Simplicity by Choice

Off-Grid Living & Self-Reliance

Getting Organized February 15, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — ourprairiehome @ 4:27 am

It is finally acting like winter here. Last night and tonight are having temps in the low 20’s or upper teens. Times like this, I especially love the wood cookstove. I can certainly understand why a woman generations ago would have enjoyed working or sitting near the stove or hearth. It tends to be my favorite place also.

Next winter, we will have added a different heating system to the house. We have been considering putting in propane heaters in the home. We are finally in a position to be able to afford it. When the prices come down after winter season is over, we will be buying the heaters. By autumn, we will have a large propane tank and the heaters installed. We have always heated the house with wood. We are seeing where, as we get older, the option of using propane is becoming more appealing. My dear husband drives a truck and is only home 2 days per week. This severely limits his ability to help with firewood cutting. So, the propane heating will be best for us. I will still use the wood cookstove in winter. By using it, I will save on the propane usage. I also enjoy cooking on it.

I am reworking the pantry. A local hardware store had a sale on heavy duty shelving. These are metal shelves that are made to hold 200 lbs per shelf. Once shelving unit I purchased is shown to hold 250 lbs per shelf. These will be perfect for the pantry. They will easily hold the home canned foods as well as the 20 lb buckets of flour, rice, sugar, etc. A grocery store in a town about 40 miles from home sells cans of vegetables for a very low cost. I am able to buy a flat of 12 cans for only $5.50 each. Typically, I will buy 12 flats at a time which provides over 3 months supply of vegetables for about $63. I am sorting the flats of vegetables to be stacked on the new shelves. These heavier shelves will free up the lighter weight ones for paper goods and such.

Now that I am getting a good start on the pantry, I am getting antsy to start on other areas. Homeschool supplies are always an issue. My dream is to have a single supply cabinet or shelving unit to hold everything. I like to purchase school supplies in bulk when they are on sale. I stock up and keep the extra in baskets or bins currently.

One big task that I am going to do is write up an inventory of what we have both in the pantry and in school supplies. This will require a lot of time, but once done, it will be easy to maintain. I am wanting to have a running list of what we have so that when sales are taking place, I will know what we are in need of. This will also help me to be a better steward of the financial resources that we have available to us.


Spring Gardening Plans February 1, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — ourprairiehome @ 6:41 pm

I have been loving this mild winter. I have a couple of small shallow wooden bins that I am going to plant garlic into. They are just the right size and depth for garlic or onions to grow in. Tomorrow, I will buy the supplies to make a batch of good raised bed garden mix. The book by Mel Bartholomew, “Square Foot Gardening”, has the instructions in it for making the soil mixture that he recommends for the raised beds. I am hoping that by using this mixture in my raised beds, the garden will do better this year.

The seed catalogs have begun to arrive. The first to reach my mailbox was Heirloom Acres Seeds. I have bought from them before and loved the seeds I received. I enjoy that I can buy a packet, or they offer several weights of packaging to choose from. Each is very low priced in comparison to most of the other seed companies. Their seeds are open pollinated.

The other company that I buy from is Baker Creek. They also have the open pollinated seeds. They carry many of the varieties that are more rare or unusual to find in addition to the old standards that most companies carry. They also have very good prices. I always look forward to seeing their catalog. It is filled with such a wide array of vegetables, herbs, and flowers. If you are curious about trying something completely new in your garden, they would be my first place to go.

The sweet potatoes have been bought. I cut them in half and placed them, cut side down, in a tray of water to grow their sprouts. In about a month, I will have sprouts to place into a jar of water to grow roots. These will then be ready for the kids to plant in their deep buckets and for me to plant in a large container for the garden.