Sunday, May 29, 2011

Renaissance Festival

Yesterday was so much fun. The TN Renaissance is in it's last weekend here and we decided to play hookie and go. Our neighbors went with us and we all had a ball. The only downside is that it turned hot.

On one hand I wish I had dressed up, some of the costumes were great. On the other hand, I'm glad I didn't have to walk around under five layers of clothes in 90 degree weather. Maybe next year.

There was a joust. It was ok, but a little disappointing. I guess asking for an actual joust is too much in this day and age. I did take pictures, but my camera leaves a lot to be desired. It does not capture motion at all.

We also took a tour of the castle. What is so impressive is that the castle is a private residence. The man who built it actually lives there.
This is part of their actual kitchen.

Another pic. of the kitchen

 One of the tapestries. Isn't it beautiful

 Chain mail shirt

A rock formation outside the castle.

The vendors were great too. We stopped at a lot of them but we didn't actually buy anything. It was tempting to but some of the handmade soaps though. If they hadn't been so expensive I would have. Six dollars is too much. Even for homemade soap.

We arrived at the fair when it opened at ten and stayed til two. By then it was just too hot. So we came home and worked on the house (of course).Next year we will probably go in early May when it is cooler so we can wear costumes. 

Maybe by then I will have a better camera.

Thanks for reading,

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Plan B

Ok, well soaping fell though today. I wanted to but it just wasn't happening. Planning and shopping for the food I want to make at the shower took priority. Visiting my neighbor was also great. Then there is planning the pool area and making raised beds for more herbs.

So, I just didn't get to it.

But the Farmer found something cool. I mean really cool!

Disclaimer: the Farmer is not Jeff Corwin or Steve Irwin or Crocodile Dundee. He has lived in this region for many years and knows the wildlife. Please DO Not go around picking up random snakes. Many are venomous and can be deadly.

I think it's gorgeous. It is an eastern milk snake. When I asked him if he was sure that was the type of snake it was he said, "I hope so, it's bitten me like five times."

Isn't he hilarious?

Thanks for reading,

Monday, May 23, 2011

Oh My!

My Brambleberry order came in today!! I feel a little bad for the delivery guy though. I don't know why they won't drive up our driveway, but every time I have a package (which is way too often; seriously, it's like I have a birthday every month) they park in the street and walk all the way up our drive.

But my order came in!! What did I order? I'm so glad you asked. Here, I'll show you.

 Baby blocks mold for the shower. I love the little feet!

 This is one of their "oops" molds. It was on a sheet of molds that were imperfect. Rather than recycle them, Brambleberry sells them at a discount. It was hard to stop at three.

 Another "oops" mold. Can't wait to use this one.

 This will be great for 4th of July. Wish I had more than one.

 I'm going to blend this fragrance with honeysuckle as soon as they get more in stock.

 You wouldn't think this would smell good but it is amazing.

 Every order gets a free fragrance sample. Tropical vacation. Mmmmm!

 This is the fragrance I am going to use for the baby shower soaps.

 Three natural colors for me to use in CP soap.

Five un-natural (but awesome) colors that will be used in both CP and MP.

I will probably make some of the soaps today. More pictures will come tomorrow.

Thanks for reading,

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Baby Shower

In about a month my sister-in law is having her baby shower. A fun monkey themed party to celebrate the arrival of her little boy James. I, myself have never been to a baby shower. So, what do I do when she tells me about it? I say "can I do the food?"

What possesed me to utter those words? Because I love to cook and so far nobody has let me cook for a party/get together/holiday/shindig.

So, I do what I always do, I research. Yesterday we went to Books-A-Million where I bought four cookbooks. Then we went to Wal-Mart to get the supplies. And last night I made two of the recipes in the book.


They were both just bad. Not being one to give up easily, I'm going to tweak the recipes and try again in a day or two, after my confidence comes back.

I'm going to try for lots of variety. Nothing too fancy but nothing too dull. In trying to fit in with the theme of the party some of the desserts are definitely going to have bananas in them. You know, frozen bananas covered in chocolate, banana ice cream (drool worthy), and so forth.

The biggest problem I see so far is that most of the dishes on my "maybe" list have either chicken or cheese or some combination of the two. Variety...yeah.

Oh yeah, not to mention, this baby shower is composed of about 30 people. So, I'm going to cook appetizers for about 30 women and men.

So, I turn to my few readers. Should I prepare lots of just a few varieties or just have a sampling of lots of different varieties?

Sunday, May 15, 2011


Well, the chickies are still alive. It would be my luck to decide to put them outside during the one week that a weird front moves through and makes it cold. Two week of beautiful weather and then freezing.

Ok, not actually freezing, but it feels like it after 90 degree temps for a week.

But, they are moving around and eating so I think they are going to be ok. *breath sigh of relief*.

On another note, I spent lots of money yesterday on two splurges. I ordered a large amount of kefir culture from Leeners. What is kefir?

Kefir is a milk product made from cultures. It is similar to yogurt. Now I could also say it is fermented milk, but to most American palates, fermentation just doesn't sound good.

But Kefir is very very good. And it is very good for you. My favorite way to drink kefir is in smoothie form in the morning. I blend it with strawberries, bananas, a little honey and ice. Yummm! I haven't had it in almost six months but I placed an order with Leeners yesterday and I can't wait til they deliver it.

Of course, I won't be able to drink it right away. What I buy from Leeners is the live culture. When I get it, I take a gallon of milk. I use store bought milk for now but I'm hoping that will change in the future. You could use any type of milk (cow, goat, even coconut I'm told,even though it technically isn't milk). I then heat the milk up to 86 degrees. Once it's there I take it off the heat and pour in the powdered culture. Once the culture is all mixed in I pour the milk into half gallon ball jars and wait.

It's really up to you how long you wait. I'm told that the longer it sits the more sour it gets. I let it sit between 18 and 24 hours and then stick it in the fridge.

It can last for a couple of weeks but mine never make it that long. The really beautiful part about kefir is that you can re-batch it. Theoretically, you can re-batch as many times as you want but the taste does change. I usually re-batch once and then start over with a fresh culture.

You can use it in baking as well. Just replace any buttermilk with kefir, I think on a 1:1 ratio. Although if you're going to try it I would do a little research. I've never baked with it, I just like to drink it.

So, that was one splurge yesterday. My second splurge was from Brambleberry.

I absolutely love to make soap. I started almost a year ago after doing an embarrassingly large amount of research. Now I make a large batch ever other month or so and it's all we use. We don't buy shampoo or conditioner either. The soap I make works so much better than any shampoo bought in the store. For conditioner, I use a mixture of water and apple-cider vinegar. No, my hair doesn't stink.

I buy all of my soap making supplies from Brambleberry. The stuff I bought yesterday is mostly for the soap I am going to be making for my sister-in-law's baby shower next month. After I make everything I'll post pictures. Or maybe that will be my first tutorial! I like that idea.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Mother Hen

Well, the chicken house is finished enough for the little darlings to start staying outside. Now, I know this is better for them. They were starting to outgrow their brooder. But I'm still freaking out a little. I know they are going to be safe inside their coop. Doors will be locked to keep out predators and they will cuddle together to stay warm, but I'm still worried.

What if a big storm comes and knocks the coop over. Or maybe lightning strikes and sets the whole thing on fire. Ok, probably not going to happen, but it's their first night outside.

I'll update tomorrow on tonight.

Thanks for reading,

Monday, May 9, 2011

Internet and Pictures!

We finally got internet here at the house and I gotta say it has been a relief. Not only can I get the news and the weather updates(which is good considering the devastation that has been going on in TN) but I can also research more about the adorable chickens and make sure I don't kill them.
Aren't they just too cute. In two weeks I would say they have more than doubled in size. We have let them outside a few times to try and harden them up and when the nights get a little warmer we will be able to put them outside permanently! I'm told that after having chickens for several years, that the cuteness will become irrelevant, we'll see.

I mentioned before that I had lots of pictures to share and I do. Some of them are relevant to the farm and some are just for fun.

Isn't this neat?! I had just gotten out of the shower and was trying to make sure I didn't drip on anything that wasn't supposed to get wet when I noticed this. How cool! A heart in my footprint.

We planted a total of maybe 12 rosebushes early this spring. In lots of different colors too. White, pink, red, blue, purple, and yellow. This is the fist bloom!

I've posted pictures of fire here on the blog before. And I'm going to do it again. Maybe I'm a pyromaniac and don't know it. These pictures were a result of us burning off some of the rubber from the wire we had collected. I had seen different colors of flame before but never so many all in the same fire.
                                                    Just another picture of the pretty flames.

And another.

Just one more.

Ok, last one. Promise.

This year is a very important year for Middle Tennessee. 13 years ago the cicadas came. And this year they are coming back. The closest I ever came to a cicada was seeing the shells stuck on the trees. I mean, 13 years ago, not only was I not in middle TN but I was 12 year old. Bugs were gross.

While I'm still not too terribly fond of them. I'm also not 12 years old anymore and I can see them for their usefulness and yes, sometimes for their beauty. 

I cannot take credit for these pictures. The Farmer took them. They are his. I was sitting in the living room, reading when he came rushing inside and then back outside saying over his shoulder, photo op. Well, ok. Then he came back in and showed me this picture. It begins.

 A few hours later. It's kinda cool.

 The next day. Isn't it pretty? The new one, not the shell.

Our garden has started. We've had so much rain though, I think our peas have rotted. We'll have to replant them.

We didn't plant this tomato plant from seed because we are impatient for fresh tomatoes.

And here is our first one!

The lettuce is coming up nicely even with the weeds that we haven't pick because we haven't had a dry day in ages.

This is only a few of the potato plants, but they are coming up great. I'm so excited!

We also have carrots, beets, and three kinds of peppers. We have a whole box of seed packets that we have yet to plant. We just haven't had a chance, but hopefully if it stays dry we can get some more plants planted. It's still kinda hectic around here. We are living here but we are sleeping on an air mattress in our closet. We don't have a washer/dryer, so every week the Farmer has to go to the apartment after work and wash clothes. But it'll get better. 

He did bring most of my baking supplies to the house for me so I can start baking again! I love it and I've missed it. I'll even do tutorials!

For the rest of the day I'm going to paint the master bedroom. Once it's done then we will move on to the guest room. Then we'll carpet! 

Thanks for reading!