Cleaning up the details…

We don’t get many visitors here on the homestead. And I kind of like it that way. I don’t have to worry about mopping up the muddy dog prints in the mud room every day, or scrubbing the grout in the shower. But, this year, we offered to have a family New Year’s Eve party. And being that New Year’s eve is only a titch over 4 weeks away, I thought maybe I’d better start cleaning up the details. And our thousand year old stove, on our million year old whitish, gold-flecked, stain-loving laminate counter is at the top of my list. And I HATE IT! It works beautifully, but it’s old and groddy, and IMPOSSIBLE to keep clean. Are you ready for this?



This stuff would NOT come off with regular cleaner and a rag…I promise, I do try!









I know, I know…all together now… “EW, GROSS, VOM, BELCH, PUKE…” I get it. I’m a terrible housekeeper. I never claimed to be Martha Stewart, and besides, I like to do more fun things, like COOK ON IT!






Let me introduce to you the ultimate in life-saving, holiday-cleaning, yucky-stove repairing cleaner.

Bar Keeper’s Friend is now my friend!

Let me reassure you, I have no association with this product, and no money exchanged hands for this post. (Except Wal-Mart got like $1.25 when I bought it.) I actually only know about it because a 70+ year old family friend advised me to use it when cleaning the baked on gunk from my Pyrex. So I did, and it’s AWESOME!! Then, I just started cleaning everything with it. And it works so well, I wanted to share it with you.

I personally think it works better than any mangic erasers or other cleaning powders. I haven’t had a problem with it scratching laminate, metal or any of my dishes. The only thing it does it dry the heck out of my fingers, so I’d recommend using rubber gloves or something. But, I’m too much of a woman for that…(aka stubborn.)

To use it, you just follow the directions, which is essentially dampen the surface you want to clean, put some BKF powder on it, and use a little elbow grease. The worse the stain, the more powder you use. And honestly, you need less elbow grease than you would expect.  Wanna know how well it works?



Phew, one detail to cross off the list, now onto the other…..400?!?

Happy Cleaning!!


A quick thought on chicken….

1.5 lbs of boneless, skinless chicken breast + 1 whole lemon + rosemary and pepper in a pressure cooker= delicious looking cooked chicken, delicious smelling cooked chicken, yucky tasting cooked chicken.

I don’t recommend it. Next time I’ll use half a lemon….

Lots of ways to give all year! Here’s one…

I’m a gardener. (I can’t wait for the day when I can say, “I’m a farmer.”) We had a successful crop this year of pretty much everything. We gave lots of fresh produce away to friends, family and co-workers, because sometimes, you just can’t eat, freeze and can it all. Our long term plans are to start growing enough to make it profitable (or at least break even) with a CSA (community supported agriculture–then I’ll be a farmer!) In the meantime, there is a learning curve of how much of what, and when to plant. So, I’m sure we’ll have excess of somethings and shortages of others. But that’s ok, because thankfully, we can afford to buy things to supplement our own produce.  Today, I came acrossed Ample Harvest, and had an epiphany. (Not the most BRILLIANT epiphany ever, but hey…)

…Some people don’t know what fresh, homegrown (or even corporate grown) produce tastes like, because they can’t afford it…

Wow. That sucks.

You know how you KNOW things, but you just kind of push it to the back of your mind, because you don’t think you can do anything about it?? yeah, this was one of those things for me. But Ample Harvest makes it super easy for me to help! And I love that!!  I’ve already found a local food pantry a few miles away from my home, thanks to Ample Harvest, and  I have an email out to the coordinator. Because come Spring, I know we’ll have excess produce, and I can’t wait to give it to people who really need it….

Thanks, AmpleHarvest, for making giving so easy!!!

The Vintage Christmas Tree-2011

So, I love old things. Antique things, used things, vintage things, thrifted things. I especially love PRETTY, old things. This, I can thank my mother for. She’s a collector of pretty things (especially dishes, which is a gene I have inherited). Growing up, we would go to auctions and bring home the coolest stuff, that I’d never seen before! ( I had a baby blue Royal type writer when I was 10. Sold it at a yard sale when I was 15. DAMN!)

Anyway, this love of old, pretty things lead me on the great quest of creating a vintage Christmas tree. I don’t know why I was so set on it. I think it has to do with feeling closer to my family. I mean, these were the ornaments my mother, grandmother, and great grandmother hung on their Christmas trees. Isn’t that exciting?! I think it is! And now that my Grandmother is gone, I feel like maybe a piece of her is still here celebrating with me.

Ok-that sounds weird now that I’ve actually typed it. But it’s true none-the-less.

And! We musn’t over look the fact that vintage ornaments, The real, SHATTER-ABLE (word?), glass kind just have an appeal.

So, since last Christmas I’ve been on the hunt. I’m thrifty, so there was NO WAY I was just going to buy a bunch at an antique store for $2.00/ornament. PSSHHH! Please! So I thrifted, and estate saled, and craiglisted all year. And I even had some wonderful family members donate their beautiful ornaments. (Thank you Mom and Aunt Tootie!)

So here she is….

The picture really doesn’t do it justice. Let’s have a close up!


 The beautiful red, white and blue mercury glass ornament my Momma gave me! (Circa 1940s?)



The stripes are my favorite!

 Isn’t it FANTASTIC? I just love it. Sometimes it’s the little, pretty, glittery things in life that make me smile. 🙂



Here’s some great DIYs I found that I’m definitely going to try next year:

Who doesn’t like glitter? Mom4Real does! 

And Check out these neat garland and ornaments at Too Much Time on My Hands.


Building a clothesline…

To start things off with a bang, I thought I’d give you a tutorial for building your own clothesline for about $75 bucks. Think of it as an investment. Everytime you hang your clothes out in the fresh air and sunshine, you save on electric bills. Plus, your family and Mother Earth will thank you!


  • Two (2) 4×4 posts, about 10 feet long
  • One (1) 2×6, four feet long
  • One (1) 2×6, 8 feet long
  • 6 lag bolts with 6 washer and 6 nuts
  • 6 eye bolts/screws
  • 2 bags of Quikcrete
  • Wood Screws (about 10)
  • Shovel
  • Post hole digger
  • Plastic or cloth clothesline
    (I prefer plastic, but it tends to snap if clothes are too heavy.)
  • Power Drill
  • Saw of some sort, power preferrably

Time Investment: Approx. 4 hours

1. Cut 2×6 into 2 4 ft. sections

2.  Drill 3 holes in the shape of a triangle at one end of the 4×4 post. Approx 1.5in apart from each other. 

3. Center 2×6 on the post, and drill 3 matching holes.

4. Insert 3 lag bolts into 2×6 and 4×4 post. Secure on back with bolts.

5. Repeat for second 2×6 nd 4×4 post.

6. Tap eye screws into place, and use pliers to screw into place.

6. Cut 2×4 boards into 4 equal pieces. Approx 2 feet down, cut to length 3×4 with approx 45 degree angles on both ends that extend from post to half the length of the 2×6. Attach with wood screws- 2×4 to 4×4 post, and bottom of 2×6.  The goal is to create 45 degree angles at both ends of the board to create support peices from the 4×4 post to the centers on both sides of the 2×6.  Repeat on second side.

Now….DIG! Approx 3-4 feet deep. Mine is about 15 feet apart. Much wider than that and you’ll need a third support. Use the post hold diggers to dig down far enough…this could be tricky. Once you’ve reached the appropriate depth, insert posts. Have someone hold the post while you attempt to position and level. (I eyeballed mine.)  fill the hole with quikcrete as directed by the package. Try to get the cement evenly around the post so it doesnt lean as it dries. Do the same for the second side directly acrossed from the first post.

Wait for the cement to dry, the fill the hole up with the dirt that you removed….we didnt wait. We just threw it in while the cement was still wet and it turned out ok.  The right way to do it is to wait till it dries, give it some support so they stay in position…then back fill.

 Anyway, if you’d like more detail or pictures, let me know, I’d be happy to help. The moral of the story is…save some on your energy bills, and get a little sunshine. 🙂