Monday, September 17, 2012

Garden Tour and Kids Galore

This past weekend was so fun!
We got to play around the house, doing whatever we felt like. My sis and her children came to stay with us and we have so much FUN! I love those girls.
Here's some of what I did: got some deals on outdoor furniture at walmart, hit up some amazing yard sales, worked on cleaning up the garden and behind the house, put together the furniture, finished and sold two end tables, stayed up late, and other fun things.
My husband worked really hard on the new "patio" and fire pit area. We got to use it last night and it is so cool!
We also had a visit from some neighbors and children.
Here is my weekend in pictures!
Sweet children that came to play at our house. The little one on the right was loving on my garden! He was eating things right out of it. It was too cute! I suggested he grab a bag and take wahtever he wanted (so I could wash it first=)

Here we are filling up the baggie. He was excited about breakfast radishes! I love this kid.

While we were playing, Z was hard at work. Starting to take shape!

Here is my sweet sister with her sweet youngest girl. This little one can brighten anyones day with that huge, toothy, dimpled smile.

Oh dog. She thinks trash is delish.

My hottie husband.

Carrying heavy rocks. He is so buff.

Smile honey!
Gigantic birdhouse gourds. I have counted over 30 fully grown ones and there are a ton of little ones I hope make it until the first frost.


We got a new rooster from our friend and neighbor. This guy was the only one of the chicks that survived the summer over in their yard. He refused to keep an animal that wasn't doing anything for him, so he gave "Buddy" to us. The other girls are a little wary....check out Reds face!

Here is the open air coop. We are going to use this until temps drop too low. Then we are putting them in a hoop house...or atleast we hope so! If that doesn't happen, its back to the old coop for the winter.

Here is our new beautiful boy "Buddy". His tail feathers are so cool and long. We have a hen, Francine, who is also a Barred Rock. Maybe we will get some babies this spring?!?

Inside of the coop. The waterers and feeders are hung from bungee cords hooked to the rafters of this shelter.

My garden is slowing down, but the flowers are just awesome!

 My crazy child, my niece, and the neighbor girl playing around in the garden.

Two beautiful girls! I love sharing my garden with young folks (or young at heart!). It is really cool to teach children where food comes from, introduce them to fresh, organic, and different produce (which is really hard to find around here if you don't grow it yourself!), plus teaches them that working outside with your hands to make something grow is super fun and cool.
God's beauty is shown in so many places on our earth, including my garden.

Lima bean seeds! Saving these for next year.

Love the colors

My fall peas are blossoming and climbing up the supports! Crazy thing about peas....I hate them. Or hated. As soon as I tried them out of my garden I was amazed at how delish they are!

Gourds, gourds, and more gourds. These are called snake gourds and were planted in my sons lasagna garden.

Flower bed.

I pulled up some dead/dying tomato plants (we got a late blight) and planted lettuce and carrots in their place. Here they are growing right along!

This picture wouldn't turn for whatever reason, but these are gigantic beans. The plants grew right up a sunflower stalk. Also in K-mans garden.
And after a beautiful being outdoors and having fun.....I come back in to find this......

And my screen is now huge.
Thanks Willie Nelson and Cali.
Finally, we got to enjoy the new patio/firepit area. It was nice to have some downtime with just the three of us last night.

My sweet man stacking some wood.

Here it is from the front....the slats in the actual fire pit are there for asthetics as well as air circulation.

A blurry side view

My view from the new furniture! This was so nice.
 Perfect way to end the day.
Off to mold young minds tomorrow.....
How was your weekend?!?

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Turquoise Tables Revival

The other day, while shopping at the local thrift store, I stumbled upon these beautiful solid wood end tables. So I snatched them up and brought them home while images and ideas flashed through my head on the possibilities. 

I loved the grain on the wood, just not the stain. And I knew I wanted to do something turquoise because it is such a bold, yet versatile color. 

So I started to work with a vision. I spent several hours, broken into thirty minute blocks, on these babies. 

And in typical, artistic fashion, I was so excited I did not take before photos. Lame.

I started by sanding everything down, paying close attention to the tops to get every bit of the old stain off. 
I then painted the drawer and base of each with this lovely turquoise called Island Breeze. 

Once dry, I stained the top with a deep brown color (ebony) and sealed it with some clear polyacrylic minwax. 

Now for the fun part! I got to distress each piece. I feel that if you are refinishing furniture and want to distress the paint, go big or go home.....

I was so pleased with how the sanding brought out the details of the piece and gave the tables a vintage, antique, shabby chic feel. 
Here is a sideways picture of up to this point. 

I had some trouble with the minwax bubbling. I'm not sure if it was the humidity that day or what. So I had to re-do the tops. Ugh. But I wanted them to be perfect, so I resanded, restained, and resealed. And it worked. Thank goodness=)
Lastly, I painted the drawer pulls and reattached. Then I got out my camera and started snapping away. 

Here are some pics of the finished product! 

I love the faux key hole. 

Overall, I am pleased. 

I posted these to FB last night and have a couple people interested already! That makes me feel good.
Like, I am on the right track and my taste is appreciated and my effort isn't wasted. 
Plus, its always nice when a hobby you love can turn around and make a little extra spending money. 

Anywho, I will be doing a garden/chicken update in the very near future so be on the look out for that!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Basil Pesto Goodness

Back again! I can't believe I have waited this long to post. I am REALLY trying to get back into this thing, but its just hard to find the time, ya know?!?
I have a recipe to share with you. I made garden pesto for the first time ever!
While meandering through the raised beds the other day, I saw my basil plant was giantic and starting to go to seed. I only planted one basil plant this year, but it was HUGE and I knew just what I wanted to do.
I started by snipping of a bunch of nice healthy leaves. Right around 2 cups.
I brought them in and washed them really good. I am slightly OCD about this part. I picked up each individual leaf and made sure it was clean and had no bad spots on it.
Then, I dried them on a towel slightly.

I was using this recipe and knew that I didn't have any pine nuts, so I did a quick search and found that you can use lots of different types of nuts in pesto, just like you can use different herbs, even spinach!!
I look in the pantry and we had a bag of almonds. I blanched them in a pot of boiling water for 3 minutes so that the bitter skins would fall right off.....

This was the fun part! Popping those nuts out of the skins was hilarious and therapeutic.

I love my food processor. I use it for everything.
I threw in the basil and nuts and gave it a quick spin, stopping occasionally to scrap the sides. I added in some minced garlic at this point as well.

A little oil, a little lemon juice, a quick pulse, and we have baby poop colored pesto!
I was a little shocked at the color. I don't think I added my lemon juice early enough...
I did take a taste and its was A-MAZING!

I knew I was making something with pesto that eve for dinner, but this had made a TON so I decided to freeze the rest. I popped a tablespoon full into each egg hole and stuck it in the freezer. Then, popped them back out frozen and put them into a freezer bag for later use. I just didn't add the cheeses because they don't freeze well. I will add parm and romano cheese to each pesto meal as they come along ove rthe nezt few months.

Here is dinner. Didn't photograph that well, but this was the best thing to ever come out of my garden. Seriously. I sauted some peppers, garlic, and heirloom tomatoes in a little EVOO and mixed it in with the pesto angle hair pasta.

In other news.....

I cleaned out the fridge. Who in the world, needs this much jelly?!?
But I couldn't just throw it away.
Anyone have a good recipe that uses a boat load of it?

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Visits and Frugal-ness

Time for an update from Brown Acres! 

Our lives are a hectic mess right now=(.
Between football, school, and laundry, there isn't much time for anything else. 

Still, with this schedule we are keeping, I am trying to live as frugally as possible. 
It's alot harder when one is working full time, has a house to upkeep, and a child involved in sports, but I am trying anyways. 

I garden and can my produce. 

Mom and Dad have a great processor that I used a couple weekends ago. I got 8 quarts of tomato juice! I was pretty pleased. My sis (blurred out in the background) helped a bunch! It went very fast thanks to her! 

Secondly, I have been price matching at Wal-mart. 
This saves time and effort from running all around town to get the store "loss-leaders" advertised each week. Plus, if wally world doesn't carry a specific brand, they still will price match an equivalent. 
I mainly buy meats and produce as those are usually the best buys. I save at least half of my grocery budget each month doing this. 

I also have been doing freezer meals and filling up our upright freezer with fast and easy dinners. 
I stock up on a loss leader (like chicken breast for .99 cents a LB) and then following recipes that we either already love, or from these cookbooks I whip up some meals, package them in ziplock bags, and freeze them up. 

This has been a huge time saver. 

And lastly, for now, I am trying to make some extra cash by  re-doing furniture. I have some end tables in the works right now, but its gonna be at least a couple more days before I show those off, because I just don't have a bunch of time to commit to them right now. I spend an hour or so, give or take, each day working on them, so hopefully they will get finished. 

Why, you may ask, am I doing all this? Well, I would like to be able to save some money up so that if we do ever actually buy a farm or property, we will have a cushion to get ourselves started. Plus, I would love to quit my job and be a farmer/artist in whatever form that takes. 

In other news:

Here is our sweet Hazel. She is such a good dog. Now if I could only get her not to run off into the woods every time she's off a leash we'd be great.

My brother got to come in for a quick visit! I love this man. He is the coolest. We had such a great time hanging out with him over the long weekend. The kids were super excited to see him. 

 There was a lot of fishing involved.....

Zach friend, Matt. So silly. 

It was a great visit! I can't wait till thanksgiving! 

It's storming today....

Here is a crazy picture from my front stoop. Looks like fall.  

Yup, those are leaves.

Its an inside day today! Woot woot! I may read....all day=)

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