Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Fun Halloween Foods

 i always enjoying making fun foods for kids during the holidays.  i used to get a lot of ideas from Family Fun magazine, but there are also a ton of amazing ideas on pinterest! Here are a few of the things we made for Halloween.

Mummy dogs are always a favorite. These are 'veggie' dogs wrapped in crescent roll dough.  Very easy to make, and the kids love them.  i use mustard to make the eyes, then they dip them in (catsup) blood.  Spooky!


 Kids decorated the cupcakes, i did the cake. :)

 i found the frozen banana/yogurt ghost idea on pinterest.  These are just bananas cut in half, then sliced the long way, insert a stick, dip in vanilla yogurt and freeze on parchment paper. i used some candy sprinkles for the faces.  Very easy, pretty healthy and the kids loved them.


i found several recipes for witch finger cookies, but these were my favorite! These are unbelievably simple to make. The cookie is just a basic shortbread... flour, butter, sugar and vanilla.  Whole almonds are used as the fingernails. You can find the original recipe here.

Aren't they great!?! :)

i had a whole bunch of fun ideas pinned over at pinterest, but never made it to the store (story of my life) to get the ingredients for most of them. We still have plenty of fun treats to make the day special.  :)

Friday, October 26, 2012

Halloween Preparations and Costumes

This weekend we are starting to get in to the Halloween spirit.We have a bunch of Halloween activities planned, including the IVE fall festival and the Dugpur Halloween Carnival on Saturday.  Thee is also a Kids Fest at the Jacksonville center on Sunday and my boy really wants to go to Sinkland Farms  pumpkin festival.  

We also have costumes to finish, pumpkins to carve and spooky foods to make.  i'm not sure we are going to make it all of the local Halloween events this weekend, but we're going still going to have a ton of fun!

We have already started carving a few of our pumpkins, although we are saving the big ones for this weekend.  The small pumpkins came from our garden, the huge ones were dropped off by the Fall fairy. We still do not know where they came from.  :)

 The kids cleaned out their pumpkins without any help. They love the feel of the pumpkin guts. My boy designed and carved his own pumpkin. My girl designed hers, but need a little help with the actual carving.

This is my girl's cat pumpkin. :)  It had a really long, slight curved stem. So we took the stem off the top and stuck it on the back to look like a cat tail.

 My boy did a great job with his pumpkin!   Afterwards we roasted up the seeds and completely devoured them.  We all love roasted pumpkin seeds!

Quite a while ago my son decided he wanted to be an Ent for Halloween.  i was really glad that this wasn't a last minute decision. In the past he's been good for changing his mind the day before Halloween. :)  i love the idea of an Ent, but knew it was going to be somewhat tricky to pull off.  A couple weeks ago, i  decided i better get started on it now and give myself a head start.

 This is one of those things i didn't plant out a head of time. i just jumped in and started creating it.  i made a basic mask template.   Then went outside and checked all our firewood for usable bark. Several of the logs have a nice paper bark that peels off in big pieces and is very light weight. So we glued them on, layered them a little where necessary and used some Spanish moss for the beard. It came together quickly, and really looked pretty good!

Just to get an idea of how it would look we tried it on and snapped a picture. The bark print fabric won't sit like this in the actual costume. i made it into pants, and didn't have enough fabric for a shirt. i have a mossy green sweater that he'll probably wear and we'll embellish it with vines and leaves. 

He had an old pair of shoes that we are going to cover in leaves. i also picked up some brown gloves that we can hot glue twigs and leaves too. This is one of the costumes we'll be putting together right before we leave the house.  :)   i think it'll be pretty neat though, and will definitely post photos when it is complete.

Now my girl wanted to be a Vampire princess, and i found the perfect dress at the thrift store for $1! Of course, yesterday she decided she'd rather be a pirate...Ack!  i think with a bandana, sword, eye patch and hat we can easily transform the vampire dress into a pirate. Should be interesting! i'll be posting pictures next week.  

i was hoping for good weather, but after checking it looks like it will be bitter cold  Halloween night. Hopefully the costumes will still be recognizable under winter coats!! 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Glass Shop Progress

A little over a year ago, my husband moved his glass shop out of the garden shed and into a rented space. It was quite a big move, and a bit scary having to make a monthly rent payment.  The owner of the property was very kind and worked with us, providing a sliding scale until the shop was up and running. Our plan was really just to try and make it a year in the new space and then reevaluate whether it was working for us or not.
   A year later and the shop is running strong. The original work bench has been rebuild and there are now 3 permanent work stations with torches and ventilation. Sometime after the new year,  we are hoping to add two more work stations, so he'll be set up for teaching group classes.  

 Kenan has one full time shop mate who rents a space, and the third bench/torch is available for rent or for glass students to use.  The shop provides a much better atmosphere for teaching then the tiny little garden shed did. :)


My husband doin' his thing. :)  The man is a work horse.  He works long days, weekends and holidays.  i admit we miss having him here, although i know he gets a lot more work done without the distractions of home.


Kenan's shop mate, Darren C. has been blowing glass for around 15 years. Originally from Oregon/Washington area, he came to Floyd around a year ago and met up with Kenan quite by chance. He's been renting a space in the glass shop for almost 5 months.  You can view some of his work here

    This display counter is our first step towards turning half of the space into a retail store.   Kenan found this lighted display counter/case on Craigslist.  There used to be a corner stage on the floor here, carpeting and mural on the wall. So he had to take apart the stage, rip up all the carpeting and paint over the mural.  The new work benches were made from the wood that came from tearing out the stage. It's been quite a bit of work just to get the area cleaned up a bit. Adding the display counter makes it feel a bit more real. One day soon the shelves will be filled with glass work and jewelry.  We are hoping to also eventually paint it something other than white, and decorate the walls with the artwork of local artists.  Ideally beside just blown glass we will also have artwork, clothing, jewelry etc on consignment giving local artists another outlet for their work.

 It's a slow process, but ever little step forward is quite exciting.  Ideally we will have the retail store open in the spring.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Canning Burn Update.

A few weeks ago you might remember, i sustained a pretty good burn while canning apple sauce in a water bath.  i accidently poured scalding water down my arm.  i was wearing a tight fitting sweater, and literally dumped the water down my sleeve.  So the boiling water pooled right above my elbow, and it took a few extra second to get the sweater off which was sticking to me, and get my arm under cold water. 

Originally, the burn appeared to be mostly first degree, with obvious second degree at the bottom where the water had pooled.  i took this picture immediately after getting burned and within an hour, the blister had doubled in size and  was at least 1" thick.

 Within a couple of days the burn really began to present itself.  What i had thought was a very minor first degree burn, turned into a second degree burn.  The upper part of the skin that was a light pink, i was expecting to just fade.  Instead it began to darken eventually blistering and seeping like the lower part of my arm :(   This is when i actually began to feel pain from the burn. Rather than feeling a pain on the burned skin, i felt a deep throbbing ache similar to tendentious. i kept the burn covered with sterile pads and loose gauze, but as the blisters popped and the burn seeped it constantly stuck to the bandages. My skin was literally falling off where the worst of the burn had been.  Although it didn't appear infected, i was feeling a little depressed about the severity of it.  i've never really had a serious injury of any kind and i definitely didn't expect it to get worse before it got better. 

i had several folks recommend Silvadene (Silver sulfadiazine) but i could only find it as a prescription drug, and being that we are uninsured, i did not want to go to the doctor unless it was totally necessary.  My friend Kathy had recommend gel cooling pads, and so i headed over to CVS to see if they had any in stock. i was able to find anti-microbial Silver gel and Moist hydrogel pads.

Oh my goodness, what a difference that made!!  Within days i could see/feel a difference on my arm.

Less than 3 weeks after getting burned, my arm is almost back to normal and there is very little scarring.  The majority of my arm looks good as new. At the base of the burn, where it was the worst is just slightly pink. It's barely noticeable enough to even consider it a scar, and i wouldn't be surprised if it fades even more!  So we will definitely be keeping both the silver gel and the cooling gel pads in our first aid kit!  The difference they made within just a day of using them was incredible!  i am really glad that my burn healed as well as it did and i didn't have any complications. i'm really amazed that the scarring isn't worse and i definitely learned that i need to be more careful when canning!


Friday, October 19, 2012

Witches, Pumpkins and Autumn fairies..oh my!

 Between processing apples, volunteering at the school and my fall garden i've also been working on new bendy dolls.  i'm having fun making some seasonal dolls, and wanted to share a few of my favorites.

 i've been making lots of little witches. i make these in different colors, orange and black tights, purple and black etc.  These little ladies have been very popular, and i only have this one available as a pre-made. If you are interested in one, just let me know.

 i've also been making lots of little pumpkin girls. :) i don't have any of these pre-made at the time, but am happy to make more if there is interest.

i'm loving the Autumn fairies. These are what i am working on now.  The wings are made from artificial leaves, and the acorn cap is real.  i have several of these ladies available for $12 each shipped first class (US). i can ship internationally, but i would have to add the shipping charge.

These have been really fun to play around with different color combinations. i just love them all. 

Inspire by all of our apples i decided to make an apple fairy. She came out pretty cute, but i think i should have had a bit more color variation. Her dress is a medium brown, and her apron a dark brown and there isn't really enough contrast for my taste. Still pretty adorable though, i think.  She is also available for sale.

If interested in any of these girls you can email me at enchantedtree (at)hotmail .com  or visit my facebook page   to everyone that is available for sale.

i've had a few inquiries about snowflake fairies....but i'm not ready to go there yet!! i'm just slowly accepting that autumn is here, so lets not rush into snow just yet. i will have lots of winter/holiday themed bendy dolls a bit later in the season. What would you like to see? i'm always open to suggestions and new ideas.  :)

Kroger Buy 5 – Save $5 Event and Giveaway!

      We have several chain groceries stores in our area, but Kroger is by far my favorite.  i usually pick up items in that i need in town on Fridays when i take the kids to karate class. However, every couple of weeks i have to do a big grocery run and when i do i usually go to Kroger.  We live in a very rural area, so i really try to only grocery shop once every two weeks or so.

     i really like our Kroger store. The one that i frequent is quite small and hasn't been renovated like some of the newer stores.  It  really has a  Mom & Pop grocery feel to it.  It's never very busy and the staff are very friendly.  They also have a nice little produce/health food section. It's very small compared to some of the bigger stores, but i'm always able to find what i need. Kroger has it's own affordable organic line, and they label produce that is grown locally, which i think is pretty neat for a chain store.

 So Grab a cart (or two!) and head to your local Kroger Co. Family of Stores for the Kroger Buy 5 – Save $5 Event!   From October 14th through October 24th purchase 5 participating  products, and you'll receive a coupon for $5 off your next shopping order* (coupon printed at checkout)!

* Products must be purchased during one shopping visit. To view a list of participating products see your store for details. The $5 coupon offer off your next shopping trip offer expires 1 week from the print date, with the coupon prints ending October 24th. Any offers printed on October 24th will expire on October 31st.

Promotion varies in different locations so please be sure to check your local Kroger Co. Family of Stores*** for specific deals and offers which include: Kroger, Ralphs, King Scoopers, City Market, Dillons, Smith’s, Fry’s, QFC, Baker’s, Owen’s, Jay C Food Stores, Hilander, Gerbes, Fred Meyer, Pay Less Supermarkets and Scott’s Food & Pharmacy

Head to Kroger and take advantage of the Kroger Buy 5 – Save $5 event.  One very lucky blog reader  is going to receive a $25 Kroger Gift Card! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway
 Must be 18 to enter, and open to US residents only.
Promotion varies in different locations so please be sure to check your local Kroger Co. Stores.

  “Disclosure: The gift card, information, and additional sample have been provided by Kroger and General Mills through MyBlogSpark.”

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Wordless Wednesday- Good mama hen

You can see more Wordless Wednesday posts here.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Apple Season!

A few weeks ago i posted about our foraged apples. We ended up with over 3 bushel of apples.  i was really hoping that they would store well, so that we could continue to enjoy fresh apples into the winter. However, they are not storing well at all.  Like the wild apples we've foraged in the past, they often contain worms and internal spots.  So although the apples look okay on the outside, the are slowing rotting from the inside out and need to be used up asap.

 What does one do with 3 bushel of apples??

Make apple sauce of course!!  So far i have made about 4 dozen pint jars of applesauce and i'm still making more. i also canned a few jars of pie filling and i'm planning to make apple butter next.

i also used my juicer to make fresh apple cider. Yum!! It was so easy and good.

Then turned some of the the apple cider into boiled apple cider, so that i could make Apple cider donuts using this recipe.  i didn't add the fiber, and i used regular cinnamon. They turned out pretty good, but more like cake than a donut.  i was a little bummed the recipe only makes 6...:)

i also made apple sauce pancakes with apple cider syrup using this recipe.  These are really tasty. :)

We also tried our hand at making Shrunken heads, thanks to Martha's Tutorial i think they came out okay. They are definitely not as easy as she makes it look.

My boy made a few as well, but they were a little too tricky for my girl who is 6.  We made 7 and are now watching and waiting for them to begin to shrink.  We may make a few more if these look like they are shrinking nicely. i'm a bit worried about them just rotting and molding.

So as you can see we have really been enjoying our apples!! i made an apple crisp once, and have been planning to make apple bars and apple pie.  i still have 1 and 1/3 bushels left!
Do you have any favorite apple recipes to share? i'd love to hear them!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Getting Feathers

It's been a while since i've updated on our little peeps.  All of our new chicks are getting bigger and getting all their feathers in.  They lose that cute little fluffiness so quickly, and take on that awkward teen-age bird look for while.  Many of them have already made it through the awkward stage and are beginning to look like miniature chickens.  We are also beginning to get a few signs of whether we have hens or roosters.

My two wild hens, who were never given proper names are always hiding with their babies  They make it so difficult for me to get a good picture of them. i've found that my best attempt to get a photo is to throw down some corn and then step back and sit quietly.  My pretty black hen has three of these peeps. The one in the left corner belongs to my brown hen and i believe it's a girl.  Of the black hens three, so far it appears she has two girls and a boy.  The little black peep is her mini-me.  It appears to be a girl and looks identical to her mama with the black feet, comb and beak.

 This pretty fellow is an americana-cross i believe.  He has a longer neck and a bit of a beard (common with the Americanas) and he is already getting a comb.  No sign of blue tail feathers yet, which is usually a definite sign it's a boy.  It will be a while before i know for sure, but i'm pretty sure this a rooster.

The third little peep, i believe is the Buff Orpington cross. She has a heavier shape, short neck and super soft feathers.  She is looking like a hen so far...although some of them develop later, so it's still just a guess.

Of the four new easter-egg chickens, there appears to be 3 hens and one rooster.  Happy feet has the prettiest pattern.  Her feathers are all different shades of gray.  She is an extremely sweet bird and everyone's favorite. She loves to roost on shoulders.

 This is one of the two 'twins'.  The kids named them Jumpin' Jack Flash and Rascal. They both look completely identical, so i'm not sue which one is in the photo. :)  So far, they both appear to be females.


 The kids have named this one Rooster-boy, for obvious reasons. :)  So far it's the only one to be getting a comb.  He is also the only one that doesn't have a tail, which seems kind of odd. i'm not sure if he's slow in getting his tail feathers or if he'll be rumpless which is common with true aruacanas. His featehr feather pattern is similar to Happy Feet, except that he has a pretty russet red color.


Sunny's peeps are all getting their feathers too, but they are so tiny. Sunny is a smaller hen, and i'm guessing the Bantam roosters is the Daddy. So the babies just seem extra small compared to all our others.  They have more feathers now than they did in this photo, but i still can't tell if we have hens or roosters yet.

We've been really lucky so far this fall, in that we haven't lost any babies/chickens yet. This time of year is terrible for predators, and it isn't uncommon for my wild birds to get picked off one by one. Last fall we lost all of our roosters but one because they insisted on sleeping in the trees.

 All three of my mama hens refuse to stay in the fencing, and like to scratch around at the edge of the woods and across the street so they are especially vulnerable. i was hoping that hatching out eggs from the domestic hens, they would be a bit less wild.  However, my mama birds teach their babies well. They teach them to scratch, forage and fly out of the chicken pen.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Fall Garden-Rual Thursday

This week the temperatures really dropped.  We started our first fire of the season, this is by far the earliest fire we've ever had to start. We typically do not start burning wood until Thanksgiving. 

Our first killing frost is predicted for this week, and the temperatures have been dipping down to around freezing all week.  Despite the low temps my garden is still hanging in there.


My main fall garden is still thriving.  i have a few zinnias still blooming,then a row of zucchini that have never produced. The plants are small and stunted. They developed downy mildew and never recovered despite my attempts to treat them with organic copper.  The plants have continued to bloom, but have never produced any fruit.

i have 5 rows of blue lake green beans that are just beginning to produce.  This garden somehow managed to avoid the frost that hit my other gardens. It's on the other side of the driveway, and down a bit lower than the other beds. Although the other gardens survived that frost, all the plants had a bit of frost damage, while these plants all look untouched.  Would love it if the frost can delay a couple weeks, but i'm not really counting on it. 

Swiss chard is doing fabulous. These is such an easy plant to grow. i actually have this planted in three different garden beds.  The cabbage worms don't seem to care for it, and other than an occasional snail i have very little problems with  garden pests or disease. Swiss chard can be used like kale or spinach in recipes.  i've even made baked Chard chips and they've very good, just a bit thinner and more delicate than kale.

My peas are also just starting to bloom. They had a very slow start sprouting in the summer heat. Now they are thriving, but i don't think i'll be getting any peas from them before they succumb to the frost/temps.

Kale is always a fall favorite. My Rebor kale has been producing all summer. i planted a new crop for the fall, and with the lower temperatures it has much more of a purple color than it did over the summer.   i really love this variety of kale. It is thick and hearty, cooks wonderfully and makes the best kale chips.  i planted several varieties this year, and the cabbage worms devoured most of them.  The Redbor has been somewhat resistant to them. It seems i didn't start getting any worms until after i pulled the other kale, and even then the worms have been manageable. 

Fall is also the perfect time to plant lettuce. i planted several varieties of leaf lettuce, romaine, and buttercrunch.   i have quite a bit of rocket arugula that reseeded its self as well. 

My broccoli plans had a rough start with all of the cabbage worms. The temps have gotten cold enough, that the cabbage whites are not as active.  For the fall i planted regular broccoli, violet cauliflower and Romanesco Broccoli.  So far all the plants are doing well, although the Romanesco Broccoli plants are still pretty small, despite being planted at the same time as the others and so i'm not sure they'll make it to harvest.

My pepper plants are still loaded. Many of the peppers are tiny, and will never make it to harvest. i may attempt to cover these on nights that frost is predicted or go below 32.  i may even dig up one of the small plants and keep it inside. Peppers are can grow all winter if given enough warmth and light.

Look what the Autumn fairy dropped off at our house!! We found these huge pumpkins and butternut squash left in our yard. We have no idea who dropped them off. At first we assumed it was the folks down the road that have in the past blessed us with several different fruits and veggies, but it wasn't them. ???  So i want to shout out a huge THANK YOU to whoever it was, just incase they read this blog. My kids are so thilled with the giant pumpkins. We only grew 4 year and they are all very small compared to these.  i love butternut squash, but didn't even plant it this year because i have so many problems with the squash borers and pickle worms. This was quite an unexpected blessing.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Glass for sale

My husband's shop mate is in need of a little help.  He has lots of glass to sell.  These pieces are priced low to move them quickly.  You can view all available work here.  Prices are listed, shipping is $2.50 on pendants and $5 on belt buckles.  i can give measurements for any of the pieces upon request.  If you see a piece you are interested in, please comment on the actual photo.  Thanks!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Battle Scars of a Homesteader.

Over the years, i've gotten some pretty good scars from everyday activities around the homestead.  In the spring my arms and legs are always covered in scratches from raspberry and blackberry picking. Year round, i have little cuts and scraps from chicken wire, barbed wire, and goat fencing.  My hands are usually blistered and callused from shoveling compost/manure and working in the garden.

Casper my wethered male goat has caused many bruises to my calves and thighs. This is usually caused by a quick flick of his head when i'm giving him hay, not a malicious attack. Those darn horns inflict a pretty nasty bruise without him even trying.  If i had known how dangerous they were i would probably have de-horned him.  He's has gotten me a couple times pretty good. 


Yep, this one is definitely going to leave a mark. :(
This week i've been working on processing apples. i've been canning apple sauce and pie filling using my water bath canner.  i always boil the jars in the water bath canner before filling them.  In the past i've sustained some pretty nasty burns from the apple sauce itself. When it starts boiling, it will often erupt randomly similar to a volcano and spew hot out apple sauce everywhere. i have a decent sized scar on my inner wrist from making aple sauce last year. i lifted the lid to stir it, and a large bubble of apple sauce explodes and landed on my arm. 
   Having learned my lesson last year, i made sure my arms were covered this year.  i wore long sleeves and because it was a bit chilly that morning i also had on a sweater that fits snuggly on my arms.  i wasn't too worried about getting burned again.

However, it wasn't the apple sauce that got me this time, it was the boiling water.  i typically do most of my canning in pint jars, because i was gifted about 100 of them a few years back.  They are the perfect size for applesauce. This time i was also making pie filling, and my recipe called for quart jars.  So i used my big canner and had it full of quart jars and boiling water.

  When i went to take a jar out of the canner, i didn't consider the extra weight it would take to lift it out and dump it. So as i attempted to empty the boiling water from the jar it splashed up into my face, immediately burning me and causing me to lose my grip on the jar.  The jar fell forward, and all that boiling water came rushing out onto my arm, and  literally down my sleeve. It took my brain a couple seconds to really register what had just happened, and then it took another few seconds to remove the tight fitting sweater which was scalding hot and stuck to my arm.

Once i got the sweater off, i immediately put my arm under cold water and tried to 'wash' away the scalding water. The top layer of my skin was literally rubbing off, i knew then that it was going to be pretty bad. :(

i took this picture a few minutes after i was burned.  The blister is now doubled in size, and the light pink area is now a dark red. Thankfully, it is mostly a 1st degree burn with second degree in the area where the scalding water pooled inside my sweater.  i  also had some minor blistering near my wrist, but the worst of it is at the bottom.  It could have been a lot worse!

Despite the nasty burn, i still finished my canning that day and am getting ready to start another batch of apple sauce today.  i am however, taking extra precautions and wishing i had some protective gear to wear.