2017 Resolutions

It’s almost that time of year again.  A time of reflection and a time of new beginning.  A new slate, a new piece of fresh, clean, crisp, bright white paper to start writing on using your best pen and best handwriting.  Can you smell the freshness of it?

I’ve been giving a lot of thought to the changes I’d like to implement in my life for 2017 and my thoughts keep leaning toward peace, forgiveness, pleasure and beauty.

Those thoughts leave me interested in learning to let go of everything that I have no control over.   And, if I really break that down further I have to ask myself, what do I really have control over?   Nothing.

So in realizing that in truth, I have control over nothing, except for my actions or perhaps my reactions, this is what I’ve come up with.



Letting go of………

  • the hurt feelings
  • the regrets
  • the wish I had done this or that back then
  • the I wasn’t treated right
  • the I wish I hadn’t done that
  • the I did the best I could
  • the I’m not good enough


There is a reason the days of the past are called the “good old days” and I’m sure that I’ve never seen “I wish I had worked one more day” engraved on a headstone.

For a long time now I’ve been trying to be uber conservative and frugal and I don’t think there is anything wrong with that, until it becomes extreme and you realize that your happiness isn’t being considered in that frugal conservative process.

Now, I’m not saying I’m going to start spending money willy nilly or not continue to make mindful frugal decisions.  As a matter of fact I intend to become even more detailed in tracking our finances and expenses because retirement is a year closer and we need to be ready.

What I’m saying is I want to find a balance.  I’m not going to quickly pass on the fun, the events or opportunities for pleasure simply because I don’t want to spend the money.  I’m not going to make money the ultimate reason for doing or not doing….


  • I’m going to plant the flowers even though we can’t eat them
  • I’m going to buy the great pair of shoes because I just love them
  • I’m going to buy the red lipstick
  • I’m going to get my hair done
  • I’m going to do my Yoga
  • I’m going to wear out those new exercise shoes
  • I’m going to eat the chocolate cake and the ice cream
  • I’m going to dress myself in my style, not just for my comfort
  • I’m going to give thought to my wants to understand why I want…..

While I was succesful in 2016 with quitting smoking and quitting a 20 year use of Prilosec, which I am extremely happy about.  2016 was still a bit of a crappy year.  I’m not going to whine about it, because nobody likes a whiner.  I’m just going to say that I had a lot of illness and injury and even battled with a bit of depression.  With all of that, I lost sight of what is most important to me.

I am loved by the most amazing Man and I am completely head over heals in love with him.  He is the love of my life and all he wants is for me to be happy.   It took us a long time to find each other and I don’t intend to waste one more single minute on anything less important and EVERYTHING is less important than my husband.

What about you, do you have any resolutions you want to share.  I’d love to hear about them.


wedding pic 1












Hog Harvest 2016 – Part 1

Following is a post I wrote about four weeks ago…  Since writing this post activity on our little homestead for my part has come to almost a complete stop.  Soon I will share with you why that is.  Until then I hope you enjoy the read.


We harvested one of our hogs and by far this hog was the best harvest and quality meat we’ve gotten from any of our hogs.  Don’t get me wrong, they have all been good, but this one is just exceptional.

This year we called on our local processor to help with the harvest and he skinned and quartered the hog for us.  That saved us so much time, and I’m glad to support a local small business.  Also, with me having a little more experience I’ve gotten better at my butchering skills, seasoning skills and packaging skills.  I enjoyed the entire process.

I am so please with our bounty from this hog.

Bacon…  Oh the bacon….  My favorite part of the hog!  We got about 35 lbs of bacon.  Here you can see the pork belly prior to me adding the cure mixture.



Here is the bacon with the brown sugar, salt and fresh black pepper cure.  It will cure like this in the refrigerator for 7 to 10 days with me flipping it over and applying another coat of cure to it after the 4th or 5th day.

Then the cured pork belly will go into the smoker for 4 – 6 hours over smoked hickory chips.  I truly think someone should package a perfume that smells like bacon smoking in the smoker.  It’s the best!



We got 2 beautiful tenderloin, which is actually the back strap, because it goes down the length of the spine at the top.  After trimming we ended up with 4 pork loin roast weighing 3 – 4 lbs each.


Also trimmed from the tenderloin was 8 thick boneless pork chops.


And to the left of this picture you will see what is called the fish, which is actually the tenderloin.  It is the most tender part of the hog (and the deer for that matter).

All of the tenderloin, chops and fish were brined overnight then dried and vacuum seal packaged for the freezer.

The racks of ribs were trimmed and vacuum seal packed straight to the freezer.

This is a lot of work, but it is one of the most rewarding things we do on our homestead.  Our hogs live a happy life on the homestead and the harvest of our hogs or any animal on our homestead is a peaceful and respected process.  Knowing where our food comes from is a priority for us, one that we enjoy working hard for.

Up next will be hams, hocks, sausage and boston butts.  We’ll be starting the smoking process too.

Till next time,




I’m A Paper and Pencil / Pen Girl

I have a lap top, a tablet, and a smart phone yet I always turn to my paper and pencil for most everything I do.

(In full disclosure I would like to throw my laptop out in the yard, set it on fire, then run over it with my car….   I’ve never felt that way about one of my planners, just saying)

I’ve always enjoyed writing and some say that I have a dramatic hand writing because it sways and curves a lot.

I just think there is beauty in writing.  Just imagine if we still wrote notes to each other instead of texting.

My planner….  I’ve tried many planners from the expensive Franklin Covey big zipper binders, to making my own 3 ring binder with multi colored tabs.

What I am certain of is that if it’s not convenient, I won’t use it.

So I got rid of all the bulk and condensed everything down to a simple little day planner that is about 8.5″ x 5″ that I carry in my bag.

  • I keep track of my budget in it
  • I track my spending in it
  • I record bills due and paid
  • the obvious of birthdays and anniversaries
  • I keep my coupons in it, passwords, notes, to do list

I ordered my 2017 planner and I decided to get a pretty one for next year.


I’ve already begun thinking about new years resolutions…  My thoughts keep going toward putting more beauty in my life.  It’s an idea and desire that I’m working on a plan for 2017.  More on that later 😉

Anyway, I carry a bag with me (All… The… Time…) My sister gave me this bag that I’m carrying now, it’s the perfect size and everything is a nice fit in it.


Here are some of the things that are currently in my bag.  Journal, recipe notebook, planner, sticky notes, to do note pad, pencil, pens, highlighter.


I think I got this from my Dad because I can remember him always carrying a bag with him too.  Of course his wasn’t all sparkly with paisley and glitter trim. 😉

Like me, He also enjoys writing and I can remember him leaving my Mom little love notes on the kitchen counter.

The Z Man and I do that too, leave little notes for each other, maybe on the counter or the bathroom mirror.

No matter what it is, I think when you put it in words on paper (or the bathroom mirror), it just has a little more special meaning to it.

Are you paper and pencil or do you lean more toward technology for your needs?

Till next time,




The Sweetest Gift

This is what you do when a friend gives you a lovely gallon of fresh picked grapes.

Jelly 2


This was my first time at making grape jelly, and now I know what all the fuss is about.  This grape jelly taste nothing like what you would buy in the store.  This grape jelly taste like a grape.  It has a fresh quality to it with just a hint of tartness in the background.  It’s sweet alright that’s for sure, with 13 cups of sugar in it, it ought to be.

I know I know, everybody is cutting out white sugar because it has apparently become the new poison.

Well, not me.  Moderation is what I say, because now that I’ve tasted this grape jelly, I don’t want to imagine life without it and I can’t wait to smear it all over a warm buttery biscuit or a slice of warm homemade honey wheat bread.  My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

I used my food mill to juice the grapes, but for some reason my food mill just would not cooperate with these grapes.  By the time I decided to give up my kitchen looked like a crime scene.  I had grape juice all over me, all over the counters, all over the floor, all over everything.

Mother said those should be the pictures I post because it would make for a good laugh.  Shouldn’t be too hard to do, because more often than not I’m making some kind of mess in the kitchen.  🙂

So this is what I did.

Grape Jelly

  • Rinse 1 gallon of grapes and remove stems
  • Put grapes in a heavy bottom pot with 1 cup of water
  • Smash grapes with a potato masher (while thinking about the classic I Love Lucy episode of her stomping grapes)
  • Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes while continuing to crush and stir the grapes – You will need 8 cups of juice
  • Strain the juice through a fine colander then place the juice in a cool spot over night
  • Get your jars and lids ready (washing and sterilizing them)
  • Strain the juice through a double cheese cloth or you could use a clean sheet or t-shirt you’ve cut up into dish towels like I did. (now I have a lovely tie dye dish towel that will always be tie dye, so keep that in mind)
  • Pour the grape juice back into the heavy bottomed pot and whisk in 2 boxes of fruit pectin
  • Bring mixture to a full boil
  • Whisk in 13 cups of sugar
  • Bring mixture back to a boil and boil for one minute (set a timer for this – 1 minute is important)
  • Skim the foam top off of the jelly
  • Carefully ladle the extremely hot mixture into your jars
  • Wipe clean the rims of the jars, put lids and bands on and water bath for 5 minutes

This netted me 16 (8 ounce) jars of jelly.

I highly recommend setting one jar aside for immediate consumption.

As a matter of fact I highly recommend a celebratory peanut butter and jelly sandwich and a glass of ice cold fresh milk when your done.

Well, speaking of the sweetest gift…

The only thing that could’ve made this jelly better is my beautiful granddaughter making it with me.  My punkin butt loves her some purple gravy.

Meet my punkin and peanut.  Now that really is the sweetest gift!

McKenlie 3


Thank you to our friend for gifting us the lovely grapes, they will keep on giving all through the winter.

Till next time,