Thursday, September 27, 2012

Home Sweet Home! The first of many improvements.

Burlap curtains: $11.96 for 4 yds at Joann's, SCORE!!
Home is where the heart is. Home is where you make it. Home Sweet Home. Home is so many things. Every one is different and there's just no place like home! There are so many things I want to do in my house to make it more "homey" and make it more us. Despite my living in this house for almost 10 years I feel my decor is lacking! So as I go about my daily routine I think about ways I can make my home have the look and character I desire (without spending much money). One of the things I wanted to do was get new curtains in my kitchen. I painted one wall and the corner of my kitchen a deep red about 2 years ago. The curtains that were hanging in that corner at that time were also deep red, so they don't work anymore. (Yes, I know, I am a little slow, I should have gotten new ones sooner!) But, it finally happened. I decided to make some. I chose a light cream colored burlap which goes with my homes theme (warm, casual, country). I chose to make ruffles, well because I love them and I do them anytime I can get away with it! I love how they turned out. They took just a couple of hours to make (thanks to my trusty Bernina ruffling sewing machine foot, I love that attachment!) I will be posting about the ways I change or update my home decor. I won't do tutorials on everything I make or do, but if anyone desires a tutorial or has questions on things I make, go ahead and ask! Here's the first home improvement!

The Before: Lonely, naked windows with no valences!

The After: Happy, smiling, well dressed windows! (Oh wait... that was me smiling!)
I won't tell you how many more naked windows I have at my house!!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Berry Cream Trifle Recipe....Mmm...Mmm!

It is really starting to feel like Fall here on my "Patch A Heaven" so I thought I'd better get one last berry picking in before they are gone. As I have said before, there is a fantastic U-Pick berry farm just down the road from me. I wanted to get one more batch of blackberry jelly in the bottle, but their season is almost over, however the raspberries are still going strong. So I picked what blackberries there were left (not enough to make the jelly I had planned, but enough to eat) and then went after some raspberries. But I already did raspberry jam and felt like I had enough so I decided to pick them to make yummy desserts instead. (My lucky family!) So I'm sure you are all familiar with The Pioneer Woman, she's pretty sensational! Well she has this recipe for a cream sauce that is out of this world. It reminds me of Creme Brulee, my ultimate favorite dessert. So I made a batch of this to spoon over my fresh berries, which is to die for in itself. But then I got an idea to use it in a trifle and it turned out way yummy so I thought I would share what I did. (Oh and don't be surprised if your tongue slaps your eyebrows trying to lick up all that Sweet Cream, or if you have a strong desire to lick the bowl clean, that's completely normal, I won't tell anyone!!) It's heaven!

1 batch of Pioneer Woman's Sweet Cream Pioneer Woman's Recipe for Blackberries with Sweet Cream
3 Cups fresh picked blackberries
3 Cups fresh picked raspberries
2 small tubs of Cool Whip
1 yellow cake, baked and cut into cubes

First get the recipe for the Sweet Cream from the link above. Then get your cake baking, then when it's in the oven start your cream sauce, once it's to your thickness liking take it off heat and put bowl in ice bath to rest and cool, when cake is cool enough to handle cut it into small cubes, then when cool make one layer of cubes in the bottom of your trifle bowl, then put the layer of raspberries over the cake, then drizzle 1/2 of the sweet cream mixture that you have made over the berries and cake, then layer one of the small tubs of Cool Whip and then repeat a cake layer, then the blackberry layer then the other 1/2 of the Sweet Cream and then the other tub of Cool Whip, reserve enough berries to garnish the top to make it pretty.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Jalapeno Pepper Jelly...A tasty and beautiful appetizer!

The head pepper inspector here at "Patch a Heaven"
Peter Piper Picked a Peck of Pickled Peppers! I must really like jalapenos, (or I just grow too many in my garden!) Because I think this is the second Jalapeno post I have done recently. But at any rate, they are spicy good! Today on "Patch a Heaven" the boy (Peter Piper) and I decorated the porch (it is after all the first day of Fall!) And we picked peppers to make Jalapeno Pepper Jelly. Many of you maybe aren't familiar with this delicious condiment. If not, I am here to formally introduce you! Some people shy away from it because of the fact that it contains Jalapenos and they expect it to burn going down. But in all reality, it is very mild and is sweeter than it is spicy. I remove all the seeds and veins on the peppers so it doesn't have heat. My favorite use for this peppery sweetness is serving it as an appetizer with cream cheese and crackers. I think the jelly itself is just beauty in a bottle and is perfect Christmas colors, so I tend to save most of it for the Holidays and all those parties. I show it pictured in this blog post with soda crackers, I prefer to pair it with Ritz, (but I was out!) Also I chose to photograph it today using my Great Grandma's old china. (It has much sentimental value, it still has her initials taped to the bottom, which has too much character to remove!) So get your favorite pepper picking pal and get yourself some Jalapeno Jelly made! (Don't be scared, it really is good!) I just follow the recipe enclosed in the pectin box. (It sets up the best, I have tried other recipes and they turn out runny every time!)

This is why I love Jalapeno Pepper Jelly for a Christmas party appetizer, it's so festively colored!

Beauty in a jar!

The sweet initials of Miss Lottie Jackson, my great-grandma. (Why didn't I name one of my daughter's Lottie? It's a darling name!)

Mmm...tasty!! (No I'm not going to drink it, I thought the little cup was cute!)

My favorite pepper picking pal!! Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers. (Say that 10 times!)

Monday, September 17, 2012

What do you do with all these Bees Wax Capping's? my learning experience.

So you've got bees. You're a fairly new beekeeper, you have harvested your honey and that went well and you are feeling pretty good about life! But now, what do you do with all these wax capping's? If you are like me, I was a little overwhelmed by the amount and the thought of doing something else after that big honey harvesting job. But I also felt bad about throwing them out or not using them. (After all, bees have to eat 8 pounds of honey to produce a pound of wax. That takes a lot of energy and work, so we don't want this precious stuff to go to waste.)  Bees wax is so useful in so many ways and is a valuable/sell able product. So this year I was determined to properly "deal" with this stuff. (In previous years I just melted it down and used it with some dryer lint to create fire starters, which works well as bees wax is extremely flammable, but I feel this stuff is better off used than like that!) Well, I began the process yesterday. We harvested 7 honey supers from our hives yesterday which yielded 22.5 gallons of honey, which is an average of about 3 gallons per hive or about 38 pounds of honey per hive. (A good hive on a good, year can produce anywhere from 60-100lb of surplus honey, so 38lb/per hive is actually low, but this year was particularly dry here in Utah and the nectar flow, from which the bees make honey was really low.) But all in all, we are happy with what the bees produced. Honey is all bottled and our mess is cleaned up. (And what a sticky mess this always is, but that's just part of the deal!) Now what to do with all this wax. You picture pretty light cream colored bees wax like in a chap stick or something, well it doesn't start like that. It is sticky, covered in honey, clumped together. There are unfortunate bee casualties, (body parts and such things) that need to be removed and purified before that pretty wax can be used. It is my goal this year to make that pretty use able stuff. So here goes! This is my first attempt at this so I'm sure I will learn a lot.

First I started by letting all that extra honey drain off (this took a while because I wanted as much honey off as possible, because one... that's more for me to eat and two... I think it will be easier and faster to clean.) So I didn't rush this process. I let it sit in the capping tank (which is a big tank that has a metal screen for the honey to pass through and separate/drain, and I also put a layer of cheese cloth on top of the metal screen to  help screen the small pieces of wax.) It sat untouched for as long as it took to stop dripping honey. (It took a full day.)
I then put all the wax capping's into the bottom capping bin (the one that has the controllable spout.) And I filled it with warm water and began moving the wax around with my hands to clean off all the honey. I started with a spatula/paddle thingy, but I prefer my hands because I could feel and help break up any sticky clods of honey/wax. (Oh, and when I was done I kinda felt like I'd had a paraffin wax treatment, my hands were soft.) I continued to swish the wax around until the water was very honey colored. Then I scooped up all the wax I could with my hands and put it into a big colander and then into another holding tank, then opened up the spout and let all the dirty honey water out. Put the wax back into the tank with the spout and filled with warm water again. I repeated this whole process of washing the wax and then getting new water until the water ran clear out of the spout. (This took about 4 repetitions for me)
Now the wax is clean, meaning no more sticky honey. (I tried to remove any dead bee parts as I went along by picking them out by hand when I saw them.) I now opened the spout and let all the water and wax run through a layer of cheese cloth lined in a large colander. When the colander was full of wax I took the cheesecloth wrapped wax and squeezed out what water I could and then spread the wax capping's out onto a double layer of cheesecloth that I had lying on top of a storage bin. (so the water would run through the cheesecloth into the storage bin and the wax would stay on top of the cheesecloth to dry fully.)
I made a double boiler out of an old steam canner top and a pan with boiling water in the bottom. When melting down the wax make sure you use an electric heat source because this was is extremely flammable! (not open flame, like gas) and don't get distracted and walk away from it. Because of it's flammability you don't want to leave it unattended at all. I melted it down over the double boiler I created over medium heat until all the solids became liquid then I removed it from the heat and poured it through a double layer of cheese cloth. This removed a lot of the large debris, but I also felt it removed a lot of the wax too, (as the wax cools so quickly and sticks to the cheese cloth.) The books I have read on this subject suggest to continue to re-heat and run through the cheese cloth or coffee filter strainers until the wax is completely free of debris. I observed my wax and noticed some of the debris floated to the top and some of it sank to the bottom. So I scraped the debris off the top with a spoon and poured the wax into a separate container, keeping the debris that settled onto the bottom from re-joining the wax as I poured. And I ended up with a pretty clean batch of wax. I poured it into a disposable aluminum cake pan which I folded to make smaller (that's what I had on hand) and what I've learned through this is that bees wax is hard to get off of everything! So I am keeping the utensils/pans etc. to be used only for this purpose. I then let the pan sit out at room temp. until it was hard on the top (so it didn't slosh around as I carried it) and then put it into the freezer. It hardened into a nice block that came right out easily! This was a learning experience and I am pleased with my results.

So this is where all the wax comes from. This is a frame full of capped honey. The bees make this wax to cover their honey and we take it off with a hot electric knife to expose the honey for extraction. This leaves the wax capping's.

Now you will let the honey all drip off the wax as much as it will on it's own. So leave it alone as long as it takes to stop dripping honey. ( I left mine a full day and that was enough)
This is the wax in the tub full of warm water. Here I am stirring it with a spatula, but by the end I preferred to just do it with my hands so I could feel the clods and break them up.

Then Handy Husband scooped out the wax with his hands into a big colander and then transferred it into another container while we strained the rest of the wax in the water. (We decided that this honey/wax thing is better with more people, it's definitely not a one person job!)

This is what the water starts to look like after a while (watery honey) so then I drained this water out and got new water and continued the process.

I then used a small colander to catch any remaining wax left in the dirty water. Drained out the dirty water and got new. And then repeated the process.
Once the water ran clear, I lined the big colander with cheese cloth to catch the wax and then wrung all the water out.

Then I could pick up the wax in the cheese cloth, wring it out and lay it out to dry.

This is a picture of the wax laid out on top of the tub so drain any more water out and allow to dry. (It's a double layer of cheese cloth draped over a plastic storage tub, cheese cloth held in place by string wrapped around the cheese cloth/tub.)

This is the double boiler I made from a big pot filled with water on bottom and a metal bowl on top to hold the wax. (Make sure to use aluminum or stainless steel, not iron or copper as it will darken the wax.) Avoid extended exposure to temperatures above 185 degrees Farenheit as this can also darken wax.

This is the wax going through the cheese cloth strainer.

Then I let the wax sit and I observed it. (Some of the impurities rose to the top and some settled to the bottom. So I used a spoon to carefully remove the stuff at the top and then poured the wax into the mold keeping an eye on the junk in the bottom as not to pour it in too!)
Then I poured the wax into this 9X13 disposable aluminum cake pan. (Easy to get out of and not ruined by wax)
Let sit on counter at room temp. until set on top, then moved to freezer over night.

This is the wax in the mold after it had been frozen. Notice the wax is pulling away from the mold, so it just came right out.

Here is my finished product. I am pleased. I have learned much and will continue to learn more about what to do with all these bee products. Next I will tackle Propolis!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Random Acts of Kindness, I encourage them!

So in the spirit of making the world around us a better place, I want to post about random acts of kindness and what they do for the souls of those around us. I love watching random acts of kindness occur around me. The sweet gestures that people show to others. This post was inspired by a couple of events in last few days. One occurred this morning as I was driving to Walmart, I saw a panhandler with a sign asking for money and a gentleman going out of his way to give that needy person some money. I also happened to be at Walmart the day before (Walmart is not always the best place to witness RAK, but for some reason Walmart was included in each of my stories, I think I just go there too often!) So...I saw this darling little old lady walking around Walmart. I couldn't help but notice she looked really nice, like she had put a lot of effort into her appearance that day. (I don't know if she looks like this normally, or if it was a special occasion, but she looked really nice.) She was dressed in a crisp white blouse and a cute jumper dress that was the most beautiful striking purple color. (Very on trend for striking primary colors this fall.) And she just stood out. I watched her walk by, I checked out and as I was leaving the store, there she sat by the door on a bench by the ice machine. I walked up and just said, "You look really cute in your purple dress today" and you can't believe the most beautiful facial expression of joy and happiness that I received for that little compliment. I wish I had been taping this interaction because I have never witnessed such a spontaneous joyful facial expression in my life! I can still see that sweet little face. And I know I made her day. I'm not telling you this because I'm so good or that I wan't to toot my own horn, but just to say that we can be of such good to other people just from simple random acts of kindness. Because of the great satisfaction of joy that I experienced from that brief moment I am going to make it my goal to deliver at least on random act of kindness to someone else each day. Now this is not difficult. I'm sure we see much good around us each day, but what happiness could we bring to others by simply mentioning it. I'm not talking about flattery here, I'm not talking about being superficial or saying things that we don't mean. I'm talking about, if we see someone doing something well, or looking particularly nice that day that we mention it. I think everyone could use a random act of kindness in their lives, I'm going to try to be better at this.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Be on trend while on a budget. Introducing the Peplum belt and pencil skirt re-fashion tutorial!

There are so many looks and trends that I love from this fall season of Fashion Week! One of my favorites is the peplum. If you aren't familiar with this trend, it is basically a flounce or ruffle at the waist. It's feminine, flirty, playful and on trend this season. So how can we create this look for little to no cash? I have an idea! What if we created a ruffled belt to be worn on top of a pencil skirt we already have? Sounds like a challenge to me. I am going to see if I can create or re-fashion something into a peplum trend worthy look for little to no money. As I was looking through my closet to see what would work I can't believe I don't already own a black pencil skirt! This is such a key piece, but I did find a skirt that would work for a re-fashion. It's a black light weight fabric skirt that hits mid calf and has a ruffle hem already. I plan to remove the ruffle at the bottom of this skirt, make a hem straight across and slim the thigh sides to make it more sleek and pencil feeling. Then I will make a ruffle belt to be worn at the waist to create the peplum look. I found a white blouse that will do on top without any changes. I wish the blouse was a little more romantically styled and less business, but it will work. So here is what I did: I have a vintage apron pattern that has 3 ruffles in tiers that start at the waist, I used the top apron ruffle pattern to make the peplum flounce. Then I cut a 4" wide straight piece of fabric to be the tie. I would measure your waist and then add 40" (my waist is 25" so I cut a strip 4"wide and 65" long) so you can tie the belt in a nice bow in the back. (If the belt tied in a bow reads too "apron" for you, you could just make the belt fit your waist and then close with hook and eye, snap or velcro instead of the bow.) I already have bolts of fabric in my design studio at my disposal so I picked a black fabric with white polka dots to use for the peplum belt. I also love the look of black, white and a pop of electric blue. (The color shown below.) I envision bold blue stilettos and maybe a blue bubble necklace to complete this look.


Inspiration: Found in Harper's Bazaar

This is the skirt I started with.

I cut off the original ruffle so it is now straight across. Then I turned the skirt inside out and sewed down the inside of the original side seams in the thigh areas to make the skirt have a slimmer, pencil look, instead of the original fuller skirt.

Then I used the rolled edge hemmer foot to hem the bottom. The bulky side seams won't go through the foot so I just went off at those and back on at the single layer, then went back and stitched the side seam areas down to match the rest of the hem.

Now for the ruffle/flounce. I folded the fabric so it had not one, but two folds, so I didn't use as much fabric. (this is a trick that can be done to save fabric if the pattern to be cut is small enough.) I cut two ruffles.

Then I pressed out the folds with the iron, pinned the two ruffles together, right sides together, leaving a hole in the middle/inside, marked by the pins (DON'T SEW IN BETWEEN THE 2 PINS AS SHOWN ABOVE). This is how you will turn it back right side out.
Now starting at the outside of one of the pins, sew all the way around the ruffle until you get to the other pin, using the edge of the presser foot matched up with the edge of the fabric for your guide.
Then trim off the corners, carefully not to cut a stitch.
Then use the scissors to make small clips up to the stitches, but not cutting through them, at the round areas.

This is what it looks like sewn together, turned right sides out and pressed.
Now topstitch from the outside corner to outside corner. (you don't need to do the inside as that is the edge that gets sewn to the tie)
This is what my tie looks like, it was 4" wide and 65" long.
With right sides together, fold in half the long way and press, all the way down the tie.
Then leave a hole marked with two pins so you can turn this right side out also. (DON'T SEW IN BETWEEN THE PINS AS MARKED ABOVE)
Now starting at the corner sew all the way to the pin, putting the needle down and turning the fabric at the corners. Leave opening in between the pins and continue sewing to other corner, again using the fabric and edge of presser foot as your guide.
Once sewn, trim threads, cut off corners and turn right sids out with handy grabber thingy as shown.
Then press the tie flat, no need to close the hole, just use that edge to sew the ruffle to and it will be closed by that stitch.

Now find the middle of the ruffle and the middle of the tie and mark with a pin. Then match the two middle pins together, with right sides together, and pin together.
This is what the ruffle looks like pinned to the tie. Now ready to be sewn together.
Now stitch the two things together, remove all your pins and you are done!!

Pencil skirt re-fashioned and peplum ruffle belt made. On trend and on budget, it didn't cost me a thing since I already had all the stuff I used here.
There it is, in all it's cuteness, the peplum belt, tied in a bow in the back.
I think this ensemble would be smokin' with these electric blue and aqua snakeskin pattern shoes from VS.

"Where were you when the world stopped turning?" I remember Sept. 11, 2001

As I looked at Facebook this morning, a friend asked us to remember and comment if we remembered where we were on Sept. 11, 2001. It made me think of where I was. Every time I hear that Alan Jackson song, "Where were you when the world stopped turning, on that Sept. day?" I know just where I was and what I was doing. That day will forever be ingrained in my memory, not because I lost anyone in those tragic events that day, not because I was a rescuer or a survivor, but because it changed my life. The tragedies that transpired on that day made me feel very vulnerable, very humble and scared. I don't know how else to explain it, but watching that happen on t.v. went straight to my very inner being and made me realize that we could be gone tomorrow, without any notice. It really turned my heart towards a need for spirituality in my life that was absent before. At that time in my life I was very wild and free. I did what I wanted, when I wanted without any regard for consequences. I was rebellious against the faith in which I was raised, I felt the Mormon people to be hypocritical and "holier than thou", and I felt that I could never be perfect so why even try and wanted no part of it. I had gone to Primary as a child and been taught basic principles of the Gospel, but stopped going to church as a twelve year old in a new ward where nobody acted like they wanted me there or cared about me. I felt more accepted by people who were not of that faith. I continued my aversion to anything spiritual until that fateful September day. I remember sitting on the couch watching re-runs of the Twin Towers falling, just sobbing, feeling so sad and lost. I ended up with a feeling that I needed to turn towards my Heavenly Father for comfort and healing. This was not a comfortable thing for me and I knew I was doing many things that were contrary to the faith that I would have to change. I was not  happy with this, but I needed to know if this church, this faith was really true. After a few weeks of turmoil in my soul I happened to take care of a person at my job as a medical assistant who was in charge of the LDS Missionaries. I felt prompted to ask him about how to get those missionaries to visit with me. I think he was surprised at my request, but within a week I had some very nice young Elders and the ward missionaries who to this day I count as good friends who were so very kind, supportive and played a key role in my finding a testimony of Jesus Christ. It was an exact opposite experience than I had previously with the LDS people. But even though they were different I knew I had to change my life and that is probably what scared me the most. I would have to stop drinking, socially smoking, partying, wearing barely there clothes and those kinds of things that I had become so accustomed to.  And what would my friends think, this just wasn't "me!" And then there was my husband who was my partying companion, would he be ready to change? I had so many questions and my quest to find out if this LDS faith was really for me. Needless to say September 11th changed my life, for the good. It caused my heart to be turned toward my Father in Heaven and His church. I still feel sad for the people directly effected by those tragedies, but also feel grateful for the way I found comfort in the gospel of Jesus Christ because of what happened that day.
I wanted Heavenly Father to give me a huge sign that I could not ignore that would tell me that this is what He wants me to do with my life. (I was going to have to forsake a lot of things and probably a lot of people and I needed "proof" that it was right.) I had a fantastic Bishop who was kind, understanding and patient. He taught me that I had to first have faith in it and then God would give me the answers or signs I was in search of. To me, this seemed backwards, I thought He should first show me the signs or proof and then I would comply. But I have learned that God and His plan don't work that way. I did as the Bishop instructed, I prayed, I studied, I believed and guess what? God blessed me for my efforts, He gave me the answers and "proof" I needed to change my life. It was hard in ways and easy in others to turn away from the life I was living and try to become a disciple of Jesus Christ. I still make mistakes and have much to learn, but I have been given the "proof" and a testimony that it is what I should be doing with my life. With the LDS faith in the lime-light a lot lately, I thought I would throw in my "two cents." We are people just like any other, we make mistakes, we judge, we sin, but we know that because of Jesus Christ, we and anyone else who desires, can be forgiven and try to do better. I'm not perfect and will never be, but I can try to do the best I can and repent where I fall short. I know the Savior Jesus Christ knows my personal battles and will be my advocate with the Father. Because of His atoning sacrifice I can repent of those places I fall short of perfection. I write this blog post today to pay tribute to those who lost their lives, gave their lives freely and the heroes who worked to save lives. I also write it to answer the questions, is there more to life and why am I now an active member of the LDS church? Since I feel the tragedy of September 11th was the turning point in my life, I felt it appropriate to share this today. I also want to share the fact that even though we as Mormons try to be perfect, we are not. And so, as I learned so many years ago, try not to judge the church by those who are poor examples of the faith. Look to those who are good examples of Christ and to the doctrine which is of Christ. Don't allow some bad examples of others dampen your spirit or testimony or desire to know God and your Savior Jesus Christ.
You will not see many posts of this nature from me on this blog, as I feel this to be very personal and sacred, but I also want to bear witness of the things I know to be true.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Adventures of a Stay-at-Home Mom, Episode 2: Harvesting Firewood.

The girls playing in a tree waiting for dad to cut logs.

Handy husband, today he's the lumberjack. Chopping down trees.

These are the episodes of my life as a stay at home mom. Our latest family excursion was a trip to harvest fire wood. We do this sort of thing yearly. (I forgot to mention in my profile that I'm also a logger), not really, but again I like to pretend. And let me tell you that my "logger outfit" would not  have been runway worthy! (Even though there seems to be a hunting/fishing trend on the runway right now.) Picture very heavy, sturdy and functional Danner hunting/hiking boots, holey jeans, and not the kind that you buy with trendy holes, these are the kind made from many hours of hard work wearing through. Oh and a vintage Chris Ledoux cap, I think it's from like the early nineties. Yes, I was looking really hot.(Please note the sarcasm!) But here's the thing, I'm okay with it! You people that tuned in for fashion posts didn't expect this kind of fashion,I'm sure, but that's me. Logger one day, fashionista the next. So back to the firewood collecting... My handy husband is the real lumberjack of the operation, he cuts down the trees with a chainsaw, cuts them into logs, then the kids and I pick them up and load them onto the truck and trailer. We have a very open floor plan and an efficient wood burning stove, that heats our house perfectly.(We didn't have to turn on our furnace once last season, we are on propane gas and it's extremely expensive to heat our house that way.) So we set out in the pick-up truck and trailer ready to chop down some dead trees. We like Pinion Pine and Cedar trees, both of which are plentiful on some family private property. It's a tradition that we have continued with our family. Handy husband and I both did this as children and remember it at as enjoyable work. You get to be outside in the fresh air, exercise your body doing old fashioned hard work, being together as a family and not much smells better than fresh cut Pinion or Cedar!

This was the first year that our girls were really very much help. It was fun to see them playing, climbing the trees, and helping to pack the logs. They were of course tired and a little whiny as our job neared completion, but the reminder of an ice cream cone on the way home, for a hard days work seemed to stop the whining. We all worked hard and brought home a good load of wood, that in the dead of winter, we will be glad we have. Like with canning, some may wonder why do this sort of pre-historic ritual? When at the flip of a switch you can have nice warm air blowing from your house vents. Well, what happens if the power is out, well it can get pretty cold around here! It is much more cost efficient for us to heat this way, our home furnace runs on propane gas (as where we live natural gas is not an option yet.) The heat that comes from a wood burning stove is very warm and comforting. And cutting, gathering and stacking firewood are great ways to teach children the value of hard work. And so there you have it, our experience of gathering firewood. And so glad it didn't end with a flat tire on the truck, like it did last year! Well, gotta go...we need to check each other for ticks!!

Our best helper of the day!

Nice view of the dry, rustic beauty of the Antelope Valley.

And this is what we came for! All loaded up and ready to take home. 

Think these will work on the runway with a red plaid shirt?  Yep, I'm a logger.  (Ha, ha! When I just said that, it reminded me of the old Ray Stevens "The Haircut Song.") In my best Ray Stevens voice: "I looked him straight in the eye and said, I'm a logger." Sorry, chopping fire wood is also a very nostalgic thing for me. It just brought back memories of listening to funny Ray Stevens songs. (if you have not heard this you should google it, it's pretty funny!) Also these boots make me feel more safe from the rattlesnakes!!