10 Things To Do This Winter

I don’t think the beauty of winter is fully appreciated.

I remember my grandmother telling me as a child that winter is a time for the ground to rest; that snow puts the earth into a deep sleep so that the soil can be revived and ready for the next planting season. My grandmother (still living) is the person I have looked up to most in my life. She is so wise, and loves to she her wisdom with me. Last week, she asked me what she could get me for Christmas. In recent years she has given me family heirlooms and treasures, but this year I wanted something different. I simply asked her for a handwritten tutorial on how she harvests chickens in her own words. Sure enough she wrote down on paper, with her delicate hands, how she slaughters chickens. She taught me how to do it when I was a child, and there’s no doubt that I know how to; but I wanted it in her handwriting. I want to be able to show my children one day, her hand written note and tell them that she taught me just like I am going to teach them. Money can’t buy that folks! For the upcoming winter I have made a list of things to help you appreciate the beauty of winter and enjoy it.

  1. Plan your garden for next spring

Draw out where you want things. If you have always planted tomatoes in the same spot there’s a good chance that you have depleted the soil of the nutrients that tomatoes take and, though butter beans may flourish in that same spot, your tomatoes will be lacking. Rotate your crops to keep the soil as balanced and nutrient-dense as possible.

2. Bake!

I hate baking in the summer. It feels like my entire home gets hotter from the oven. Everyone in the household complains when they come in from the field and it’s even hotter in the house than it is outside. Use winter as an opportunity to really dial in your perfect loaf of wheat bread or yeast rolls.

3. Read a good book

Not just one either. Read at least a book per month. Read about things you are interested in, and don’t force yourself to read about something you absolutely hate. I find myself reading a lot of Joel Salatin books (Folks, This Ain’t Normal is my favorite!) and a lot of books on beekeeping. I also try to stick to actual copies of books, e reader versions just don’t have the same tactile effect as real ink-on-real-paper book. Plus old books smell oddly good.

4. Take some photos

At least one time this winter, find something beautiful outside and take a photo. It’s not hard. You can even post it to Instagram if you’d like (tag me if you do @megannhope21). Finding one beautiful thing in what most people call a bleak season will help you realize that the earth is resting up for a beautiful spring. Even if you hate winter, you can appreciate that sentiment.

5. Build something

Personally this winter I plan to get all the supplies for three raised bed gardens and two movable chicken coops. Once I gather all the supplies I need I will start building them. If you can hit a nail you can do anything. Scratch that. If you are a WOMAN who can hit a nail, you can do anything.

6. Do something crafty

Find inspriation to re-do a room in your home; redecorate, paint, turn old things into better new things, do something with a mason jar, make your laundry room pretty, just something! Pintrest has so much good stuff on it, I could spend all day on there. Go to Hobby Lobby and find a new craft project you think you’d like to try; knitting, crocheting, soapmaking, candlemaking, sewing, SO MUCH STUFF. Just find something and do it!

7. Clean your home

Go room my room, chore by chore. Deep clean. Don’t wait for spring cleaning. Go ahead and get it done. Clean out you freezers, pantry, kitchen cabinets. Create a pile of yard sell stuff to accumulate until a springtime yard sale or donate to Goodwill.

8. Travel

Take a trip to somewhere warm, after you get the chores done of course! And if you can find a responsible teenager to take care of your animals while you’re gone. Pay them well.

9. Workout

Join a gym and go workout! Go to bodybuilding.com and find a workout and meal plan for FREE! They also have a supplement store that is very reasonably priced. Get serious about your fitness goals and do it. Gain self-esteem and lift heavy. Don’t worry, you will not get bulky.

10. Spend time with friends or fur babies

Really take time to be thankful for all the positive people in your life. Happiness breeds happiness. Winter is notorious for making people significantly more depressed. The lack of warm weather and shorter days can be a mood killer. Realize that happiness is a choice and make it a priority.  Do something nice for a friend without expecting something in return. Be the happy that you want and you will get it.

This is obviously not a comprehensive list, you can build on it and use it to make this winter the most productive one you’ve ever had.

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Easy Apple Pie with 4-Ingredient Pie Crust

I don’t always make homemade pie crust, but when I do it’s for apple pie. Just kidding, I do always make homemade pie crust because I have the SIMPLEST recipe EVER! I love good food, but love good food that is made as simply as possible even more!

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With the harvest season quickly leaving, I realized two things; 1. I am not ready for Thanksgiving at all. And 2, I hadn’t made a single apple dessert. So here she is! I had some extra motivation when I visited a very good friend and left with a bag of apples that she so graciously gave me! She is a wonderful photographer and before I left her home I had posed for what turned out to be my favorite picture of myself ever. Bask in its beauty above.

I will get straight to the good stuff and hand over the super simple and delicious recipes!

4 Ingredient Pie Crust

1 3/4 cup flour

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons cold water

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Directions:

  1. Mix flour and salt, add water evenly to mixture and combine well.

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2. Add oil and continue mixing by hand.

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3. Split into 2 equal parts. Roll one evenly and place in pie pan.

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4. Set the other half of the crust to the side to be used as the top crust after filling is made.

Easy Apple Pie Filling:

1/2 cup sugar

3/4 tablespoon cinnamon

1 tablespoon butter

4 to 5 apples; pared, cored, and sliced

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Directions:

  1. In a bowl combine sugar and cinnamon.
  2. Add apple slices to the cinnamon sugar and toss.

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3. Put apple mixture in prepared pie crust and top with butter throughout. Put second half of pie crust on top. Pinch edges and ventilate.

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4. Bake at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes or until top is golden brown.

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5. Enjoy!

I find that this pie freezes well and can be saved for holidays! Want a guaranteed Thanksgiving day hit? Look no further!

Easiest Cake Ever?

I had been commissioned the task of baking a homemade cake for a church function, so I went to one of the simplest cakes I know. I love taking food and being able to just bring an empty plate home, this is one of those things.

#1 thing to know about me: I despise “box” cakes, or mixes. I just hate them. There are so many possibilities when you make something from scratch. Plus you don’t get all the chemicals and  artificial junk in there if you don’t want it.

This is a very basic and “go to” cake recipe. I LOVE IT. You can do so many things with it!

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It’s so easy it HURTS!

1 cup sugar

1 stick butter or margarine

2 room temperature eggs (farm fresh if you’re lucky!)

3/4 cup milk

2 teaspoons vanilla (you can substitute pumpkin spice emulsion during the fall, or peppermint for MINTer!)

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

Vanilla Icing

2 cups powdered sugar

3 tablespoons milk

1 teaspoon FRESH lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (again with the substitutions!)

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Grease and flour a bunt pan.

Beat sugar, butter and eggs in stand mixer, add milk and vanilla. Mix well.

Add flour, baking powder, and salt; beat for about 1 minute until it’s smooth.

Pour into pan, bake 30 minutes.

When done, flip upside down on a wire rack.

For Icing

Mix sugar, lemon juice, milk, and vanilla.

If it’s not thin enough add milk.

First blog post

Hi folks!

My name is Megan and I love old sh!t. I grew up (and still live) on about 150 acres of family owned land in the great state of North Carolina. I have a passion for doing things the way my great grandmother did, and I pine for days that I have never actually seen. I love baking, beekeeping, soap making, home-making, sewing, hunting, fishing, farming, camping… I could go on but I won’t.

I have the fondest memories of my childhood that I cling to more than a drunk clings to a bottle. I love my family and our farm so very much! I can honestly say that I have been blessed beyond measure, and I have nobody to thank but Jesus himself. He guides my tiny ship, and though I may hit a few rocks, I never sink. I don’t care what anyone says, there is beauty in the struggle.

I recently dropped out of college to pursue my dream of selling soap, honey, and antiques full time (not to mention a part time job to support my hobbies until they support me). I believe that education is a great thing, but I also believe it is NOT for everyone. It takes a very special mind to sit though classes, quizzes, and tests and that is just not who I am. I get fidgety and antsy. I admire all those who complete college, but I also question their sanity.

I spend most of my time cleaning (much to my dismay), baking, working on the farm, and messing with my ever patient bees. I love those bees. Ever since I can remember I have loved horses, but since last year they have taken a backseat to those buzzing, lively, busy bees. I know I said I love them but I LOVE them. I don’t just love the bees, I love anything to do with bees. My pintrest is filled with pictures of bee shower curtains, bee canisters, bee silverware, SO MUCH BEE STUFF. I love them.

Another side of me is the love for nutrition and fitness. I am a firm believer in that our food is our medicine. Sickness, cancer, heart disease and many more ailments have all been proven to be linked to DIET. We ain’t eatin’ right folks. On our farm, we raise, harvest and process our own meats. No hormones, no antibiotics, no witchcraft. Just GRASS. On top of that I recently saw a documentary that suggested that even without all of the added harmful chemicals, that meat itself turns on cancer in the body. The documentary claimed that eating an all plant-based diet is the holy grail of life and everyone should question how they eat. That being said, I have thought about going vegan (with the exception of honey, I think most of the vegan community is confused and think that honey extraction is harmful to the bees) but more on that later!

I am an avid sportsman. Deer season (rifle) is approaching quickly. Opening morning you won’t find me making breakfast or doing womanly things, you will find me in the woods (hopefully with dinner in my cross-hairs). If hunting offends anyone I would apologize but it’s simply who I am; however, last summer I raised a fawn, so I’m not entirely an evil killing machine.

I think that’s about it for today. Well right now anyways, I plan to make a couple posts today!

Have a wonderfall day!

Megan