An update after years of neglect ….

I will go around and take some new photo’s over the next few days and post some up to date stuff, since we actually live here now.

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The House this past fall

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Our Power Supply

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The Kitchen area last year around this time

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Grey Water dispersal and catchment pit from last spring

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The Composting Toilet under construction last fall

 

Natural “All purpose” cleaning spray

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I have never thought of adding my natural cleaner into a spray bottle before. I always used my natural laundry soap mix, ( 2 Tablespoons) with hot water and mixed this into my cleaning bucket with a rag. I love this method but wanted something I could grab and spray.

The spray bottle is a great tool to have around the home for quick clean-ups

I decided to try a recipe I found on the web.

Here is what I have tried.

1/2 cup of white vinegar

2 tablespoons of borax

1/4 cup of Castile soap  Dr Bronner’s Tea Tree Liquid Soap 

“They have many different scents, so pick your favorite”.

2 teaspoons of Lemongrass essential oil.

I mixed all these together, then added 3 cups of water.

I filled a spray bottle with my mix and stored the rest in a glass jar.

Benefits for cleaning your home with these ingredients:

CASTILE Soap~Acts as a surfactant and helps lift away dirt and cut through grease. An all-natural soap that’s surprisingly strong. A few drops go a long way.

Tea Tree oil~A natural oil that cleanses and disinfects.

Lemongrass Oil~ Has some antiseptic and deodorizing properties, which are helpful in homemade cleaners.

Vinegar~Effective for killing most mold, bacteria, and germs, due to its level of acidity.

Borax~Disinfecting

I love this mix. I have been using this for a few days now .The smell makes me happy and adds enjoyment to cleaning.

DIY Natural dish soap

4 A good friend had asked me awhile back if I had ever made my own dish soap….

I had never tried it before, I would take my laundry soap mix and sometimes use it to wash our dishes, only if I had run out of our regular dish soap. It worked O.K but I would never use it on a daily bases.  So, I really wanted to give dish soap a try. I researched a lot of different DIY recipes online and finally found one that I liked.  Funny thing is, I can not find it again to give you the link. I just wrote the recipe down on scrap paper.

I doubled up the recipe and tried it out. I’m very impressed with how well this cleans the dishes to a shine. It has a bit of bubble  (I like) and the best part is that my sink looks extra clean after all my dishes are done. I have always had to scrub out my sinks with Comet after. I know, I know…… This is on my next DIY list.  Make my own natural comet cleanser.

What I didn’t like was how runny it was.  Glycerin in this recipe is optional so I did not use it. I added Lemon Eucalyptus to my first batch and found it way to strong of a smell for me. I like this scent, but not all day leaning over my sink.

It is best to use antibacterial essential oils like Lemon, Eucalyptus, Sweet orange, Geranium and Lavender.

Here is the 2nd try with my very own recipe.

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Ingredients:

1 Cup of Soap flakes

4 Cups of water

2 Tablespoons of Washing Soda

3 Tablespoons of Vinegar

1 teaspoon of Lemon and 1 teaspoon of Sweet Orange essential oils.

Instructions

  1. Add grated soap to water, bring to a boil and stir until dissolved.
  2. Add washing soda to the soap mix and stir. Turn off heat and cool down.
  3. Add vinegar and stir.
  4. Let mixture cool completely, then add essential oils.
  5. Transfer to re purposed soap dispenser and use as regular dish soap.

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Please note that this dish soap will thicken within a few hours. I was very surprised with this but it’s due to the washing soda. If you find it too thick, just add some warm water to the soap and shake it up. You can adjust the amount of washing soda you want to use.

Fresh Bread

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I have been putting my hands to making more bread over the last few months. And, I’m so proud of myself. It’s taken me years to make an edible bread., yup, my first few tries had been tears and stress over making bread.

When our older kids where little, I would pull out the flour, yeast and whatnot, get my hands messy and try making bread, Henry would come home to find me flustered with bread in the garbage. I had no idea why my bread never turned out.

Now, I think I go into it much differently. I prepare myself mentally before hand. I tell myself to remember to be patient. I also have a special something, my Grandmothers bread bowel, given to me when we first moved back home here. For some reason, everything just turns out perfect when I mix in it. Like magic. The photo above is an easy no knead bread. If I can make this bread, anyone can. I enjoy her sense of humor in her writing and easy to follow steps.

Above is the No Knead bread with the link of the recipe below.

No Knead Bread

aThis bread is the same recipe I have had for years. I have 1 cookbook in my home and have tried this recipe many many times, years ago. This is the bread I have cried over, and swore I would never try it again.

Over 7 years later,” and my magic bowel”, this bread tastes amassing. I have also replaced the milk in the recipe with our hand made Soy Milk. It saves on money and gives it a slightly different taste. Now that I feel confident in my bread, I want to try many more recipes.

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Oatmeal and Honey Bread

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I took my soy milk bread recipe and added leftover cooked oatmeal and honey with it. I had to add extra flour when kneading it. It’s one of my best breads yet.

Do you make your own bread? What challenges did you have? Do you have a favorite recipe?

School Garden project and local markets

It’s been a very busy week here for us. Our children Liam and Hanna were on the local CBC News talking about their tiny school and the garden the school grows each year. This is the first year our children have attended this school and we are loving it.

 Their school is the heart of Middle River. Papa and I ( and many other parents) helped the students bunch up some herbs and vegetables the day CBC news came by. The students sold some of their products to a very popular cafe close by.

hSilas also enjoyed running around with all the children and playing with some toys.

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iIt’s a wonderful feeling to see the children so excited about their hard work with the garden. They set up the tiny gym like a farmers market and waited to see what they would sell.

Also this week, we are getting ready for our first Christmas market. We are selling our handmade soaps and maybe some hemp/cotton washcloths. I’m excited to sell at a few Markets. We sell a lot of our products on line and hardly get the chance to meet more local crafters.

Not many people here know what we do or sell.

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We did attend the market yesterday and sold some soap. Talked with other wonderful vendors and met another family who just moved here. Their 2 daughters now attend the Middle River school after being home schooled for a bit.

It’s lovely to see more families join our community.

Beeswax Hemp fabric wrap

Something has been bugging me lately with our children’s lunches. Before school started we bought them stainless steel containers so that we wouldn’t use plastic for their lunches. These are wonderful, however they just don’t hold enough food to send a child to school for the day.  We have been sending them with an extra plastic bag to hold muffins, cookies, fruit, etc… but it’s killing me.

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Every time I pull out plastic, I’m thinking, what a waist, how harmful, what am I teaching my children.

We’ve seen beeswax food wraps a few times. These are available in some lovely on-line shops but we already have hemp scraps and beeswax and lots of it too. I really wanted to try this myself so I looked up a few tutorials and got busy.

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Here’s what I did.

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 I cut some Hemp/cotton muslin into 10″ by 10″ squares to start  off for the first try. I surged all 4 sides and tucked in the threads. If you try this out you can cut your fabric to any size you wish, there is no need to surge your edges.

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I used 100% pure beeswax. You can try this with a beeswax candle if you have one. Grate the beeswax into fine shavings. Preheat oven to 150 – 170 °F. My oven was at 200 because that’s as low as I can get it.

Take a cookie sheet and apply a layer of tin foil over it.

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Sprinkle the beeswax shavings onto your fabric. I first added a small amount but had to add more so the cloth was evenly soaked with wax.

The photo above was my first try.

Place in the oven, the wax will melt in less then 10 minutes. Keep an eye on your cloth. Once the wax is fully melted, take it out of oven and quickly remove the fabric from the tin foil.

I had a string suspended over my sink and hung the fabric there with clothespins to harden.

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The first 2 turned out perfect. You can use these to place over bowls instead of plastic wrap. They are also great to wrap up sandwiches, cheese, veg’s, etc.  Just use the warmth of your hands to mold them into place.

Care for these is so easy, cold water to rinse and wipe down with a cloth. Do not use hot water because you will melt the beeswax again.

If you just don’t want to make your own but would love to buy some, check out this company here: ABEEGO

We met this lady a few years ago at a small farmer’s market in Vancouver. It was wonderful to see how well they are doing today.

Out the front door….Garden walk

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Small onions

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Corn

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Tomatoes

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My Bad… This is a gourd

Today we are getting ready for a storm.

The garden may not look the same by tomorrow so I took a walk through to pick some tomatoes and onions.  Our good friend Jody shares this garden with us and has also stopped by to grab some goodies out of the garden before things get crazy here.

Out the front door has been inspired by Homesteadhoney

Eco Christmas

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I know what your thinking….” Christmas already?????? ” It’s not even Halloween yet!

But when your someone who makes all the gifts you do need to start early.

Over the weekend our son Liam made us a beautiful, natural Christmas tree garland. He took some thick Hemp rope and natural stained wooden balls to make this. I love the natural colors mixed with the raw look of hemp rope. Each year for the last 12 years, Henry and I have made Christmas gifts for everyone. Each year is different from the previous, so it’s time we get some ideas together and get busy. This Christmas, I think I will make some Hemp/cotton comfy pants for everyone. I have lots of extra fabric and they are quick and easy for me to make.

All our gifts are made with natural and organic in mind. From herb boxes, clothing, soaps and recycled projects. I feel that a gift made by us is much more heart felt. We stay clear of the craziness in stores, the craziness of other people who forgot the true meaning of gift giving and kindness.  I have enjoyed each year making my gifts and will do so as the years go by.

We (Really me) have made pants a few years ago for everyone however, I’m thinking those all long gone or don’t fit some of them. Along with our handmade soap, this should be a wonderful gift to give.

What do you make for Christmas gifts?

Will you make something new this year?

Do you keep Eco friendly in mind with your gifts?