buy out of season food and often it wasn't available anyway.
                                
I've been thinking about all these things for a long time. We don't have a television, but we do have internet and watch the news every couple of days. One thing I keep seeing popping up is 'expect food shortages' and 'prices will increase'. We are seeing that where I live, here in New Zealand. House prices have gone through the roof. We pay over three New Zealand dollars for one litre of petrol. Food prices keep going up up and up. I had to buy a cabbage this week as I didn't get more cabbage plants in after the last lot finished and guess how much it cost: $8.00 for one medium size head of cabbage !!! That's unheard of. Last year it was about $5.00 and I thought that was outrageous. So I felt in my spirit to take action, to extend the garden back in Spring and praise the Lord for obedience !! and being prepared to look like a nut for digging up the whole back yard :)
So all Summer I've been chopping, stirring, sieving, straining, canning, dehydrating and freezing. 
Now our pantry and freezers are stuffed full, plus I've given countless bags of fruit and vegetables to friends and family. A vegetable garden is a marvellous thing !




~ cucumber pickles ~
~ Sweet Orange Marmalade ~


                      ~ Pasta Sauce, Taco Sauce, Raspberry Jam, Blueberry & Blackcurrant Jam ~

                                               ~ Savoury oven/freezer tomato soup/sauce ~

These days we don't know what will be coming next?  God says not to worry about tomorrow because tomorrow has enough cares of its own. Knowing that God is in control even when the world looks like its lost the plot is oh so comforting and my anchor.

Yet I don't just expect for things to just land in my lap; I work hard. I plan, I sow, I harvest .Whether its sewing or baking I love to make things from scratch, plus it saves money. I also try to buy in bulk and store all the basic food like grains, flour, sugar etc in bins, so even if their is a shortage in the store, we will be prepared. I've been buying Raw Honey and Organic Apple Cider Vinegar in bulk too to make tonics like 'Fire Cider' and Elderberry Syrup. Plus I've added more medicinal herbs to the herb garden this year.

~ Homemade Hamburger Buns ~

                                                           ~ Chocolate Zucchini Cakes ~
                                               ~ Homemade Shortbread - my favourite ~
                               ~ Chicken soup from 2 chicken legs and garden vegetables + 
                                           cornmeal muffins and cheese. Our simple suppers ~


The tomatoes and zucchini have been so plentiful this year. Last year it was the opposite. We planted earlier than usual and it paid off. My motto has been to not waste anything. I've canned every tomato thing you could think of :) Pasta sauce, Taco Sauce, Relish, Ketchup, Tomato Sauce, Tomato Puree, Tomato Soup....frozen endless grated zucchini, plus dehydrated it and made it into fritters, cakes and relish. We've used red and green cabbage in sauerkraut and frozen a ton of beans, peppers and celery. Just this past weekend I was harvesting nearly the last of the Basil and hanging bunches to dry and making Pesto for the freezer. I've tried to not let a week go by that I haven't been spending at least a few days canning something. Last weekend we did 15 quart size jars of apples and froze 12 bags of apple puree. I've also tried to make our meals based around what is plentiful in the garden. Because we were inundated with zucchini and tomatoes, we've eaten a lot of Ratatouille :)
Here's my recipe:
~ Linda's Ratatouille ~
Ingredients
5 medium size Zucchini - chopped
8 large tomatoes - diced chunky
1 x red onion - sliced
3 - 4 cloves garlic - sliced thin
1 yellow capsicum - cut in small chunks
1 T Balsamic Vinegar
1 t taco style seasoning
Fresh Basil leaves
1/2 t dried Oregano
Herb salt & Sea salt
Fresh ground pepper

Method:
1. Oil a roasting dish. In a large bowl combine all the vegetables and seasonings. Add to the roasting dish. Cook at 220 C Fan Bake in the middle of the oven for about 40 minutes, stirring two times during the cooking time. Let it all caramelize. It's so delicious and makes a great side dish to accompany so many things.


~
As the days become cooler I won't be out in the garden as much, other than cleaning up and preparing the beds for Winter. Instead I'll be spending most of my time inside by the fire and catching up with some sewing, which I enjoy. I love to make all sorts of things from scratch and purchased some pretty cotton and linen fabrics to make pillow cases for our bed.
Some of the fabric I already had and need to use up. I love florals, neutral shades, checks and stripes. I'll share some photos when I get them made.


Well I started this post with sharing how I feel like a pioneer, because pioneers were seeking a new land with opportunities to start over. I felt like I needed that a few years ago when I was burned out and had overworked myself. I lacked balance and wasn't living the way I wanted too.  I wanted to change and needed to let go of things in my life. Now I feel like my life is in balance. We are growing and processing our own food. We are living more simply. I do have more time for others. I've totally overhauled my life from where it was and I'm so grateful to the Holy Spirit for the promptings to live life the way I desired, the way I felt called to, even if it's considered old fashioned and out of style. 
If you feel like I used to, then take one little step, change one thing and just work from there. 
~

Well that's about all for now. I know some of you in other parts of the world are now in Spring and you gardeners will be excitedly sorting out your seeds and seeing what you want to order for this season. Have fun !!! :o) May it be glorious and I pray you reap abundantly, even more than you expect. Blessings and peace to you all ~ Linda x 

                                                   ~ Our sweet little granddaughter Freya ~

                                         


 















Living Simply

 Hello friends, I just wanted to pop in here quick and share a couple of 'frugal living' things with you a recipe & an idea. The...