Is it just me, or is the PumkinSpiceEverything especially crazy this year?
Say what you want about the incredibly diverse line of laughably singularly named products that are vying for your dollars, its no secret that everything within arms reach of a typical store is now seasonally emblazoned with bright orange squash that actually aren't the flavor of the products they decorate (seriously, have you ever had just plain pumpkin? It's so much more a versatile ingredient than just being the moniker of an overpriced sugary latte).
I find that processing pumpkins into puree takes quite some time, and while I love to do it to create one of my husband's favorite pies, I have been finding that there are plenty of alternatives to hacking apart a giant, round behemoth with my meat cleaver.
Even though I have recently rewritten my life and become a homesteader, I didn't start out that way. Believe it or not, I went to college to become an artist and art teacher. Though I didn't end up pursuing a career in a gallery (and I'm rather relieved about it, now!), I still have this skill in manipulating paint and canvas, and creating images.
But now, with my homesteader's perspective, everything on our land, plant, animal, and skill, should have a purpose towards helping things on our land thrive...so how do I make this abstract ability to smear paint into something that helps us as a family?
The answer has been surprising to me. Even though my mindset in college was that I would never "stoop" to painting dog portraits, I now have found joy in helping others remember the animals that they loved and painting memorials of beloved pets. My 22-year old self, streaked in charcoal dust and breathing out words like "Kandinsky" and "post-modernism," would have wanted to create work that those indoctrinated in the art world would have actually been interested in. But now, this "low-brow" art of transforming grainy photographs and blurry cell-phone images of animals into artwork has brought me a lot more satisfaction than my abstract expressionistic canvases ever did.
I will always sketch and paint for my own relaxation and enjoyment, but in the meantime, I am starting to love generating images that mean something to more people than just me. And it generates some financial benefits for the homestead, too!
Have any of you repurposed a pre-homesteading skill into something to generate income on your land? So many of us homesteaders didn't start out this way, so I'm curious how your earlier lives have been able to contribute to your current ones.
Also, if you're interested in getting a portrait of an animal done (it doesn't have to be a memorial! All of these just happened to be), I am currently open for commissions. Check out our page HERE for more information!
And as always, thanks so much for reading. :)
When we first got our Indian Runner ducklings, they were a free gift from some fellow homesteaders who had dozens of them. They kept the ducklings with their chickens, and the adults free-ranged delightfully across their land. Andrew and I hadn't really thought about ducks just yet, but we figured we could learn from them and hopefully get some eggs, too.
It's interesting to me how rife our childhoods were with duck characters (Scrooge McDuck, Daffy, Donald, Daisy, Darkwing, etc) but how little we actually knew about them. Our city experience with ducks went so far as throwing bread crumbs to the mallards at Sea World when we were kids, but we were assured that they were easy keepers. So, since they were about the same size as our young chickens, and since we had only just gotten the coop ready, we put the two ducks in the coop with the rest while we figured out how to make them a better home.
This is one of my favorite desserts to make for my family, both because it uses whole, healthy ingredients (there's very little sugar to boot!) and because it comes together rather quickly. Once you get comfortable with this relatively simple recipe, you can make it whatever flavor you want or whatever fruit is currently in season.
This recipe is completely doable with a conventional oven--just follow the instructions as normal. HOWEVER. If you have a solar oven, this also works beautifully with that too! Just be sure to set your oven out to preheat for about an hour before you bake, as you would with any sun oven recipe.
We are a husband and wife who are trying to live simply. We are learning much as we transition from life in the city to life in the country. Come along with us, and maybe you can also learn a thing or two as well.
We love writing for these fine folks as well!
|Simple Life Homestead||
Simple Life Homestead