happy anniversary!

today marks the fourth anniversary of our grand exodus to the country. like most major events in life, if i think back, it all seems so fresh in my mind, like it just happened last week.

most people are surprised to hear that we moved out to the middle of nowhere from a big city. i suppose it is a little backwards, but truth is, rural saskatchewan has always felt like home. both of my parents were born and raised in skatchy (they moved to alberta when my mom was pregnant with me) and we spent all of our holidays here with family.

whenever they hear ‘saskatchewan’ people think flat and boring, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. saskatchewan has a beauty all it’s own and it really needs to be seen to be appreciated.

we’ve done a lot of growing out here, as a family, and as individuals. we’ve learned to appreciate the simple things. we’ve learned to slow down and just live in the moment. we’ve learned to be self reliant. we’ve also learned that we just enjoy being together. it was a difficult change from the pace of the city, but one we’ve embraced fully

Fall on the Prairies

harvest is in full swing out here on the farm, and because of this, curly has been working very long hours for several weeks. saturday was poop’s second birthday and following the tradition we started last year, we had a field supper to celebrate.

for those of you who don’t know, a field supper is just what it sounds like. supper, served in the field to the men and women working their buns off to get the crops in. often it’s the farm wife getting the food prepared and delivering it to the field (unless, of course, she’s in a combine. i mean, it IS 2012 after all!) as it turned out, the boss’ family was very busy with outside activities saturday, so my offer to make supper and bring it out was appreciated. field suppers need to be filling, nutritious, and easy for the guys and gals to eat. (it’s pretty hard to cut a steak when you’re standing up) i made chili and cornbread muffins and the world’s best chocolate cake for poop.

we pulled into the bin yard and curly was right behind us in the semi. the boys were so excited to see their daddy!!! they’ve only seen him for a few minutes in the mornings for close to 5 weeks. poop was wiggling so much i had a hard time unstrapping him from his carseat. he was running before he hit the ground! it was so sweet to see him race over to curly and wrap his chubby arms around his daddy’s knees.

i set up the table for supper and the guys showed up a few minutes later. everyone ate and talked and laughed. we had some birthday cake and gave poop his present.  it was a short, but nice, break, 30 minutes from start to finish.  it means so much to curly to be able to spend some time, no matter how short, with his son on his birthday. it’s a tradition we plan to keep for as long as curly is a farmhand. i know poop will treasure the memories of his special birthdays in the field, just as we will.

hummus costs HOW much?

part of the whole being frugal thing is checking the weekly flyers for sales. i have made it a habit to check online every thurday morning to see if any of the staples i need are on sale. yesterday, i noticed that one of the stores i frequent has hummus on special this week. i took a look at the specifics, and noticed two things

1) the hummus was on special 2/$6, meaning that each one was $3

2) each container held approximately one cup

SWEET MOTHER OF PEARL!!!!

is it just me, or does that seem ridiculously expensive to you? i make a lot of my own foods because i like to know what i’m feeding my children, and it usually saves money. i didn’t realise how much i was saving by making my own hummus. it’s super easy and way cheaper, and there are no scary preservatives in it.  i make mine in a food processor, but if you don’t have one, a blender or a handheld blender will do the job (not as quickly or efficiently, but it will get the job done)

HUMMUS

1  540ml / 19oz can of chickpeas

1-2 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp cumin

3 tbsp tahini (if you don’t have tahini you can use your favourite nut butter)

2 tbsp lemon juice

liquid from chickpeas

drain chickpeas, reserving liquid. dump them into processor bowl (or blender, or mixing bowl) wazz them up a a few times to break them down. add tahini (or nut butter) and wazz some more. add salt, cumin, lemon juice, and garlic and wazz again. (there’s a lot of wazzing in this recipe! so fun!) keep the processor going as you slowly start adding the reserved liquid. don’t add it all at once or you’ll have soup instead of hummus! keep going until the hummus reaches the desired consistancy. (takes about half of the liquid) i like mine to be pretty thick (think sour cream consistancy). put it in a bowl and break out the pitas! (or tortilla chips if thats your bag)

of course, the great thing about cooking is that you an adjust any of the seasonings to your own tastes. so if you hate cumin, leave it out. love garlic? throw another clove in! play around and have some fun.

ta da! easy isn’t it? and it will cost less than $1 (for over 2 cups of deliciousness)

next up…i’m gonna try baking pitas!

Evergreen

Not that I want to age myself here, but I’ve been quilting for about 18 years. The last few years I have gotten pretty serious about it and I now have close to 60 quilt tops completed. A friend of mine is the coordinator of evergreen artists’ market, a fair with local artisans held in prince Albert in November. She asked me if I’d like to have a table in the fair and for some reason I said yes! Its becoming painfully clear that if I don’t get my act together, I’m going to have only 3 quilts to sell. My problem is that I have never been particularly confident in my abilities. I realised several years ago that in fact, I’m a perfectionist. I’m not the control freak type who won’t let anyone else do the laundry cause they won’t do it right. I’m the type who won’t finish what I start because it isn’t turning out the way I anticipated. It’s funny, because USUALLY, if I persevere, I am very happy with the results. My problem here is that I’m asking other people to pay me for my efforts. What if it isn’t good enough? What if people think I’m charging too much? What if someone tells me its crap? What if I don’t sell anything? What if I don’t have enough variety? I could go on and on. I have to give my head a shake and get to work. If others think it’s good enough to sell, then I should too! Wish me luck! Here I goooooooooo!

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nine, ten, a big fat hen

there’s just something about a rooster crowing that SCREAMS farm. we decided last winter that we wanted some chickens, so we placed an order and we got 30 day old chicks in may. having been raised in the city, we had a lot to learn. thankfully, our library is a great resource and we got all the information we needed (and some we didn’t!) we have had a great time raising the chicks and it’s been a wonderful experience for the boys. we’ve done fairly well, losing only one chick at around the 4 week mark, and two hens and two roosters to a chicken eating german shepherd puppy that has since found a new home. the hens started to lay a few weeks ago, and as they mature more of them are laying and the eggs are getting bigger. in a few weeks, we’ll butcher the most of the roosters and have delcious free range chicken in our freezer. i won’t say that it’s cheaper to raise your own, but it’s nice to know that the animals had a happy life

 

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Life on the Prairie

     Shortly after we moved out here, my husband (I’ll call him Curly) left his career as a truck driver and after a couple of interim jobs, was hired on as a farm hand by the man we bought the property from. He’s been doing it for four seasons now, and while it can be very tiring and sometimes stressful, for the most part he enjoys it. (He won’t admit it, but I think he likes to play with all of the equipment) We have two young boys, Dude, who is 5 (or 5 1/2 if you ask him) and Poop (yes, that really is his nickame ) who is almost 2. I am a stay-at-home-mom, which is the toughest and most rewarding job I’ve ever had.
      Part of the deal with me staying home is that I try my best to save money whenever possible. We are certainly not lacking for anything, but we are on a budget, so i do my best to keep our spending to a minimum on things like groceries and gas. We are a 45 minute drive from the nearest major centre, so to be cost effective, I always plan so we can get all of our shopping and errands done in one weekly trip. I have a garden every summer and freeze or can as much as possible. We are so lucky that the previous owners loved to garden, as we have an abundance of fruit trees in our yard. I make all of the jams and jellies that we use and freeze some of the extra fruit for baking. we didn’t have a terrific harvest this year, but we still have had enough to keep me busy for a couple of weeks. i also love to bake and am looking forward to the cooler weather so i can bake without making the house unbearably hot. with curly home in the winter, i tend to do a lot more cooking and baking. we both also tend to put on some extra padding. once i get into the swing of things with the whole blog experience, i hope to share some of my favourite recipes with you, so you can put on some padding of your own!