Thursday, June 15, 2017

Vegan jerky

I was reading a local Houston magazine this week, and inside was a recipe for crispy baked watermelon rinds. Immediately I had to know what this was all about and give it a try! I've been thinking a lot about food waste lately. Reading other blogs about it, and being fascinated by Rob Greenfield and his famous youtubes on dumpster-diving, has got me all crazy about trying new ways to prepare our meals at home and completely using up the produce that comes out of the garden. There's just something very satisfying in that.

 In all fairness though, I have chickens who are happy to eat what we don't, but even they sometimes turn up their beaks at those chewy melon skins and leave me to rake them up later. So here I am trying this out:

Chopping off rind from yummy part

Sliced as thin as I could go without chopping fingers..

Coated in oil, pinch of chili powder, s/p, and fav seasoning rub

Baked for approximately an hour at 330 degrees F

I'm not sure how these were supposed to turn out, crispy-wise, that is. I definitely baked them longer than the recipe called for. They remind me a lot of kale chips, only chewier. They're okay! But, I think I am the only one in this family that is going to be indulging in these "vegan jerky strips".

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Madeline Mazie Morehouse

We're excited to announce that our daughter, Madeline, was born on Sunday, March 12th. Up until that day, there were hardly any "signs" she was close to being done cooking. I was still remembering how I went 2 weeks past my estimated due date with Max, and was preparing myself for another long wait. So here's how things went down that day:

I woke up to some annoying contractions at 5:30am that morning, and noticed they were slightly rhythmic; about 7 minutes apart and preventing me from falling back asleep. I stayed awake to time them for about 2 hours while the rest of the house was still sleeping. 

When the boys woke up at 7:30, I told Ted that I felt yucky and crampy, and possibly in early labor but to not get our hopes up. So we continued on with our day, doing breakfast, laundry, chicken and goat chores...still timing contractions which were anywhere from 2-5 minutes apart. 

It was around 9 when Max randomly barfed everywhere in the boys' bedroom. We still don't know what that was about?? But Ted and I looked at each other like, "seriously, is this the kind of day we need right now?!" 

By 10 o clock I was pretty sure that I was in early labor. I really had to convince myself that it was not just in my head, because the timing contractions thing was very unreliable. They were getting stronger, but not closer together or lasting very long. More like bad period cramps. But after another hour, I found myself getting into our bathtub to ease the contractions a bit and help to take the weight off my pelvis. At this point, I think things started to really get going. Ted worked on blowing up the birth pool in the kitchen and filing it with water. I just stayed in the tub and watched Max practice going underwater and holding his breath. 

We called the midwife at 11:50, and they got on the road and were here probably 30 minutes later. Upon their arrival, my cervix was checked. I was at a 5-6. Ted got on the phone to order pizza for everyone because we were all hungry. My birth pool was finally warm enough to go in, and I was about to get up to go in because my contractions were worse and I found myself on the bed talking to the birth team and soon launching myself into the pillows and getting onto my hands and knees as a sharp pain shot through my body. I looked down and my water was breaking. I remember hearing them all say something about how I was "dilating the rest of the way"...and "should someone get Ted in the room?"

"Yes! Where's Ted, I feel like I need to push!" He hung up on the pizza delivery service and ran into the bedroom. So then my brain kind of shut off and my body took over and details are a little fuzzy, but I was still on the bed on my knees and was surprised to realize that I was pushing the baby's head out already. Max ran out the room scared for his life. (Sorry kid!) And the baby's little body came out quickly right after. I heard her crying and knew everything was alright. The midwife's student passed her up to me through my legs and I looked at her squishy wet face for the first time :) It all happened so fast. 

She was born at 1:09pm. Shortly after, Madeline and I both got to get in the birth pool (after all, it was filled up with nice hot water) and we did an herbal bath and baby float. I cupped her small face in my hands and she floated around like she was back in the womb. All the while licking the air and wondering why it tasted so different than amniotic fluid!
Cutting cord

Proud big brothers
7 lbs 1 oz

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Nest prep

 March is here, and that means we are getting close to meeting our newest family member! Some friends threw me a Mother's Blessing Way last weekend and they made me this flag to hang up.

I also got my belly decorated with henna. I'm amazed that it was all done by hand! It can last up to 2 weeks (if I'm careful not to scrub too hard in the shower).

Paisley and florals!

Hooray for babies!

Monday, February 20, 2017

Rain day brain dump

We're all cozy inside of the house today due to the chilly rainy weather outdoors. I'm still unpacking from our weekend trip to the Mother Earth News Fair. It was something! I attended workshops on raising guinea fowl, rainwater collection systems, and was immensely inspired by a man who gave a demonstrative talk on how to build your own cob pizza oven. I am pretty sure that will be in the works very soon. How fun will it be to have friends over and prepare dinner on some hot bricks!?

Briggs making cob from clay, sand, and shredded newspaper

We were so happy to see our extended family/cousins that live in Austin, and catch up on life with them. We also enjoyed finding a burger joint that had an outdoor playground for the boys to get their crazies out while Ted and I sat at a table eating (partial alcoholic) ice cream without any little mouths constantly asking for bites :) .

"Scraps" the traveling van proved to be a good purchase, and got us back in one piece without any road trouble. Once he gets a some new clothes, he will be ready to travel the country in style! Speaking of which, if anyone has the hookup for art-car enthusiasts or would like to help us paint some weird murals in the future, hit me up! I know nothing about painting vehicles.

We were welcomed home yesterday with a surprise in the goat barn. Can you guess what I found tucked snugly in the alfalfa trough?

A green tinted teeny tiny egg! 

Ophelia, our Blue Favaucana hen is the winner of the 1st egg laying contest. I am thrilled they are finally old enough to start earning their keep around here ;)

We got a nice long row of tomato plants in the ground yesterday afternoon, just in time for this lovely rainy day. I hope they get to seedling starters are definitely smaller than those you'll find in the nurseries this time of the year.

Fare thee well for now!

Thursday, February 2, 2017


To be perfectly honest, I haven't put a lot of thought into what is about to happen in the next couple months with baby girl on her way. I guess the time is drawing near...but what have I done to prepare? I did get some newborn clothing tucked away in her dresser drawer last week. And today I ordered my birthing kit. I know there are a few more odds and ends that need to be put in order, but there's just so much else happening around here. 

I feel like I've accomplished quite a few tasks this morning. We collected a bag full of pine needles and grassy stick things from the park for a project we're working on. We had a big collection of mostly magazines and a few books that we dropped off at 2 different Little Free Libraries. Then we were off to the feed store to take care of all animal related needs. I needed to get goat and cat food, de-worming meds, and flea/tick meds. Hopefully they will be set for a couple months now.

Presently, Finn and I are trying to figure out how we're going to make a sign for 'Blueberry Hill'. We planted 4 bushes in the front yard and we spent our entire yesterday decorating the grassy slope with gnome-y mushroom-y things. 

More marigolds, peppers, and passion flowers were seeded in trays and everything in the greenhouse/hoop house is doing very well! 

Ted informed me that more rain is on it's way for the weekend, so it looks like tonight we'll be preparing for floody weather and getting the sump ready to drain the areas that turn into ponds. 

Also, the Superbowl is coming to town this weekend. Hopefully we'll be able to get around to wherever we need to go without dealing with all the crazies ;) (drivers, that is!)

Fare thee well!

Friday, January 13, 2017

Friday afternoon reflections

This seed basket can only mean one thing; it's time to get back into gardening and my livelihood! It's very odd starting seeds now, being it's January and all. I am not complaining, it's just odd. I made my first attempt at sterilizing potting soil this week for my trays, and it must have been alright because the French marigolds are popping their little heads out today after being tucked in just 3 days ago.

Over the past weekend we constructed our very first 'hoop house' and we're hoping it won't need the tarp on for long, but seeing as how it was down to 20 degrees F and killed a bunch of our citris grove a few days just cannot be too safe!

Max turned 2 this week! He has started repeating quite a few words/phrases that he hears us say, so I imagine it won't be long before we have another storyteller on our hands. One of his favorite activities is playing in the animal run.

We have had a couple afternoons of sitting around the fire after school and snacking, and listening to goat's baaing in the background ;)

Sometimes life is just better with a cat.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Mid November 2016

It's been way too long since I've updated, so I really don't know where I should begin. Let's just say that a lot has happened to the house remodel. We like our house. And it's finally getting better outside. We are even pumped up about starting some new things in the backyard soon. We've had a ton of helpers with everything and are so thankful for family and friends who are willing to donate their time. The latest changes around here have been:

1. The completion of the deck.

2. The chicken coop with a flock of hens.

3. A tree-house right out our back door.

4. Clearing the bamboo forest to make way for garden space.

5. Both older boys are attending school.

Finn-Pre K

5. Finding out we're going to have a daughter sometime in March!

6. Getting a dog whose favourite thing is to bite up shoes.

This week my family is here visiting and we've already fixed up the chicken run so that the littlest chickies can't squeeze through the fence and get taken away by Rufus.....and get buried alive in the dirt. (Luckily, Finn was watching and came to her rescue. She survived and all is well!)

Today we baked cookies using the pecans that we've been collecting from trees, and some will be sent with Briggs for his Fall Festival. And later this week we get to join him at school for a Thanksgiving luncheon.

Looking forward to doing a little thrift-ing for baby clothes, and fabric shopping so that Mom can get started on a new quilt when she gets home.

Photo booth last Sunday