Thursday, June 30, 2011

Contemplating 'Off Grid'

      I read a lot of homestead blogs that are Christian and self-reliant. Some are even going off-grid, meaning they are not using electricity. I understand some of their points, but some of them make little sense to me. I'm not judging them, nor do I wish that they judge me for my opinions. Who knows, I may be one of those who live off-grid one day! I must say though, that I would want to have electricity either from solar panels or hydro-power. It's just too hot here to live without a/c! Their point, however, is not to use anything that you have to purchase or be dependent upon other than your own skills. I don't want to wash our clothes by hand, unless I had too! I do hang most of them out on the line, though. I don't want to have to hand-crank everything when I can just plug into the off-grid system. There may come a day when I see things differently, as I see things differently now than I did a few years ago, but for now, that is what I think.
       If you're wondering why My blog's name is kefir creature, but I never talk about kefir, It's because I can't drink it and my family doesn't like it. I created this blog at the same time I was discovering kefir, and was so excited about it that I named my after it. I don't care for water kefir either. The grains multiply so fast I couldn't keep up. I finally dried both my water and milk kefir grains. If we ever get dairy goats, I'm going to try it again. It may not be as strong tasting with goat milk. I did like it in smoothies, but I didn't make enough smoothies to use up all the kefir. No one else drinks it but me. There are only three people in this family, so I have to consider what they like, too. I also tried kombucha. I purchased a bottle at Whole Foods and grew my own scobie.
It was so sour I couldn't drink it! I made several batches, with some not as sour as others, but still not to my liking. What a lot of these kefir-drinking lacto-fermenting people don't realize is that all that fermentation on a daily basis is not good for you. There are carcinogens that are produced during fermentation, that consumed on a regular basis, could cause cancer. No one wants to talk about that aspect of it, though. Look it up if you don't believe me. That's how I found out about it. I know from experience that my stomach literally soured when I was into all this. My stomach is fine now. Maybe it affects people differently, but that is how it affected me.
      I am one to read and try, but if it's not for me, then I don't keep on doing it just because all the followers on particular blogs are exuberant about it. I trust God to guide me and show me what's right for me and my family, and if it works for us, great! I can't force people to like something just because the general population of blogs I read are about those things. Hopefully, as people try these things, they too, will read about it further, other than just what a few have said, before carcinogens build up in their bodies. There is always another side to the story. Maybe there was some reason that people stopped lact-fermenting everything. One must read and decide for himself. I stopped following one blog because of that. Now, I hope my favorite blog doesn't follow that suit. I may be the only one who sees things a certain way. That's o.k. because I am used to it, now. If you would like, you can leave me a comment below.

I'm working on my fourth gallon of blackberries.

Dehydrating potatoes that I cooked in the Nesco roaster. They didn't turn black!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Where the mind goes, the man follows.

      I used to not understand what that meant a long time ago. Joyce is teaching on that this week and after listening to her teachings many times, I get it. She is just interpreting Prov. 23:7 As a man thinks, so is he. What you think about, you do. Where you think about going, you go. What you think about becoming, you become. Our thoughts are our guide, so to speak, especially if we are, or even if we are not, trusting God. We must not get caught up in emotions, either. It is so easy to make hasty decisions when we are caught up in the moment. Stop and think before you speak or do. Think about something first, and if it's a really big thing, PRAY! Thoughts are so important! Did I say that already?
      We had a really big weekend this past weekend. My nieces came over and spent the night on Friday. Those babies are so cute! The two year old 'helped' Uncle Ran, or Rain, as she calls him, with the hen house addition. She stayed right with him most of the day. Little sister is walking at only ten months. She shakes when she walks! It is so funny! She gets around good, though. Hopefully, we'll get together fourth of July, which is this weekend, already.
      If you've never left me a comment, consider leaving one today. Thanks for stopping by!

Going in a cobbler, yum!

Trying to get her walking.

Fascinated with my boots.

Enjoying the morning.

She calls me CC, for FeFe.

Handing Uncle Ran the screws.

Yep, that's her diaper.

I can help, too.

Running to CC.

Writing on a board.

Scary looking clouds.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

I'm so thankful for rain

      And cooler temperatures! God has blessed us with much needed rain these past few days. It is very muggy, however, so that just pulling weeds, you get sweat in your eyes! The bug bites are not fun, either, but I'm just glad it's not in the nineties now. I planted eggplant in the new bed today and I hope we get the wire around it before the ducks eat the leaves, like they did on my other one! They even ate the zucchini down to the stalk! Needless to say, we have chicken wire around it now.
      Since I've been reading about preparedness and even participating in the Homestead Revival's Preparedness Challenge a few times, I think about things more. Like the recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan, tornadoes in Al and other states, flooding, droughts, fires. What do these things mean to you? Every person has their own opinion about these things, but I believe God is trying to wake up America, especially the sleeping giant, the church. I don't necessarily mean people inside a church building, but ALL believers! My heart is aching right now and has been this week because I feel God is so, NOT pleased with us. His heart is aching because we've grown lukewarm and lost our first love for Him! He's tired of our unconfessed sins! We think that because we are Christians, we don't have anything to worry about. We can not play on the devil's playground and not expect to get hurt! We must turn our hearts back wholly and completely to God! I have gone around all week with this aching and disturbedness that I can't think about anything else! What are we going to do? I can't act like everything is alright when it's not! People are going to hell everyday but they won't listen to anybody! I have people in my own life that I know aren't saved, but they act like it's no big deal. Some serve another god, and are deceived. Pray for the people you know that are not saved, like you've never prayed before. Pray for me that God will show me what He wants me to do.
      WE must continue to prepare for times to come, even if it means just buying or doing one thing a week. Our difficult time, may only be the electricity out for a day or it could be something worse, much worse.
      If you have elderly parents, can you take care of them if you need too? That could be your 'hard time'. It never hurts to think about, and maybe even take steps toward something you know you are eventually going to have to face.
      I'm sorry for going on like this but I had to get this off my chest. God is giving us warnings that we can't ignore. How can people keep on sinning and ignore the warnings? God is so merciful and His grace is everlasting, but at some point.... well, I hope you know what I mean. I'm signing off now. Enjoy these photos.
Delicious strawberry smoothie I made using Tammy's Recipe's.

Wall cloud that did not drop a tornado here, just straight line winds.

What the winds turned over, again!

The canopy was over the grill.

Trying to capture a photo of the wind.

More wind.

Planting eggplants.

I planted four eggplants in this bed.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

It's cloudy finally.....

      So I've been outside picking blackberries and working in the new flower bed that isn't finished. It even rained a little, thus the reason I'm inside blogging right now. I've got frozen chicken breasts in the crockpot and pinto beans in another crockpot. We're having Mexican chicken over rice tonight, yum!
     I watched Joyce this morning and she's teaching on the condition of our 'hearts'. When I listen to Joyce's teaching, the Holy Spirit will check me, sometimes. She gave an example of Jesus life, that he grew as a tender shoot. "God wants our hearts to be tender, not prickly like a cactus," she said. Another thing she said that 'checked' me was that God sees an unbelieving heart as a wicked heart. I don't want to have a wicked heart! When we pray and believe God for something and it doesn't come to pass, sometimes we quit believing or doubt that God will answer us. Joyce had like a little vision where she saw a vault in heaven with lots of drawers in it. She asked God what that meant and He told her that the drawers contained prayers of the saints. When we quit believing and expecting God to answer, the drawers stayed closed. She said if there are any prayers of hers in there, to let them out cause she's believing and expecting God to answer. That may not be exactly the way she said it but I hope you get the message. As long as we're believing and expecting God to answer our prayers, and do not doubt, He will. It may not be in our time frame, or even the way we think. BUT GOD!!!!! will answer!!! The main thing is to keep our hearts tender before Him and expect Him to hear us. Have a Blessed Day!

Winterlynn loves to pick up sticks!

Beating on the 'drum.'

Loves little Jack.

"I want to show you my sticks!"

Loves the little container of water better that the pond!

Uncle Ran loves to ride her on the mower1

She loves to put the ball attached to the hat, in her mouth.

Left crockpot,chicken; right, pinto beans.

Sourdough starter from yeast, not wild.

Borrowed bread machine from 'sis'. Love the one-pound loaves it makes!

Mommy watching baby play with mower.
      We had a great weekend, celebrating Father's Day Sunday. In-laws from both sides were here as well as other family members. Ran cooked on the Primo and the burgers and beans were supreme! We enjoy sharing our blessings with others. Enjoy these photos.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Prepping for now and later

      As I was preparing to write today's post, I didn't think that I had done Preparedness Challenge #13anything in the way of 'prepping' this week. But as I thought about it, it occurred to me that I had indeed been 'prepping'. I received a Nesco roaster and Nesco dehydrator trays yesterday. The dehydrator trays will increase the amount of food I can put up for later use. I placed the roaster on a table on the back porch so the amount of heat will be decreased in the kitchen. It is very hot and humid now, in Alabama so I can continue to bake bread, biscuits, casseroles, etc., without adding extra heat in the kitchen. I'm excited about that and can hardly wait to use it!
      The roaster will also come in handy if there is ever another power outage like we experienced during the tornadoes. We were very fortunate that we only experienced straight-line winds, but they knocked down trees on power lines and did much damage to a lot of properties. We only had a few uprooted trees in our backyard. Thankfully they fell away from the house! The power was out for four days, but we had plenty of food and water. Hubby cam in with a generator a couple of weeks after the tornadoes, so that's how we'll be able to use our small appliances and even some larger ones, as well.
      The garden is coming along nicely since I'm watering it everyday. I've only gotten a few small orange tomatoes, though. We were late getting it in since we wanted to build raised beds this year. I'm still working on this, as well as many other projects. If you would like to read about the 'tilted' wagon episode, read my previous blog. Have a very Blessed day!

Since the tree fell, the sun shines here more.

Method of transporting dirt to raised beds.

Dirt pile for raised beds.

Finally full!

Hubby and I got each other the same cards for our 20th ann. on the 14th!

Fallen hummingbird nest.


Uprooted tree, closest to the house.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

I would love to be outside right now, but....

      It's still too hot!. I'm sitting here at my computer wondering what I should be doing besides,,,,sitting at my computer! Some days I'm overwhelmed with so much to do, but today is not one of those days. I've already gotten most of the chores done and we are having leftover black bean soup for dinner. What I need to be doing is moving dirt from the tipped-over wagon to the raised bed. Did I tell you about that incident? I had just finished filling the wagon with dirt, and I mean it was full! Hubby was at home and noticed the wagon tire was almost flat, so he got out the freon. He's an HVAC man so he has that on hand. He put in the freon, and as it was inflating, all of a sudden, the wagon tilted down and my dirt started falling out! I worked so hard filling that wagon, but only a small amount fell out. We had our son to come out and stand on the bar so the bolt could be put back into the slot. It worked, and we got the mower moving again. I let Hubby back the wagon through the small gate since he was home, and since I have a hard time backing up a wagon load of dirt through that small gate. Well... he got the wagon just inside the gate when all of a sudden....yep...the bolt fell off again, and the wagon came rolling towards me!!! Hubby got off the lawnmower, but failed to put it in park! Guess what!!! It came towards me too!!! Thank God, he realized what he had done and got on the mower before damage was done. The wagon took a turn towards the tree and stopped there. I jumped out of the way, and just stood there, mouth open in bewilderment!!! That's why I titled yesterday's post, 'busy and exciting'! Life on a 'farmstead'! Keeps things interesting!
      I decided to cook my black bean soup in the pressure cooker yesterday. It turned out delicious! I utilized my bread machine the day before, so we have delicious homemade bread, without heating the house more, with the oven. I ordered a Nesco roaster to use this summer and anytime I don't want to use the oven. I also ordered some extra trays for my Nesco dehydrator so I can dehydrate potatoes again. I'm going to bake my potatoes in the roaster, then dehydrate them. I know I didn't have to order a roaster just for that, but I plan on using it for much more than that! I cleaned off a spot on the table on the back porch where I'll put the roaster. I'm excited! I love using appliances that save us time and energy. Now I'd like to get a bread machine, the Zojirushi mini, I think it's called. It bakes 1 pound loafs, which is perfect for us. Enjoy these photos!

Silkie chicken lays little beige egg.

Black beans cooking in pressure cooker. It only took 15 minutes!

Cooked black beans.

Yesterday's harvest.

Gate and tilted wagon.

I was standing this side of wheel barrow.

Where dirt is going.

I saved seed from tomatoes I got last year at Chattanooga 's farmers market.

Unripe 'Gold Medal'.

zucchini and cucumber vines on back row.

I just put the seed in the ground a few weeks ago!


Poor sunflower!

She can't hatch out an unfertilized egg! She doesn't stay long enough, anyway.