This Month On The Homestead: December 2020

 

And just like that December is over.  Happy new year to all of you!  2020 was a bit of a crazy ride but all-in-all, for us, it was quite alright.  While we didn't have a great year financially, we really can't complain.  We learned that we could tighten our already tight financial belt even more.  With that it ensured our bills are paid, we have food in our pantry and freezers, the animals are very well taken care of, our business survived, and we had more time to spend on things we weren't finding time to get done in previous years.  

Please know that I am not trying to be insensitive to those who had tragic outcomes in 2020, rather, we are trying to focus on what went well for us.  On that same note I am super grateful we had made the decision not to move our business off of our farm so our overhead was limited.  We had struggled with that decision since we started the business and just about a year and a half ago made a final decision that we would not grow the business any larger than what we could handle ourselves in the space we've got.  


the mound on the left of this photo is my Jeep Grand Cherokee....


Well, Jay had been complaining that it didn't feel like Christmas a couple of weeks prior.  He said that because we didn't have snow he just wasn't feeling it.  Sooooo....I blame him completely for the 3 feet that were dumped on us shortly before the big day.  Yup - he is the one you can blame as well if you'd like.  It took a full 2 days to complete our snow removal - paths, deck, porches, and roofs and, since he does most of it, he was exhausted by the time it was done.  Of course he didn't much appreciate my singing of Christmas songs as we suited up to head outside for each round of shoveling or snow blowing.  Clearly he doesn't always appreciate my enthusiasm or talents.

Christmas was quiet, as it was just the two of us and the critters, so I made some special meals and treats to celebrate the day.  We basked in the hum and warmth of the pellet stove, binge watched the new season of Virgin River on Netflix, drank mugs of hot cocoa with extra marshmallows, and enjoyed a peaceful and relaxing day together.

And then Saturday I deemed a "no cook" day.  We had simple breakfasts, leftovers for lunch, and frozen pizza for dinner.  I did throw chicken wings in the air fryer for Jay's dinner as well, but it's no more difficult then throwing frozen pizza in the oven.  It was perfect.



Oliver & Jackson -  Let's start with updates on Mr. Oliver.  We took him to his consultation for alternative treatments to help keep him comfortable with his multiple herniated discs.  First, let me tell you that he had to finish up a round of a steroids in December and I am SO HAPPY it's over.  My goodness that boy was constantly starving!!  Steroids increase hunger and thirst and if he wasn't ravishingly hungry he was drinking a ton.  My day was spent feeding him, filling up his water bowl, and taking him out to go to the bathroom.  Repeat.  I also decided after the first morning of his poor bladder being so incredibly full he was clearly uncomfortable, that I would get up at 2a.m. every night to take him out to pee.  I did this until that darned steroid was out of his system.  I felt so bad for him.  He absolutely will not go potty in the house so he holds it despite the discomfort it causes.

His doctor decided that acupuncture and laser therapy were not necessary as of yet, so we purchased a therapy loop that she recommended to give him electromagnetic therapy at home.  She's hoping this will help keep the inflammation down for a while.  Eventually we will add in the other 2 therapies when needed.  He also has some stretches we do daily to keep his little body limber. 

He is not allowed to run, jump, etc. and we are keeping his walking to a minimum which is what the remainder of his life will be.  He is happy, seems to feel pretty good (we have to hold him back from trying to run, jump, etc.), and takes nice long naps so all seems to be well at the moment.  He will turn 11 in January and I think he's definitely feeling his age.


And then there's Jackson.  Actually, he's doing well.  He's the same - bratty but handsome, and is still loving his new routine of going to bed in his very own bedroom.  He LOVES taking his Rescue Remedy every night.  I have no idea why.  I do have to make sure the room is always "Jack-proofed" because he gets into anything and everything during his 7-8 hours of alone time.



In The Coop - We have EGGS!!!!  Jay is so happy.  Although we aren't getting many, at least we are getting an egg or two each day as of a week ago.  He's still rationing his use since he's not fully confident we will get them daily, but that will change soon I'm sure.

The Coop Girls are doing well.  They dislike the colder temps and absolutely detest that beautiful white snow.  When we leave their coop open they get so excited to run out and that lasts all of about 3 minutes.  Once they realize that there is snow everywhere except for their coop they return to their outdoor coop.  There's usually a lot of chatter after this is attempted each morning.  I suspect it's a bit of disappointment being shared amongst the flock.

Whole Wheat Honey Oat Bread

In The Kitchen - I've been making this recipe for Whole Wheat Honey Oat Bread (by King Arthur Flour) and we've been enjoying it.  If you happen to have any maple sugar lying around it is perfect in this bread.  I substitute out most of the white a/p flour with white whole wheat flour but other then that I follow the recipe exactly.  It's a fairly dense, sweet, and moist loaf that is perfect for morning toast or a sandwich where a slightly sweet bread would work.

I also made up a few batches of bean burgers (using 3 different recipes as guides) to store in the freezer for quick meals.  And as a surprise snack one day I made a batch of DELICIOUS Honey Butter Popcorn (it's good with or without the nuts).  If you add a touch of salt it's almost like a kettle corn (without the nuts) or cracker jacks (with the nuts) but not cloyingly sweet.  I altered it slightly by using a non-dairy butter and about 10-12 cups of popped popcorn (it calls for 6 cups) so it wasn't too sweet.  It was good even days later.


I also discovered a recipe for vegan Amaretti Cookies.  They are gluten free as well but the recipe does use refined sugar.  They are really good.  My husband (the anti-vegan) loves them.  After he ate 2 I told him they are almond flour and aquafaba.  After explaining what aquafaba was he said "why did you have to go and tell me there's chickpeas in my cookies???"  (Of course aquafaba is the chickpea cooking liquid not the beans, he was being dramatic)  I told him because I'd promised that I will always tell him what's in food he tries and never hide ingredients.  But I tell him AFTER he's tried the recipe of course!  😁  (p.s. mine look more like snowball cookies because they didn't crack but they were still delicious!)  He ate quite a few more over the course of a couple days and has requested them for this week's dessert.  So I guess he likes them!



What I've Been Reading - I haven't read as many books over the past month but I did read a few good ones. (affiliate links)
  • Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine: A Novel by Gail Honeyman - this was a very different book for me to read but it was written so incredibly well.  A word of caution that it does deal with child abuse but it really is brilliant.  It's tragic, sad, funny, and enlightening.
  • The Twelve Dates Of Christmas: A Novel by Jenny Bayliss - apparent from the title it's a rom-com and a very well written debut novel.  I really liked the main characters and the little twists and turns of the story which is set in England.
  • The Clause In Christmas: A Poppy Creek Novel by Rachael Bloome - honestly, I really didn't think I would like this book.  I guess I thought it would be a bit too cheesy.  Quite surprisingly I enjoyed it (not cheesy at all).  It was light, the events were predictable, but I liked the characters and the storyline and it was a fun read.  It's the first of a series of five.

That's what happened around here in December!

5 comments

Laurie said...

That's interesting Jackson likes his Rescue Remedy. We use it on our pups when needed. The honey popcorn sounds yummy. I look forward to trying it. Wish we got some of that snow! It sure is pretty. Thanks for sharing your reading list.

daisy g said...

Yes, we also have so much for which to be grateful. Mostly, we are thankful for good health.

Look at that glorious snow! Tell J he can blow some my way!

Ollie is looking good for an old man. ;0D It must be because he is so well loved.

Lucky you getting eggs! We are getting about 1 every other day. Some of the girls are molting and I'm sure the lack of light this season hasn't helped any. More light ahead!


The cookies look luscious! And J actually asked for them? Wow! They must really be something! Or is he turning over a new leaf? ;0)

Always looking for new books, especially those that are a series. I will add these to my ongoing list. Thanks!

Blessings in the New Year!

Windy Meadows Farm said...

The snow looks beautiful...ahhhh 3 feet, I would love that! I'm a homebody, and the idea of being snowed in doesn't bother me at all. The photos are so lovely with the snow against the red building...and to think there's a car under the snow! It sounds like all is well...and a quiet time by the cozy fire is just what we all need now. Good for you...enjoy every minute.

Kathy said...

Happy New Year to you Staci, I can't get over that snow...and the car being buried, it's just so foreign to me. It's 91F here today in Brisbane and very muggy and my air conditioner is not working [waiting to get it fixed]. I'm glad things worked out best for you with keeping your business at home, no one says you have to keep getting bigger and bigger...if the income sustains you and you have time to enjoy life as well then I say that's a WIN-WIN. I am hoping to get stuck into my veggie patch in January although it's still a little too hot at the moment and my sister just left yesterday to go back to Perth so today I'm taking it easy. Have a good week. Kathy, Brisbane, Australia

Staci said...

Laurie - yes, definitely try the popcorn. It's delicious! I'm not sure why Jack likes the Rescue Remedy either other then he likes routine and it's now a part of his routine I guess.

Daisy - lots to be grateful for indeed. Jay will be happy to send some snow your way!!

Mary - thank you. We are definitely enjoying it. I, too, love the snow against the red buildings. I'm happy we left them red!

Kathy - thank you. We feel the same regarding the business - making what we need and having time to enjoy life IS a win-win for sure. I'm so happy for you that your sister was able to visit. In-person contact with family you haven't seen in awhile does the heart good. :) Enjoy your gardening!!