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Dare Debbie

Nov
9

IMG_5918
(Gratuitous chicken butt fluff.)

Way back when the show The View first started, one of the co-hosts was Debbie Matenopoulos. She was young and cute and slightly ditzy. For whatever reason, the other women on the show didn’t like Debbie. Rather than fire her right off the bat, they tried to kill her. I mean, okay, not directly.

They created a segment for the show called “Dare Debbie” and they made her do stuff like hang off telephone poles and jump out of airplanes, which all conveniently took place off-set so none of them had to be in the same room with her. And which all conveniently made poor Debbie very uncomfortable. Don’t make Barbara Walters mad, I’m tellin’ ya. Debbie was under contract, so she was pretty stuck. She forgot to check the fine print about hanging off telephone poles if they decided they didn’t like you. This all happened about ten years ago. I remember this because I felt so sorry for Debbie.

This post almost has nothing to do with Debbie except that I was thinking about her for some reason. (I still feel sorry for her. It’s not really necessary, though. She went on to work with TV Guide Channel, E! and VH1 so things didn’t turn out so terribly for her.)

Where is this going, Suzanne? You are not an entertainment reporter.

I have a list as long as my arm of things I want to learn how to do. Things that intrigue me, things that slightly freak me out, things I think I can’t do but want to try. I love to learn new things, to explore and experiment. The world of old-fashioned country living is limitless, filled with possibilities as large as your imagination. Once you step away from the packaged convenience products and soft securities of urbanization, there is so much adventure to be had! A couple of upcoming things on tap for me are making hard cheese with my new cheese press and making tallow (and eventually lard). I’ve learned to ford a river on a daily basis and milk a goat. I know the difference between straw and hay. (THAT IS A BIG DEAL, PEOPLE.) I can herd ducks and make goats wear jewelry. But there has to be more! There’s always more.

And the more exciting, the better.

I want to put more heads together than just mine. I want you to “Dare Debbie” me. Okay, PLEASE DO NOT TRY TO KILL ME. And try to stick with the general country living/old-fashioned theme.

What would you like to learn–and like to learn along with me–in my posts? Or what would you just like to see me learn simply for your entertainment, even if you don’t want to do it yourself? Send me on adventures. I dare you.

Give me your suggestions on this post, and I’ll see what I can arrange!

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Posted by Suzanne McMinn on November 9, 2009  

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  1. 11-9
    1:47
    am

    I’m looking forward to seeing you make hard cheese. I’ve never done that despite growing up on a dairy farm. Soap making is also hopefully in the cards for a future project here. Will you be trying your hand at soap making? Are you going to raise meat birds and process them yourself? I’ve done those and turkeys also. Still haven’t gotten to rabbits yet. That is a future project. I dare you to raise small animals for meat.

  2. 11-9
    3:01
    am

    i know basket weaving is an art in them thar hills! how about making your own bread basket or even your own broom. they sell these cinnamon scented brooms that you hang on your kitchen wall. makes the entire house scented. thats all ican think of for now, its only 4 am. cant wait to read the other comments, should make for an interesting day.

  3. 11-9
    3:01
    am

    Thanks for the “Gratuitous chicken butt fluff” pic.

    I’m not sure how your place is laid out. Do you have any walking paths or just walk along the road?

    I want to clear a walking path around our place. Not clear the land, just a walking path. Leave the brambles and weeds for the wild critters, but have a cleared path along the creek and around the perimeter. I make a little headway most years, then nature reclaims it all. We have 8 acres in a triangle shape. I need to walk more and would like to do it around my own place, not the busy road with no shoulder for walking.

    Our creek is a gully creek, so I want to build a walking bridge to get to the other side. Found plans online that look doable and it has a sitting bench in the middle. Would love to sit over the creek and watch the minnows in the creek, the birds in the cottonwoods.

    But I’ll be happy if I manage to use my yard whip and big loppers to clear a good path before deep snows hit. And avoid yet another case of poison ivy. ;;sigh;;

  4. 11-9
    3:11
    am

    Green walnut liqueur! I want to give it as gifts next year. But it’s tricky to find green walnuts, or a walnut tree you can pick bare in June.

  5. 11-9
    3:26
    am

    i thought of something that is alot of fun. in the mid 1970 i bought a plastic lap size weaving loom . it was great to make place mats, table runners, ect… problem was if you wound the yarn too tight it broke the plastic pegs off. i wanted to make one out of wood and use nails for the pegs. just a thought…..

  6. 11-9
    3:28
    am

    Well, there’s not much I can think of that you haven’t already shown us how to do. I’ve learned so much from your blog! I lived most of my younger years on my family farm. When I was little, they raised sugar cane and would make molasses every year in the big flat rectangle pans outside under a lean-to type structure. They switched to raising tobacco when my Papaw died, but the memories I have of him making the molasses are still very strong. Have you considered raising some sort of crop like that – or maybe have a bee hive for your own honey? What about a grape arbor? Do grapes grow in WV?

    Have you considered raising rabbits? Either for meat or for the fur? My mother in law raises angora rabbits and spins their fur. The rabbits just sit in her lap while she pulls off the loose fur and spins it directly onto the spindle. It’s always a hit with the kids at craft fairs. The rabbits come in the most gorgeous colors. Even a blue and a lilac.

    You gonna build an outhouse in case your water freezes again? I’d love to see that. haha.

    Can’t think of much else right now. If something comes to me, I’ll post again!

  7. 11-9
    3:31
    am

    :D How about making a homemade hand/face cream or ointment. Maybe you have already done that?

  8. 11-9
    3:32
    am

    Are you going to help butcher your hogs? Or make cracklins while rendering the lard? How about weaving a rag rug from scrap material from old clothes?
    I ‘m like you, there are all kinds of ideas and projects.
    You go Girl!
    I’m sure we’ll enjoy anything you tackle :hug:

  9. 11-9
    3:36
    am

    Oh so many things that could be done! There’s soap making for sure, and I don’t mean melt and pour. I mean using some of that lard and tallow with lye. And you could learn to make candles from tallow. My library has a book all about it. Weaving. You could weave rugs. Oh and what about baskets. You could make baskets out of any of the wild grapevines, or any other wild vines you fine in the woods. And how about making natural dyes for your wool from the things that grow wild on your land?

    All I know for sure is that whatever you do in the future will be sure to inspire me. It always does.

  10. 11-9
    4:19
    am

    Make dandelion or clover honey.

    http://www.vegan-food.net/recipe/1398/Homemade-Honey/

    http://www.vegan-food.net/recipe/78/Dandelion-Honey/

  11. 11-9
    4:44
    am

    :D I think the homemade lotion would be a great picture story, and it’s very easy. Ingredients are pretty easy to acquire. I made homemade “chap stick” one year for Christmas. Still talked about. I’d like to see you make homemade laundry soap (dry). I think you would also enjoy the syrup making, it’s alot of work, but you could enlist all the family and kids and then split it up between yall. Learning and sharing, that’s appealing. Homemade wine. I will think about it today and send it along if I come up with something good.

  12. 11-9
    5:15
    am

    This is more crafty and is not necessarily country, but I would like to learn to knit. I want to make a hat, slippers, maybe a chicken warmer?,,,,,stuff that needs a pattern. Oh yeah, don’t know how to read a pattern etiher. I know you did a little bit on this awhile back but……

  13. 11-9
    5:22
    am

    Learn how to drive a pony/donkey! You’ll be hooked. Goats can pull carts too, Clover!

  14. 11-9
    5:49
    am

    You would love soapmaking! If you learned to PC you can cook soap (cooking makes it available for use faster!) :happyflower: Using your beef fat in the freezer, rendering, using as the oil in the soap, taking a bar of soap and grating for homemade laundry soap….all from that chunk in the freezer.

  15. 11-9
    5:59
    am

    Remuda Mom and I are on the same page. If you want a challenge teach those donkeys to pull. Then you get a sled and you won’t be as stuck when the snows come. Although the river might get a little deep for them.
    Teaching those donkey’s will definitely teach you something about yourelf.

  16. 11-9
    6:12
    am

    I would really love to learn how to make a GOOD loaf of salt rising bread.

    I would also like to know if a dehydrator can be used for cranberries.

    And, bravo on the hay/straw thing. That is a VERY big deal!

  17. 11-9
    6:14
    am

    I would love to learn how to make natural lotions along with soaps. They would make great gifts~I might need these skills when I get my little farm, A goal I am still working on. :heart:
    Thanks for all you have already showed us and for letting us share your life.

  18. 11-9
    6:14
    am

    A little late for this year, maybe next year you could show us Apple Cider and Apple Cider Vinegar. Can you build a press while your at it??? :lol:

  19. 11-9
    6:20
    am

    One of the best old-time (and still very much enjoyed today)crafts is quilt making. Piecing, quilting and tying!!! I come from a long line of quilters myself and I know how to do some of it but nothing like my Mama and Granny did!There is something BASIC in making a quilt…something that may be beautifully artistic or simply utilitarian, a woman’s mind perceives the idea and pattern, a woman’s hands that cuts and stitches and puts together the top and then a woman’s heart that sits and quilts at a frame, maybe with other women to help, maybe by herself and alone with her thoughts.
    In your farm life, you could find so many ideas to design your own pattern or find one that speaks to you from the endless patterns that have come down the long years of time. Quilt, Suzanne!!! QUILT!!!! That is my challenge to you.
    Beautiful day to you and all of Suzanne’s friends!
    Carol

  20. 11-9
    6:43
    am

    Suzanne,
    How about a true Applachian craft…APPLE HEAD DOLLS !!
    I haven’t made one in years..but fun, fun..takes a while drying the apple head…just peel, shape general features with a knife, set in the window to dry naturally, and watch the wrinkles and face form. After it is dried set the eyes with tiny black, blue or green beads, glue on a stick neck, make the arms and legs, I used sticks, wire and or pipe cleaners. Design and sew the clothes of the character you want…(Ornery angel comes to mind,LOL).. Even animal characters could be designed..I don’t know that I would honor Mean Rooster…aka “sweet cheeks” with a apple sculpture, unless he straightens up…
    With your “pics” we could even watch the drying process as they progress to their little wrinkled character faces…I am sure there’s a Google out there with complete directions somewhere!
    Would love to see your creations and ideas!! No, sorry! Pears don’t work as well!! Was a good thought though..LOL

  21. 11-9
    6:45
    am

    Wow lots of great ideas for you to try Suzanne! I like the one about training your donkey’s to drive..if you learn that then I’ll try it with Phoebe! How about pottery…that’s something I’ve always wanted to try but never did. Stained glass if fun and you could make some nice pieces for those beautiful big windows of yours. How about learning to oil paint some of that beautiful scenery you have around you?! How about learning to make rag rugs? That’s a cheap way to use up the kids clothes and your own. Hmmm…I need to learn some of this stuff! Anyway…enjoy your day! :hungry2: (pitchfork!)

  22. 11-9
    6:54
    am

    Geeeeeeze, How about you learn to sleep standing up!!Your day as it is more than full.How about when the kids leave home,52 could make you a rocker for the verandah,so you could just sit a spell?

  23. 11-9
    7:01
    am

    Well I am a crafter. I usually purchase my crystal walnut stain. I would love to know how to make it. However, I have not found a website/blog that shows the steps.

  24. 11-9
    7:04
    am

    Hey Suzanne,
    Have you ever thought about making beautiful handmade paper, maybe incorporating some of the natural elements of your area like petals, bits of leaves, maybe feathers or feather imprints? Seems like a natural for a farmer storywriter. Love your blog.

  25. 11-9
    7:05
    am

    Carol…
    I agree…just imagine all of her sweet named little farm animals faces appliqued in blocks on a quilt…or the beautiful colors of her farm in squares, rectangles etc…fun, fun..or how about one of those simple canning jar quilts with all the fruits (fabric) she has put by or maybe a blue jean quilt since she has all those big boy jeans available…I vote for the Carol idea, a great winter project…Quilt..

  26. 11-9
    7:06
    am

    Or then again, maybe a chicken rodeo would work…

  27. 11-9
    7:08
    am

    :woof:
    Good morning–I know you have done a post on candles, but can you show us how to make candles using holiday spices from our pantry and oils for holiday candles?

  28. 11-9
    7:11
    am

    :woof: I agree with Chris–now it is time for you to sit a spell and relax–farmers do that dont they? Time to enjoy the fruits of your labor.

  29. 11-9
    7:18
    am

    :D I can’t really think of anything (safe) to dare you to do, but I was just wondering: What IS the difference between straw and hay?

  30. 11-9
    7:19
    am

    I would like to see you get a cow and make butter! :snoopy: That would be so neat. :shimmy:

  31. 11-9
    7:21
    am

    Oh, I third the quilt idea! I’ve always wanted to make a quilt. Both of my grandmothers made quilts. I have a quilt my paternal grandmother made for my wedding. She had already passed but it was given to me at my shower. I also have a quilt my maternal grandmother made that is the BEST on a cold winter night. Unfortunately I never learned from either of them. I’d love, love, love to learn to quilt!

  32. 11-9
    7:29
    am

    I’m interested in any fiber related activities–especailly with Annabelle’s fleece.

    Also,those ideas about sleeping standing up–sounds like you might need to try that, too.

    Julia

  33. 11-9
    7:35
    am

    I would love to learn to weave (you will have the fibers). I have envisioned myself sitting at a large loom, hands automatically weaving breathtaking designs whilst my mind was wandering about a bit….such a soothing vision to me, anyway.

  34. 11-9
    7:36
    am

    We love everything you do Suzanne. I made your laundry soap and even the kids who do their own laundry love it. I was surprised at how good it is.

    Speaking for myself I don’t want to read the how to or see killing animals for food. I saw enough of that on the farm and it’s just not something I want to see again.

    Again, that’s just me, a city kid who moved to a farm at age 13.

  35. 11-9
    7:51
    am

    I like the soap and lotion making ideas. I would also love to see you make butter from milking your own cow. I remember sitting on the back steps helping my grandmother churn butter when I was little. It would be so good with your homemade bread and rolls!

  36. 11-9
    7:53
    am

    I would like to learn how to make candles and soap from scratch without the crafty additives. I would like to start with tallow, lye, etc.

  37. 11-9
    8:00
    am

    i want to see an entire post on beautiful handmade, country christmas ornaments. :)

  38. 11-9
    8:00
    am

    I like the butter thing too. I want to make butter and cheese.

    Soap making is great! I’m hooked. You’ll love making your own soap out of your own rendered fat.

    I want to make my own lye too from a barrel of hardwood ashes and leaves.

    I also want to learn to spin, I know you already know how. A fibre farm is something I want in the future with angora rabbits and cashmere goats. There’s a cashmere goat farm near here. They have sheep too.

    I am like you. I want to learn to do everything! There are so many adventures out there in the country do-it-yourself world! Its all so interesting and fun! Being self sufficient is so rewarding!

  39. 11-9
    8:05
    am

    As one of the few males on the board…what about some type of hunting? Deer? Every farmer should be able to harvest their own game! :)

  40. 11-9
    8:08
    am

    How ’bout dig your own well? Just kidding. :devil2: I would love to see a post about tallow/lard and many of the ideas already stated. It is amazing what happens when you realize that much of what we buy can be made at home! :shimmy:
    I’m going to give this some thought….I’ll be back later with some ideas.

  41. 11-9
    8:12
    am

    Making tallow will be just about the easiest thing you’ve ever done. And it makes me CRAZY when people don’t know straw from hay!

    I also want to make lye from wood ash (which I actually think I may have done by accident – I haven’t been out to check it yet, but I dumped a big load of fireplace ashes in a large pot and set it outside, where it filled up with rainwater. I’m not quite sure what I may have cooking in there now!

  42. 11-9
    8:17
    am

    Big votes here for both soap making and butter making. Those two are at the top of my to-do list, with or without Suzanne’s instructions! But, it’s soooo nice when YOU do the experimenting, and we only have to watch… :purpleflower:

  43. 11-9
    8:23
    am

    Sheer the sheep, spin and dye the wool, knit a gift sweater.

  44. 11-9
    8:29
    am

    Ok…here’s some ideas;

    beekeeping

    fermentation (sauerkraut, pickles, etc…)

    Tap a tree for maple syrup (don’t know if you have the right kind of trees where you live?)

  45. 11-9
    8:29
    am

    Teach Clover to do Tricks! :lol:

  46. 11-9
    8:38
    am

    Hey Suzanne!

    I know that you like to live off the land. :hole: You have raised a garden and canned a lot of veggies and fruit. I think it would be cool to find things around your farm that one can live off of like the early pioneers did. Wild herbs, nuts and berries. Also would be fun to learn how to use these herbs and things for cures and relief of colds and flus and such. This would be something to think about for the Spring and Summer. :fairy: I do have a pamplet from WVU Extention Agency about the Edible things in the woods that you can eat to live off the land.

    Angela :wave:

  47. 11-9
    8:43
    am

    I would love to see you make homemade salsa and can it. I have a pretty basic recipe, but want to make sure I can it properly, for gift giving.

  48. 11-9
    8:47
    am

    how about a smokehouse? that would make a nice addition to your farm.

  49. 11-9
    9:17
    am

    I;m with Remudamom. Teach one of those donkeys to drive. Or a more immediate challenge….get Clover bred! I just bought a buck on Saturday so I could get my reluctant girls bred. By Sunday 2 were.

  50. 11-9
    9:20
    am

    There are so many things I wish I had taken the time to learn from my grandmother. I LOVED her cottage cheese and would love to know how she made it exactly; I think I could do it but I also think it would have to be fresh cow milk. Another thing, I used to help her make kraut in a big crock. Sometimes she would slice green tomatoes and layer it among the cabbage. It was so good!!
    She also had a way with wild roots, barks and pine sap for some ailments. So many secrets gone because we were too busy with life to learn sob, sob.

  51. 11-9
    9:20
    am

    I second Ulli ~ # 42. that would be fantastic!

  52. 11-9
    9:25
    am

    Hey, Suzanne!

    You know that Cousin Bob made homemade wine down here on the farm. The wine-making apparati is still in the cellar, I believe. Georgia can tell you about the basic process.

    Mark and Georgia also know how to raise bees and harvest the honey. Our neighbor, Mike, currently has some bees.

    If Morgan comes to 4-H Camp this next summer, we always have a basket-making class and also a class where they use a natural-fiber string to weave a foot stool. I know! You can teach soap and candle-making during our first camp craft time and then you can take the basket-weaving and stool weaving classes for the next 2 class periods yourself. (Maybe??? I definitely want to recruit you to do the soap and candle making class – - the kids would love it.)

    I love the idea of you doing some deer hunting! Of course, you could do turkey hunting, too. And don’t forget – -squirrels and rabbits.

    We have a cane mill and a cider press here at the farm. Next year in September, you will need to go over to the Molasses Festival in Arnoldsburg to watch the molasses being made from sugar cane. We made some molasses here on the farm back in 1985 and 1986. Again, it was Bob’s idea and Georgia, Mark and and I had to do the work. But, it was fun and we had neighbors come and help. Our friend, Johnathan from Cicerone, was the “Master Molasses Maker.” He brought his “molasses pan” which we built a fire under to cook down the molasses. We had a good time doing it and we ate some good food because everyone brought a covered dish.

    Making apple cider is easy. You just smash the apple juices out through the cider mill. Mark and Georgia also know the particulars of this.

    You have seen us grind the corn meal with Mark’s circa 1946 stone burr mill. You can grind your own grain using a blender and then sifting the meal.

    Have you done a post where your readeers can see our loom? Several folks have mentioned weaving and Georgia can give you pointers on that. (she is such a talented woman, that Georgia!)

    By the way, Georgia is now walking on her cane after her hip surgery and the therapist let her walk to the mailbox and back last week. She is going to be running all over the farm again, soon. She is doing well.

    :wave:
    See you later!

  53. 11-9
    9:28
    am

    I would love to learn more about beekeeping, braided rugs, simple sewing projects and beeswax candles. Oh and a root cellar for your garden goods!

  54. 11-9
    9:33
    am

    I recently took a sopa making class and am in love with it! I grow herbs all summer and dry them for my own kitchen and now have another use – soap! Once you have it down, it take all of an hour in actual work and I love the results! (Guess what everyone is getting for Xmas?) and with you goats, you could make goat mile soap too! If you decide to give it a shot let me know…I went to a class first which was extremely helpful and now use books for back up. If you do it, let me know – I can certainly give you some great tips to bet you started!

  55. 11-9
    9:34
    am

    sorry for all the typos -not enough tea yet this morning! : )

  56. 11-9
    9:35
    am

    I would love to see bee keeping and anything that can pull a cart or sled! :sheepjump:

  57. 11-9
    9:41
    am

    You must have endloader tire races! Well, they don’t have to be specifically endloader tires, but they’re the best – they weigh about 200 pounds. Anyway, my husband and I did this once. We took the tire and rolled it down a hill by our house. It is amazing how fast those puppies can go! Ours rolled right into the swamp, but that’s beside the point. We always thought it would be fun to get a second tire and have races. Of course, we did this down a blacktopped road, which I don’t recommend. If someone had been coming toward us they would have been creamed by that tire. But it was just good old fashioned redneck fun while it lasted.

  58. 11-9
    9:46
    am

    I want to learn to knit with you! I remember you were kind of dabbling in it before, but there was so much to do over the summer and fall with the harvest. Winter is the perfect time to learn and hone your knitting skills. Let’s knit together!

  59. 11-9
    9:52
    am

    I talked about the difference between straw and hay here:
    http://chickensintheroad.com/blog/2009/10/06/trip-to-a-hay-meadow/

  60. 11-9
    9:54
    am

    My salsa recipe (for canning) is here in the archive of the July newsletter:
    http://chickensintheroad.com/newsletter-archives/july-2009-chickens-in-the-road-newsletter/

  61. 11-9
    9:55
    am

    I’m dying to get back to knitting!

  62. 11-9
    10:10
    am

    I too would love for your to teach Poky, Big Puppy or the goats to pull. I have had St. Bernards most of my adult life and they are great at pulling a cart so, maybe Big Puppy and Poky could do that together and have a hobby in common as well as their “love” for each other. As one sided as that is. LOL But seriously, it’s amazing how much weigh a dog can pull. My grandkids are always the hit of the neighborhood when we hitch up Willow to pull the cart or the minature wagon we built for her. It takes some time and would probably be a spring thing, seeing as how much moisture you get, but I think you would be very pleased with yourself and the results. :sun:

  63. 11-9
    10:22
    am

    Thank you SO MUCH!!!!

  64. 11-9
    10:23
    am

    I have always wanted to learn to make simple willow/twig furniture. Every year at a local craft show I would see an old gentleman selling furniture (arbors, chairs and small tables) that he had made from willow branches – they were so cool and not cheap.

  65. 11-9
    10:27
    am

    OMG Suzanne, that salsa recipe sounds wonderful. May I ask about how many jars that recipe makes? Thanks again. Can’t wait to make this. Your recipe sounds better than mine.

  66. 11-9
    10:30
    am

    Wow I dont know if I could add to the list! I think everyone has good suggestions… I am still on the homemade bread section! :hungry: I love the homemade paper idea, the rag rugs(would be awesome!!) Home decorating is a big thing for me – I love simple rustic free or refurbished crafts that make my home feel full of homemade love :heart: So anything along those lines I will try. I am a big do it yourselfer! I had found a beautiful wood woven basket (at the thrift store .75cents!) filled it with pinecones from outside (probably about 20?) and had to run to the store they were selling (nonscented) pinecones for 6.99! For 8!!! I was like ha ha got mine for FREE!! Seriously a BIG THING for me. LOL! Good Luck and I am along for the ride!

  67. 11-9
    10:32
    am

    I’m sorry, I don’t remember now. I know it made quite a bit. (Not just two or three or anything like that.)

  68. 11-9
    10:34
    am

    Hi Suzanne!

    I don’t have any better ideas than the ones I’ve already read in the comments above – so I’ll just ‘vote’ for a few of the ones I saw! :sheep:

    - I’d LOVE to see you keep bees! I know this isn’t really a ‘winter’ activity, but I’d love to have raw honey at some point, so it would be wonderful to see you teach us how to keep bees and harvest honey. That would be SOO cool!!
    - I am really looking forward to your posts about making hard cheese! I buy local raw milk and I’ve made cream cheese before, but I’d love to make cheddar for our sandwiches (on Grandmother Bread!!)
    - Soap! I’d love to learn how to make soap with Lye and tallow or lard (or some other oils). I think it would make wonderful Christmas gifts.

    Yay!

    Also, last night hubby and I were craving some beef franks, so we went to store and got some and he went to grab buns and I yelled ‘OH! I can make buns with Grandmother Bread!’ – right there in the store I yelled that. So, when we got home I prepped the dough and just in time for dinner we had fresh buns and some homemade fermented Sauerkraut I made last week! YUM YUM YUM!

  69. 11-9
    10:41
    am

    I’ve always wanted to learn to lay brick or stone using whatever is available. So how about building a stone smokehouse? Real, thick sliced apple wood smoked bacon.

    Then I’d want to watch the barrel racing chickens at the rodeo.

  70. 11-9
    10:45
    am

    How about welding? I went to a friend’s house recently and her husband made a gorgeous pot rack for her. You could do candleholders for the candles you are making.

    I’m interested in all the suggestions above! Soap-making, knitting, sewing, weaving, butter, beekeeping, wine-making, etc! And I love the idea of foraging. Mushrooms intrigue me, but I’m too scared of the poisonous ones. And then there are truffles! I would think WV would be a great place to look for truffles!

  71. 11-9
    11:11
    am

    I have two. The first one is something I would like to do. The second, not so much, but I would love to see someone else do it!

    1. Grow and mill your own flour.

    2. Hog’s head cheese.

    Good luck!

    Smiles,
    Lisa

  72. 11-9
    11:30
    am

    I love all the building ideas–greenhouse, spring house, and I think a root cellar is a good idea for preserving root veggies. Plus, do you ever get tornadoes?

    My suggestion was to be chair caning, which I see already got a comment. A related idea I’d like to try but have no hope of actually doing so, therefore seeing you do it would be great: at the Metropolitan Museum in New York’s Egypt exhibit, I saw a chair seat that had been woven with rope through evenly spaced holes in the wood frame of the perimeter of the seat. I thought it looked much nicer than cane. I like the idea of making cane-seated chairs but I don’t actually love the way they look… So the rope was a great alternative–it was a pretty pattern and looked sturdy.

    How about a zip line for the kids? You have lots of trees! My grandparents used to have one but I only got to ride it a couple of times. Fun, fun, fun! I also like the perimeter of-your-property-path idea and the riding-cart idea.

  73. 11-9
    11:47
    am

    1. Grow sorghum and have your own molasses. Fabulous for cooking!!
    2. Learn tatting, it’s so beautiful and fast becoming a lost art. It’s one of the hardest handworks to master!
    3. Gain a working knowledge of planting/canning by the signs.
    4. Learn to make oak split or honeysuckle vine baskets.
    5. Learn to candlewick, see I gave you an easy one!

  74. 11-9
    12:05
    pm

    Make your own yogurt.
    It’s easy!

    Willow or twig furniture?
    Come up with a great use for blackberry vines??? Ok, just wishful thinking on that one.

  75. 11-9
    12:13
    pm

    Goodness I’m tired just reading the suggestions! I love the beekeeping idea, weaving baskets and winemaking. The zip line sounds interesting. As far as animals and killing them for meat, not so much. If I had cows, pigs etc. they would all have names, bows in their hair and probably sleeping in the house. :happyflower:

  76. 11-9
    12:14
    pm

    I do! I have a yogurt post here:
    http://chickensintheroad.com/blog/2009/10/28/homemade-yogurt-in-a-crock-pot-and-yogurt-cheese/

  77. 11-9
    12:16
    pm

    I love that idea–I have a planting by the moon post here:
    http://chickensintheroad.com/blog/2009/05/25/planting-by-the-moon/

  78. 11-9
    12:17
    pm

    Tornadoes are rare in WV, but they do happen. Morgan has been asking for a zip line for awhile! I’m afraid she’ll kill herself.

  79. 11-9
    12:20
    pm

    I’ll tell Sheryl you asked so she’ll come back when she gets a chance to answer! (It might be a while if I can’t get hold of her right away, so try back.)

  80. 11-9
    12:25
    pm

    I won’t be doing any posts on slaughtering! (The only animals we have that will be going that route are the pigs, and I won’t be posting about it other than maybe to note that they have gone on to a better place….)

  81. 11-9
    12:47
    pm

    YES FISHING!!!! AND RECIPES!!! LOL

  82. 11-9
    12:56
    pm

    I like the idea of building small bridges over the areas in the driveway that give you trouble. Furniture refinishing and furniture upholstering is so much fun, there are tons of Craigslist, garage sale or free items just waiting to be turned into something beautiful.

  83. 11-9
    1:10
    pm

    I would have added beekeeping too, but my hubby has been a beekeeper for over 40 years and we are having a terrible time just keeping our honeybees alive the past few years. We used to have around a hundred thriving hives and are down to under 30 which are struggling. Hubby isn’t sure we’ll have any by spring. :(

  84. 11-9
    1:21
    pm

    Hi,
    Just found this blog about a week ago and I’m really enjoying it. I live in WV too. Debbie it sure sounds like you have a lot of potential projects here to fill in your spare time! Just a small suggestion from someone who has been there and done that; IF you decide to train your donks to harness you might want to think about getting a bigger donkey or pony. The minis are adorable and a blast to drive in a cart but they wouldn’t really be able to do much real work. Where as a bigger animal trained to pull and plow can be a great asset to the small farmstead.
    Leslie from Rock Cave

  85. 11-9
    1:48
    pm

    I love to read your blog. You are always cooking or canning, or baking something. I used to can, but gave it up when I moved to Florida. However winter is coming, I remember the tim foil incident, and maybe a quilt might be a great idea. You have the sewing machine and material doesn’t need to come from some fancy shop. My mother used to cut up all our old dresses and my brothers shirts. Something to mull over.

  86. 11-9
    2:11
    pm

    My great aunt taught me to make lard. It’s super easy. Put all your fat in a big pot. I use the one that I do tomatoes in with the strainer pot out. No water.

    Let it melt the fat slowly so as not to burn. It doesn’t take very long to all turn to liquid. You will have bits and pieces of meat and skin in the liquid fat. Put about a tsp of baking soda in it, and all the bits and pieces will come to the top and can be removed. I use a small strainer and dip it out. This is what we call ‘cracklins’ and they are wonderful in cornbread.

    Then pour the liquid fat into containers. I allowed mine to cool a bit and put it in quart jars and put them in the freezer. It makes the most beautiful white lard you’ve ever used.

  87. 11-9
    2:19
    pm

    Hey Chris……

    Wow…..I can’t wait for you to share more stories of your travails!!! Anywho….I recently bought goat’s milk soap in several fragrances and thought you should be making some. I would love to see you…and the kids??? sled or snow tube down some of theose hills!! Sounds like fun? Good luck.

  88. 11-9
    2:37
    pm

    Hey, how about making a mud oven? I’ll try and find out exactly what materials you will need,but basically all it takes is a tiled or brick floor on a stand, a mud dome and some sort of door. You make a fire in the mud oven, heat it up well, and cook all sorts of goodies; bread, beef, chicken (oops,sorry about that)…

  89. 11-9
    3:06
    pm

    Glad to hear Georgia is doing better. Maybe you should make and sell a “Georgia is my hero” or a “Georgia Rocks” t-shirt. She is certainly helping a lot of people with her knowledge :-)

  90. 11-9
    4:00
    pm

    I dare you to get some guinea’s to add excitement to your life! They are really quite comical and a source of unending laughter and entertainment. I recently got a few and have really learned to love the dinosaur birds. While they are challenging in their own way, they always put a smile on my face. They provide great bug/pest control and are your alarm that something isn’t right and you need to check it out!

  91. 11-9
    4:18
    pm

    Try making candles. Beekeeping would be great too.

  92. 11-9
    5:10
    pm

    Zip line!!! :fairy:
    tree house?
    learn an instrument.. eg: guitar, banjo
    make your own shampoo

  93. 11-9
    5:14
    pm

    I agree with Cousin Sheryl, learn to make wine and also someone mentioned to raise honeybees; for pollination of crops (you will be amazed at how much more veggies you get), bee’s wax and of course honey!

  94. 11-9
    5:33
    pm

    I agree with several of the posts here… I couldn’t post earlier due to being busy, but here’s my list. (none are deadly… I hope)

    Beekeeping. I know there’s trouble with beehives lately, all the more reason to try to keep some healthy hives! I’m thinking of trying this myself, not sure I’m in a good spot though.

    Weaving. You have some family with knowledge. Take advantage of it!!! Preserving that knowledge is IMPORTANT! And adding to it with some of what your friends acquaintances can add to it is golden. It’s something to preserve.

    Add a specific chicken or other poultry breed you think worth preserving. There are “Heritage Breeds” that deserve our attention. There are lists of rare or ucomon breeds out there, things like Chantecler, Buckeyes, Sussex, or Dorking… numerous others too, but all worth our attention. Much the same as preserving “Heirloom” garden seeds that have become difficult to find. There are Ducks and Geese as well that fall into the same categories.

    I also agree with getting a dog or pony cart for either Coco or your Donkey, or even getting a pony that already knows how to drive. You can drive a pony up the road and have a great asset on the farm. Learning to drive can be challenging, but our ancestors drove horses and ponies and you can do it too. I’ve driven horses, both singles and teams. It’s rather scary, you are depending on that animals good behaviour, but it’s also very rewarding.

  95. 11-9
    5:37
    pm

    Oh OH!! I forgot!!! Yes, Wine, or beer, or mead or all three!!! I’ve made mead, and assisted with beer, both of which turned out very good. I’m told making wine is much more challenging, but I’ve never tried that myself so I don’t know for sure.

  96. 11-9
    6:05
    pm

    :chicken: I’ll add:

    1. Homemade sausage – I made some once with a lady who knew what she was doing, but we were in a rush and she bought ground low fat meats and she added a bunch of stuff and mixed it up and we stuffed it in the casings with a teaspoon. :lol: It was the best sausage! I’m sure you could come up with a wonderful recipe and photos. And a better method than the spoon for filling the casing.

    2. I second the quilt, path and outhouse ideas. Just be sure you like the fabrics you chose. You will be looking at them for awhile and if you come to dislike them it will make it hard to finish the quilt. Been there. Paths are fun! I love making walking paths on our property. We had an outhouse when I was a kid for use by folks who were working outside. Handy. You could put together a super cute outhouse. In fact I’d like to build one too. I don’t think we are allowed outhouses here, but I could use it to store garden tools or as a chicken coop for chicks or?

    3. Build a spring house or well house or maybe there is one around the countryside somewhere you can show us. Maybe you or Georgia could show/talk about how people kept their food cool. Root cellars? Did folks around you used to cut ice blocks in the winter and store them for summer use? I remember the ice trucks and using iceboxes. Do you want to try cutting ice blocks this winter, storing it and testing out an icebox come spring? No. Don’t do that. But you could post about it.

    4. How about you make a homemade hot tub so you have a comfy place to relax after all this work! Solar heat or wood stove so you can use it in the winter?

    5. I really do hope you can find a homemade hand and face cream/ointment/lotion/something. I’ve been looking and haven’t found one that doesn’t use a lot of ingredients I would have to travel too far to get.

    6. Getting a cow and making butter is a great idea, but a lot more work. How about if you got some fresh milk from a neighbor who has a cow and made then you made butter? OK. Dare: You milk the cow. But who will take the photos?
    :heart:

  97. 11-9
    6:22
    pm

    You could do what you’re already doing. I like what you’re already doing. My favorite part thought is the recipes. You’re an amazing cook, and I’ve learned a lot from reading your recipes and strategies. Keep sharing your knowledge! And thanks!

  98. 11-9
    6:26
    pm

    This isn’t so much crafty as it is old-fashioned fun. How about an old-time taffy pull?

  99. 11-9
    6:37
    pm

    Oh my Suzanne! You do so much already…I’m just happy living a different life thru you and your blog. And you know you’re going to be way busier when you have the SAM-e gig! (I think you need to make some wine..you know, to help you relax from all your hard work!)
    (I’ve noticed another “Yvonne” posting now,so I’ll be “Yvonne M.”)

  100. 11-9
    6:42
    pm

    1) Goat Butter not Cow Butter
    http://easylivingthehardway.blogspot.com/2009/10/creamy-goat-butter.html

    2) Book of the Month Club, farm-related books. First of the month list the book, and at the end of the month on a particular day we all leave comments about it.

    3) beekeeping. Have you read: A Country Year: Living the Questions by Sue Hubbell, also a good book for the Club to read.

    4) various Goat Cheeses In general, continue emphasizing the efficiency of goats over cows. In general, seems like the hardcore homesteaders have goats not cows.

    5) apple-cider vinegar, so many health benefits from it

    6) canning – meal-in-a-jar. Jackie Clay cans a lot of meat. She doesn’t get in to too much butchering though, which I appreciate.

    7) I always enjoy your recipes along with the photo’s so continue cooking!

    8) drawing maple syrup

    9) concocting elixirs and remedies

    10)making homemade wine

    11)cultivating the best blueberries and grapevines

    12)building a bat house

    13) compost piles. What goes into the compost pile and what goes to the chickens.

    14) being prepared for emergencies

    15) the joys of being frugal

  101. 11-9
    6:47
    pm

    Making rag rugs out of old blue jeans?
    Making dandelion wine?

    There are so many fun suggestions already!

    How about publishing your own book? There are a lot of agents out there and publishing companies, but I am interested in the step by step of publishing one’s own book…you would be a great person to do it and show the rest of us your steps in doing so!!!!

  102. 11-9
    7:05
    pm

    That’s great Suzanne. I realize it is part of life but makes me uncomfortable. Can’t wait to see the projects you will be taking on next!!!!

  103. 11-9
    7:22
    pm

    I second Shirly, #78…. make and teach lard rendering! So easy and sooo good and beautiful in quart jars!

  104. 11-9
    7:24
    pm

    How about getting a spinning wheel?
    We are trying to get to garden year round and are building a greenhouse. Have you thought of that?

    I sure enjoy your blog!

  105. 11-9
    7:31
    pm

    This is a reply to Box Call:

    Yes, any kind of grain can be ground in a common house-hold blender. This is what is called a “hammer-mill.” Just grind the grain to the consistency you want and then sift it. The grain will need to be sifted to remove the bran (the outer hull of the grain) which is less digestible. You can add bran back in per your taste for the fiber benefits.

    Remember that the grain has to be thoroughly dried for grinding purposes.

    We use field corn for grinding. This can be purchased at a feed/farm supply store. You may have to look on the Internet or check with your local Extension Service to find sources of organically-grown grain. Or you can grow your own.

    We keep corn meal all year round for ourselves and for local customers. Give us a call. Just remember – our corn meal is produced from commercially grown grain.

    Thanks for the inquiry. Please give us a call if you have more questions.

    (Note added from Suzanne: email me and I’ll get you in touch with them if you are local and want to buy some of my cousin’s cornmeal.)

  106. 11-9
    7:37
    pm

    I love several of the ideas. I grew up and live in suburbia but lived in a small town for about 8 years. My husband grew up in Ohio near West Virginia in a small town. I think these “dares” would fit right in with your farming lifestyle and several of these I’ve tried and get great satisfaction from.

    Go deer hunting and process the deer yourself. You can get so much use out of a deer. The leather makes the softest gloves and the meat is delicious when processed right. Ok – this would be an advanced “dare”. But on the other hand there would not be any butchering of an animal you knew personally.

    Soap making – from lard/shortening and lye. Fun and useful. The end product is really nice too because all the glycerol hasn’t been removed.

    Can dry beans or meat. Very useful if the electricity goes out for an extended period of time. Also useful as a time saver. Requires a pressure canner though.

    Make sauerkraut or pickles. I’ve always wanted to try this but so far my “experiments” haven’t worked out. But I don’t have proper equipment for this either.

    Make a cold frame for hardening off veggie plants in the spring.

    I also really liked the ideas for making maple syrup or maple candy (yum!!) or to build a mud/clay oven (its supposed to make the bestest pizza).

    Whatever you decide, I will love reading about it.

    Have fun!

  107. 11-9
    8:02
    pm

    I’m really interested in bees, especially top-bar beekeeping, right now. I’d love to watch you make mistakes, I mean succeed!!!, first, though. ;-)

  108. 11-9
    8:33
    pm

    I’d love, love, LOVE to have a camel! A dromedary, a Bactrian, I don’t care, but I adore camels and camelids. I have 4 acres in central Virginia, between Charlottesville and Richmond, so it’s awfully damp for camels, but still….

    Lead me on to being daring, Suzanne, but keep me from making miserable desert animals.

    Failing that, I’d love for you to have some mules.

  109. 11-9
    8:44
    pm

    Dayhiker (or anyone), if you’re near enough to midwestern Ohio (nearest big city is Dayton, 1/2 an hour away, and want 2 huge healthy hives of bees and are willing to take them out of the side of our home, come on over.

    The past two years when they’ve swarmed, we found beekeepers to come collect the swarms, but no one around here takes hives out of houses anymore. We couldn’t afford it right now anyway.

    They’ve been here 4 years, all the beekeepers or repair people that have to do something out front go–”Those are HUGE hives!” Yes, I know. Take them home with you. No takers.

    I have pics of the last swarm. Completely covered both sides of a board on our picket fence, filled an entire hive box the beekeepers brought.

    Really, they’re VERY healthy. Which is not very convenient for us. (g) I’d like to keep bees, but a little farther away from our front door, thanks.

  110. 11-9
    8:47
    pm

    Hi, I would like to know if you can can goat’s milk. I know it can be frozen but my friend lives on a small farm and loses electricity frequently. Thanks, Love your blog,

  111. 11-9
    9:09
    pm

    I confess I haven’t read all the other suggestions, so this might be a duplicate, but – I dare you to make your own beer! My first batch just finished, and it’s SO GOOD! And since you live on a farm, you could totally grow and malt your own barley, right?

  112. 11-9
    9:20
    pm

    I know for a fact that Suzannes secret wish is to own some Alpacas. They’re just so darned expensive! So if anyone wants to donate a couple….

    Now as to the question at hand: As she asked for “dares”, I dare her to go into the big city and get a complete makeover. That includes a shorty haircut and style. I might even arrange this if she has the courage. :yes:

  113. 11-9
    9:27
    pm

    I like the beekeeping, lard making, fermenting, and clay oven ideas best.

    A good book for you to check out is:
    Gene Logsdon’s Practical Skills
    A Revival of forgotten Crafts, Techniques, and Traditions.

    It has alot of the suggestions in it. Might be a nice guide.

  114. 11-9
    11:03
    pm

    All the ideas submitted are wonderful! I especially liked the one about building a bread/pizza oven for outdoor baking with firewood. I am thinking it probably isn’t hard to make, but knowing that you have a way of explaining and illustrating everything you make in very simple to understand terms, I would rather learn from you! I hear pizza tastes phenomenal baked in a firewood oven.

  115. 11-9
    11:57
    pm

    :wave:
    How about making goat milk soap? I bought some at a farmers market a few years ago for Christmas presents and everyone loved it and wanted more. But I can’t find it around here anymore.

    How about teaching the goats/goat to shake hands? My daughter had a friend who taught her goat to shake hands for unsalted ( I repeat *unsalted*) peanuts in the shell. If you use the salted kind, they can get sick. They have no off switch when it comes to salted peanuts. Like some people have no off switch for potato chips. Goats are pretty smart when it comes to food, so they catch on quick when you teach them to shake. Usually.

  116. 11-10
    12:57
    am

    Hard cheese from goats milk! My goatie will give birth in Feb, and my daughters are still whining that we have to drink “store bought milk.” I want to try cheddar cheese, my favorite

  117. 11-10
    5:18
    am

    I would love to see llamas on your farm. My daughter would become addicted to your blog if you had llamas and story about them.

  118. 11-10
    7:09
    am

    Bees, honey, quilting, OR a picture of you in the rocking chair is fine too. :-}
    My mother-in-law made a plum liquor she called “punch”. It was the most amazing stuff ever. It’s the only thing I really wnat to know how to do. Beside, the making of liquors is medicinal.

  119. 11-10
    7:41
    am

    I challenge you to break the donkey’s to drive a little cart. Or perhaps the goats. You see old pics of goats pulling carts.

  120. 11-10
    9:34
    am

    First off I am a lurker who has decided to come out of lurking and actually comment.. I too remember Debbie and I liked her and wondered where she went and then why did they get rid of Lisa (she was the asian looking gal that replaced Debbie)…. I agree having a farm big or small definatly has its adventures!

  121. 11-10
    9:51
    am

    I dare you to make hard cheese. I ordered the hard cheese kit from the supplier you used for soft cheeses. Needless to say I could not keep the milk at a constant 90 degrees so we ended up with a cross between ricotta/mozarella/cheddar. Tasted good but looked like yuck.

    All earlier dares/suggestions are great and natural dying, spinning and weaving get my vote. You could weave some wonderful saddle blankets for Coco, Poky, Clover et al.

  122. 11-10
    9:56
    am

    I like reading your imaginary conversations between and among the animals. More stories, please. That is my suggestion. I love your blog!
    Gayle
    San Diego

  123. 11-10
    10:12
    am

    Imaginary?!

  124. 11-10
    11:40
    am

    I agree! I never picked up a gun till I moved to WV. Those cute little deer became not so cute when I hit one at 65mph and the airbag knocked me out (and the cruise control never clicked off). SCARY! I’ve since learned to hunt, gut, and butcher a deer. The best place for a deer is in my freezer. YUMMY!

  125. 11-10
    12:08
    pm

    :sheepjump: first I made your tortillas the other night and they were a awesome and so simple I will never buy them again, but your dare? I knit( with anything string or even hair and with anything pointy) weave and sew but would love to learn to spin how about making a spinning wheel? if not I vote for learning to drive a donkey or goat cart.

  126. 11-10
    12:17
    pm

    That is so funny! Years ago, I used to watch The View before I went out to work. I rather liked Debbie too!

    I LOVE your blog. Can you make some homemade Kalhua? I’ve always wanted to do that for Christmastime.

  127. 11-10
    12:22
    pm

    Would like to learn how to make my own incense and also make button greeting cards by hand. Fun, fun, fun!! I have a spinning wheel and would like to get better at spinning wool.

  128. 11-10
    12:23
    pm

    I would like to see a picture of you in your yard spinning wool on your spinning wheel. How earthy is that! :sheepjump:

  129. 11-10
    12:50
    pm

    I have a homemade kahlua recipe here:

    http://chickensintheroad.com/blog/2008/02/28/make-kahlua-at-home/

  130. 11-10
    2:10
    pm

    I love what you so already. I especially love posts about 52, your kids, your kitties, ducks and all. I want to be like you someday. I’m 27 and don’t live on a farm. So whatever you choose I hope it can inspire people like me (who live vicariously through you) to do things along with you even if we don’t have a farm. Here are some of my favorites among the suggestions.
    I double dog dare you:
    -knitting, I don’t know how (allergic to wool, but would love to learn)
    -a bridge over the creek? Would that make your life a lot easier?
    -The woven rug sounds awesome
    I hope you’re not overwhelmed. You bring so much joy to my life with your website. It makes me feel peaceful reading your posts.
    Thank you so much.

  131. 11-10
    2:41
    pm

    I’m with blessedone (way up in the post). I’d like to get off my well water and start using a cistern. I’d also like to get off the grid as well.

  132. 11-10
    4:46
    pm

    I think you should learn to shoot. Hunting is also a great idea, but that’s something else all together. If you can’t face killing things, at least learn to fire a gun and do target practice. Every WV woman worth her salt needs to know how to handle a firearm.
    If you want an extra challenge, get a black powder rifle…preferably a flintlock. There’s nothing more surprising, satisfying or fun than having gunpowder burn up inches in front of your face before the BANG!

  133. 11-10
    5:05
    pm

    Yes, the dehydrator CAN be used for cranberries. I’ve not done them, but I have done blueberries. Sort and rinse them. Drain them a bit. Put them on the tray. Poke each one with the point of a knife. I did some that I didn’t poke, and it took hours longer to get them dried, though it did take me about an hour to poke 10 “clam shell”‘s worth of berries for the second batch. That was about 5 of the round dehydrator tray’s FULL of berries. But that batch dried in about 9 hrs vs the 24 or so it took the unpoked ones.

  134. 11-10
    5:49
    pm

    Um yes. HOMEMADE HOT TUB. It gets C-O-L-D in WV. Your kids would worship you!! :dancingmonster:
    That would be so cool!

  135. 11-11
    1:09
    am

    Great suggestions! I recall reading an earlier post of yours about your vintage sewing machine. I hoped you’d follow up with some sewing projects.

    Also, gather your posse and host a barn raising. (You could be the photographer.)

  136. 11-11
    4:22
    pm

    Homemade brownie mix where you just add eggs and liquid. I know you have a homemade yellow cake mix, but is there one for brownies too?

    Fishing. You fishing would be awesome, especially if you have recipes for the fish you catch.

    Gardening tips. I’ve got my raised garden bed this year and my results were less than stellar. Must be something about my heirloom tomatoes taking over the entire box and crowding out everything else. You want the rest of those seeds? They don’t do good out here in Texas, too hot!

  137. 11-13
    8:10
    am

    WV Sky I’ll take you up on that makeover and I’m already in Charleston. Hey Suzanne we could go together!

    I love your blog and anything you decide to do I’ll be along for the ride.

  138. 11-15
    1:44
    pm

    Oh, Suzanne I believe you are my Mother’s daughter! She was raised in the Ozark hills by ‘salt of the earth’ folks. Most of these suggestions were just ordinary every day events for her people. Her father even made caskets for the neighborhood & a neighbor made headstones from ordinary cement. From salt pickles to cottage cheese to home remedies (some of them dangerous sounding). Home made lye soap, quilts from old clothes and dry stacked stone walls,
    robbing bee ‘trees’ in the woods, picking wild greens in the spring & making sour piccalli in the fall. She loved it all & I wish she was still with us because I know she could come up with the best DARE ever! She loved to share her knowledge of making do-do without-use it up & wear it out!
    I think a good winter, by the fire, snowed in activity would be mountain made & inspired greeting cards. Maybe home made paper with gathered seeds, leaves & such (or just use some natural looking store stuff) pictures of your animals & local scenery with your wonderful whimsical anecdotes. I bet Clover & Poky have a lot to say!
    What ever DARE you choose, I’ll be here to cheer you on & maybe join in………….

  139. 11-16
    11:38
    am

    Late to the party as usual. Darn job gets in the way of my blog readin’. Why don’t they understand?

    My biggest challenge, if ever I get my city people to move to the backcountry where Mom belongs, will be wood chopping. I don’t know if I’d ever be able to split wood, let alone fell a tree, without doing bodily harm. That would probably be the first skill I would try to master. Wear a hardhat and take people along with you.

  140. 11-17
    7:57
    pm

    Yo….how about a good recipe for venison jerky….since she loves drying stuff….love those deer roasts….and chops….but she will never eat piggy sausage again if she ever ate venison sausage….it is the best to make chili and so lean….

  141. 11-18
    5:48
    pm

    Dear Debbie,

    I dare you. … to take on a border, just for a week,
    the last week of next March. :shimmy:

    One Mom, one ten year old city girl, and one sheep/goat herding Border Collie. :sheep: (I’ll leave the cat at home) :D

    It will, at the very least, put some money in the coffer and give you something more to write about. That, and get this city weary woman out of South Florida and back to nature, and maybe my daughter will have a little fun too. What do you say?! Have your goats ever seen a border collie? :sheepjump: This could be fun!

  142. 12-1
    11:36
    am

    I dare, double dog dare, you might be too young for that one, but it means the most serious kind of dare you will ever get. I dare you to make tamales. Around here it is a holiday tradition. I learned a long time ago and I make them every year.

    Ruthie

  143. 1-22
    9:06
    pm

    Beg, borrow or buy a cider press and make old-fashioned apple cider! We have a small apple and pear orchard in central Washington (state), and we make and freeze cider from the culled appled. It makes great Christmas gifts, it’s wonderful, and it’s GOOD for you. :-) Nothing like hot spiced cider after sledding on New Year’s Day!

  144. 1-22
    10:14
    pm

    Maybe you could put a section on here for an “Emergency Kit”. Things that people should have in case of a snow-in, flood, earthquake, tornado or hurricane. I know WV doesn’t suffer from them all but you would be surprised how many people don’t keep them or know what to put in them.

  145. 1-23
    1:18
    am

    I agree with JoLinda, given where you’re living (and me for that matter) power outages etc can be a major issue. I’ve been through a couple of ice storms and have to say the wood stove is a godsend. But learning how to keep a generator going at -50 (cel, this is Canada) is a challenge. Do you have a POL shed (Petrol, Oil and Lubricants). How about things to keep on hand, more than just candles and matches. I’m sure plenty of you have stories of snowstorms, power outs, etc – what did you all do and what did you find handy. Ever bake bread on your wood stove?! Blow up a can of beans in the fireplace

  146. 3-5
    4:25
    am

    Create a spot to just retreat to outside like a garden house for comfort with come candles, your favorite books, great smelling garden flowers, a super comfy chair and a small blanket. A place you can escape from all the chores and worries in the world. Relax, read and fall fast asleep, only make sure the candles are blown out first. y mom had one when I was a teen and I spent all my free time there. She never would let me move in to it. You really should relax. Just my thoughts..

  147. 3-29
    1:24
    am

    Do you have some chart on this blog where you show which things you acheived in this ‘dare debbie list?’

    How about an outdoor mud oven for a dare?

  148. 1-18
    11:04
    am

    We’ve used our miniature horse (who thinks he’s a Clydesdale) to pull logs out of the woods for fire wood (large fence post size, not Redwoods). I want to get a small plow and use him to plow our garden, too. Maybe you can use your donkeys similarly? I dare ya to try!! =)

  149. 11-30
    4:59
    pm

    Just re-read this old post and I was amazed at the things listed in the comments that you have accomplished since then! Wow! SuperWoman!

  150. 2-14
    2:41
    pm

    I would love to learn how to weave wooden baskets. I once saw a show where a woman harvested her own wood from a particular tree, I can’t remember the species. When she beat the log with a mallet, it separated into strips. Then she wove them into the most beautiful baskets. As I watched her, my heart was actually aching, and there were tears in my eyes. I love working with my hands, and apparently, my heart wants my brain to find someone who will teach my hands how to beat special logs into strips that I can weave into baskets. :heart:

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The Slanted Little House

"It was a cold wintry day when I brought my children to live in rural West Virginia. The farmhouse was one hundred years old, there was already snow on the ground, and the heat was sparse-—as was the insulation. The floors weren’t even, either. My then-twelve-year-old son walked in the door and said, “You’ve brought us to this slanted little house to die." Keep reading our story....



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