Saturday, December 31, 2011

Homesteading Goals for the New Year

Last year I made a list of homesteading goals for my family in order to make our home a healthier and more fulfilling place. Unfortunately as with a lot of yearly goals, not all of them were realized. Perhaps we bit off more than we could chew. One area of weakness in particular was the elimination of all processed foods and cutting out refined sugars (we will try harder next year!) On the other hand, we have made a lot of progress in building a "homestead" where we are living off our land by the fruits of our own labor.

This past year we sustained a more productive garden than in years past,

one of our raised vegetable beds

homegrown heirloom arugula

I learned the art of canning for the first time,

canned tomatoes

baked my own bread and dried my own herbs for bulk storage,

homegrown dried herbs

helped our chickens continue their lineage by hatching and raising baby chicks (ok, that was largely mama Rosemary's doing, not our own)

Rosemary showing the chicks how to take a dust bath

converted to green cleaning products and found ways to conserve energy,

and a whole lot more than we ever thought possible!

There are many more lifestyle changes we still need to make in order to simplify our home, live healthier, and deepen our relationship with God. In 2012, I hope to really implement the homesteading practices we tried last year so that they become ingrained into our regular routine. Additionally, I have some new goals:

1. In addition to individual daily prayer and Bible study, set aside a time weekly for devotions and prayer together as a family

2. Expand our flock of chickens and if we hatch any chicks in the spring, learn to cull and process the extra roosters for the fall

3. Make our own bread on a weekly basis instead of just for a special treat

4. Expand our garden by an additional couple of beds and grow more hierloom vegetables each season from the early spring to the late fall

5. Start seeds, plants, and grow small greens in our cold frame (we are already doing this!)

6. Find a raw milk source and try my hand at making our own dairy products including butter, cheese, cream, and even yogurt!

7. Begin to buy dry goods in bulk and from local sources (flours, grains, rice, pasta, etc.) and seek out ways for safe and long-term storage

8. Purchase a few turkey poults and learn to raise heritage Bourbon Red turkeys!! We would love to do this to butcher in time for Thanksgiving next year. Apparently the flavor and freshness of a heritage breed farm-raised turkey is unbeatable.

9. ...and FINALLY....a big goal for us in 2012: to expand our family either through natural conception or adoption! Although we have been TTC for quite some time now with male factor infertility, we are trusting God to provide us with a child and also opening our hearts up to adoption. We know we will be blessed either way with whatever He has in store for our future family.

Looking back, 2011 has been a long and difficult year for me, but at the same time I have so much to be thankful for. Blogging has granted me an incredible amount of insight and satisfaction.

May you be abundantly blessed in the New Year! 

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Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas from the Roost

"But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring 
you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 
Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; 
he is Christ the Lord."" 
- Luke 2:10-11

Wishing you a very MERRY CHRISTMAS from the Roost! 

Monday, December 19, 2011

Greenery and Garlands: Exterior Christmas Decor

I love fresh greenery at Christmastime! Gathered into wreaths, boughs, garlands, you name it- I love it any and everywhere. The smell is divine and it brings life into the dead of winter. 

Our front porch

The wreath is hanging on burlap with the red trim
for under $1 per yard! 

Packages to decorate my front porch bench. I can reuse these each year! 

I'm very much into 'natural' wrapping with simple brown paper, twine and ribbon, and a little greenery. My goal is to wrap this way each year with recycled materials and natural elements. Maybe I'll change up the accent colors each year, but the basic elements will be the same for easy and frugal gift wrapping. 

I love this time of year......even when I have a broken leg :)

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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Apartment Therapy Feature!

Hi Folks!

Today our home is one of the featured tours on the Renest section of Apartment Therapy! It is called "BJ and Megan's Traveling Farmhouse Homestead." I'm super excited. You can check it out here: 

The photographer for the shoot, Katie, did a wonderful job with the tour.  If you enjoy the post be sure to leave Katie a nice comment on her excellent work!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Plain and Simple: 2011 Christmas Decor from the Roost

 It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas around the Roost!  I had plans for something really original and different this year, but with my broken leg and mobility limitations I decided to take it easy and dress the home with simple Christmas greenery and humble decor. I really like this better anyway because it helps me focus more on the real reason we celebrate: the birth of our Savior! A big thanks goes out to my dear mom for helping me :)

One of these years, I want to go all out with a Moravian-Inspired Christmas, but for right now, most of the Moravian Christmas decorations from Old Salem are found on my Christmas tree. I am especially fond of the Moravian star, which represents the Christ Child, who is the light of the world!

The Moravian Star

I struggled to decide what I should do with the living room mantel this year (you can view last year's mantel here), but in the end went for simplicity: I placed my Willow Tree Nativity set among fresh evergreens and pine cones. I think it turned out quite nice.

We ordered some new flush mount industrial light fixtures for the kitchen (to replace the ceiling fans), but in the meantime before we put them up I thought I could use them as cloches for some candles. Traditional fresh greenery, simple pillar candles wrapped in humble burlap trim, and a few antique winter prints that I already had comprise the rest of my Christmas decor.

Swags over the mirrors and little lambs with greenery add some Christmas cheer!

I wrapped the candles in burlap trim and secured them with red and white straight pins from my sewing box

My Christmas table setting features a homemade Advent Wreath. I simply placed four small candles on a tray in a circle among the greenery for each week of the Advent season with a candle in the center to represent Christ. I used my good china for the place settings with white linen napkins crystal goblets.

A homemade Advent Wreath in the center consists of white candles with greenery and a larger Christ Candle in in the center covered in burlap trim. 

How do you like to decorate for the Holidays? I hope you are enjoying and able to reflect on all the blessings the season has to offer!

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Saturday, December 3, 2011

Chicken Therapy

Hello, dear friends.

I want to thank you for still sticking with me here at Restoring the Roost while I take a little more time between posts to recuperate from the accident.  A broken leg with full height cast (no weight bearing at all) is awfully hard to get around on to take photos, or do anything really ;)  Let's just say I'm blessed to have LOTS of help with physical tasks from the hubby and my mom for the next couple of months.

Believe it or not, chickens are wonderful therapy pets. Even when you aren't interacting directly with them, they are so fascinating just to watch as they scratch around, cluck, discover delicious bugs and get excited, and settle pecking order battles.

I've really enjoyed holding and babying my chickens lately since the accident. One of my roosters, Clove, is super sweet and will just sit in your lap and barely make a peep. They especially enjoy sitting when you have a handful of shredded cheese to offer  :)

Our next big challenge is getting our annual chicken Christmas card photo ready and sent out! You can view the photo we used last year for the card here.  Very soon I will be able to share with you this year's Christmas decor from the Roost!

I really appreciate all your prayers and sweet comments.