Tuesday, December 25, 2012


All of us at TwoFarmsOne wish you a safe, healthy, blessing filled and very merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


Anna's Children - Christmas 2005

(AF) Busy, but fine, mostly.

Hello, Everybody!

Yes, we have gotten extremely busy again. It is just that time of year, as I am sure all of you know. We are both still a little under the weather, but improving. My back is out, which is slowing me down, but I am still managing to get around and get quite a bit done. As soon as the cold front that is almost here, passes through, my back will probably be just fine (I am hoping).

We both have soooo many blog posts that we have mulling about in our heads, and we are dying to get them posted, but we have neither one had a lot of time lately to just sit down and write away. As I have said before, it is too bad because that is the time you actually have the most to write about.

We are going to try our best to get caught up on our sites over the next few days, but we make no promises! We truly hope life is treating you all well, you are having a great Christmas season, and we can't wait to find some reading time to catch up with all of you and your blogs.

Have a BEAUTIFUL and BLESSING filled day!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

TIGHTWAD TUESDAY - Don't Toss Those Pumpkins!

Jack Be Little Pumpkins (white ones included).... They are so cute that none of us, kids nor adults alike, can resist them. Some just get one or two to paint a face on for Halloween, and some get a bunch of them to scatter amongst their Fall decor. Then, long about now, if you haven't already, they end up getting tossed out with the spent Fall decorations. But you know me, I hate throwing stuff away and wasting things.

Did you know that these darling little pumpkins are not only decorative, but very tasty and good to eat as well?! Last year I ended up with several and just couldn't bring myself to throw them out. They were pumpkins, and it seemed such a waste, so I decided to do some digging and see if they were good to eat at all. To my delighted surprise, I learned that they were not only good to eat, but there are many great recipes all over the net for cooking them! Just type in "Jack Be Little Pumpkins Recipes" into your search box and all kinds of recipes for them comes up!  You can even bake several of them, scoop them out, and make an ordinary pumpkin pie. They have so many uses that I can't believe so many of them are just tossed into the trash this time of year (or any time for that matter). You can even fill each one with a handful of your favorite meatloaf recipe and bake for great, individual meatloaves (a fun way to get kids to eat meatloaf, though I still doubt it would work on me, lol).

Although the wall of these pumpkins is very thick and provides each individual person with a generous, nutritious serving of vegetable, there are also lots of seeds in the center of each one. The seeds easily come out and can be cleaned and used to roast or to plant to grow even more the next year, or you can roast most of them and save a few to plant for the next year. You can really get the mileage out of your money on these great little pumpkins if you first use them for decoration, then cook and eat them, then plant some of the seeds to grow more for the next year. I still can't believe how many of these get tossed into the trash each year. It just doesn't seem right. Oh, and if you don't like to eat them, they are also great fodder for goats and chickens. Here is my favorite way to cook them.... Click Here

If you have other ways of cooking them, or other ways to use these adorable little pumpkins before they are trashed, I would love to hear them!

Friday, December 7, 2012

PHARMACY FRIDAY - Apple Cider Vinegar for healing

 Now, when I talk about using Apple Cider Vinegar for healing purposes, I am talking about the All Natural Apple Cider Vinegar WITH Mother. This vinegar is in its most natural state and has not had extra processing that kills any (usually most) of its natural healing properties. There are actually several different brands you can choose from. Although most of them work equally well, there is usually a very wide range of prices. We have found that Heinz works very well, for a very reasonable price.

Some people think that Apple Cider Vinegar KILLS bacteria, but others say that it mostly just retards the growth of bacteria. There are several types of bacteria that it can stop the growth of, and one of the most important ones is Staphylococcus aureus. This could be very good to know when you have an antibiotic resistant staff infection!
But Apple Cider Vinegar, some say, does not stop the growth of all bacteria (see more HERE), so if you are counting on it for the purpose of killing/retarding many bacteria, you may want to consider something with more antibacterial properties, or digging a little deeper with your research.

Apple Cider Vinegar contains inulin, which is a prebiotic. So what does this mean? This component won't kill bacteria, but it WILL help your body's ability to fight against them by increasing your number of T cells and white blood cells.

Apple Cider Vinegar can also help to stop the growth of bacteria in another way. When applied, it decreases the pH of surfaces (such as your skin), which will help to prevent bacteria from growing.  A word of caution, though, Apple Cider Vinegar IS an acid and can cause some tissue irritation.

Contrary to all of this, research done by the Heinz corporation has shown that apple cider vinegar actually kills 99% of bacteria, 82% of mold and 80% of viruses.  You will have to be the judge on how much you trust it to kill bacteria and viruses, but this time of year, during cold and flu season, it might not be a bad idea to incorporate some into your daily cleaning routines and to disinfect minor cuts and scrapes. I like to drink a little of it mixed in a glass of water with some honey. It tastes much better than you would think, and since I have elected NOT to get a flu shot (I don't trust them, but that is another subject), I hope that a glass now and then will help to prevent the growth of any flu viruses in my system. As an added bonus, that beverage concoction also seems to help my arthritis pain! But that is getting off of topic, so we will save that for another Friday
HERE is yet a little more great information about the great, antibacterial and antiviral benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar. I hope you find this all helpful (and not confusing) and I look forward to hearing about your opinions, findings and results.

This post is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease or illness. Always remember to check with your health care provider before beginning any treatment on your own. 

(AF) My Poor Stove!

My electric cook stove has been in bad shape for awhile, now, but I just keep limping it along. Actually, the cook top hasn't even worked in about a dozen years, so I have been cooking on a double burner hotplate all of this time. In the middle of winter I use my wood burning stove that I heat my house with, but the rest of the time, it is just that old hotplate.

The oven isn't much better. When I was divorcing and temporarily moved out, my ex let the mice take over and they tore most of the insulation out of the oven. (my cats did a great job getting rid of the mice) So now it doesn't heat very evenly. Add into the mix, the springs have broken on the door of that ancient oven and the only way it will stay closed is if I wedge the door shut with a mop handle. Looks pretty funny, but it works. One day, though, I didn't get it wedged good, the door flopped open, hit something I had temporarily setting on the floor in front of the oven, and shattered the outside pane of glass into a jillion pieces! The inner pane of glass is still in the door, but even more heat escapes, now.  There is a positive side to this. On chilly nights when I don't want to fire up the wood stove, if I bake my dinner, it takes the chill out of the house at the same time! The challenges of my oven gets even better. It is so old, that all of the numbers on the nobs have worn off. Yep, I have no idea what temperature I am setting it to when I turn it on.

But tonight, my challenges grew. The nob broke off of that old hot plate! Yep, it just snapped right off. Now, it does have two sides, a large plate and a small plate, and the nob is still on the small plate, but that small plate is nearly worthless. It is good for melting butter and warming water, but that is about it. So now, no nob on my large plate, the part that I do all of  my cooking on. But the good news is, the nob broke off while the burner was on! It appears it was on high, too, which is good, because that is the only setting at which it will cook anything. So now I have two settings for my hotplate... unplugged for off, and plugged in for high. At least, it is still working. I just have to make sure and remember to unplug it each time I use it. I guess it is all in how you look at things. I could complain that I no longer have a working stove top. I could complain that the nob broke off of my hot plate. But I am not. I am REALLY THANKFUL that I have a hot plate, it still works and I can still cook just as well on it.

Maybe it is time I should put forth more effort in more natural, alternative, self-sustainable cooking. As winter moves in, I will be cooking on top of my wood stove, and inside of it in my tiny little Dutch ovens. Maybe by the time warmer weather comes back, we can build that outdoor kitchen I have always dreamed of having. Then I wouldn't even need that ancient electric stove any more and I would save tons on my electric bill!

Thursday, December 6, 2012


Before I get into the actual update, a little background might be in order.  Hopefully, this will bring those of you who haven't read my original post on the subject up to speed, while refreshing the memory of those who, like most of us, have plenty of other things to think of and may not fully remember.

The recently past summer was a hot, dry one here in the central U.S., including the part of Oklahoma where I live.  The near record drought led to increased water usage, which in turn led to decreased water availability in my two wells, making the need for conservation absolutely necessary.

Thinking of ways to save water reminded me of a book which a friend had recommended years ago, "The Humanure Handbook".  This particular work is an excellent source of information on the environmental hazards of conventional sewage systems, composting toilet systems, gray water systems and composting in general.  A must read, in my opinion.

I, being a natural born skeptic, decided to test the simplest of the composting toilet systems described.  Simply put, it consists of a bucket, seat and cover material (saw dust is preferred but I chose dry leaves).  The reason for this choice of cover material is because I live in the woods and leaves are always available.  Sawdust, on the other hand is not as readily available and isn't always free (remember, I AM a tightwad).

Deciding to do early testing outside, I used a portable camp toilet.  It is the type that consists of a bucket which sits in a slightly larger container with a seat and lid, and while being designed for use with a bag and chemicals, it served my purposes nicely.

A point to remember is that this was done in extreme summer heat.  If anything is going to stink and draw flies, it will be in summer heat, right?  Well, believe it or not, there was very little smell and to my amazement, the kitchen scrap bucket drew far more flies than the toilet.

When the bucket was dumped in the compost pile, it did smell bad, but only until covered with more leaves.  Within a couple of days, the composting process had produced temperatures high enough to kill any pathogens that might have been present.

I continued through the rest of the summer with this system, looking for some down side.  The only one I could find was the trips to the compost pile.  This would only be a down side if I wasn't already making those trips with kitchen scraps and such anyway.

By the time cold weather arrived, I had confirmed another up side in addition to water savings, environmental benefits and the prospect of rich compost for the garden.  The well pump kicks on every time the toilet is flushed, using electricity.  The savings on the electric bill was about nine dollars per month.  Nice bonus.

With cold weather, I made a plywood seat with a hole in it for an old dining chair and placed a five gallon bucket under it, and yes, I placed it in the bathroom beside the flush toilet.  Behind the bathroom door, I placed a garbage can full of leaves for use as cover material.  In an enclosed area, I fully expected the stench to be horrible and was prepared to remove the bathroom's new addition.  To my pleasant surprise. there was no more smell than with a flush toilet, and much of the smell is from the leaves (a smell I find pleasant).

With considerations of added high nutrient compost, and the savings of water and energy, it seems more than worthwhile.  Add to this savings the environmental benefits, and it seems to me a most excellent addition to our self-sufficient lifestyle.

Please let me know your thoughts, opinions and experiences.  Even with the best of things, there is room for improvement.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

(D♥A) New Commenting Form

A few weeks ago we changed the template that our blog was set to. As we did, it also changed the commenting form (yes, we did this on purpose as we like this one better). Now, you can comment in TWO ways.

You can comment to a post as you normally do... individual comments. PLUS, you can now also "reply" specifically to the comments that are already made. If you simply want to make a comment regarding the post, either click on the word "comments" so that the post with the comment form comes up, or, if it is already up, then simply scroll down to the bottom of the page and begin typing in the comment box.

If you would like to reply, add to, or comment on a comment that someone else has made, look directly under that specific comment for the word "reply". Click on "reply" and a new box will come up so that you can reply to that specific comment. When you make a comment in this way, after you post yours, it will come up under the comment you were replying to.

I hope I am not making this sound complicated, as it is really easy. Once you are there on a page, you will see what I mean and it will all make perfectly good sense. If you have any problems, or your comment ends up where you don't want it, that is no problem. You can always ask me to delete it so that you can repost it. I don't mind at all.

I love this commenting form much better. It makes conversation amongst our readers much easier (and we LOVE comments!) But we are open to all feedback from you, our readers, regarding our changed commenting form. Thank you!

TIGHTWAD TUESDAY - Christmas Buttons!!!

Normally I am not one to support large corporations, but this was just so good I had to share.

This year, finances are tighter than they have ever been, literally. Not only does it appear that buying Christmas gifts is out of the question, but even getting supplies to make them is proving to be a difficult challenge. But a few days ago my oldest daughter called me with some information that may be a great help.

A large retail chain here in the US, JCPenney,  is having a wonderful Christmas promotion I honestly don't know if it extends beyond the US or not). Daily, until Christmas Eve or until they run out, they are passing out Christmas Buttons. (like little lapel pins) These are the most adorable buttons! I would stop in just to get the buttons, they are so cute. But it gets even better. On the back of each button is a code. You go to their website and enter that code to see if you have won a prize!

They are giving away millions (literally) of prizes. They are giving away trips, merchandise, great coupons, and gift cards. Examples of the coupons are: $5 off of a $5 or more purchase, $10 off of a $10 purchase or more, etc. You can't combine coupons, but even still, you can always make small purchases and still save a bundle! I saw some wonderful sleep pants on clearance there the other day... they were originally $10, on clearance for $6. If I had had a $5 certificate to use, I could have gotten those soft, warm, top quality pants for only $1!

No purchase is necessary to get the buttons. You just go into the store (even daily if you like) and ask for some Christmas buttons. You can enter two codes a day from now to December 24th. Not all buttons are winners, but if I have it right, the odds are about 1 in 4 that a button will win something. That is great odds! And the buttons alone are fun and nice to wear and collect. There are about 50 of them and, who knows, if you can collect some complete sets, they themselves might be worth something later on down the line. So far I have entered about 16 buttons which has resulted in a total of $20. I'm excited!

I live too far out and can't go in to town every day just to stop into this store to get buttons, but I am hoping that I can go at least a couple of more times before they run out. I haven't received my certificates, yet (they are very backlogged, already) but they will come, and when they do, we are going to enjoy doing some shopping! And, as usual, I will look for the best bargains and really stretch it out. In the midst of such hard times, this store's Christmas promotion has been a true blessing for many.

You can find out more about the promotion here.
 You can also find them on facebook. There is also a picture there of all of the buttons. I am not sure which one is my favorite, but I think I am leaning on the one with the two kids on the sled in the snow.
I do hope this post can help some of you as well.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Amazing Weather!

Today is December 1st and it dawned very unseasonably warm and beautiful! It feels and smells like a typical, mid spring day. How unusual!!! As I type this post, it is already about 65°F. The prediction is that it will be 75°F before the day is out. It wouldn't surprise me if the day gets even warmer than that.

The birds are chirping and singing with a cheerfulness I haven't heard in a long  while. The musky fragrance of garden-time earthiness fills the air. The sun is shining with only an occasional cloud, the dogs are excitedly romping around, the cats are frisking about, and the goats are busy grabbing up every little green morsel that is trying to poke through the ground.

It would be an absolutely marvelous day to take off and go camping and/or fishing! That temptation is just almost too much to resist, but resist it must be. Dave is sick and has been for awhile now (one of the biggest reasons you haven't seen one of his posts lately). We think he is on the mend end of things, but he is just so tired. We are hoping that a few beautiful days like today is just what he needs to finish healing up. I have it, too, but not nearly so badly. It's just that time of year when we all seem to be passing all of those bugs around.

It will be a most beautiful day for the Flea Market, though! Which is why I must get off of here now and get going. I am hoping everyone heads out there to shop instead of yielding to the urge to run out to the lake, but I couldn't blame them. I am excited.... we don't get many December days like this. And we are suppose to get a few of them in a row! Amazing! I can think of a gajillion things to do on a day like today! What would you be doing with a sudden, gorgeous, warm spell?

Gosh, it's such a glorious day! You have a most wonderful day, too!