Monday, October 31, 2011

Adios, Microwave!

Since and because of Leigh's post on My5acredream, we have nixed our microwave.

Up until our yard sale a few weeks ago, we had two microwaves.  One came with our house and has been stored in the attic, and the other we brought with us.  I had planned to sell the one in the attic, but after reading Leigh's post, I decided to try to sell both of them.  I've used microwaves most of my life, so selling my microwave seemed like such a radical concept to me.  Plus, I didn't know how receptive Nate would be to getting rid of our microwave, but once I explained the reason, he was on board.  

Getting rid of such a convenience appliance took some getting used to.  It's so easy just to pop leftovers in and heat them without thinking about it.  I had to re-adjust my thinking and planning.  Several times in the first week I caught myself turning to where the microwave sat to use it.  One adjustment I made was to buy a toaster oven, which I now use to heat leftovers and bake small items.  It has already come in handy, and I know it will continue to do so, especially in the summer, because I can use it instead of the big oven to bake, and better yet, I can take it out on my deck to keep even more heat out of the kitchen.  I'm still also hoping to use my Sun Oven more as well.   

Even Nate has made adjustments at work.  He says he uses the toaster oven at work, rather than the microwave to heat his lunch. 

Now that I'm used to it being gone, I don't really miss it.

Thanks, Leigh for the eye-opening post on microwaves! 

Happy homesteading,


Sunday, October 23, 2011

Picture Post!

We ordered our wood burning insert and have finally started getting our wood organized.  I'm so excited to have this project underway because the wood has been piled in several areas of our yard that I have pinned for other projects.  I have been moving wheelbarrows of wood daily and the pile is growing.  Nate has become quite the wood splitter too!

I don't think I shared with you the finished "barn" yard yet.  It turned out really well.  Vanilli can scale the fence, so we clipped her wing.  We decided we hated t-posts.  I can see the economy of them if we were running 1000s of feet of fencing, but for this small project, the wood posts fit the aesthetics of the yard and our tastes much better than t-posts.   

Is that a jungle bird?  No, it's just Napoleon roosting in the willow tree.  For the past several nights we have had to retrieve him and put him up with the ladies.  They are getting used to each other.  He is not being picked on, so I think they knew he's a he, but he hasn't stepped up to the plate and asserted himself yet.  His tail feathers are growing back and his neck feathers are starting to come back in as well.  Maybe he just wants to be "purdy" first. 

As of today, our newest addition to our motley crew of hens, a Red Star.  I'm thinking of naming her Ginger.  Pearl, our Black Star, has been a tremendous layer, so I hope she will be as well.  I know better than to buy a bird from the flea market, but I just feel so sorry for them.  Vanilli was a flea market rescue, and she's turned out to be a fabulous bird now that she's in a healthy environment.  Ginger looked healthy, bright eyes, nice glossy feathers, but when I got her home I realized she is missing a digit off one of her talons.  It's totally amputated.  I think we are destined to find and care for messed up birds.  They seem to find their way to us. 

Finally, my thoughts exactly!  Snuggle up and find a warm place to sleep.  Winter is coming.

Happy homesteading,



Friday, October 21, 2011

Warm and Toasty

When cold weather hits, my thoughts turn to knitting.  Last year, I knitted both Nate and myself a pair of slippers, but by season's end, they were toast.  They were knitted with a chunky yarn, and they didn't hold up well at all.  Plus, I didn't like the way they felt on my feet.  So, this year, I decided to try a different pattern.  I've never felted anything, but have wanted to since I started knitting.  What better way to try felting than a nice warm pair of slippers.  I had some fisherman's wool on hand and with the beauty of Ravelry, I found a pattern to try.  At the time, it was free, but  now I see she's charging for it.  Either way, here it is:

The slippers, being only 19 rows, knitted up fairly quickly.  I also learned some new stitches, which I enjoy.  I think this sets me up to finally tackle a pair of socks.  Here they are knitted but not yet felted:


And here they are after felting:

The fit perfectly, and are very comfortable.  I will see how well they wear over the course of the winter.  Now, Nate wants a pair.

Happy homesteading,


Tuesday, October 11, 2011


One could call me and Nate neat freaks.  Our house is tiny, and with a tiny house comes a responsibility to keep clutter to a minimum.  A place for every thing, and every thing in its place; otherwise, chaos and disorder ensues.  I thrive on order, and when things get disorganized, I go batty.  Of course, there is always an exception to the rule!  Our exception is our attic.  Yikes!

A few weeks ago, we decided to clean out our attic and have a yard sale.  Mind you, we have lived in our house for almost nine years and have not once cleaned out the attic.  Occasionally, we'll bring a few things down and get rid of them, but for the most part, stuff goes up and doesn't come back down. 

As of today and the exception of some of Nate's motorcycle parts, we have emptied our ENTIRE attic into our house, and it looks like a bomb exploded!  And I've gone through every cabinet and closet in the house to rid them of unused, not needed stuff.   The clutter is driving us crazy.  But, it has put me in a purging mood because it's not going back up there.  I have made countless trips up and down the drop down ladder.  If it doesn't sell, it's going to charity.  Perhaps it can do someone else some good because it's not doing us any good stored away.   

So, this Saturday is D-Day.  I'm praying for good traffic and sales.. 

Happy homesteading,


Saturday, October 1, 2011

Winter Heating

Fall may finally be here, and it's welcome.  The air is crisp outside, and the windows are open to embrace it.  Fall has always been my favorite season, a nice reprise from the tortuous heat and humidity of the summer.  Our house was built in the 1940s, and it has a lovely fireplace, which was converted to gas-burning by a previous owner.  We've always hated that the fireplace is gas-burning, and we have not turned it on more than once or twice in the nine years we've lived here.  About five years ago, we had someone come out and inspect the fireplace and chimney to possibly convert it back to wood-burning.  He told us the entire firebox had to be rebuilt, and the amount he quoted was out of our price range at the time.  So, we let it go for the time being.  We've also considered a wood-burning insert for several years, but we've never taken the time to research them until this year.  We have a good amount of wood saved and aged from the trees we felled this spring, and I would love to make even better use of money already spent.  Plus, our house is so small, we could heat the whole thing with a wood-burning stove.

Once we started researching inserts, we decided to have the fireplace and chimney inspected again.  I asked the inspector to inspect with the idea that we would just use the fireplace as is without an insert, so if we didn't get an insert this year, we could at least burn some fires.  He told us other than a few places in the firebox that needed to be retouched with fireplace mortar and a few places at the top of the chimney that needed some attention, everything was in good shape.  Our chimney has a terracotta liner from top to bottom and he said it's also clean and in good shape.  We think the first inspector was just trying to con us.            

I'm still researching, but I have found an insert I like and it's EPA-certified and it qualifies for a tax credit.  Did you know it's hard to find a wood-burning insert that qualifies for the tax credit?  It has to have at least a 75% efficiency rating, and most of the wood-burning inserts that are sized for our home have around a 63% rating.  Most of the pellet-burning stoves I have seen qualify, but not the wood-burning stoves.  I have considered a pellet-burning stove, but I think the availability of pellets is limited around here since we really don't have extremely cold winters. 

What are your thoughts on wood-burning vs. pellet-burning stoves? 

Happy Fall,