Here on our little hillside, in WV, we try to live a simple life. One where we can try to make the best decisions in regards to what we feed our family, and where we source our foods. We try to make green decision that are not only good for our family but for our community and planet as well. There is no place I would rather raise a family, than these WV hills! So I guess it is our responsibility to preserve them, and our heritage.

Friday, September 21, 2012

summers end

Saturday September 22nd is the Autumnal Equinox, otherwise known as the first day of fall, Mabon or autumn .  The leaves are beginning to change colors The days are getting shorter, and the vegetable growing season is all but done.  As the crisp fall air greets us every morning, we are beginning to wind down the harvest activities around here.  I still have tomatoes and banana peppers in the garden and I plan on finishing them up by the end of the weekend.   I believe that this is the last of our preserving we will be doing this year, vegetable wise anyhow.

Early bow season starts the last weekend of this month and all harvest activities need to be wrapped up so we can start processing our venison for the year.  Aside from the venison we hope to stock the freezer with, we have also split a 1200lb beef cow with family.  We should have some meat soon, it has been at the butcher for a week now.    We made it through this past year fairly well.  We still have a few roasts and a few packages of stew meat left and a decent amount of deer burger, some fish, and pork sausage.  We do not however have any beef burger or steak of any kind.    The local school has a meat processing class and the students make the best sausage around.  With the county fair coming up soon, they have been working hard making the sausage, and hopefully we can store at least 10 lbs of it this year too.  There is another local farmer we always buy ground pork from and make our own sausage, however, we don't season it quite as good.   It is also time to spend some time on the lake to stock the freezer with good fresh water perch and walleye.

This little fella comes in under the apple trees, but somehow seems to know when the start of hunting season comes in, and disappears deep into the woods.  

I must admit that this is one of my favorite times of the year.  Fresh apple cider, warm sweaters, crisp air, and football.  It is the time of the year when you can enjoy the fruits of your labors so to speak and start enjoying the foods you worked all summer to make.  Since the weather is a little chillier, I don't mind baking and warming up the house with the oven.  Not to mention filling the house with the delicious aroma of homemade breads and desserts.

It is also time to start planning those winter house projects and craft projects.  I have always loved to find ways to re-purpose items, and now thanks to Pinterest I have found tons of ways to reduce reuse and recycle.  I hope to share some of my successful projects with you over the winter.  For now however, I will just be content in saying goodbye to summer and welcoming in the fall.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

why I am never out of vinegar

I have always been cautious about what cleaning products I use around my family.  I haven't used bleach in years and have only bought green cleaners and laundry detergent.  I use vinegar for almost everything I clean in my home. Here are a few ways to use white vinegar to keep a healthy clean home for your family.

20 Ways to Clean with White Vinegar

1. To clean floors, I add between 1/2 and 1 cup of vinegar and a squirt of dawn dish detergent  and about a 1/4 cup of baking soda to a bucket of  hot water..  I also use a clean rag and wash by hand for best clean.
2.  Use a spray bottle with 1/2 vinegar and 1/2 warm water to clean counters, stove and sink.
3.  Same mixture can also be used to clean and disinfect bathroom.  
4. Add vinegar and baking soda to toilet bowl and let sit before scrubbing.  
5.  Add 1 cup to a tub of water to disinfect kids toys
6.  To clean your bathtub.. I saw this one on Pinterest and it works great.  warm 1 cup vinegar in microwave for 60-90 seconds.  add to 1 cup dawn dish detergent.  swirl to mix.  add to spray bottle.  spray bathtub and let sit for 1 hour.  Wipes clean with very little scrubbing
7.  Soak sponges and dish rags in a bowl of vinegar overnight to kill germs
8.  Clean your greasy stove tops and exhaust fans.  Soak sponge or rag in vinegar and wipe off grease.
9.  To clean flower vases.  Fill with vinegar and let sit, rinse.  Add a little salt and shake and repeat for stuck on stains.
10.  To clean your coffee machine.  Run a pot of vinegar through and repeat with a few pots of water to rinse out.
11.  To clean microwave, mix 1/2 vinegar 1/2 water and boil for a few minutes in microwave.  This should loosen everything to make wiping clean easy.   
12.  To clean and deodorize your refrigerator, mix 1/2 vinegar and 1/2 warm water, then clean shelves.   
13.  Clean windows, with a mixture of 1/2 warm water 1/2 vinegar and a clean dry rag.
14.  To clean white water spots on wooden furniture, mix 1/2 vinegar and 1/2 olive or vegetable oil and rub into stain.  Buff clean.
15.  To clean and deodorize cutting boards, wipe or soak in full strength vinegar.
16.  To kill weeds in your sidewalk, pour vinegar over them.  repeat as needed
17.  To prevent frosty car windows in winter, wipe windshield the night before with 1/2 vinegar 1/2 water and they shouldn't freeze over.
18.  As a fabric softener, add 1 cup to rinse cycle
19.  To clean your washing machine.  Add 1 cup to your washing machine.  Agitate then let sit for and hour, then rinse.  This cleans and deodorizes the washer.
20.  To remove bumper stickers, stickers, and other sticky stuff.  Spray with vinegar, let sit, spray again and try to scrape off, spray more as needed.  

I add either lemon, orange, or rosemary essential oils to almost all of these cleaners to freshen and also help clean.  
Hope these few cleaning ideas help you on your way to a green, clean home for you and your family.