Saturday, December 24, 2016

Christmas Eve Home Tour

Welcome to our home on Christmas Eve. I've been meaning to post some photos of our Christmas decor for some time, and today, I figured, it's now or never...


The living room is aglow with a crackling fire, which warms you as you enter the house.


The living room Christmas tree is filled with rustic ornaments, burlap ribbon and copper beaded garland..



The plaid-trimmed burlap tree skirt sports presents wrapped in coordinating colors.



Holiday-themed pillows from TJ Maxx. lend a festive touch to the sofa.



The antique nativity set my father gave me years ago is  proudly displayed on a shelf in the living room. It is one of my prized possessions and represents what Christmas is really about, the glorious birth of our savior!








The master bedroom is decked out in red and green.(I love the Cynthia Rawley reindeer sheets I found at TJ Maxx; they're so soft and comfy!)  Faux white pine wreaths attached with plaid burlap ribbon hang on each window.





The guest room bed sports lots of plaid.  A small lit tree with rustic ornaments greets visitors.





I like to recycle items from year to year.  This was the vase from a fresh floral arrangement I received a couple of years ago.  I just filled it with greenery and a large pinecone. 



I've had this rustic pine candle ring from One King's Lane for a few years.  I usually add a scented candle to it.  My favorite holiday scent is apple cinnamon, which I buy at Michael's in bulk with a coupon every year.


A copper buck's head, rustic garland and knitted stockings adorn the hearth.




With the window shades up, wreaths hung on the outside of the windows do double duty.  They are hung on a wrought iron wreath hanger; each holds an LED candle with a timer.




The dining room, which is open to the living area, continues the rustic Christmas theme.






Fresh greenery surrounds an LED candle in the centerpiece. It smells wonderful as you enter the room.



 

The linen table runner is embroidered with red poinsettias.





Faux greenery and pinecones adds a festive touch to the wrought iron chandelier.



The Amish hutch sports rustic greenery, pinecones and snowmen.






Spode dinnerware and rustic accents fill the wall in the dining room.




It's just starting to get dark, so let's enjoy sitting on the front porch for a spell.  I will make us some hot chocolate to take with us.  Merry Christmas!





Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Starting Our Plants From Seed

It's that time of year again--time to start our vegetable and herb seedlings in the greenhouse. Regarding our greenhouse, while we were still living in Massachusetts, we purchased an inexpensive one. Fortunately, we procrastinated about putting it together there, so it was still in its original box when we moved here. Once erected, it appeared to be a bit on the flimsy side, and we were concerned it would not withstand the high winds we typically get here. Rather than investing in something sturdier, as crazy as it may sound, we decided to try reinforcing every seam on the greenhouse with heavy duty, all weather duct tape.  We applied it on both the inside and outside seams,  It took us three days to complete, but it definitely did the trick!

We arranged two folding tables against the walls inside the greenhouse and covered them with plastic sheeting. Next it was time to arrange the seed containers on the tables.  To save money, we purchased some inexpensive plastic containers, rather than using disposable ones we would have to replace yearly.  My husband drilled holes in the bottom of each container for drainage. We also had several flower planter boxes in one of the sheds  To save money and also to minimize any transplant shock, he mixed some composted soil from the garden with some organic potting soil (1:1) and filled each container. He then drew a diagram of each tabletop and labeled each container in the diagram with what was to be planted in it.

Using my husband's diagram, we labeled each container and began the process of planting the seeds,. Before planting, we carefully moistened the soil a bit.  Using my husband's sharp instrument of choice (a letter opener), we made holes for each seed, adhering to the depth recommendation on the seed packets. After covering the seeds with soil, we watered each planter well after planting the seeds.

We typically buy organic heirloom seeds, so we can save seeds from the vegetables to plant the following growing season.

This year, we planted three varieties of tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplant, carrots, celery, romaine lettuce, zucchini squash, crooked neck squash, Waltham squash, pumpkins, onions, peas, and green beans.  Sweet potatoes, corn and red potatoes will be direct-sown in the garden.  We will also plant a variety of medicinal herbs in a second garden.

We always make sure to save the seed packets, as they contain  plant spacing information for transplanting in the garden.

Every morning, my husband waters each container in the greenhouse.  In the evening he turns on a space heater in the greenhouse, which he turns off in the morning.

It's so exciting to see the plants peeping through the soil in the containers!

We're definitely looking forward to planting season, which is usually around the second week of May here in the mountains.

Jane



Monday, April 11, 2016

Contentment

When we moved here almost two years ago, due to my health issues, our income was reduced dramatically.  My husband took an early retirement, so his pension was not what it could have been if he had waited another eight years, which was our original plan.  However, our plans are not always God's plans, and I am fully convinced He has a reason for everything.  We knew immediately we needed to trust Him to take care of our financial needs.

In addition to having faith that God would provide, we knew our lifestyle would change with the reduction of income.  In order to be able to get our small farm up and running, we had to make a commitment to debt-free living, including not having a mortgage. This meant a fixer-upper rehab on a budget, along with doing most of the work ourselves.

Living debt-free has required a change of thinking on my part. When I had my web design business, if I wanted something new for our home, I just went out and bought it.  Now I have to be more thoughtful about my purchases. I am learning that I can't have all the things that I want.

Yesterday, I was lamenting over something I saw on a decorating site online, which  I felt I just HAD to have for the house. God clearly brought me back to my senses this morning.  During my quiet time, He  led me to these scripture verses:  

1 Timothy 6:6-10 (NIV)


6 But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 8 But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. 9 Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. 

My biggest weakness, in terms of spending, is that I love decorating and all things home.  I have been an HGTV junkie for a number of years.  When we first moved here, due to my EMF sensitivity, I couldn't tolerate having a television in the house, so we were without one for quite sometime. As my health improved, I am now able to tolerate watching a small television,.  Most recently, I started watching HGTV again  I find myself drooling over some of the home makeover shows.  

Lately I have found myself looking at our home more critically.  I have definitely noticed a difference in my attitude of contentment now than when I wasn't able to watch television. God has shown me through scripture that if I continue down this path of discontentment,  I will eventually pierce myself with many griefs, as 1 Timothy 6:10 suggests. 

After giving it some thought, I know we made the right decision to paint the dark wood paneling in our home, rather than replace it. I am content with the laminate floors and countertops, which do look nice.  Our home doesn't have to be an HGTV show house.  When I go to bed at night, I can sleep peacefully knowing we do not have credit card balances as a result of our home rehab.  I am content with our new home in the country and appreciate God's loving guidance through His Word.

Jane

Linking up with Charlotte at Spiritual Sundays.






Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Healthy Homemade Granola

This homemade granola is a staple at our house. It's filled with healthy fats and is lower in sugar than commercially-prepared granola, plus it smells wonderful while it's baking in the oven! We enjoy it as a sundae topping using iced coconut milk, along with organic maple syrup.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups organic, gluten-free oats
  • 1/2 cup organic unsulfured, shredded coconut
  • 2 tsp. organic ground cinnamon 
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 cup organic nuts, such as walnuts or pecans
  • 1 cup organic seeds, such as pumpkin or sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup organic maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp. melted organic coconut oil
  • 1 cup organic dried fruit, such as raisins or cranberries
Directions:

Preheat oven to 325° F   Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper.  In a large bowl, combine the above ingredients, EXCEPT the dried fruit. Transfer mixture to cookie sheet and bake in oven for 20 minutes.  Turn granola with spatula and bake for an additional 15 minutes. Allow to cool completely before adding dried fruit.  Store in an airtight container.  These make great DIY gifts; simply add to a canning jar and decorate top with fabric, ribbon and a label.

Enjoy!


Thursday, March 3, 2016

Chopped Fruit and Quinoa Salad

  • 4 cups organic mixed greens (I use Nature's Promise spring mix along with several organic kale leaves.)
  • 1/2 organic orange peeled and sectioned
  • 1 organic Granny Smith apple, cut into sections
  • 6 organic strawberries
  • 1/4 cup fresh organic blueberries
  • 1/4 cup organic walnuts
  • 1/2 cup organic cooked rainbow quinoa
  • 2-3 tablespoons Lemon Vinaigrette Dressing (recipe below)
Directions:

In a large stainless steel bowl, combine all ingredients EXCEPT the blueberries and cooked quinoa. Chop using a meza luna. Add blueberries, cooked quinoa and dressing after chopping; mix well.  Makes 2 servings.

Lemon Vinaigrette Dressing
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed organic lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons Annie's Naturals organic honey mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoons herbs de provence
  • 1/4 cup organic extra-virgin olive oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper and sea salt to taste
Directions:

Combine the above ingredients; refrigerate reminder in a tightly-covered container.

One of my favorites for lunch.  Enjoy!

Jane

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Homesteading in WV

It seems like yesterday we moved here from Massachusetts.  It's been a long road with my EHS (electromagnetic hypersensitivity).  It is nice to finally be able to tolerate the computer in short intervals to begin blogging again.  I am also glad to be able to live here in WV away from the cell phone towers and wi-fi.  I feel so blessed to be able to live in such a beautiful area!  We fell in love with the property when we found it two years ago.  It has everything we wanted to homestead, including 18.5 acres, a one-level home, several outbuildings, a pond, a workshop with a root cellar, 21 sugar maple trees, three grapevines and a large hayfield.

Our dog, Jamie, enjoying a warm fire during the holidays
The interior of the house was dated, but the home had a fairly new roof, siding and windows.  We updated the home's interior, and I will post before and after photos in the coming weeks. We redid both the kitchen and bath, replaced all of the flooring, faucets and light fixtures and painted every dark-paneled wall throughout.  In addition, we finished the mudroom addition the previous owners started, and updated the front porch with a beadboard ceiling and painted the floor. We installed a vintage reproduction screen door between the kitchen and mudroom and also one at the front door.  They remind me of the screen door on the Walton's, complete with that sound when you open and close them. We also added a stone hearth to accommodate our wood stove, which heats the entire house. We bought one with a glass front door, so we could enjoy the ambiance of the flames. During the colder months, I love having my morning coffee in front of a warm, crackling fire.

one of last season's daily harvests
One of the best things about living in the country is the ability to grow our own organic vegetables. Last season, we had an amazing garden.  We added a small greenhouse to our property and started the plants from seed. We then created a 48' x 48' fenced garden area and planted carrots, potatoes, pole beans, zucchini, crooked neck squash, cucumbers, peppers, onions, tomatoes and pumpkins.   The soil is very rocky here in the mountains. After removing the rocks, we amended the soil with compost from our compost spinner. We look forward to starting our plants from seed in the greenhouse in a couple of weeks.

Onyx and Cissy
We've been slow to add animals to our homestead. We plan on adding chickens and a couple of goats in the near future, once some accommodations have been made to the outbuilding we plan to convert to a barn/chicken coop.

The most wonderful part of living here has been the peacefulness.  During the warmer months, I love waking up in the morning and throwing open the front door.  You can hear the birds chirping and the sound of rushing water from the stream across the street.  The air is crisp and fresh, without any hint of the smell of automobile exhaust fumes.

I am also currently studying to be a Master Herbalist and have five more classes to complete. Looking forward to studying out on the front porch in my rocking chair soon!

Jane