29 September 2014

We got a camper!!

Ok, so living up in MN it is apparently a thing to go up to the head waters of the Mississippi and camp.  We won't be able to do that this year but maybe next?

We're also going to IL and SC once it's fixed up nice and water tight. 

So here is the big shocker…we got it for FREE!! 
Granted, it has some issues that need to be addressed still. But all in all we are pretty happy with it. Especially because it was free. 
Ok enough of my blabber, here it is.
It's a 1985 jayco. 
My DH is waiting on me to help him put on the last tire. 
Welcome to our Camper. Let me give you a tour. 
This is the Kitchen. It is to the right when you walk into the camper. It needs work all over, but I'm up to the challenge. :) 

There is an oven inside. You could live in this thing full time! I always talked about having a tiny house, but I don't really think it is feasible for us. Still, its nice to think we can do it occasionally in our camper. The top folds down to make a larger work surface too.  Most of the older campers this is broken. So I was really glad to find it still in working order. When it folds up it acts as a backsplash. 

DH was walking around the outside while I was taking pictures. Also the old fabric here makes this cute dinette seating area look tired. No worries, I'll have it spruced up soon enough.

Over the back of the seat there is a small storage space. I'm not sure what  I would want to put in there yet, but once it's all cleaned up maybe. 

DH wants to (of course!) keep the "nice wood look" to the camper. UGH, I agreed to it in the house so here I told him no! I want to make this camper look nice. I can't understand why he wants to keep it all wood. Not to mention that it keeps it looking dark in a small space. I seems to be real wood, and I feel a little bad about it...but not bad enough not to paint it.

The whole kitchen and dining area view. It really needs some elbow grease before anything. Those curtains also...they make me want to hurl. I can't wait to take them down. This small space needs something airy in it. 

Here he is again! That silly husband of mine. I'm also pleased about the sink cover/cutting board being intact still. It looks awful, but even if I just use it for a template for another one I'm good. I'd really like a butchers block or wooden one here. I'll see what I can do about it later.

What is this?? I know what it is really, but LOL. I don't know if it works, but based on everything else in this camper and the way the people took care of everything I really suspect that it still works. I'm not sure if it will be staying or not though. (If it does, at least I can hide it!)

From the kitchen looking into the back of the camper. The fridge is open and blocking the view a little, but you can still see a good bit. Into the living room we go.

Can't you see the potential here?? And look...more wood. That clock is pretty cool. We think it just needs a battery to work. I LOVE all the glass work and the mirrors and the small touches like the clock(above) and the etched glass (left and below) in this camper. I'm suspecting that when it was new, it was top of the line. That couch folds down into a full or queen sized bed (can't remember which right now.)

 This is right next to the main door, but I think it's part of the living room. It would make a cute 'bar area' or just storage for things that need to be grabbed fast. It could be extra towels and/or sunscreen if we're at the beach or lake. And bug spray if we go up to the mountains or in the woods.

Next we see the mirror on the door to the bathroom. Isn't it beautiful? The mirrors and glass in this camper are really pretty. Into the bathroom. It's a little scary still, but we'll have it fixed up soon enough. 
Repairs needed here! This fan and the whole panel needs to be replaced.

Yuck right? It will be fixed up right. This is the first thing that we are doing. 
Strange light and ugly curtains. I alms like the wallpaper...I can't decide yet. What do you think? 
This hurts to look at doesn't it? Lights, curtain and shower curtain all gone!

Right outside of the bathroom is a massive storage area. I think the camper has enough space to sleep 6 people and hold all their stuff in this space. They might be a little cramped for sleeping arrangements, but they could stay if they wanted, or if they were children. 

From the hallway we turn right into the bedroom. The only real bedroom that is in the camper, but it'd just for me and DH and the dogs. We don't really need another one. And once we have children they can sleep on the pull out couch and the dinette set folds down too.

 The headboard idea is cute, but it is now outdated and stained and must be replaced. Along with those curtains.

The biggest problem? There are wasps in between the door and the screen in the bedroom. The glass/plexiglass on the door seems to have a space in it. So that will need to be fixed too. I hate wasps. They have been plaguing us at the house too. In MN they seem to be everywhere.

This concludes our tour of our new (old) camper. 
Come back to see what updates I do to it!!

26 September 2014

Joining a community instead of checking out.

It's been weighing on my mind that a lot of homesteaders or just people who live in the country want to 'check out' or leave society all together. I'm all for having some alone time, trust me I need it sometimes. But, if you work with your community and your neighbors you can get more work done. A lot of people will even barter with you for what you have using what they have or what they can do. I LOVE the barter system. I have rabbits for meat and my neighbor has tomatoes and eggs we can decide how much of each to trade and we are both happy. He doesn't have to raise rabbits, but can still get some meat and my tomatoes are golf ball sized where as his are approaching basketball size. (OK, not really, but they are enormous)

I have another neighbor that I have never met, but other neighbors tell me that he will talk to you but then tell you that he doesn't want to be your friend. I can't comprehend that. OK, I know you aren't going to be friends with ALL your neighbors and yes, there are going to be people that you just don't get along with very well. But, don't go around telling people that you don't want to talk to them and just be rude! Seriously?

So, I decided that I wasn't doing a great job of integrating into the community as I was so focused on getting my homestead up and running. Well, the winter that's coming scares me. I don't want to have to deal with too much in the way of animals outside or building projects when I'm about to freeze to death. Moving from SC to MN, it's a change. My blood is not thickened up enough to deal with the fall weather, I'm worried.

So, I joined the community Volleyball League. It's fun and I meet people and get some exercise. YAY for me right? So, I ordered some volleyball kneepads and some shoes. The first night I went was game night. They don't practice or workout together or anything, I asked. But, most of the ladies are really good. I haven't played in a long time, so I was rusty. But, it was fun and I met some new friends. Even though our team lost I had fun getting out there into the community.

I've also gotten out there at the church we are going to in town. They had a fall fest a few weekends ago. I helped with setup; made some of my chocolate cupcakes for the bake sale; helped organize and move things for the auction and we participated in the auction. We got a really cool cedar chest, a bike for DH, and a lawn spreader.

Fall/Winter projects

I'm looking into making some things inside for the rainy part or fall and the coldest part of winter. Since I'm new to the wintery north, I figured that I needed to start making quilts again.
Honestly the only one that I've ever made was when I was in high school with my Mom. I loved using the fabrics that meant something to me. Things that were used for projects and things that Mom or I used to wear. I have a photo of both of us wearing black velvet dresses that were used in the quilt ( I think I was 8?) When we made the quilt her black velvet dress was getting frayed and worn so she donated it to my quilt project. When I slept with it I always found myself rubbing the black velvet pieces. It reminded me of Mom and it still does. Even though I don't sleep with it.

 Now that I am older I don't use the twin sized quilt much anymore. There is no more fabric to make a matching one for my guest room beds. (hopefully one day, I will have boys in that room and we can finish the actual guest room.) Also, the backing is getting tattered and soon will need to be replaced.

Until then,  I continue with my quilting. I was going to work on my pinwheel quilts for now. But, I got a little nervous when I had trouble with the cutting wheel. So, I'm practiced my piecing by making 4 placemats for our house. They are yellow, red and blue. They should help the colors flow better in the kitchen and dining room area. Now I can move on to the blanket sized quilts.

I picked out a pattern that looks fairly simple, and bought the required fabric. I am doing a blue, green and yellow motif with the 2 twins. I bought enough fabric to do two of them in matching, or at least mix and matching fabric. I do love the colors that they picked out for this quilt. But, I painted the room light blue. SoI want to try and keep with that theme. Plus, I'm envisioning it as a boys room.

I also have found a good pattern for a quilt for my Mom for Christmas. (Although it's looking like it might not be done until NEXT Christmas.) She said she wanted, blue, gold, tan, or green and a tiny bit of red for options of colors. I eliminated the red completely. I couldn't see how I would add it at all. The gold is the backing and binding parts. The rest will be tan background and blue and green for the patterns. I am not going to show a picture as my Mom reads my blog. (Hi Mom!!) But, I am satisfied with the fabrics I picked for hers more than I am for mine.  And as soon as I finish another project I am working on I am going to start cutting out my pieces. I hope to get a few photos of it when it is finished and some after I give it to her to share with you all dear readers.

For my 2 twin quilts I found a pattern online for free that I am going to follow. Which you can find here.
I am doing blue instead of violet that was used here. (I did not make this quilt.) But I think that it is going to turn out very well. I will be surprised when I finish it just as much as anyone else. A lady at the fabric store told me that quilting is fun, but you don't really know what it is going to look like until you are done. I think that is a strange way to sew, but I love quilts and I'm sure that mine will be cherished by myself and all who are warmed by them, if for no other reason than they do not have to sleep without a blanket. 

My DH seems to think that I should only have got enough for one project at a time. I figure this way I have less temptation at the fabric store. I did one trip and spent $250 and got almost enough material to make 4 quilts. Here's how: Mom's quilt is planned, the 2 twin guest quilts are planned, and I have extra materials that I could use for a scrappy quilt most likely for our room or a gift. I'm doing traditional styles and while I am not doing everything by hand, Amish quilts go of upwards of $800. I can make several quilts for that price.I figure that if they can do it, so can I. I am excited to start quilting more. We are going to need more quilts living in the great white north.

24 September 2014

Canning Catsup and Corn Salsa

Yesterday I canned catsup from my neighbor's tomatoes and did up some corn salsa from corn that we bought at the farmer's market and a few of my neighbor's tomatoes. They grew so many tomatoes that he gives me some all the time. I feel bad taking them, but I appreciate him giving them to us. I've made all kinds of things with them.
 So Catsup. *sigh* Devote a day to making this and don't plan on doing much else for the day.  I feel like I didn't get much done around the house yesterday. And honestly I didn't. The kitchen is a mess even though I tried to clean up the splashes as I went along. (Taking pictures that you know you are going to post online helps with that too.)        
These are some of the tomatoes that I started with from my neighbor.

Chop them up. I quartered them initially. I think I might do  smaller chunks next time and just try only Roma tomatoes or a paste type tomato. 

Here I added the onion to the tomato and let it cook. 

The bowl on the left is the juice that  I drained. I later heated it in a pot and canned it for use later.

This looks awesome, but I cooled it off and put it in the blender to get it homogenized and creamy like store bought catsup. 

Here are all the cans of catsup and the 2 of juice on the right. 

The day after, I still had the canning bug. So, I did up some corn salsa. I had tomatoes still so I added some of them. Keep in mind that adding the vinegar makes it so you can water bath can this one. Otherwise I would have put it in the pressure canner.

Remember, clean, hot sterilized jars are more important than any recipe. 

Here is a picture of it all done. 

22 September 2014

Knowing your colors for your wardrobe and your house

When I started project 333 I thought it might be fun to give it a go but I wasn't too serious about it. But, I packed up my clothes and put them in the other room. After trying to make it on just 40 things (I tried to do 33, but I couldn't eliminate that many.) I realized that all those other clothes we're not getting worn anyways. So, I brought them back out and looked through all of them, with a new eye.
Now I did decide to keep a few that were packed away because I do wear them, but most just went into the garage sale box.
I love that I feel lighter and more confident about my wardrobe. Most of the time I just wear a work shirt (flannel or some type of button up or a tee) and jeans when I'm doing things out on the homestead. The other day I butchered a chicken and I didn't want to get blood on my good clothes so I wore a pair of jeans that are too big and a tee shirt that I didn't really care too much about since it was just a cast off white tee from my DH.
I did get blood on both, but it came out.
I need to have a few nice things to wear when I go out on errands, to church or on a date with my DH. (He took me on one last week! We went to the pasta bar and saw Guardians of the Galaxy)

Now, I'm realizing in my wardrobe that I have picked out some pretty good colors for myself.
Understanding your color palate can be a powerful thing.  What if I had went through project 333 wearing colors that didn't look good on me or made me look washed out? Would someone have told me?
I figured out that I am a light summer and I eliminated a lot of my clothes that were really for autumns. They didn't flatter me at all, yet nobody told me. My poor DH can't match clothes to save his life and he always told me I looked fine/good/etc. So I didn't know.
Now I know. Don't do your project 333 without knowing what you should leave there. Read this before you get rid of anything.
I'm all for having only what you need, but lets make sure that we are actually looking our best shall we ladies?
Strangely, this theory can also be applied to your decorating in your house. You will feel more comfortable with certain colors and in certain spaces you will want a certain feeling. Certainly, you wouldn't want red walls in a bedroom when you are trying to relax. Did you know that your blood pressure actually will go up when looking at red? (I'm not sure where I read this, but I remember strange things.)

This is my color palate. I don't do a lot of browns and I try and stay away from black. It's not a great color for me really.

All this being said, I'd like to talk about my summer palate style icons.

Grace Kelly. She is just timelessly beautiful and (ha ha) graceful. Even in pants and a button up shirt she looks confidant and beautiful.

Kate Hudson. She has an edgier style that is modern and at the same time classic. She's Boho Chic and then pulls off romantic looks like this as well.

Reese Witherspoon. I really love the vintage, romantic look that she does most of the time. Even when she goes out, she still does the flats.

Veronica Lake. She exudes confidence and sexiness. It's the hair no?

And Lemon Breeland (she's a character from 'Hart of Dixie') I LOVE yellow too. Absolutely my favorite.

My absolute favorite of her outfits is the lemon shirt and jeans. They look amazing and comfort is a big factor too.

I'm back on the wagon with project 333. I am trying to make sure that everything is something that I love and that looks good on me as well.

Thanks for stopping in!

15 September 2014

What nobody tells you about homesteading

Ok, so maybe someone told you, but you didn't believe them. You buy some land, it may or may not have a house on it. You get started, and someone has to work a real job. Unless you saved for years and years or someone left you money. Not likely, but possible I guess. We have one full-time regular(ish?) worker in our household. That of course is my DH. If you know him, you know that he LOVES his job. (If you don't, then now you do.) His job is not what someone who homesteads would think of as a homesteading type job, but I assure you that he is helping to make our area (and the world) a greener and healthier place. I'm not going to go into what he does, this isn't really his blog after all...  BUT. He helps out a LOT!

We have been planning a better rabbit hutch and looked at some online. We found a picture and modified it to meet our needs. We are working on building it now, and I'll do a separate blog about that later. But today, I'm going to introduce you to what he does all the time on The Silver Fox Homestead.
He said this was his best side. I think all his sides are best. But, I digress. That is 1 tree, and he cut some already!

This is another pile we cut down. And I'm sure I could take more and more picture of brush piles all over the yard. But I'll spare you.

Of course, our little helpers are collecting sticks too. But they play with them and then leave them around.

Since it is just about fall and the weather has gotten cooler, we are going to have some bonfires soon. We might even do up some of these natural hotdogs. So, if you plan to homestead you should plan to cut and clear many trees from your land, unless of course you buy property that someone else started homestead on already. I'm sure you will pay more for that too.  We are trying to make room for chickens in the spring and goats next year. After that we are anning for piggies. All of these animals must earn their place to stay. I am a big proponent of culling animals that bite, do not care for their young or if I have too many males. I am a meat eater and it's just a fact of life. I wanted to go deer hunting this year, but I didn't get a weapon yet and the budget doesn't have room for extras like that right now. 
Not to mention that I'm trying to save all my money to plant some fruit and nut trees on the property. 
I've got a crazy notion that I'm going to grow peaches up north and sell them at the farmer's market. Peaches in the store are going for $2 a pound. They are tiny, little, unripe, flavorless things. I aim to do better-much better. There are currently 3 varieties that will grow in my zone and I want to plant them all. 
But in order to do that, I have to make room to plant them. These junk trees need to go. I call them that because they are either dead or dying. Poplar trees don't live very long and then just fall over. And most of the Red Oaks have the oak blight. So, we are moving some White Oak trees, they are less susceptible to the blight.
Well, I better get back to chopping wood and burning my piles before it starts to snow here. 
Thanks for stopping by to see what's happening on the Silver Fox Homestead!