Friday, August 22, 2014

Things to Make With Mint- Free E-Book!

This is a great free e-book for all mint lovers!  There are great ideas on how to use mint for all sorts of things.  Download it free here!

Need an e-reader?  Download one for FREE here!

Giveaway- Natural Spa Gift Bag $60 Value!

Giveaway!!! Natural Spa Gift Bag!

This is a great offer for all of my readers, and the friends you want to share this with!
Thanks to Blue Yonder Urban Farms, myself and several other homestead bloggers
are able to offer you a chance to win this wonderful Natural Spa package.

Included in this giveaway are the following items:

Natural Spa Gift Bag! $60.00 Value

What is in your Natural Spa Gift Bag:
4 – lbs Sonoma Sea Salt

1 – Sisal Sponge

2 – 8oz Jars Cocoa Butter
1 – Cocoa Butter Bar w/case
2 – 1oz Jars Unrefined Shea Butter
3 – 3.5oz Bars Organic Coconut Oil Soap
*3 Spray Bottles are shown but not included in the giveaway…

All Products Made with Organic or Unrefined, Oils & Butters. All Naturally Scented, no added fragrance or natural scents of any kind… Totally Free of Toxic Chemicals that are in many commercial products.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Please join me in supporting my fellow co-hosts for this giveaway, and especially our sponsor, Blue Yonder Urban Farms-

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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Tips & Tricks- Hold Down That Tablecloth!

I can sense that Fall is on the way, but we still have plenty of time to enjoy outdoor picnics,
afternoon teas, and time on the porch.  So how do you keep your tablecloth from blowing
away in that afternoon breeze?  Clothespins! 
 Here are a couple of pictures of how I easily control my tablecloths. 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Are You Ready For Winter? Prepare Now!

Brrrrr, it's COLD!.....that doesn't sound anything like what I am hearing around One Ash these days, but we know that winter will hit us eventually, and from what we are reading it's forecast to be a cold one for South Carolina. Last year we had one of the biggest ice storms in history, and we have seen snow regularly for several years now.  I know, if you live a little further north this all sounds like childs play, but it's all relative.  Getting prepared for your winter, no matter where you live, is something we all need to think about.  Here are some of the things we are doing to prepare- what are you doing around your Homestead to prepare for winter? 

~The Wood Pile-  We use a lot of wood for heating, and for the wood cook stove.  This is the time of year to make sure you have plenty, get it chopped, split and stacked, and clean up the old pile.  Cover it up so it's dry and aged when you are ready to use it.

~The Fireplaces- We need a place to use all that wood, so now is the time to make sure your fireplaces are cleaned out, and that the chimneys are free from creosote.  Chimney sweeps often work at a lower cost in the summer when few people are thinking about keeping warm!

~The Compost Pile- It's time to make sure the pile has plenty of room, and is ready to receive the fall leaves and other yard debris.  Make sure you have added only the correct items to your compost- read here to find out what can go in, and what can't. 

~The Garden- in most areas our gardens are winding down, or have finished completely. We have turned the geese loose in the garden (ours is fenced all the way around) and they are enjoying the over grown grass and remaining plants.  No need to burn or toss that forage if an animal can eat it, and fertilize the garden while they enjoy!

~The Woodwork- we are working hard to get our porch repaired and painted where it has taken some wear over the summer months.  A good, clean coat of paint will help protect the wood as the temperatures fluctuate in the winter. 

~The Heating Source- other than wood, we use propane to heat, and by taking advantage of our propane company's pre-buy option, we can usually save a little money, and also budget our usage much better.

~The Seeds- as your plants are winding down, it's a good idea to harvest seeds for next year.  I have already gathered a lot of marigolds and zinnias, as well as basil.  These seeds will stay in the freezer to keep them fresh and ready for germination next spring.

~The Windows- it's a great time to make sure all your windows are well insulated, and cleaned.  This will save you energy by controlling any air leaks, and offer a clean and pretty view when you can't spend as much time outside! It's also a great time to wash your curtains, and your mini blinds.

~The Sheds- not all of our animals use their sheds in the summer, but come winter they will want to have a place of protection.  Now is the time to do a check and make any repairs necessary to your animal shelters.  

~The Blankets- you probably washed all your blankets before you stored them away for the summer, but they may still smell a bit musty when you get them out.  Hanging them on the line while the sun is shining bright and hot will help air out any smells and make them fresh for winter cuddling!  And if you like to knit, quilt, or crochet, now is a great time to start making a new blanket for winter.

~The Clothing-  every year we either grow (that's another blog I could write on struggling with weight loss!), or wear out our winter clothing.  Now is a great time to find winter items cheap at thrift stores, yard sales and consignment shops.  Most people aren't thinking of buying winter clothes right now, so stores are selling them at a bargain price.  We just found sweatshirts and fleece jackets at a thrift store, in like-new condition for 50 cents each!  This is also a perfect time to get your coats out, make sure everything is clean and fresh, and ready for that first cold day.

~The Pantry- we have all been canning like crazy to fill our pantries, but it's a good time to look for bargains at the grocery store as well.  As we near the holidays, food prices generally go up, so now is the time to stock up on items that you can store away and use in the winter. And if you do get snowed or iced in, it will sure be nice to have something other than all those canned tomatoes and green beans!  

~The Animal Feed- we have finally gotten the first cutting of hay around here, and it's time to start building up the reserves for winter.  We will be glad that we don't have to go find hay once it's cold outside! 

What are you doing to prepare for winter at your homestead?  
Share your ideas in the comments section below!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Tips & Tricks- How to Wash Your Miniblinds

Mini Blinds seem to be one of the most common window coverings, and also one of the most difficult to keep clean.  You can buy those "finger" dusters that you run over each piece of the blind, and that tedious process does a pretty good job of removing the dust. You can try to vacuum the blind, but that really doesn't get in all the corners.  So what do you do when that mini blind is in need of a 
really good cleaning that only washing will take care of?  
Here is how I wash my mini blinds to keep them sparkling and white.

How To Wash Your Mini Blinds
1) Pull the mini blind all the way up so it is as small as possible.
2) Remove the mini blind from its holder and head outside.
3) Using your clothesline, and clothespins, pin your mini blind along the top edge,
using the "lip" on both the clothes pin and the top of the blind to "lock it in" and connect it
securely to the clothesline.  Use plenty of clothespins!  You don't want your
blind to end up on the ground, dirtier than when you started! 
Gently lower the blind to the fully open position.  
4) Once your blind is hanging securely, spray it thoroughly, from both sides with 
a cleaner of your choice.  This could be a homemade cleaner of vinegar and 
water, or a commercial window type cleaner.  It's important to spray from 
both sides to get all of the edges of the slats. 
 Remember to spray the strings as well.
5) Let the spray sit while you go get the hose and turn the water on.  You won't
need a lot of pressure because you are just rinsing, and you don't want
to knock the blind down from the line!
6) Rinse the entire blind well and allow it to air dry.
7) To take the blind down, gently raise it back to its closed position. Be careful to drain
out any water remaining in the top ridge and wipe that area with a clean cloth.  
8) Take your blind back inside and re-install.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Sunrise in the Kitchen at One Ash

The rooster crows, the coffee starts to brew, the smell of the biscuits in the 
oven slowly awakens the sleepy heads, and the sun shines bright into the kitchen.
  I hope your morning is bright and welcoming!  
Enjoy these views into my early morning kitchen, and have a blessed day!
The old wood cookstove waits for daily winter use
YumYum Biscuits from One Ash Farm Recipes
My canary "Hemingway" enjoys the early sun
A "must-have" in the morning!

The view toward one of the pastures

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Simple Salad Dressings

If you have ever wondered how to go about making your own salad dressing, help is here!  This is an easy to follow chart from Food Inc. that explains the basics behind homemade salad dressing. Have fun mixing up the ingredients to create your own family favorites.  How about this one?

Oriental Salad Dressing from One Ash Farm Recipes
1/2 cup Sesame Oil
1/4 cup Orange Vinegar 
1/2 tsp. Soy Sauce
Grated Fresh Ginger
Sesame Seeds (buy them in bulk here)

Mix all ingredients, adding ginger and sesame seeds to taste!


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