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Hollow Tree 2008

I've started filling my Hollow Tree early this year. Strawberries have been 75 cents a pound and I've hulled 20 lbs already this week. Six pounds went into our tummies, six pounds went into jam, about 5 pounds went in the freezer for making smoothies, and I sliced about 3 pounds and put them in the dehydrator to add to my granola. I think I'll head back to the store this afternoon and pick up another 8 pounds for the freezer. I can't pass up a deal like this!

Keeping it all together

On Saturday afternoon my four children happily drudgingly helped me weed the strawberry bed. I was just handing out popsicles to them all when Frugaldad came out of the addition, blood on his hands and dripping down his face, cursing like a sailor and saying something fell on his head. I grabbed some towels, told him to put direct pressure on his head, made a quick call to my sister-in-law down the road, put the kids in the van (half of them hadn't even gotten their popsicles unwrapped), dropped them off at their cousins' house, and took Frugaldad to the urgent care clinic.  read more »

Mary, Mary, quite contrary

How does your garden grow?

Last week I got most of the summer seeds in the ground shortly before a big rainstorm. We've had an unusual amount of rain over the last week so I haven't even needed to water the garden. Yesterday little sprouts started popping out of the ground! We've got corn, cucumbers, green beans, and squash up so far. The melons haven't sprouted yet but the weather has been a little bit cool. I haven't planted pumpkins yet or the herbs.

On the ankle front, my orthopedic surgeon has declared me clinically healed and I am splint-free! I am glad to be able to wear all my shoes again!

I also had an ultrasound last week and if I can figure out how to do it, I'll post some video from the ultrasound, and some pictures, too.  read more »

Another exciting picture for the Wall of Wild

Remember the Wall of Wild? This morning we saw FOUR baby foxes! They seem to be waiting for their mother to come back. They are camera-shy, though and I could only catch two of them. I will upload pictures later when I have some extra time.

edited to add: I uploaded one picture to my image gallery and a whole bunch to my Flickr account.

Saving stuff for re-use

My sister was pretty mortified that I'd take apart a handmade card that someone had sent me (for a thank-you, birthday, etc) to save the usable bits for reuse and toss the rest of the card to avoid cluttering up my house. Tell me, who's right? Take my poll and leave a comment explaining your answer!

Tortillas

I'm afraid I've turned into a tortilla snob, and only homemade tortillas taste good to me. They do take a fair amount of time to make, and disappear even more quickly, so as much as I like to eat them, I don't love making them. Every once in a while I can find a store-bought alternative, but then something happens and it disappears. For example, for a year or two I drove by a Mexican bakery and never really had the time to stop. One day I finally did, and their tortillas were so good! I bought them two or three more times, and then the bakery went out of business. Then a while later I found a locally produced tortilla with the same ingredients as my own recipe, but I could only find them at one grocery store in my area. Now that there is a closer location of that grocery chain near my house, this location doesn't carry those tortillas. So I am back to making my own. I use a griddle so I can fry two at a time, and in as much time as it takes to roll the next tortilla, I can bake one. I don't even use a tortilla press anymore since it doesn't press the dough thin enough to avoid the rolling pin. I just roll out the tortillas from balls.

I always make a double batch and I'd make a triple batch if I wanted to fry tortillas forever. There are never enough leftover for another meal of tacos, but we can often have breakfast burritos the next day.

2 cups flour
2 1/2 tbsp shortening (seriously, how on earth would you measure this easily? Since I do a double batch, I do 1/3 cup for the double batch, with is 5 1/2 tbsp)
1 tsp salt
5 oz warm water (5/8 cup)

Cut the shortening into the flour which has been mixed with the salt. Add the water slowly and knead until dough is stretchy and elastic. Divide dough into 8-10 balls and cover with a cloth and let rest for at least 10 minutes. Roll out thinly and cook on a very hot heavy skillet or griddle until lightly browned on both sides.

I used to do this by hand, using a pastry blender to cut the shortening in, then adding the water and kneading by hand. Then I started dumping the flour/shortening mixture into my Bosch mixer and adding the water slowly as the flour spun around. Then I got a food processor and realized it did a fantastic job from start to finish. I put the flour and salt in, put the shortening in and pulse it a few times, then drizzle the water through the feed tube while it runs. The food processor does a really good job of kneading the dough to a soft, elastic texture and it's fast, too Sometimes I use a little less water than it calls for. Make sure you preheat your pan.

Babywearing

I didn't get into wearing my baby until number 4 was born, but it's a great thing! We still use the sling on occasions. I have been wanting to try the Ergo carrier for the next baby, and this morning, I found a contest via Erika's blog to win a free Ergo! Win a Free Ergo Baby Carrier from Along for the Ride Thanks Erika!

Happy Belated Blogiversary!

I realized that last week I passed the 2-year anniversary of the beginning of The Frugal Farm blog. It's amazing how time flies!

I'm also already 17 1/2 weeks pregnant, how's that for fast?

Out of the bag!

The cat, that is.

I told my husband first, my girlfriends next, and then my immediate and extended family. I still haven't made the news public at church, but I imagine I will only have to tell one person before everyone else knows.

Yep, I'm expecting number 5!

I'm due in October and I think I'm finally getting out of the first trimester nausea/fatigue/blahs.

Between the broken ankle and the pregnancy, I haven't felt much motivation to do much these last couple months. The spring weather will help with that, I'm sure!

Just like that

First seeds planted

I'm sure you've heard the saying, "If you don't like the weather, wait 5 minutes." Here at the Frugal Farm, the weather changed almost that quickly. After waking up to snow on Wednesday, by Friday it was beautifully sunny, and Saturday and Sunday were in the 70s and just gorgeous. We spent most of Saturday getting sunburned, trimming trees and burning brush, and getting the garden into planting shape. Four years ago we had a dump-truck-load of shredded bark mulch delivered, and the last of the pile was enough to cover the wide center path of the garden and the beginning of each side path. I need to get some more mulch and pull some more weeds but we are well on our way to a good garden!

This afternoon I finally managed to get the spring crops planted. I planted carrots, lettuce (2 types), spinach, cauliflower, red and green cabbage, radishes, peas, and onions.

And remember the quickly changing weather? Tonight's forecast is for mid-30s with a chance of rain or snow showers. But at least the seeds are in the ground!