I figured out why

I know why I’ve been shying away from updating here. It’s because I’ve been shying away from anything even moderately related to “homesteading.” Our vegetable garden went largely neglected this season (between illness and drought we just stopped caring). We’re limping through cooking up our final shares of CSA veggies. I didn’t preserve/can a darn thing. Sewing projects have decreased to barely more than what I get paid to do. Knitting projects have pretty much ceased production. We seem to have hunkered down into survival mode when it comes to food and projects–exerting the bare minimum amount of energy possible.

That’s not to say we’re in a bad place emotionally by any stretch, actually quite the opposite. We still love camping! And hiking! And bike riding! With camping though even there we sold the teardrop trailer and upgraded a bit in size to our half-of-a-pop-up camper. This blog’s theme doesn’t exactly fit in with our life’s theme right now, but I’m sure the pendulum will swing back toward self sufficiency eventually. For now I’m going to just keep enjoying life without the guilt of not fulfilling some imaginary quota of homesteading ideals.

Tiny Travelin’

I feel like we’ve mastered “livin’ little” in our rather spacious 1,000 square feet. It doesn’t even feel like a small space; it’s probably rather mid-sized depending on what we’re comparing to. But in the vein of “livin’ little” we have now embarked on a camping adventure, which I do believe is best told in photos…

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Introducing our teardrop trailer! It’s actually rather posh and not so minimalist with its dressing tent and canopy tent and electricity and spring mattress and microwave (ha!), but it is tiny :) This weekend was our first taking it camping and setup was a breeze. I’m now scouring my calendar trying to squeeze in as many camping trips as possible between now and the end of October.

Oh, the places we’ll (hopefully) go!

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Busy, sick, back on track

I haven’t forgotten about you, little blog. Life took off, I landed in the hospital for eight nights, and things are finally starting to feel normal again around here after that. Surrogacy’s out as an option right now–heck, pregnancy as a whole is.  I’m good other than worrying it’ll all happen again.

I’ve got a new big project coming up–tiny living, camping style, and I’ll be sure to document that adventure as it unfolds. I’m feeling the itch to create again, so it seems like that will be on the upswing while cooking and baking and preserving are low priority for no good reason other than my whims. We’ll see where the rest of summer takes us…Hopefully with some more rain and less 90+ degree days!

Ginger Bok Choy Udon Noodle Soup

Here’s a rough recipe for the “Ginger Bok Choy Udon Noodle Soup” I came up with today from our CSA’s small share (Tomato Mountain Farm) of bok choy…

-Homemade chicken stock (made from the excellent chicken from Hasselmann Family Farm)
-2 to 3 inch hunk of ginger, peeled, simmered, then removed from stock
-Add diced bok choy stems
-Add pre-cooked udon noodles to heat
-Add sliced bok choy leaves until wilted
-Top with “french fried onions” (the stuff you put on green bean casserole)
-Salt/pepper to taste

YUM.

Our very first camping trip

We went on our very first camping trip. I chose Ottawa Lake Campground in Wisconsin’s Kettle Moraine State Forest. It turned out to be an excellent place with tall the amenities we like (flush toilets, hot showers, electricity). Here are some visuals…

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And now I would like to document some successes and some, uh, “learning moments.” Seeing as this was the first camping trip we’ve taken as a family and my first since I was a young teen, we were bound to learn a lot this go round.

Things we did right:

-Set up immediately upon arrival. The sky opened up into a thunder/hail storm just moments after returning to our site after we had set up and taken a little walk around.

-Packed loads of aluminum foil and baby wipes. I think we could have accomplished anything with those two items well stocked.

-Packed fresh foods for snacks, just like if we were to be at home.

Things we could do better next time:

-Invest in some vacuum seal bags. The car was PACKED on the way up. We were able to condense a bit for the way home, but the pillows, bags, and blankets would take up loads less space if vacuum sealed.

-Don’t pack anything in paper Whole Foods bags. They will rip.

-Invest in an electric (or battery? or both?) heater and fan. We didn’t need the latter, but borrowed the former from my aunt and were very happy to have in when it got down to the high 30s/low 40s at night.

-BUY DISPOSABLE EVERYTHING FOR EATING. Yeah, we safe the earth all day long at home. We don’t even use paper towels in the kitchen. But for camping? Washing dishes sucks. I would much rather invest in some bulk Costco buys and have more time to enjoy that have to think about washing everything all the time.

-Put aluminum foil around anything you want to put near the fire and don’t want soot on (think tea pot, cast iron skillet).

-Buy more wood than you think. Maybe we’re sucky fire-builders, but more wood is good.

-Triple check the food list. I forgot the fresh veggies for snacking and ended up only packing the fruit. We survived, but I sure did miss it.

-Use suntan lotion like woah, even when it’s cold. Art got the worst of it, followed by Lily, and even my nose is a little red. Because, duh, we were outside during every waking hour for three days.

I’m so excited that the trip was such a success though and that we get to do it whenever we want now. I’m going to research some local campgrounds so maybe we could do little two day trips too since set up and take down wasn’t a big deal.

Yaaay, camping!

Big Exciting Decission

So, this being-a-parent thing has obviously changed me (us) forever. There are hard, annoying, frustrating parts of it all, sure. But as a whole it has been–and likely will always be–the greatest thing I’ve ever experienced. I really don’t have the words to describe how fantastically awesome parenthood has been so far, even with the bad parts mixed in. That said, Art and I are pretty darn sure we want only one kid, our fantastically awesome Lily.

And now with that said…

I want to share the fantastic awesomeness that is parenthood with someone who can’t do it themselves, someone who otherwise wouldn’t be able to.

And that leads me to gestational surrogacy.

Yup.

For two men. Two men that want to be daddies. And this here uterus can make it happen.

With the help of an egg donor and IVF my fantastically awesome baby factory can grow a fantastically awesome kid for a fantastically awesome couple. And we plan to do just that.

We’re still in the matching process through a local agency, but with any luck in a few weeks there will be Big Exciting Preparations being made and in a few months some Big Exciting News to share.

This blog has been my go-to for projects and the like to this point, and I plan to keep it that way. But for those moments when I feel like getting personal publicly (even if my subscriber list is tiny), I thought that spreading this all out on the table was a decent idea.

So, yay for baby making!

Sudden urge to quilt

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That’d be 96 half square triangles. Since I took these photos I have sewn and pressed 16 complete pinwheels. The urge to quilt struck fast and hard today, and I obliged by cutting/sewing/ironing for about five hours. That likely maxes out this week’s time and energy quilting allotment, but we’ll see what tomorrow brings.

Fiiiber

Spun it
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Knit it
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Kid loves it
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This was just a small sampling of fiber from a friend and I had a lot of fun getting the hang of spinning on my drop spindle with it. I have a long way to go with my spinning skills, but this was great practice!

Up next?
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:D

My child, the dancer

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A whopping three years old and she had her very first (four week, non-recital) dance class this afternoon. If it were possible to die from cute I think I would have. I snapped that picture on the left in the first few moments of class before the teacher closed the door. Thankfully there was a tiny little peephole for me to spy on her, but with all the girls in the same hair, leotard, tights, and shoes, I had a heck of a time telling who was dancing and who was sliding around on her belly. I think it was my kid doing the latter for a bit there. She apparently loved it though and is eager to return!