Our New No-Waste-Zone

Our New No-Waste-Zone

 

So….here we are in Maryland. Big changes. Big adjustments. Life is definitely different. Our house essentially has the same rooms. But they are all smaller than before and we have a fireplace and stairs…less to clean. But our budget has needed some vast overhauling. Due to unexpected circumstances we have had to cut and that has been mainly in our food…which is to say: we have really become a No-Waste-Zone!!!

Homemade Banana Bread

Brown bananas into banana bread (and their peels to the rose bush). Leftover green beans and rice into our soup from our roasted turkey breast shredded and broth from it’s bones. And oatmeal not eaten by the kids goes into a bag to throw into “porridge bread”. I almost feel like my new motto is “I have a bread for that!”

Which brings me to this morning. After visiting historic Colvin Mill yesterday and purchasing blue cornmeal and roasted yellow cornmeal, I was inspired! We made some cornmeal mush from the roasted yellow for breakfast (like cream of wheat but cornmeal instead).

My children rejected it. Even with honey to sweeten the buttered concoction, they were just not used to it and took an immediate disliking. Granted, they did eat some and made do with it, but there was definitely a fair amount left. So I ate mine and mulled what to do with the rest.

Cornmeal Mush Breakfast Bread

And then it hit me: just add the rest of the ingredients and make cornbread! So simple and no waste! It is sweet because of the added honey and it has butter and a bit of salt already. I just added the flour, leavening, and milk.

From Scratch Turkey Chili with Masa Cornbread

This has been a total shift in my thinking in the kitchen. Peels, skins, and ends of garlic, onion, and carrots go into the freezer as well as bones from our roasted poultry to make into the bone broth. I wait to eat lunch until my kids have finished and eat what they don’t. When I made a bit too much alfredo sauce and pasta for our casserole containing shredded turkey and broccoli, I just threw it in the fridge for a small lunch later.

Anything I am about to put in the garbage I look at wondering if there is another application or use. I cringe throwing out our apple cores knowing I could make apple cider vinegar. We just don’t have a way to do that yet. Our lack of storage means way less space to let it ferment.

So this is our life now…and it is great! A new appreciation for kitchen skills, frugality, and the ability to provide healthier options for our family’s diet.

 

So, what have you reused or stretched in the kitchen? Leave a comment below.

The Coming of Kaelan

The Coming of Kaelan

Kaelan

 

Our son was due on July 21st in 2011. He didn’t want to come. I should probably take a moment to mention that this was my most peaceful pregnancy. It just had a quality of quiet to it. My son is anything but quiet so I am not sure why. But anyways, he did flip breach between weeks 34 and 36 and I had a chiropractic technique done that had him flip back within the same week.

The due date came and went and we did all we could to induce labor ourselves. Walking, perineal massage, evening primrose oil, walking, pressure points. He stayed in and we got to 41 weeks. So…we needed to go to the hospital for a “non-stress test”. This was an ultrasound to check amniotic fluid and to see how he was doing. Usually, in other circumstances, immediately following the test, they sign you in and have an induction so you have the babyNewborn-Kaelan

We spoke extensively with the midwife and chose to have her try a form of natural induction called “stripping the membranes” which involves going in and massaging around the cervix to start the hormones flowing that starts labor. She did this the day before the hospital visit. Labor started but stayed within early labor contractions. So I was having contractions at the stress test with no progression. We went right to the birth center after the hospital and the midwife stripped the membranes again. There was still no progression as far as how close the contractions were to each other. So we stripped them again.

By this time the contractions were painful. They felt like active labor but were not close enough to be active labor. By this time, I had been having them for almost 48 hours. The midwife told me I was having prodromal labor. Which just means prolonged. I was sort of able to sleep during the second evening.
I cannot remember the way the labor moved from early to active. Suddenly the contractions were close enough to be active. Our midwife again was Alina. She came and let us labor through active for 12 hours. I needed someone to pour water down my back during contractions in the pool to help with the pain. At some point I noticed it was raining, which I thought was neat. There was not much pushing except that he still didn’t want to come out. He was close and my water had not broken yet. So Alina broke the water and he rushed out. One push and he came as quickly as his older sister.
He was born at 6:58pm and was 7 lbs 14 ozs and 21 ins long. After Alina examined him, took measurements and examined the placenta (which was on the smaller side) she told us that he might have stayed in another week more had we not induced with membrane stripping.

kaelan-years

So our lovely boy was with us finally!

Kaelan-Dad

Why We Have a House of Hens

Why We Have a House of Hens

House of Hens

Why We Have a House of Hens

An Introduction

My husband and I got married because we both had wanted the same things in our lives like serving Jesus in a God honoring marriage and to have children as well as many other desired lifestyle choices. But I have to admit that owning a flock of chickens never actually came up when we were talking about all the things the future would hold for us. But sometime within our first year married we saw just what it was going to mean financially for us to eat healthy.

Our 6 Hens.

Our 6 Hens.

Seeing the prices in the grocery stores for “cage free”, “organic” and “vegetarian fed hen” eggs has been staggering over the years. Our initial reason to acquire a flock started with seeing those prices. When we began researching we found many other reasons that surpassed just the dollars to dozens. It seems a fresh egg supply is only the start! Here are my top reasons for having a house of hens:

Fresh eggs and our Lady Hens.

Fresh eggs and our Lady Hens.

      1. Fresh eggs every single day (barring any complications). This being the most obvious, there is an amazing contrast between eggs bought in the grocery store being weeks old already and going out in the mornings and gathering fresh eggs laid by our hens just the previous day. We have never been able to get over the difference in texture, color and—did you know that they do actually have a taste!?
      2. Chickens love leftovers! With a few exceptions, chickens will eat just about any leftover food you have. So all the healthy dishes created can go to them and are not wasted. The other advantage is that it cuts down some of the cost of feeding them.
      3. Chickens serve dual purpose when free ranged in the yard. Not only do they eat bugs, lizards and more (even mice and snakes if they can manage it) but they are also fertilizing with their poo as they roam.
      4. Bringing education even closer to home. We have had a total of at least 5 flocks. We started before even having our children. In the past it hasn’t been something our children have really been able to be a part of or enjoy because they are so young. But this past flock our 5 year old (Miranda) and our 4 year old (Kaelan) have been enthralled from the start! Being able to teach them about animals and how they affect the environment they are in as well as how we get our food and so on has been amazing.
Peeking through the Mulberry Tree and our eggs.

Peeking through the Mulberry Tree and our eggs.

 

What about you?  Do you have any chickens?  Why do you enjoy keeping them?