Sunday, May 6, 2012

Operation Rain Barrel

Pamphlet from Omaha Storm Water Program

That First Cut
Ali and Charlie removing the gutter

Aren't we cute!

Ready to install

Minor adjustments

We have always wanted a rain barrel here at Melia's Urban Farm, but didn't have the know how or the proper barrel.  We found many videos online with everyone's opinions of how to do it, cheaply or otherwise. Check them out, some are pretty funny!  It was one of those thing you put on the back burner.  Last year we almost bought a rain barrel at our local lumber store, but found it expensive and missing important components for filtering out sediment, maple tree helicopters, and the like.  We didn't want to go the trash can route, as we felt the plastic was too flimsy.  So, back on the burner.  I was either paying a utility bill, reading the paper, or just surfing the web, when I found out about the Omaha Storm Water Program.  You place an order for a free barrel on the site, and they email you with the location to pick it up. I immediately placed my order. Ours was at Under the Sink, an organization that disposes of the things that you should never dispose of yourself, paint, chemicals, cleaning supplies, etc, therefore not harming our very fragile environment. You take a copy of the email, or as Charlie did, drove there and told them "my wife has one on hold".  They looked me up and home he drove, proudly presenting me with our barrel!  I cannot say that the items we needed to complete the rain barrel were cheap, but we did call around for prices.  We spent $60 and that has mostly been covered by donations from my children for Mother's Day. As much watering as we do here at the farm, we will re-coop any costs with the savings on our water bill, not to mention the benefits to our planet.  Many states outlaw rain water collection, so I feel proud that Omaha is supporting this program.  Here is the final product. 
 It was nearly filled last night by a rainstorm that produced an inch of rain in one hour!  We are ready to rock!  For those of you that live nearby, here is the link or call 402-444-3908 and order your barrel.  Who knows, you may have some of the items on hand or know where to source them before you have to buy them.  Happy watering!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Why We Keep Chickens

Just one look at this photo of the quiche that my youngest son, Anthony and I prepared, justifies why we keep chickens.  No, do not adjust your screen, it really is that yellow. We don't want to eat eggs from industrial chicken farms, whose chickens never see the light of day, breathe fresh air, or get to live out their lives scratching the ground for bugs and the occasional worm.  Our chickens free range in our yard, eat all our vegetable scraps, and yes, they all have names.  We have been keeping chickens for 12 years now. They provide fresh eggs daily, and are a great source of entertainment.  Our first flock was friendlier, as the kids were younger and handled them more. With all the children nearly grown, this flock is less handled, but none the less, come when called, always looking for a handout.  Some breeds are more friendlier than others, but we love them all, just the same. 

What I love about quiche is that you can use any vegetables you have on hand.  In winter and early spring, I toss in frozen veggies, late spring, summer and fall, you can use homegrown.  Pretty much, just use whatever is your favorite and what you have on hand. Today's recipe is simple and delicious. We made our own pie crust, but you can use store bought too.  This recipe is an altered version of the Cheese and Broccoli Quiche from Linda's Kitchen by Linda McCartney.  Again, use whatever pie crust homemade or frozen and any veggies you like.  She used goat cheese in hers.  We don't have goats yet, but I am working on wearing my husband down, as we have already been approved to own goats at our little urban farm.

Quiche Your Way

Pie Crust
6 tablespoons of shortening
1 cup and 2 tablespoons of flour
4 tablespoons of cold water

Cut shortening into flour till it looks pea sized or course crumbs. Stir in water one tablespoon at a time with a fork.  Once incorporated, mix with hands and shape into a ball.  Flatten into a disc and wrap with wax paper. Put in fridge for 30 minutes to chill.  Remove from fridge and roll out to fit a deep dish pie plate.  Bake blind.

Quiche Filling
1 small onion diced
16 oz of frozen veggies, or equivalent of fresh, whatever you have and love to eat
4 large eggs
2/3 cup of milk
1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Steam veggies with onion until cooked, but still slightly crisp. Drain and place veggies in prepared pie crust. Sprinkle with cheese. Beat together the eggs and milk, and then pour over veggies and cheese.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until done.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter!

Look a the beautiful volunteer flower blooming this morning next to the privacy fence along our driveway! A lovely Easter gift if I ever saw one! As this flower came up through the gravel, it is a reminder that He Is Risen! We will be having our annual "Hoppy Chinese Easter" and then dessert at my eldest son and daughter in law's. Wherever you find yourself this Easter Day, know that you are loved! Have a blessed day!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Sunday Dinner

Most recently, I was saddened to find that it doesn't take much to lose the connection to one's family irrevocably. A harsh word, an off hand comment, hurt feelings, or just lack of contact, can cause a lapse in communication. Then, you think, well, what do I do now? So then, another moment goes by, then another, and then you feel it's too late to make contact, or that maybe they should make contact. Whatever the reason, it just doesn't happen. Then, with a tragedy, it can no longer happen. We had Sunday dinner at our house for years. Everyone was welcome, come as you are, the more the merrier. Then I let my career get the best of me and it seemed easier to rest on Sunday, than have everyone over. Funny, I don't have that job anymore. In fact, the company no longer exists. So, now I ask myself, "Self, what was the sacrifice for?" After a week filled with tragedy and chaos, it became very apparent to my husband and myself that Sunday dinners must be resurrected. We cannot let another moment go by and not connect with family. And, what better way than around the table? This Sunday, I'm going to go all "Waltons" on my family and ask that they join hands and give thanks to God that we are fortunate to be together again, and that we have the opportunity to say I miss you, I want to spend time with you, and most importantly, I love you!

Monday, February 13, 2012

A Moment of Happiness

It was with great sadness that we traveled to and from Texas for my nephew's funeral. I cannot fathom the depth of grief his parents and siblings feel, as it is overwhelming for me, his aunt, and my family. It has been an emotionally draining trip and we will be feeling his loss for some time. A brief moment of happiness was found when we were returning home. We stopped long enough to snap a few pictures at one of the places I long to visit. Laura Ingalls Wilder's Kansas home, The Little House on the Prairie! It was closed, so no tour, but truly a brief moment of happiness for me. One day I hope to take the entire Ingalls Travels as a vacation, so I will return.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Winter Wonderland

This winter has been warmer than usual and nearly bereft of snow. This weekend we received 10 inches of wonderful snow! I decided to go outside and take a few pictures of how beautifully the "farm" was decorated. The "girls" are less amused than I. Anthony thinks it looks like Narnia! I am inclined to agree. I hope you enjoy these photos of our winter wonderland!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Measure Your Words

Last weekend, I was going to post about the lack of snow, but then, they predicted nearly 12 inches in our area for this weekend. Unexpectedly, I then had to have a dental procedure preformed, delaying the post. Then, tragedy struck our family. My nephew was killed in a motorcycle-car accident this week. He collided with a car that pulled out in front of him. Ironically, he was to be deployed to Afghanistan soon and he had completed 2 trips to Iraq. The accident happened in the state where he was stationed. His father, my brother, lives in another state and we will be traveling there as soon as his final arrangements have been made. I have been scouring the Internet for stories on the the accident, trying to make sense of this tragedy. What I have discovered, is that people do not measure their words carefully enough. The trooper who was at the scene of the accident said this, "Pretty, pretty tough. Very traumatic and, ah (pause) ah, I think it would be hard to overcome for some time for the individual that was driving the vehicle that pulled into the path of the victim" I am quite sure it will be hard for that individual, but, how about it being pretty tough for my brother, his son's mother and siblings to overcome? My latest favorite is the comment made by one of the residents who lives on the road where he was killed. When speaking of the dangers of the road, said "What's it going to take? That's a soldier, yeah, but what about our children?”. Well, guess what, he was some one's child! I don't understand people's inability to think before they speak. I never will. I grew up in a home with an alcoholic father, who had no filter what so ever. You can only believe the words "I'm sorry but.....I didn't mean it" for so long. I decided to measure my words early on, so that I would not hurt someone or have to take them back. Three take aways...1) Hug your family and tell them you love them. Life is short and you never know when God will call you home. 2) Please, please, please look twice for motorcycles. 3) Measure your words. They can hurt someone. Yes, they can be forgiven, but they are hard to forget.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Happy Birthday Vegetarian Child!

Today is our youngest daughter's 21st birthday! It's hard to believe! I see her almost everyday and in just a blink, she is grown, We have a tradition in this family to let the birthday person pick their own birthday meal. This has proved to be most interesting over the years! Her choice today is Spicy Bean Soup. While she is a vegetarian, she was conscientious enough to choose a meal that we all love. It is once again, an altered version or a recipe in the slow cooker cookbook I love! I bet you're beginning to wonder if there is a recipe I don't "tweak". Well........okay, guilty. Necessity is the mother of invention, but mostly I alter a recipe when I am lacking an ingredient, substituting an ingredient, trying to save money, or omitting the meat or bone broth to please the veg child. There is plenty of protein from the mix of beans in this recipe to please any skeptic. While this is an economical meal, you can make it even more so, if you make your own vegetable broth and use that. I have used veg bullion, veg broth in aseptic containers, or my own homemade. You decide. Today's will be veg bouillon, as that is what I have on hand. I also omit the 4oz pepper jack cheese to be stirred in until melted before serving, as we find the soup spicy enough and once again, omitting it is more cost effective.

Spicy Bean Soup ala Veg Child

1 - 15oz can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 - 15oz can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
1 - 15oz can navy beans, (I use great northern, easier to find) rinsed and drained
1 - 10oz package of frozen lima beans
1 - 9oz frozen cut green beans
1 cup chopped onions (2 medium)
4 teaspoons chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoon dried basil, crushed
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed
2 Garden Veggie bullion cubes and 4 cups of water, or 4 cups of homemade veg broth, or 1 aseptic container of veg broth and water to make 4 cups total.

In a 3 1/2 to 6 quart slow cooker, combined canned and frozen beans, onions, chili powder, basil, and oregano. Stir in broth. Cover cook on low heat for 8 to 9 hours or on high heat for 4 to 41/2 hours. Yields 8 servings.

For those who are wondering the costs, our costs were under $5.00 making it around ..63 cents a serving!

Happy Birthday Veg Child! We love you!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

I Can Do This!

I had published a post on this blog about needing help adding a link to connect with my facebook page about Melia's Urban Farm. I am having difficulty figuring out where in the html of my blog, the body is. I do not speak computer and am more of a visual learner, as most baby boomers are. I shared the post on facebook about needing help. My youngest daughter's boyfriend offered to help me, albeit, long distance, and I was elated. Later that day, in an effort to clear my phone of data, I erased the post. Technology and I butt heads from time to time. That was one of those times. Today, I was inspired by the mother of a young woman whose blog I follow. She was letting her followers know about her mother's blog and fb page. I follow both and they are delightful! In fact, check out all the blogs I follow. They are funny, inspirational and informative! I figured, if she can do this, so can I! I will, with a little help (comment below if you know this html thing) get this figured out. I want to build my readership and gain followers here, and once the facebook page is up and running, fans on it. In the mean time, if you're reading this, please follow my blog. I promise to give you personal, informative, and and sometimes funny glimpses into our lives at Julie World!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Deleted Post

In an effort to clear things off my phone, I inadvertently deleted the my last post. joy