Consider how the wildflowers grow....Luke 12:27 NIV
Living small in our 880 square foot cottage and micro farming on approximately an acre of land.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Recipe Wednesday #8: Roasted Duck

We raised ducks for eating and had two left in the freezer, small male mallards.  I decided it was time to finally roast them before the freezer got the better of them.  I've roasted duck several times before, but was never really pleased with the results.  I tried this method/recipe and was very pleased.  So was the rest of the family.  I don't have an after picture because they were eaten that quickly.  LOL!
Here are my ducks getting prepared.  The herbs on top were stuffed into the birds.

Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.

Place your ducks breast side up in a roasting pan with water in the bottom.

Carefully pierce the skin of the ducks all over with a knife tip, being careful not to prick the meat underneath.

Cut a lemon in half and rub them all over the ducks, then stuff them inside the cavity.

Generously salt the ducks and rub the salt into the skin.

Add a peeled and thickly sliced apple into the cavities of the ducks along with fresh sprigs of parsley, rosemary and sage leaves.

Cover and place ducks in preheated oven, allowing them to roast for at least an hour and a half.

Baste the ducks occassionally and check temperature.

When the ducks are nearly cooked, increase oven temperature to 425 degrees F. Baste ducks one more time and let them roast for another 10-15 minutes at that temperature.  This should crisp up their skin nicely, but be careful not to overcook the duck itself.

Remove roasting pan and let the ducks "rest" for 10 minutes before transferring them to the serving dish.

Carve and enjoy!

*I found this recipe made the ducks tender and flavorful.  I loved finding bits of meat and skin near the lemons and tasting the burst of flavor.

*If you're using a larger duck, your cooking times are going to be longer.

Monday, May 19, 2014


Remember these beautiful blue Robin's eggs?

They hatched!

And Pfeffer had a baby shower!  A new cage of her own, big and roomy along with a nesting box.  Every morning I eagerly run out to see if she's had her babies yet.  Not yet.

Saturday, May 17, 2014


May has proven to be a very busy month.  I didn't expect anything less, but my oh my!  I certainly look forward to homeschooling being done for the school year, and getting my washing machine fixed.  Thankfully, we only have 8 days left of homeschooling!

During all this busy-ness, we're enjoying Spring in full bloom, particularly the Dandelions!  Many people hate Dandelions, but not me.
I've been enjoying bouquets of Dandelions from my children.  Seriously, how sweet is this?!  He presented them to me as my Mother's Day gift, completely unbidden and unprompted.  Although, I have encouraged my children to not pick every single Dandelion they see because they are first foods for hungry bees waking up in the Spring.

But, with this field of sunshine next door, I don't think the bees have anything to worry about.  

The rabbits and I have been enjoying Dandelion greens (and the clover), and so has this little toad.  Can you spot him?  He's the first toad I've seen this year.

We took advantage of all those Dandelions to harvest their tops for Dandelion Jelly.  Yum!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Recipe Wednesday #7: Squash Smoothie?!

I had a partly eaten banana sitting on the counter after small humans in my household decided only a couple of bites were enough.  I also had a bit of squash getting freezer burned in the door shelf of my freezer.  Waste not, want not, so into a smoothie it all went.

1 (well, mostly 1) banana
1/4 bag of cubed frozen squash
1/2-1 cup of plain yogurt (sorry, I just dumped some in the blender)
1 raw egg
1 serving probiotic
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon maple sugar
cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger to taste

Blend well and enjoy!

It was fine for my tastes, but for a family enjoyment, I would recommend a vanilla yogurt instead of plain.

Squash is very high in Vitamin A, and high in Vitamin C.  It also contains Vitamins E, B6, Calcium, Magnesium, Iron, Thiamin, Niacin, Potassium, Manganese, and Folate.

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Friday, May 9, 2014

Hand (or rather foot) Washing Laundry

My washing machine leaks like a sieve now.  Hubby's going to take a look at it as soon as he can, but that may still be some time.  In the meantime, it's back to hand washing laundry.

Bathtub + Feet agitators = an acceptable job at washing laundry.

It does take some time, though.  I did two small loads the other morning and it took me an hour and 15 minutes.  I could have done a better job on the darks.  Hubby's work jeans didn't come out as clean as I would have liked.

I really don't mind it.  It's great exercise, but I hate the hand wringing part.  I don't have a wringer, so I have to use my hands.  That's tough on the hands.

Always looking to save time and money, I threw in a load of darks while I was taking a shower.  Multi tasking!

I'll say one thing, though....doing laundry by hand really forces me to evaluate what clothing is actually dirty and what can get away with another wearing.

Worse comes to worse, I have family nearby with machines I can use and of course there are laundromats in the area.

Still, the notion of being able to adequately hand wash laundry is appealing in some way.  Maybe it is just the time of year.  The long days for air drying, the warmer weather, the less clothing being worn all add up for ideal hand washing.  I don't think I'd be so rosy about it if it were winter.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

This is Why I Love May

Chionodoxa luciliae blue (yes, I had to google that)

 My Crimson King getting ready to put out leaves

 Daffodils in full bloom

Sweet Bush Cherry blossoming before anything else.

Radishes and Turnips have sprouted!

Our robins returned to the nest in the bush.  Three perfect eggs, hopefully becoming three perfect baby robins.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Recipe Wednesday #6: Homemade Onion Rings

Here's one way I can get my kids to eat onions!  Homemade onion rings are so much better and better for you than the store bought ones.
Just a few from the large batch this recipe provided.

Pour your peanut oil into a cast iron pot.  (A larger pot will suffice, but cast iron fries so well.  You can also use a deep fryer.)  Heat the oil.

Thickly slice one large or two smaller onions.

Blend together in a bowl 1 1/4 cups flour, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon baking powder.

Add onion rings and toss to coat.

Remove onion rings, shaking excess flour mixture off and place the rings on a plate.

Add 1 cup milk and 1 beaten egg to the flour mixture and blend well.

On another plate or shallow bowl, prepare your coating.  I used organic yellow corn meal and grated old biscuits with some salt to flavor.  You can use Panko bread crumbs, regular bread crumbs, cracker crumbs.  You can add your own seasonings (I don't recommend this if you plan on reusing your oil.  You can add a seasoned salt to your rings once cooked).

Dip the onion rings into the flour batter.  It'll stick well and you may want to let some of it slide off.  Then dip and coat in the coating and place in the hot oil.

You can also skip the coating and just make french fried onion rings with the batter.  Or slice the onions into strips and make french fried onions.

Here's a link to all the health benefits of onions.

Here's a link to all the health benefits of peanut oil. 

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Yard Sale Prep

I've been preparing for two weeks now for a yard sale at my sister's house (she gets better traffic than I do).  As the big day gets closer, I am getting more ruthless with what to get rid of.  In fact, I just spotted my daughter's toddler PFD in the nearby closet.  She's likely too big for it now and it is way too girly to pass down to little brothers.  Off it goes into a box for the sale!

Living in a small house with many people required frequent purging and reevaluation of stuff.  Sometimes it does merit holding on to things, but other times I just can't afford the clutter, even if it is something recently purchased, such as the electric foot massager.  I have perfectly adorable feet with no ickiness to them at all, but I can't get anyone in the house to rub them for me, so I bought an electrical doo-hickey to do the job.  But, it mostly just tickles, which isn't very relaxing.  So, I may pop that in the sale, too.

I am hoping to make over $100 and use that money at the greenhouse to purchase what I need for the garden.  Whatever is left over will go into anything the rabbits may need to be moved out of our basement and into an outdoor enclosure of some sort.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Cold Weather, Set Backs and Greener Grasses

The cooler weather and rain lingers.  Day after day, it seems, it is dreary.  I have yet to put away my winter coat, scarf and gloves.  It is holding back the spring seedlings, the buds, yard clean up, and laundry.

But, it is good weather for soups:

I had three different soups going at the same time for lunch over the weekend.  Clam (made from broth saved from draining canned tune and salmon), beef barley vegetable (made from the bone and drippings of a beef dinner the day before), and ham lentil soup (made from leftover bits of ham steak from a dinner earlier in the week).

Spring hasn't even really kicked off yet, but winter preparations are already under way.  The boys helped Grandpa unload pellets for the winter (although Grandpa is STILL burning pellets because it is so cold and damp).  

We visited Grandpa and Grandma and had a long talk about the state and State we live in and if the grass really is greener if we moved south.

Hubby and I faced our own setbacks.  We had a free shed lined up, but that fell through.
We had unexpected financial setbacks due to the cost of surviving winter, the State's taxes, and his job benefits.
Will we even get our pig this year?
Will our rabbits ever make it out of the basement and into a barn?
Can we make it through another winter?
Will we forever be running at rat race and never making headway?

Is the grass really greener if we moved south?  Because it certainly is barely greening up here!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

A Penny Saved #1

It's been raining, cold and dark these last few days, so not much is getting done on our micro farm outside.  So, I turn my focus indoors.

We seem to be bombarded with rising bills and cost of living.  I'm beginning to feel like we're entering a Great Depression of sorts again!  Throughout the day the sayings of old pop into my mind:

"Waste not, want not."

"A penny saved is a penny earned."  

It is actually a fun challenge to see where I can pinch pennies and waste not.

Here are two simple things I've done this week to save a penny.  They're not much, but every little bit counts.  
Target had these reusable sandwich bags in their $1.00 section with 3 per package!  No more buying ziplock bags for hubby's lunches!  Sorry, hubby, that they're so girly.

I cleaned out our cabinet where we keep our bread and found bag after bag of bread ends, slightly squished and stale, thus no small child is going to want to eat them.  So, I cubed them up and I am making them into bread pudding for breakfast.

*A Penny Saved will be a series I post about the little things or ideas one can do to save a little.