New year.. New projects.. New goals..

ImagePumped up for the new year!! Michael started a project on a mini wood stove. I’ve been pouring over seed catalogs, brushing up on crop rotation. Last year was all about growing, this year we actually are incorporating a little more method behind the madness 🙂 I want to focus more on preserving this year. My mom got us a dehydrator for Christmas! Score. And I’m picking up a canning set soon with the Ball book to start reading through it. I canned tomatoes in a class last year so we’ll see how it goes..

Image We have a shed outside that is roughly 100 square feet. With the tiny home movement in our future, we decided to turn the shed into a model tiny home for us to see what it’s like. Now mind you, we don’t plan for 100 sq. ft. but it’s going to be fun to see what we can do with our shed.

Michael scored an 50 cal ammo box to project a mini wood stove we have seen on a couple YouTube videos. We had some old pavers left over to use for the corner for both protection and to help absorb and hold some of the heat. Using a Sharpie, ruler and his dremel, he cut out a door. He went and got piping. We want to make it chimney out the side if possible instead of the roof. Right now we are burning in it outside to burn off any zinc.

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More up to dates next week. Hope everybody had a great Christmas and Happy New Years!!

Getting ready for winter..

Image Getting the chickens ready for their first winter.. I first cleaned out most of their old soiled bedding, not as good as their Spring cleaning will be if they are still in that coop, but remove all wet or really soiled stuffed, wiped out the nesting boxes. Then we laid in extra straw and leaves back in their boxes and the area under their roost and around the pen. We had our first frost this week and I don’t want their feet to get frost bite. We definitely have a rooster, now to figure out what to do with him. Michael wants to butcher it himself. I told him to have at it, but finish the job if he starts it.

We stopped letting them out of their pen this week as well. I will have no Fall garden because of them. Our plans are to build  a fence over Winter and move their pen once a week. We built it to where the two of us could do this, we just thought the birds all over the yard was ‘cute’. Not anymore! Donna finally started laying yesterday!! She laid the first that morning in the shed and the second in their coop but on the floor, not in the nesting boxes. The other two pullets will have around 2 months before they lay if we supplement their light. Pepper already sits on Althea’s!

We are still pulling peppers by the day. Today’s pull of jalapeno barely took the weight off the bush! Bell peppers are still forming, but I’m sure once the frosts are more consistent, they’ll be gone in the week. We let the chickens ruin most of our trail and error for this years Fall garden. I did plant three rows of garlic and plan to get onion sets over the weekend. But they completely ate the Brussels, lettuce, striped the potatoes. I guess I did learn one error!

Girl day :)

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Michael helped a friend of ours out on a side job, so Syd and I planned it where we could spend some time with Liz, his girlfriend/my confidante. I don’t get to see her much as it is and she loves to bake.. So perfect way to spend the afternoon 🙂 We decided to do jalapeno poppers (we are all still harvesting jalapenos every day!), a dip and a peach crisp for desert.

Goodness it was good to be just girls! Sydni played with the dogs, burying Coyote’s stick from him. It was so funny, he would sit beside her and act like he wasn’t looking when she buried it. Then they would ‘find’ it together. Liz and I sat on her back porch where you feel tucked away and safe. Her little treasures peeking from different corners all with a story to tell. We laughed the afternoon away in between preparing each dish. It was really needed..

She hollowed the peppers while I sliced up the peaches. I know they are not in season here right now, but I was craving the peach crisp. (She had already told me she had vanilla ice cream) Sydni helped me with the final touches on it. By then the boys had come back and we moved the dinner back to our friend. We ate black bean salsa and baked dinner. It was delicious!! Not only did I get some time with my girls, we made a kick ass meal with dessert. Day well spent..

Chicken and Jalapeno Popper Nachos :D

Image I pulled some jalapenos from the garden with the craving to make my friend’s Jalapeno Popper dip. She tells me on their last cabin getaway, they made a meal out of just the appetizer!! So that started the wheels turning, what if we shredded a chicken breast in with the dip?? Genius!!

So, last night, I boiled one chicken breast, shredded it once cooled. I actually boiled one and a half, the half I used for Sydni’s chicken alfredo.. I baked the dip and then slid it onto a bed of nacho chips.. Mu-ah!!

It was so good! With jalapenos still putting out well, I wanted to pass this along. With or without the chicken, class A recipe.

Jalapeno Popper Dip

1 (8oz) cream cheese, room temp

1/2 cup mayo

1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

4 oz sliced, drained, pickled jalapenos

2 fresh sliced jalapenos

1/4 cup bread crumbs

Mix cheeses and mayo in a bowl, add peppers. Pour into greased baking dish. Mix additional Parmesan cheese (about 1/4 cup) with bread crumbs, sprinkle over dip. Add additional cheddar, optional.  Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes or until sides are bubbling and cheese is melted.

We use just eat it with tortilla chips, but this time I added the shredded chicken and served it over the chips, nacho style. It was a hit!! Thanks Liz!!