Making homemade fried potatoes & a new kitchen tool!!!

I was super blessed to get this DashGo peeler for Christmas from my aunt which is coming in super handy in the kitchen!! So I did a YouTube video on how it works and people are loving it everywhere! If you want to check out that video you can find it here!

 

I went on to use said tool to help me make my fried potatoes and I will never peel those by hand EVER again, unless I run out of batteries, lol!

 

So if you’re curious how you make EASY fried potatoes the southern way then you definitely want to check out the video on how to do it on YouTube! I probably won’t post or share frequently about cooking as I’m not sure how much of an audience there is for that and I’m not a pro or anything. I actually have just been honing in my cooking skills the last 12-18 mths and now I’m trying to learn how to do things the “hard” way, the old school traditional BY  HAND method for everything! As that fits greatly in with my idea of homesteading and so anything I can do to not need “modern convenience” I’m all for it.

 

XoXo,

Elizabeth

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Lemon Burst DIY Deodorant

In my recent post What we have done so far to move towards self-sufficiency I went over what I believe self-sufficiency is and also what methods we have already put in place. After making the majority of my cosmetic products naturally (found in this post) I then ventured into making almost all-natural liquid laundry soap! Shortly after that I decided to tackle homemade, natural deodorant because I was running out of what I had on hand! So I’m sharing the recipe I used below and will conclude with my review on this product after about a week of using it.

 

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I found the recipe for this online on Pinterest and you can find it here. I chose to go with this one because it called for ingredients I had on hand, minus the cornstarch. I later learned that cornstarch is a “drying agent” and so it helps to reduce or absorb the actual moisture. The baking soda helps to neutralize any odor, coconut oil helps to moisturize the skin and also act as a carrier oil for any essential oil you use in the recipe.

 

Lemon Burst DIY Deodorant

-4 tablespoons of coconut oil

-2 tablespoons of baking soda

-5 to 10 drops of lemon essential oil

 

Quick directions:

1- Melt your coconut oil BRIEFLY in a microwave for maybe 10 seconds.

2- Add your baking soda to your coconut oil and mix well.

3- Add your essential oil to the mixture and mix well.

4- Put mixture into whatever container you want it to be in (old deodorant bottle, small bowl, etc) and put in the fridge for about 30 minutes for it to form into more of a solid.

5- Remove from the fridge and use as you would any other deodorant.

 

Here is the break down!

 

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The 3 stars of the show…well the only stars in this show!

 

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Baking soda in bowl

 

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Coconut oil at room temp…

 

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Coconut oil briefly warmed…

 

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Add coconut oil to baking soda

 

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Add lemon to mixture, sir well! Then sit in the fridge for 30 minutes.

 

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After being in the fridge for 30 minutes this is what it looks like! I put mine in this container because it was small and I had it handy and I do not have any old deodorant bottles in the house to use because I previously used spray deodorant.

 

My review…

 

I will say at the very onset I quickly noticed how the coconut oil moisturizes my skin! I have long thought that underarms are sadly forgotten areas of skin on our bodies that we tend to overlook! If you’re a woman you shave them every day or every other day, wash up, get out of the shower and don’t moisturize it like you do the rest of your skin and then put deodorant on there. And say we pretend there aren’t toxins, metals and cancer causing ingredients in store bought deodorant…we still neglect our under arms! So the daily moisturizing I get now from the coconut oil makes my under arms feel…HAPPY!

 

The lemon scent is just very subtle, I think it’s really perfect! When I do another recipe and I go for something maybe more fruity or floral I think I might choose to make it a bit stronger smell wise, just to have that enjoyable aromatics.

 

Sweating! I have noticed very minimal sweating after a week of using this deodorant. I made sure to do some work in the yard on top of my regular stuff to test out the STRENGTH of it and I never had an issue.

 

Moisture: I did notice that from the time I’d first apply it and then for about 2-3 hours after my under arms felt moist. I’m assuming this is due to the coconut oil on my skin and the lack of the cornstarch which absorbs moisture. So the next time I make this recipe (after I run out of this since it is mostly efficient) I will make sure to have the cornstarch on hand and then also try a different essential oil just for fun!

 

Have YOU tried to make homemade, natural deodorant? Can you share a recipe with me that you have found that works wonderful? And have you tried any spray natural deodorants?

 

XoXo,

Elizabeth

 

Thank you for checking out the post and our progress here at Little Farm Big Dreams and please make sure to subscribe to the blog so you can get a simple, quick email any time I share a new post! Thanks so much!

 

UPDATE: I wanted to take a minute to update this post because after a week of using this homemade deodorant I ran into an issue. I think it is because I didn’t use the cornstarch that the original recipe I had found called for (because I didn’t have it). But what would happen is when I did start to sweat, there would be no odor but there would be moisture. After awhile of that I found that I always wanted to have my arms in the air to let my arm pits air out, lol! After it moved beyond the annoying stage (and me stubbornly persisting) I began to get a rash on my skin, I’m assuming from the moisture sitting on the skin and my arms being down the majority of the time. I tried putting coconut oil on my under arms when I went to bed to moisturize the skin but that didn’t do much to help it. So after 2 days of a small rash on each, I quit using it. I will soon redo that recipe with corn starch and when I do I’ll post an update post.

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All natural skin care routine

So when I tell people I want to do everything all natural, homemade or organic in my home I get questions on beauty or skin care. So I’m going to share what I currently do for skin care and also which remaining store bought items I plan to replace next!

 

This is my little stack of homemade, all natural face products. I do not make all of these. The two that have little labels a friend of mine in New Mexico makes. She is an esthetician and knows what she’s doing and I met her a few years ago here in Arizona and after she taught me how to understand MY specific skin, I bought a few products from her to work with my skin and the results were amazing! So now she has moved to NM and I order these from her online either through her site or her Facebook page. You can find her business Facebook page here!

 

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Okay, so please don’t judge my plastic containers as I AM on a mission to replace all plastic containers with glass but that is actually pretty hard to do and a process to find all different shapes and sizes if you don’t want to just go on Amazon and buy them all brand new. That being said…

 

My products are:

Organic coconut oil (top left container): this is the remainder of my organic coconut oil that stays in its glass jar until it gets to the bottom and I put it in this thing to make it easier to use each time in the shower.

Use: I use this to wash my face, remove make-up, remove dirt, you name it. It gets all the make-up off including water proof mascara in a breeze! You just wet your face, put some on your fingers, rub it in all over you face and eyes then use a warm wash clothe to wipe it off. You will see the dirt and make up come off on the cloth! AND…it’s so gentle that after I rub it in on my eyes I can open my eyes to find my wash cloth, which I often do, lol, and it doesn’t burn or anything!

My homemade facial/body sugar scrub (left bottom container): I make this and you can find the recipe about half way down through this blog post of mine.

Use: I use this on my body daily and my face every few days as a gentle exfoliator. Sugar is actually gentle enough that you can use daily on your face if you want but someone with more sensitive skin might want to do every few days on their face. I could handle daily but honestly I just don’t take the time to do it.

Raw Shea Butter with Tea Tree Oil (glass black container front and center): This is a homemade mixture my friend does that is specially blended for my skin. The shea butter is whipped because I prefer that texture over any other after a few different tries. The Tea Tree Oil in it is necessary for MY skin to help kill bacteria as I have skin that is prone to that cyst acne which is the kind that happens under the skin and then you get white heads. Basically due to excess toxins, dirt on pores, pores being too big or too open and the dirt getting trapped in said pores. Also, she pointed out to me that people who are Native American tend to have issues processing cheese and so sometimes they/we can have acne or white heads caused by the cheese basically trying to escape the body, lol! Sounds crazy but makes total sense to me as I LOVE cheese…..tremendously! And I won’t give it up to have a 100% clear face, that’s for sure.

Use: This is my daily moisturizer! After washing (and the side effect of moisturizing) my face with the coconut oil in the shower, I then add this moisturizer as soon as I get out. A little goes a long way and so any morning I forget to use it within a couple of hours my face feels tight and dry.

Peppermint Epsom Salt for bath (back right green glass bottle): this is a therapeutic salt bath mixture I made and you can find the recipe here!

Use: This is good to use for the therapeutic benefits of Peppermint or just to soften skin in the bath. I shower more than I take a bath but when I do this is what I use to spoil myself.

Lemon Burst DIY natural deodorant (bottom right small container): this recipe I just made yesterday and after I’ve had a few days to use it and try it out in different situations then I’ll finish my blog post about it with an honest review of what I think of it.

Use: Deodorant….dur. =)

Lemon Cream Face Mask and Scrub (middle right glass container): this is another one my friend in NM makes for me. After working out on the property here all summer I noticed I had a few dark spots above my upper lip and also above one eye brow (odd, huh?) and I freaked out. I sent her a message and asked what was happening to my skin. After many questions she determined it was likely sun damage =( due to me being outside so much and not using any SPF or wearing a hat. Another sad face moment.

Use: This mixture was created for me after her trial and errors and the lemon in it helps stimulate skin to have new growth of healthy skin. So this is a powder mixture that when I want to use it as a mask I just mix it up in a tiny bowl and I actually use one of those hair color mixing bowls and brushes and mix it up into a paste. Then I get my face wet with warm water, apply the mask generously and let sit for 30 mins. Then I wipe off with a warm wash cloth. This is something that could heal the sun damage but she said it could take 2-3 times a week for a few months to see the difference. I’m patient and all but in truth I do this maybe once a month when I remember. It isn’t high on my list of things to do. But if I want to feel like I’m pampering my face (or say I’ve spent all day outside working) then I’ll wash my face (to get it clean), do my sugar scrub (to exfoliate dead skin) and follow up with the lemon mask (to replenish and pamper my skin) and my face feels super happy after!

 

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Shameless selfie! Lol! I took this picture not smiling so you can just SEE my skin. I love my skin! This is post shower, after putting on my tea tree oil moisturizer and yes…I’m wearing mascara. But that’s it. I try to not wear make-up much. If I’m home (which I generally am for days at a time) I wear no make-up and not even mascara. If I have to run a quick errand or something I’ll put on mascara because I am blessed with long eye lashes and without mascara I feel like I look tired. If I am “dressing up” I wear powder, blush, eye shadow and mascara. But really all that stuff is nothing but crap for your skin. So I try to really limit it. My esthetician is working on an all natural powder for make-up now made out of something wonderful but she’s still ironing out the kinks so when that is done I will totally try it!

 

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These are the ONLY remaining beauty/hygiene culprits, which I will be eliminating in the near future; herbal essences shampoo (15 year avid user), Vaseline lotion (6 year avid user), herbal essences spray gel for curly hair (10 year avid user), Dove bar soap (probably 15 year user), Dial liquid hand soap (I’ve always loved Dial) and then Arm and Hammer tooth paste. This tooth paste I’ve only been using about 6 mths but I really love it and the results I’ve had, which I think is thanks to the baking soda in it!

 

So since I just switched to natural deodorant I think my next change will be the toothpaste, when I run out of this because I don’t want to waste what I have on hand. I also have like 12 bars of Dove soap, lol (I shop at Sam’s Club) and I hope by the time I run out of that not only am I making my own homemade soap but that it has cured and is ready to be used. I am reaching out to my NM esthetician about ordering some of her homemade soap to replace all the dial liquid soap I have at each sink in the house. We’ll start there and not buy any more of that and then replace the Dove once I run out of it.

 

I have been researching all natural shampoos but I have some ingredients to buy before I can try a few recipes. I also have found a lot of info on LOTION BARS home made and I’m super excited to try some of those. I’m totally confident I can find a luxurious diy recipe for lotion to replace Vaseline…which I use religiously (daily) on my entire body head to toe, okay…foot to collar bone! And if I ever go a day without lotion (I forget or I’m in a rush post shower) I can tell all day long and it kills me. So I need a good solid replacement. And this bottle is running low and I really do not want to buy another…

 

So there ya go! If you have recommendations on diy all natural shampoo, conditioner AND the light spray gel for curly hair I am all ears! I am most concerned about what exactly I’ll replace my spray gel with because it took me years of trial and error to find this 1 product that works perfect for my naturally curly hair and makes my hair feel just the way I want it too, not too firm, not too loose. So, please comment here and share any recipes you have tried that work!

 

XoXo,

Elizabeth

And if you like what you see here and want to keep up with what is going down on the Little Farm with Big Dreams in Arizona as we setup our homestead and walk the rather misunderstood path of trying to become self sufficient PLEASE SUBSCRIBE so you get a quick email any time I write a new post! Thanks so much for checking us out!!! <3

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ALMOST all natural laundry soap liquid

In our efforts to go as homemade and natural as possible, I decided it was time to switch to homemade laundry detergent because…well…I was running out of the store bought stuff, lol! So after going over probably 30 recipes and finding a few that used products I already had (I was not going to go buy anything to make this happen!) I found the one I wanted to do. I had actually had it saved on Pinterest for about 2 years!!! Finally…the time has come!

 

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Let me clarify why I call this ALMOST all natural! Reason being is the recipe calls for any bar of soap you want to use…which isn’t natural unless you make your own. In the future after I’ve learned how to make homemade soap then my laundry soap will be made with THAT and at that time I’ll feel more comfortable calling it “all natural homemade laundry soap”. =)

 

I really dislike those recipe blog posts that are like 15 paragraphs long and you have to skim through all that and all their photos before you get to the actual ingredients and directions SO I won’t do that to you. In case someone comes across this post simply to check the ingredients list and see if it includes what they want to use or have on hand, then here ya go!

 

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Ingredients:

1 bar of soap (any kind you want)
2 cups of Borax
a big pot ( that holds more than 2 gallons or if you don’t have one you can improvise like I did)
a grater
a funnel
a long spoon
2 empty gallon jugs/containers

*optional essential oil for scent

 

How ya do it simply:

1-Grate your soap into your big pot off of the stove.

2-Pour 1 gallon of hot tap water to your pot, put pot on stove and bring to a boil.

3-After a rolling boil, add your borax to the pot. It will bubble up, that’s normal.

4-Let this mixture boil long enough that it thickens up slightly. It won’t become a gel but it will feel slightly different in consistency.

5-After that you add your 1 gallon of cold tap water to the mixture. Your pot will be full or close to. The mixture will take on the color of whatever soap you used, FYI. Simmer that for maybe 5 minutes.

6-Remove from heat, turn off stove, let it sit for about 20 mins.

7-Add your drops of essential oil to the mixture for whatever scent you want.

8-Use your funnel in your clean, dry jug (I used milk jugs) to pour your mixture into.

9-Put it in your laundry room and use. Each time you use it give it a shake first and then measure out 1 cup per load of laundry. All done!

 

Now for the detailed picture filled description of what to do and what everything looks like during the process in case you like those kinds of posts! =) 

 

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Grating the Dove white bar of soap (the bar soap I use myself and have in bulk). This was fun, not like cheese but still fun!

 

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Just the middle left now…

 

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This is what it looks like in the pot with a whole bar of soap grated into it. It actually makes a lot!

 

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Pour your 1 gallon of hot tap water into the pot and turn on the heat!

 

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Bringing it to a boil…

 

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Then add your 1 cup of borax…(see disclosure below, you really need 2 cups of borax)

 

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After adding borax it foams up like this.

 

Disclosure: I first did everything up to this point, added 1 cup of borax, brought to a boil and rather quickly the bubbles rose to the top (like 5 seconds) and I had to move the pot off the burner. So I thought “Okay, I brought it to a boil.” And proceeded with the following steps. After adding cold water I didn’t feel like it was thick enough so worried I hadn’t boiled it enough. I scooped out some water, added a second cup of borax since the recipe I was following called for 1 cup of borax and 1 cup of washing soda and so I decided I’d substitute all borax totaling 2 cups of borax. So then I brought it to a slow, gentle boil to let it roll for a bit to see how if it’d begin to thicken up.

 

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After it boils and thickens only slightly (it won’t be like a gel) add  your 1 gallon of cold tap water. Let me say my big pot I have here is my double boiler I use for my pasta and it only holds about 1 and 3/4 gallons, which I measured out and knew before starting the recipe. So for MY recipe I just did 3/4 a gallon of the cold water to bring the mixture up to the rim knowing that when I’m done it will not completely fill 2 milk jugs and that’s fine.

 

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Fillin’ her up to the top…

 

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Letting that mixture sit off the heat to bring the temp down before adding essential oils.

 

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I added lemon because it is a great cleaning agent and I love the way it smells!

 

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This fun process here…adding the mixture to the milk jugs.

 

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As I mentioned above, because the 1 pot I have to boil in only holds about 1 and 3/4 gallons, I knew these jugs wouldn’t be full when I finished. So I just put enough into each to be even…I am OCD after all.

 

NOW…Some added input on my opinion here. I noticed upon researching this that there is a lot of hype and stigma out there that these homemade laundry soap detergents will not get your clothes clean, leaves dirt and residue in your clothing and whether that be because your soap is weak, the washer doesn’t agitate it enough or whatever…I have formed an opinion on this myself.

Let me give you a brief back story; I don’t buy Tide. I’ve never been able to bring myself to buy products like Tide and Charmin because they’re “the best” and the most expensive. I think that is marketing BS and there are cheaper products that get the job done…or at least almost do. And I have never been one to enjoy wasting money, no matter what that is on. Being as I’ve been a single Mom for a long time and yes I have a boy and they seem to get the dirtiest clothes around and add to that now with me working on this homestead and trying to repair the grounds and stuff, we both frequently have nasty clothes. And we haven’t even started adding farm animals yet!!!! But so what I want to say is that, I have been using generic CHEAP liquid laundry soap (like dollar store cheap) for YEARS. And after moving in here we have this super old, I wouldn’t even dare show ya (lol!) washing machine and no dryer. We hang everything on the line. It was a necessity when we first moved in and I quickly, QUICKLY grew to love it as it reminded me of summers in Arkansas helping my Mamaw with the laundry on her clothes line.

 

Something about looking out your kitchen window and seeing clothes flapping in the breeze on the line makes me feel like the world is right. Maybe that is a bit dramatic but every time I see my clothes on the line I think to myself “Yep, I’m drying my clothes…TOTALLY…FOR FREE!” It doesn’t require me to buy a dryer, I’m not wasting electricity and therefore I also have cheaper electric bills every month. To me that is a win, win, win all around.

 

So when I hear people talking about homemade laundry soap just not good enough and maybe even bad for your clothes here are my thoughts I’d like to point out:

1- My homemade laundry soap has now been used on 4 loads of my laundry and my clothes come out of the washer clean.

2-I use a homemade epsom salt scent booster in my wash as well and my clothes home out smelling fantastic.

3-I’m about to make a homemade vinegar fabric softener which will also help with the “health” and longevity of the actual fabric as well.

4-We hang dry our clothes so not only does the sun add another level of disinfectant but the good ol’ fashioned wind makes the clothes smell even more heavenly when I bring them in.

5-I use a homemade stain remover recipe for stains that are real hard to get out and that goes on clothes BEFORE going into the wash, only when needed.

6-We aren’t picky! We are country folk, doing our best to live on the land, get to being one with nature and if 5% of the dirt particles do not come out of my clothes and I put those clothes back on my body do you think I’ll notice? No! Because if it is a day that I’m not leaving home to work with my real estate clients my old jeans, boots and worn out t shirts go right back on me for me to right back outside to work again and get dirty all over again,

7-The conspiracy theorist living inside of me says that all this hype to NOT use homemade laundry soap is media or government driven to STOP people from being or TRYING to be self sufficient. And since I won’t go into politics here, let me just say, I wouldn’t believe any experiment, video or website I saw about how homemade laundry soap doesn’t work because I just don’t want to and I don’t trust most “people’s” opinions. Now if you’re living the same lifestyle I am or am trying to live, and YOU tell me it doesn’t work then THAT is something I’d ponder.

 

XoXo,

Elizabeth

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DIY twin bed frame FREE!

So a couple of weeks ago I decided Riley needed a new bed frame. Let me clarify, he has one…but it is at my ex’s house still and so when we moved here we just put his two mattresses on the floor and he didn’t care because…he’s a boy…and…he was glad he could go plop down or throw himself on his bed, lol, without having to worry about breaking anything! Ha! Boys! Well it got to bothering me and one day in the backyard taking clothes off the line the pile of old wood 1x4s caught my attention and I GOT AN IDEA!!!!

 

The idea to TRY to make a twin size bed frame totally out of just our mind’s creation was born! I could have looked it up online to get some guidance but I was just pumped to go at it, do it with Riley and us figure it out together along the way through good ol’ fashioned trial and error!

 

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Here we go!

 

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This is a pile of 1x4s we had laying around from a trellis we tore down.

 

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This is a 2×2 post from what used to be part of a porch or something on the back of the house. Now it just hangs out there all alone so I cut that off with the chainsaw to use as the 6 feet or supports.

 

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We did measure the mattresses and stuff to figure out what our final width and length would need to be once assembled, I let Riley do the math while explaining a few things to him and then we cut some pieces down to the size we needed.

 

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I let him do A LOT. Because once we started the project he really got intrigued and had a genuine interest in building something tangible which is probably the first time he’s ever done that. Typically if I need something demolished, he’s my guy. But now, I’m fostering this love of building in him as we both have much to learn and it’s a very good thing!

 

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I must say that he approached this project with this idea that (based on HIS experience in his video games and especially Minecraft) that he can just build and do anything. Even though in real life he lacked a lot of the actual skill and really had zero experience. And I quickly noticed his “Get it done attitude” quickly changed to “What in the world am I doing here” because he realized his ideals of what he thought he knew how to do were not really in line with reality. This was a beautiful thing for me to see as a Mother!!!! I took it as an opportunity not to criticize him on the false security his video games give him but rather to sit and show him how to properly hammer in a nail, ways to hold it, how to hit it in straight, how to fix it if it isn’t straight, etc. Once he realized he didn’t know a thing about it, lol, he was willing to listen to Mama Bear.

 

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A frame is taking shape! AND we lost daylight. This idea was born at like 4 or 5pm and it got dark quick so we put the tools up and headed in and Riley himself (I totally was too) was super excited to work on this again the next day. Anything I can do to encourage him to be self motivated to get outside and especially work on a project (being as he’s home schooled, basically an only child with his younger brother living in Arkansas, we have no neighbor kids nearby and he’s an introvert anyway) then I’m all for it!

 

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So Day 2 we set out and since he had gotten a handle on a lot of the basics on day 1 with just using a hammer and nails and putting stuff together, I did a lot of over-seeing. Proudly, might I add.

 

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Max had to come out and meander around, wondering what we were up to. Once he laid down right in the middle here, lol, until he was in our way. Riley liked having his best buddy around to watch or “help”! 😉

 

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Well now that is kinda lookin’ like a bed frame! =D

 

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We measured our support pieces, nothing here is perfect, let me say that. I made sure that the frame was level, were the right final dimensions and all the feet were level. Beyond that, we left the wood that old peeling blue paint that was on that aged trellis for at least 10 years. We cleaned off each piece and actually came across a few pieces that had termites on it so those got pitched to maybe use later for something else. So these were all cleaned up, dust free (mostly) and bug free but definitely is not perfection, which we’re totally fine with.

 

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He has a navy blue bed skirt somewhere but for life of me I couldn’t find it so temporarily so we could revel in the accomplishment of the completed project, I put this green one I had on there.

 

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Tada!!!! <– As Riley would say! =D It is done! He has this Angry Birds blanket my Mom got him years ago and now that we have our sewing machine I plan to quickly learn how to quilt to make both of my boys awesome bed quilts in their favorites themes. Riley’s will be a Minecraft quilt and I’ve already picked out the inspiration and pattern so hopefully I’ll get that done this winter!

 

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Here is an over view of the final few steps!

 

Riley, is SO happy with the project! Not only did he do probably 80% of the work but we did this in 2 days, just an hour or two each time, he learned a lot, I learned a lot, I immensely enjoyed watching my child’s knowledge and experience grow in a subject I’ve never been afforded the opportunity to teach him until NOW and he has a bed up off the floor.

 

Even though when I first mentioned this idea he wasn’t even sold on having a bed frame because he liked his mattresses on the floor NOW he is convinced. He loves it, our dog Max who sleeps with him loves it, everybody is happy!

 

I kid you not for days when I’d walk into Riley’s room and he’d be laying on his bed watching a video on his phone I’d just look at him and say “Omg, you’re on your bed! How awesome is that thing!” and we both would just beam with pride!!! That is a feeling INSIDE that you can’t replace and you sure can’t buy!!!

 

XoXo,

Elizabeth

 

If YOU know of any other super, super easy wood working projects my son and I could try together please comment below here on the blog so that we can look into them! Thanks for reading! Don’t forget to subscribe so you don’t miss a post! <3

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What we have done so far to move towards self-sufficiency…

As I write posts and find myself sharing on Facebook homesteading and self sufficiency groups I have people asking me how I wish to be 100% self sufficient and how that isn’t really possible these days. I guess I should explain what I mean by being 100% self sufficient and we can start from there.

 

To me this is what being 100% self sufficient looks like:

All your meat comes from your own animals

All your produce, fruit, berries, herbs and medicinal herbs come from your own gardens

Using solar panels, wind turbines and a well to be “off the grid” of society and also remove those bills

Using rain water, swales, trenches and gray water to be useful on your property for watering to cut down on use from the well

All your food intake comes from somewhere on your farm or possibly bartering with nearby locals doing the same with resources you don’t have yet

Being 100% debt free, maybe aside from a mortgage

Making your own clothes and bedding

Having the skills to hunt for meat, not for sport

Having the skills to survive in the wilderness for a week with just a backpack if you had to

Having the skills and equipment to protect your home and land

Having a way to make your own ammo

Having a general understanding of how electricity, plumbing and building structures all work

Having a GOOD understanding of how to care for your livestock animals for their health and your safety

Using medicinal herbs or homemade essential oils for all medical treatments

Having enough general knowledge AND equipment for most first aid or medical safety skills to not need a hospital other than a life threatening emergency

Making all your cleaning agents and personal hygiene items yourself so that you know there aren’t toxins or heavy metals in them

Using all glass dishware to avoid the hysteria of possible toxins

Knowing how to do laundry the pioneer way for when it is necessary

Knowing how to play at least 1 instrument…(hey, we all need amusement, right?)

Having all the basic tools you need to do any task for the home or on the farm, even if it’s harder work or more physical labor, as long as it gets the job done

Knowing how to take care of any issue in your home yourself without having to call someone for help or hiring something out

 

Now THAT is a long list but I think I about covered it. Now in the ways that we cannot be TOTALLY self sufficient unless I didn’t have to work and we rarely ever left the house…I’d still need to buy gas for the car to go places and general maintenance and upkeep on the car. But I have to say, to be frank, if I never left the house again and we survived financially and healthfully I think I’d be okay with that. Of course, I’d still want to go see family and friends and we’d have to use our transportation to go barter for items. But I do hope to one day have a road side farm stand where I can sell our excess produce in season and also sell my homemade hygiene items for the health conscious people and maybe even sell some quilts. But those things I can do from home. I would still have to have our satellite internet so maybe that is what people say when they say I can’t be all self sufficient. But I will say, I want to do what I want to do for a couple of reasons.

 

The reasons I want to be AS self sufficient as possible are because:

It makes me feel good, strong and capable!

It makes me feel like I’m teaching my son invaluable lessons he can’t learn elsewhere or wouldn’t learn in society

It is very affordable to live if you’re producing all your own stuff

You have less bills when you don’t need all the “extra stuff” like cable, multiple computers, video gaming consoles, etc.

It reminds me of an old way of life that has always intrigued me.

Maybe I was born in the wrong era…

I want to not have to have a day job of any kind and still be able to have our homestead because the few “bills” we have to pay for I can supplement with the items we sell from the homestead.

 

 

So now that I’ve said that I want to share what we’ve been doing and the things I’ve been working to begin our SLOW but steady MIGRATION to one day NEAR self sufficiency homesteading!

 

What we have been working on the last 6 months:

Stopped buying ALL frozen food EXCEPT Riley’s damn chicken nuggets =/ *grunt, roan* (will explain later in another post)

Started stocking up on all “pantry essentials” that thrifty single Mom’s usually don’t keep.

Making homemade cleaning products

Homemade facial products

Not using paper towels or napkins, instead dish towels.

We hang dry all of our laundry

We recycle items

Burn trash instead of using trash service

Redirecting gray water to be useful in gardens

Homemade spider killing spray

Homemade bug repellent

Homemade anti itch spray

Homemade febreeze

Monthly preventative septic treatment instead of hiring a pro once a year

Fixing small plumbing issues ourselves

Bartering with neighbor for fresh chicken eggs

Selling unused items to have additional funds to go back into the homestead

Homeschooling instead of relying on the public system

Find a reuse for everything we possibly can. Thinking twice or 3 times before putting something in the burn pile.

Making homemade dog food

Buying all of our grocery items in bulk at Sam’s club

Prepping homemade meals and freezing them so they’re just as easy as store bought frozen meals

Doing a TON of research on how to make and cook as many homemade things as possible, with the least amount of preservative type items in it.

Stocking up on Mason jars and glass bottles to use and reuse.

Working on getting rid of most of our plastic storage containers due to the potential toxins when heating

Buying organic meat and produce until we have our own to fill our freezer and pantry with.

Finding new uses for old warn out clothes we’d otherwise just donate

Working adamantly to pay off my one car loan so that I have one less debt…and possibly something big to barter with!

Continuing to teach Riley how to shoot a gun and a bow and arrow with efficiency, part of his home schooling “life skills”.

Teaching Riley how to drive so that when we have a tractor or quad he can be my go to man if I need him, even though he’s only 11 (useful farm skill).

NETWORKING with a large variety of people nationwide but also in our backyard to help teach us about raising animals in Az, homesteading do’s and don’ts from people nationwide, joining local bartering groups, etc. All in an effort to get “in the know” with the homesteading thing and hopefully learn from others! Which has already happened tremendously!

 

 

What we are researching to do next:

Doing a TON of research on how to make and cook as many homemade things as possible, with the least amount of preservative type items in it. (This is a huge thing for me and I’ll do a whole other post to go into this and what all I’ve learned that is just plum fascinating!)

Research which seasonings we need to buy and keep in bulk for cooking until we can get the herb garden going.

Currently researching homemade soaps, shampoos and deodorant to get our hygiene products 100% homemade.

I have spent COUNTLESS hours researching the most effective way to garden productively and “with nature” in the low desert with our hot summers, year round cross winds, small predators and late summer monsoon rains. Researching this BEFORE setting it all up to make the first trial run as effective as possible, assuming there will still be some stumbling involved.

Researching how to dig a root cellar since I’m going to need somewhere to store all that canned goodness.

Researching how to grow wheat and what plants and trees I need to grow to one day produce all of our own oils and flowers used in cooking, baking and skin care.

Also researching what types of solar power and wind turbines will be useful and efficient on our specific property and how to set those up.

Researched how to get the house on our private well so that we can be off city water 100% and that project is in the works, easier than I thought. So then we’ll have 1 less utility bill.

 

 

If you have any insight, advice, suggestions or anything at all to share PLEASE DO! Consider me an eager baby bird ready to be fed knowledge from any source I can find it in because that is just about how I live my life 24/7…always learning! Thanks for reading!

 

XoXo,

Elizabeth

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Many uses for Peppermint Oil

 

 

 

 

 

Now I’m not talking about actual peppermint candy, although it is delicious and there are NUMEROUS recipes (especially sweet treats and especially THIS time of year..you can find MY personal favorite peppermint treat recipes here) that have glorious peppermint candies in them…this post is about the fabulous uses for Peppermint Oil!

 

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First and foremost, the facts!

Peppermint is actually a HYBRID MINT PLANT that is a mix between a water mint and spearmint plants!

 

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Peppermint can basically grow anywhere but they do prefer moist, shaded locations and they expand underground. Because they can grow so rapidly, for a home gardener it is often recommended to grow them in pots to try to control just how much they grow or spread out.

 

Interestingly, Wikipedia says:

“Pliny the elder, 79 AD, an ancient Roman author, natural philosopher and naval and military commander wrote Naturalis Historia. It tells us that the Greeks and Romans crowned themselves with peppermint at their feasts and adorned their tables with its sprays, and that their cooks flavoured both their sauces and their wines with its essence.”

Find the full content here!

Most people won’t grow peppermint plants and go through the process of making peppermint oil THEMSELVES and so for the sake of that I won’t include that information here. But, I do hope to do that in the future myself just to see how it goes and when I do I’ll definitely share the details!

 

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So most people who are accustomed to using any essential oil knows that they can just go out and buy in a wide variety of places. You can get them online, health food stores and also a lot of direct selling companies do oils now as well. So get it where ever you get it...as long as you feel it is a good product then you’re good to go!

 

 

 

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Uses I’ve found to be amazing AND work:

-peppermint sugar scrub for the skin (peppermint acts as an antibacterial)

-peppermint oil and water in a spray bottle sprayed on anything itchy (bug bite, bee sting, etc) not only has a cooling affect but also somehow takes the itch right out. (Since this is sprayed directly onto the skin I heavily dilute it and only use about 5-7 drops of peppermint oil to the whole container of water)

-stomach aches! If you or a child have a stomach they can not only suck on an actual peppermint candy but  you can also get peppermint oil on your finger and rub it onto the stomach. It tends to work just as fast as something like pepto bismal.

-homemade peppermint bath salt, my own recipe found here.

-use peppermint oil and other oils in a homemade mosquito repellent! Here is the recipe I’ve tried.

 

 

Uses I’ve researched but not personally tried yet:

-externally it can be used for muscle pain and nerve pain.

-in folklore peppermint oil has long been used for nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, indigestion, irritable bowel, and bloating.

-in aromatherapy the smell of peppermint oil tends to provide alertness and so it can be good to use in your homemade bath products (as long as you follow the proper ratio for essential oil and carrier oil in the recipe so that the peppermint doesn’t cause any skin irritation, do your research)

-make a homemade peppermint lip scrub and find the directions here.

-make a homemade flea shampoo for dogs, directions here.

-try a homemade diy peppermint toothpaste recipe here.

-use honey and peppermint oil to make a homemade facial toner, found here.

-make a heatwave peppermint spray to cool you down! You can find info on that here.

 

If you are eager to research peppermint oil more I urge you to do so. It is but one tiny plant but as you can see, so many uses! And if you’re living the homestead life, I can see why Peppermint Plant is one that we all need on our homesteads, if only for upset stomachs and bug repellent!!!! =D

 

XoXo,

Elizabeth

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DIY Peppermint Bath Salt

This time of year I always make peppermint skin care – something! Not only is peppermint notoriously our “seasonal scent” around the holidays but for me personally it is a smell I love year round, it has numerous health benefits and…it just makes me happy!!!

 

So this year I made 2 peppermint skin care products and one I’m going to share how to do with you now is the DIY Peppermint Bath Salt!!!

 

This was my first time trying to make a bath salt as I’ve been making sugar scrubs for years but I did a little research on the bath salts first to make sure I knew what I was doing. If you check out this blog post she explains in depth the importance of understanding how to use essential oils in your bath water! In order for it to work properly and not risk causing skin irritation you have to use a carrier oil in your mixture and also put your essential oils in the salt that will help disperse the essential oil throughout your bath water! Good info!

 

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Your ingredients are:

2 cups of epsom salt

1 tablespoon carrier oil (jojoba, coconut, olive, or other) 

15-30 drops of essential oil

 

***Warning; as I’m using peppermint oil in this recipe please note that peppermint is one that can cause a skin irritation and so it is essential to use it properly. That’s why this recipe calls for a carrier oil, which you should use with all essential oils, not just peppermint. But be especially mindful of peppermint in facial products and use less than you would of other essential oils. This recipe calls for 15-30 drops and I honestly used about 17 drops, as the smell was prevalent and more didn’t seem necessary.

 

I had found this adorable green glass bottle with a cork at the Dollar Store for…$1!!!! So I had to have it. When I decided to put together this bath salt recipe I knew this was the bottle for it because how cute will that bottle be sitting in the shower or tub!?! Right!

 

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You put your epsom salt in your mixing bowl and when you add your liquid oil (I did coconut oil – for moisturizing) and then add your drops of essential oil on top this is what it’ll look like.

 

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But after mixing it around a bit by hand it turns into THIS! What I lovely refer to as “Peppermint Snow” because the texture of it reminds me of fluffy snow!!!

 

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Now I included this photo as a full disclosure that I am not always the smartest nor do I always just know the best ways to do things. Trial and error is the theme of my life! =D I did not have a funnel (and as I write this now I wonder why I didn’t just grab the funnel out of the trunk of my car…doh!) So I thought “Hey, I’ll grab some paper, make a funnel and we’ll be good to go, right?” Wrong! The paper was too flimsy, the peppermint snow was just clumpy enough and the bottle of this adorable glass was TINY! None of which make a good combination. So after a few failed attempts at that, I refused to give up on the glass bottle so I just started paddling it in the top of the bottle with my kitchen utensils, about 1/2 teaspoon at a time! Haha! Yes…it took awhile!

 

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And…it made a mess! BUT…messes can be cleaned! My whole recipe didn’t fit in the glass bottle but I knew it wouldn’t so I had a little plastic container for the extra that I saved it in to use that first before I break into the glass bottle.

 

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And so since messes can be cleaned…3 easy minutes later, here is the finished product! A super easy, very simple and rather quick process if you don’t choose a small mouth glass bottle!

 

Also, you can make this recipe with any essential oil and even a combination of a few different ones. Pick oils that either are scents you love, are mood boosting or relaxing or even have health benefits for you!!!

 

XoXo,

Elizabeth

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DIY Laundry Stain Remover

Every time I mention homemade laundry stain remover on my Facebook here I get questions and comments and asked for the recipe. So this last time I made it I decided to do a blog post to share with you guys and I’ve also pinned it on my Pinterest board “DIY home products” here. There is ample information for all things homesteading, DIY and self sufficiency on my Pinterest profile so please check it out when you have a chance!

 

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Let’s get down to the recipe!

I first found the recipe on Pinterest on this woman’s blog here so let me give credit where credit is due! The ingredients are simple things that almost anyone has at home.

You need equal parts of:

-Dawn

-Baking soda

-Hydrogen peroxide

 

(Insider tip: In case you didn’t already know 1- Dawn is amazing and 2- Hydrogen peroxide almost always gets out blood!)

 

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So I was originally going to put this in a cute glass bottle and then I realized I really don’t need that much mixed up at one time so I thought this small little bowl with a lid would better do the job, although not as pretty. This little guy holds maybe a cup. In my mixture I did 2 tablespoons of each product so that in the end my final mixture was about 6 tablespoons total. Keep in mind, for a stain you may only need 1 TEASPOON to treat a spot. So make however much you feel your family may need.

 

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I put in my baking soda first, add my hydrogen peroxide and then pour over the dawn. You can see when they start to have a natural reaction or a “bubble party” as I like to call it. These ingredients are happy together AND they also do a good job!!!

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You just mix it all up and you’re good to go, it really is that easy!

 

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Here is a photo of my finished product. This sits on the shelf above my washer in my laundry room and over time you might see the ingredients separate a little bit. All you have to do is give it a little shake then take the lid off to use however much you need.

 

XoXo,

Elizabeth

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5 mth update – work done on the homestead!!!

Hey there! Thanks for checking out our blog! This post today is lengthy and full of pictures, my favorite type of blog post! This is our 5 month update on what we have gotten done in our first 5 mths living on this small farm, working to turn it into a one day self-sufficient homestead. I know I had lofty goals and plans when we first moved in but I’ve always been an over-achiever. And honestly, as I have seen how slow many projects end up being when it’s just 1-2 people doing things manually, the old school way, I have come to accept NOW that progress IS very much gradual and I constantly remind myself to celebrate the small accomplishments, rather than ponder on the giant to do list!

 

We currently have a few projects “in progress” but for the sake of this post and the celebration of completion, I’m sharing projects that are done and/or just things we’ve dolled up that I’m proud of!

 

Let’s start at the beginning…of the property!

 

The Gate!

 

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Before…

 

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I just cleaned up some weeds, put up a welcome sign, put up a scare crow and corn stalks for our fall decor, put a metal H on the gate (not pictured) and hung my gun warning sign! =)

 

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The mail box needed some lovin’…real bad! I would love to get a new one, something cute and shabby chic or possibly even make one. But for now, I had to save this one’s appearance with some simple black spray paint and new numbers.

 

The Driveway! Ahhhh, the elusive driveway!

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This project I worked on for probably 5 weeks, on and off, as I had time and the weather permitted. I shared about this big project in 3 posts last month and you can see the first post here and in each post at the end it has the link to the next one in the series. This project was near and dear to my heart…and…curb appeal!

 

 

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Finally giving this little farm a proper “entrance”. Someday, there will be trees lining the driveway, #dreams *sigh*…

 

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Me, in my element, working on that driveway! I am happiest with a tool in hand and being in the outdoors!

 

The Front Fascade

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This poor little girl was overgrown with half dead bamboo, 1/3 of the trees around the house dead, no real driveway and this hideous dead leaning over tree you can see just there on the left that was in front of the fence line of bamboo. Every time I came home the first 2 mths I’d curse under my breath with just how pitiful the place looked. Which was fuel…for all these projects.

 

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Now, I just have 1 dead tree on the right side left to remove that is sadly not salvageable at this point and this whole front appearance will be better. The driveway outline (which is phase 1 of the big overall driveway project) is done, a lot was cleaned up, that tree was removed in the front. In the coming months a friend and his tractor are going to help me remove all that bamboo so that you can see the front of the house and the large deck.

 

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This was a frontal shot of the shop with the two mesquite trees in front of it just prior to our move-in. Before the move-in we did a bunch of yard work cleaning up all those random weeds just so that we could move in.

 

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The goal is for there to be a hammock between those mesquite trees in the future. But so far what we’ve done is create a walk way around that area and the parking area by putting down river rock. We then moved an old rail road tie from the “back 40” to use as an official “parking spot”. The mesquite trees have been trimmed up a little bit but for the most part they are doing great.

 

 

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This is the parking area, just to the left of the house. There are 4 cottonwood trees there as well as 5 pomegranate trees on the other side of the fence over on that right side. This is what they all looked like when we moved in. They were definitely extra pitiful and needed pruning, shaping and much love!

 

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I have trimmed all 4 trees and the 5 pomegranate trees and cleaned up the ground area. We put river rock down here to create a walk way and hopefully that will be a lovely flower bed next spring. After much love I have concluded 2 of those 4 cottonwood trees are beyond saving, they are losing bark all over and have major cracks. So 2 of the trees will be removed this winter. The pomegranate trees, are doing just wonderful!

 

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This is a good shot of the parking area from further back. I moved another rail road tie over to make 2 “parking spots” in front of the mesquite trees.

 

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This was the side yard that greeted you as soon as you got out of the car when we first moved in. I hated it…

 

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We cleaned up the weeds in this area right away upon moving in. Later, when we took all the trellis off of the deck I got the idea to put those up along the broken fence line just to create some separation there. It doesn’t look like a pro but it at least creates a fence for the dogs not running through there all day.

Then just about a week ago I decided to dig these trenches. Behind the AC unit is the out drain for the washer. Since we are on a septic here, the previous owner had put the out drain to just drain into this side yard. I noticed a few weeks ago that it was flooding the area and going under the house, which is no good.

So I dug a pit off of that and then a trench that runs off of that with outer channels. I did this because since we moved in I wanted this area to be a rose garden. So these channels will provide ample gray water (proven reusable on non-edible plants) every 2 days when I do laundry, to water the future roses! Each load of laundry drains twice, the first run fills up all of these channels to about half full. Then about 10 minutes later when it drains again it fills them all perfectly to the top without overflowing any of them! (Once almost done I had to add another channel just because it was overflowing a bit at the end. Now it is perfect!) It will keep the area saturated. Once the flowers go in you probably won’t even be able to see the channels. And I plan on putting some tiny river rock in the bottom of the channels just to make them look cuter, in case you can see them after flower growth.

 

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Here is a good before and after shot of the side yard project! Yay for future roses! And this spot in the east facing side yard has the best view of sunrises so I’ll have to put a little table set or bench out there for enjoying those! Things to come!

 

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Front west side yard…a mess!

 

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After we put in some sweat equity just cleaning it up. This has turned out to be both of our dogs’ favorite spot to chase each other around and run circles because the dirt is so loose here almost like sand. They love it!

 

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The deck before…I didn’t like how closed in it was. It was obstructing all of our pretty desert, mountain and sunset views!

 

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This is what it looks like now! We took all the trellis’ down, hung the flag and just did some general cleaning.

 

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Me, enjoying said deck! =D

 

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The back side of the house. There used to be a deck here that’s why there is a gap from the house to a concrete pad. I think I’ll add a deck back one day or at least pave that whole area so it doesn’t look so odd.

 

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This took about 3 hours of weed eating and raking to get it all cleaned up. Then I just put some chairs out under the mesquite tree.

 

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This is the corner area off of the back door, that door comes out from the kitchen/laundry room.

 

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I cleaned up this area and just setup that corner as a temporary place for trash when we bring it out before we burn it. I just sat up a piece of trellis to keep the dogs out of it and it works for the most part. This winter we need to build a trash bin so that it is animal proof, as they have “broken into” this setup twice now, haha!

 

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A view of the back portion of the backyard. These beams are left over either from an old pergola or an old porch, we’re not sure. Those weeds were ample and relentless. It took me probably 7 or 8 different days throughout the summer in short bursts of 2-3 hours each time working on it to get all these weeds gone and burnt because it was so hot this summer.

 

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We just took down some of the pieces of wood on that structure that were falling off or could risk a head injury, haha! And then that is where we decided to put up the pool this summer!

 

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In our first 5 mths living on the farm I conquered my first plumbing job! It took a lot of research online and I had to go buy tools or supplies 3 different times because I kept getting the wrong size. This is my sink in the master bathroom and we lived in the house a month before I was able to use my bathroom sink!!! That was a happy experience!

 

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After getting the project done and having a mess under there I decided after cleaning it up why not paint it, haha! So I taped up some paper and I painted the bottom silver for a girly twist and then the back and side white just to cover up that old wall paper.

 

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This picture is to commemorate the first tree I ever removed! This tree was obviously dead and was the reason I was so stoked to buy a chainsaw back in July, 2 months after moving into the house. I hated that tree! I mean, who wouldn’t!?!?! It was a wonderful experience and made me feel powerful and accomplished! I took on many trees after this one but she was the first!

 

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Remnants of the tree trimming on those 4 cottonwood trees by the parking area.

 

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Who doesn’t take selfies while they work? Lol!

 

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We lost our first small, frail tree to a Monsoon storm…

 

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Which urged me to remove another dead ugly tree. A large part of the trunk is still there because it shoots off into like 4 and I got tired that day, haha! I will remove the rest of it and maybe I can find something useful to do with it.

 

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After much research I learned how to tell for sure if a tree is dead…

 

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Or if it still has some fight in it so that you can save it! This is one of my cottonwood trees which I trimmed and fertilized as soon as we moved in. Then the green new growth came and now I just have some more trimming to do once I learned a crack in a branch means it is a goner and needs to go. Hopefully in a couple of years you won’t even be able to tell it looked like this at one time.

 

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I have seen positive signs of improvement on most of our trees but this one in the backyard, which I now know is another Cottonwood tree, is taking a little longer. I haven’t babied it as much as I have the ones in the front just because we aren’t in the backyard much after summer but she’s still trying and I’m so glad! (I am currently working on a project with this tree to dig a swale around it and a trench to water it with gray water from the dishwasher. I’ll post more about that when it is done.)

 

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The pomegranate trees before and now! Just gave them a good trimming and now water them regularly. After this “after” picture I dug a swale around the base of those pomegranate trees so now when I water them twice a week I fill up the swale and it allows it to slowly soak in over 10-15 mins rather than wasting water in run off.

 

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We did a lot of busy work, like cleaning up burn piles and stuff!

 

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I setup an official burn pile area to burn out trash and tree debris. Before we were just doing it on the ground and I just wanted to get a spot a little further away from the house and make a permanent place in the wide open. I just used some blocks I had on the property so the project was free and so when I have time I’ll buy some more and do them another layer higher.

 

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We started home schooling!!!!! After much thought and then a TON of research, I finally started home schooling Riley using the Charlotte Mason Method. You can read all about why I decided to home school as a single parent here! And I went into depth on why we chose the Charlotte Mason Method in this post! So far, we are just a few weeks into it and we both love it! I went over both of our thoughts on home schooling after the first few days in this quick post!

 

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I made homemade Febreeze for the first time and it turned out wonderfully! I make it new every month now and it has been fantastic AND free!!! I went over how I made this Febreeze-diy and the two items below in this post.

 

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I also made a homemade sugar face and body scrub and a sugar shave cream! Fun times! Just taking small steps to become more self sufficient and having to buy less.

 

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I gave blood for the first time in my life! I’m not sure why I never did before, but it made me feel useful!

 

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A local friend/farmer donated some lemongrass to us and we had our first experience potting a plant to keep it alive through winter so we can plant it in the ground in the spring. This plant will help naturally repel mosquitoes and we can also use it in cooking if we want! We did this as part of our Gardening “work” for our Charlotte Mason home schooling method and I shared a post about the lemongrass experience here.

 

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I got a few of my first power tools ever!!! <3

 

Let’s go INSIDE!!!

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This was the dining room when we moved in.

 

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This is our dining room now. (One chair is missing because I started working on a painting project with it. I’m going to paint the chairs teal and then the table and the buffet white!)

 

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The living room before.

 

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The living room now! (I am working on plans to get a smaller couch and some chairs because this sectional isn’t even all put together now because it doesn’t all fit. This was great at one point in our lives but now it is just too big for us and the sage green color doesn’t go with the new white/gray/blues scheme I want to do in the main living areas.)

 

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I got my first chainsaw AND had to fix the chain for the first time! It took some time reading the manual and looking up videos on YouTube but I finally figured it out myself! I was very proud of that!

 

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I took Riley to his first concert ever! Rascal Flatts!!

 

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I love these guys! They are my life! <3

 

ANIMALS!

Not farm animals, unfortunately….

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We had a road runner come visit the front porch a few days in a row. I was later told it is a good sign to have these around because they’ll kill a snake in a heart beat. That’s awesome! And…there are lots of videos on YouTube that show they can, haha!

 

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Saw my second snake on the property and this one was a big one (about 4 ft long) and it was being “chased” by a desert squirrel, lol!!!! It was the oddest thing I’d ever seen!

If you want to check out the video I uploaded to Facebook of this odd snake situation you can find it shared publicly on my profile here!

 

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We have lots of cottontail rabbits on our land!

 

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I found this neon green beetle on the front gate one day. I’d never seen one so bright, colorful and glittery before! Lol! I’m still not sure if that’s normal or someone painted him, ha!

 

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In late summer we have our Monsoon season which is our wet time of the year where we get lots of rain, big storms, strong winds, etc. And during that time these Sonoran Toads come out after a rain and they are poisonous to dogs and small children. I came home in the evening MANY times and they were chilling on my side walk from the parking area to the front door. They were HUGE…bigger than my fist, I swear! Ugh!

 

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We got a new stove!

 

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We had several of our first monsoon storms on the property. Flooding isn’t major here ON the property, thank goodness! But we do gets lots of water here in the desert when these storms dump it out in 30 mins! It really doesn’t take too long for the dry land to soak it right up! This photo is our vacant 4 acres on the west side, where there will hopefully one day be cows!!!!! #dreamdreamdream

 

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First storms mean storm damage. Not only did we lose a few weak trees but we also had a part of our back fence in our backyard fall down. =(

 

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We realized with the installation of our new handy, dandy outdoor electronic wireless thermometers that what the weather stations say the temp is is actually WRONG! This gauge IS in the shade, I swear. So in mid August, in the shade, it was 123 degrees. I didn’t get much work done outside between mid July to mid September because of this. I tried but I quickly learned my limits! We now know we will work from now (fall/winter) until NEXT summer to try to get as much outdoor stuff done as possible before the next major heat wave because we won’t be able to do much out there after that. So the goal is to make sure that the animals we get this winter and early spring will be cool enough and have ample water and shade before the summer hits. Same goes for the future garden.

 

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We learned 2 more things!!! 1- you shouldn’t put any grease down your drain (period) but especially when you have a septic tank. So not only do I put leftover grease in a jar to dispose of but I also put vinegar and water down the drain once a month to keep our plumbing lines cleared and “healthier” and I also put vinegar down the dishwasher once a month to keep it running well and not have any build up. And then the second thing I learned is that people with chickens keep the egg shells and crush those and use those to feed to the chickens again in their food and the calcium in it help them. So since my neighbor gives me free chicken eggs, I save all the egg shells for her and take her a bag of those any time I go to get more eggs! What a wonderful thing that is!

 

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Riley is learning to climb trees, lol, like a real country boy! Too bad most of our trees here are too small!

 

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I colored my hair back to my natural color (dark brown) for the first time in 5 years! I am happy with it! Maybe the blonde and red highlights can just signify my 20’s as I’m now 30 and I’m loving this solid dark brown enough that I think I will just stay “all natural”! =)

 

Well…without going over every single little thing, I think that is the most I can share with you for now! I can’t wait to update you come February or March with our successes, trials and learning experiences we figure out this upcoming winter! How fun will that be!

 

XoXo,

Elizabeth

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