Ward House

A mini rant with some useful information at the end.

Something good happened in our community last night; the planning & zoning committee approved a request to rezone a parcel of land (from R2-B2) on which to build a Dollar General (see picture).  The family of the overpriced grocery store objected, along with a few of the affluent.  Keep in mind that out here, you can pay the inflated prices of the local grocery, drive 30 minutes South to the Walmart and Food Lion or continue driving to Roanoke to Kroger, Ukrops, etc.

Now keep in mind, both the location in question and I live on Route 220, which, before I81, was the main road to states north.  While I81 has taken most of the traffic, it has not re-routed all and 220 is popular for logging tractor trailers headed to the paper mill.  Dollar General was jacked on a request to build this business in a community north of here (Mitchelltown) and I am thankful they are pursuing a different location.

My original draft included more detail from the meeting and, well, I believe it would bore you; small town egos and illogic go a long way to creating an unsustainable community.  Yes,  I live in a logic vacuum; we are doomed to repeat the past.  I am going to fight where I can to save my little corner (you too, Pat) and sadly watch the rest slip away.  Wow, reading this now, it appears so tame; all the fire and brimstone are gone!  Guess I’ll save that for the Board of I-believe-I-am-god Stupervisors meeting (dang, it crept in anyway).

Ok, mini rant is over.

In other, more sensible news, I found this two-part series, from the American Preppers Network about lactofermentation: parts 1 and 2.  Some great information for those Nourishing Tradition’s fans (including me).

June 29, 2010 Posted by | Canning, Cooking, economy, politics, self sufficiency | , , , | Leave a comment

Barter anyone?

It was a lazy weekend; the intermittent rain and thunderstorms kept us guessing on whether or not to hang up clothes outside.  When it was not raining, the sunshine was beautiful and warm!  By late afternoon we decided to use the dryer and be done with it.  I do not like using the dryer; too expensive for my taste.

Tonight begins my two week first aid class.  Yup.  Four days this week and four days next week; one of the last classes needed to complete my massage therapy certification.

Today I am writing over at Homemakers Who Work; a little something on bartering.  I know some of you are more experienced than I so be sure to throw in your buck fifty.  =)

May 24, 2010 Posted by | economy | , , | 4 Comments


Two Frog Home's Window Quilt

Yes it is May (time flies, eh?), the furnace is shut down, and most blankets have been stored away.  Kathie’s post over at Two Frog Home has reminded me that in a few months, the cold weather will return.  The Ward House is an older home that can, even with replacement windows, have drafty moments.  Window quilts are a great answer to helping with the drafts AND using up those worn out flannel pajama pants that I hate to throw away (great fabric to reuse)!

Draft dodgers for the door bases is another must > I do not have a link for this…just yet.  So if you have a great idea or a pattern, please share!

May 5, 2010 Posted by | economy, heating | , | Leave a comment


Today I am posting over at Homemakers Who Work (HMWW) about using your resources to help keep life organized.  Unrelated to the HMWW, I posted about how the wood furnace was now turned off – that is now not the case.  With all the cold nights, Ronnie fired it back up so the evenings will not be to nippy.

Along the resource line, I found some sweet tutorials and wanted to share:

  1. How to make a vintage cake stand.  We do not have one of these and I love to make one – a little something on which to display cookies, cakes, etc.  I just need to find how to make a coordinating top!
  2. Second hand dresser turned Kitchen Island.
  3. Stark porch makeover.  So doable for my porch!
  4. How to make then hang Modge Podge lanterns.  And don’t go buy Modge Podge – make your own by combining equal parts of white crafting glue and water.
  5. How to make your own deodorant (cream style).

Last, but not least, a little sumpin-sumpin to sip – Mexican Sangria!:


1 bottle of red wine

1 cup of tequila

1/2 a cup of orange juice

1/2 a cup of brown organic sugar

1/4 cup of fresh squeezed organic lime juice

1 sliced organic red apple  (and other fruit if you desire – raspberries, watermelon, oranges, mangos, etc)


In a pitcher mix ingredients in this specific order.  Add ice to chill.  The longer it sits in the pitcher the more flavorful it will be.  Using a little lime juice, give the glasses a nice brown-sugar rim and then serve and enjoy!

Here’s to looking forward to more warmer weather and fun family times.

April 16, 2010 Posted by | Cooking, economy, self sufficiency | , , , , | Leave a comment

Where are all the trees?

Classes continue to go well, my regular job is busy so life is good. Tandems of wood are becoming difficult to find – the local Westvaco has forced their loggers to sign an agreement that prohibits them from selling wood to locals.  What the… ?  We may end up cutting all year instead of working up a tandem in the fall and through the winter.

Heard some other disturbing news today and I have not verified anything.  Thought I’d through it out and see what/if you’d heard anything.  As many of you know, the US owes several billion to other countries.  It is these other countries that are wanting to buy our National forests in exchange for settling some of that debt.  This bothers me.  Is it true? 

I’ll let you know what I find.

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February 20, 2010 Posted by | economy, politics, wood cook stove | Leave a comment

Of eggs, seasons, and walipini

Deborah, over at Antiquity Oaks, just posted about Winter: the egg-free season.  This post is too well written and has too much information for me to butcher by trying to summarize – definately worth the read.  What really stood out to me was this > 

I’ve grown to love eating seasonally, and I find a lot of wisdom in it. When we’re not doing much physically, we probably shouldn’t be eating a lot of eggs. We probably should be eating more dried beans, cabbage, squash and root vegetables that store well for winter consumption and are low in fat and calories.

Intense.  Thought provoking.  Makes me think/wonder about the milk cow or dairy goats.  Their production/dry periods are less in line with day light and more synch’d with a hormonal schedule.  We try to stick with what we have canned/put away for when fruits & veggies are not in season – a goal that I continually try to meet.  Stitching to fruits that are considered local is a bit more of a challenge.  That would leave us with no citrus.  =(  and I do love clementines.  What’s a girl to do?  My indoor gardening skills are not what I wish they were (due to a too busy schedule) otherwise I would grow some fruit trees indoors.  What do you do?

While I am on the egg thing, Es*sence posted about her experiment of long term egg storage without refrigeration.   The first link is the beginning and then this one is at the 90 day mark.  Looks to be the answer of how to get through the no egg times.

And then I find this project from Phelan; a walipini.  Oooh, I want one!

January 27, 2010 Posted by | Chickens, economy, greenhouse, self sufficiency, tutorials | Leave a comment

Gardens, chickens and knitting, oh my!

Kathie, over at Two Frog Home, has posted about upcycled jar lids – this is how I am going to mark the garden this year!  

 And while I am on the gardening topic, Matron of Husbandry, in her Grow a Pair post, talks about how male pullets are killed at the hatcheries because backyard flock people only want the girls and no boys (city ordinance thing).  Since the roo’s do not begin crowing until 15-20 weeks of age, you can definately raise them for the crock pot.  Young chicken is tender and tastey!  I originally was not going to post about this since the blog publishes to Facebook and yes, Sherry, I know you read it.  =)  And while I am on this rant, did you know that in Bath County gardens are illegal?  So here is how it reads: gardens are illegal, then they post that an exception is made, then at the end they say if there is a conflict the harsher rule applies.  Hmmm.  An attorney really needs to read these prior to publishing.  I’ve posted both below, in case your up for a fun read. 
Bath County Comprehensive Plan 2007-2012
Bath County Adopted Land Use

*whew*  ranting does feel good.  Now, off to some crafting love; my love of knitting/crocheting is no secret.  Phat Fiber is hosting a giveaway from Twice Sheered for this shawl pin with stitch markers.  Love me some Twice Sheered. 

Ok, I believe I am done for the day.  It iced last night and another ice storm is supposed to come through about noon.  Time to break back out the woolen mittens!

Stay warm.

January 21, 2010 Posted by | Chickens, economy | Leave a comment


Creative Juice Studios is hosting a giveaway for this reminder – wouldn’t you love to own this?  I know I do so I’m blogging about the giveaway.  This would definately hang in the kitchen. Or the bedroom.  Or the living room.  Hmm.  Maybe I need more than one!

Ronnie and I have talked of building a tiny house on his Mom’s three acres; we would be close by to help her yet off the grid.  These three acres are zoned agriculture so no fighting the counsel about chickens, or pigs, or a Gernsey.  The garden shed Ronnie is building for me (no a pictures is not yet posted) is 8x6x12- almost the size of a tiny house!  I could sooo live in one of these.  

and then there is the ‘hobbit house.  Use the link to see pictures of the inside.  Hey Ronnie, think you could create this?  How ’bout a Tumbleweed home?
You know, if I did not have my house, lived off the grid (at least have solar for my computer), then the only payment I’d have would be student loans. Or auto insurance – that’s if I kept the car.  I could walk from where we would build to the Warm Spirit Spa (where I will work). Hmmm.  I could make that $$ with massage therapy.  How tempting!  And yes, I am dreaming for the moment.  =)

Oh, and I won this cool scarf (1x1ribbed knitted Noro) over at the Treasure Goddess.  Yipee!

January 19, 2010 Posted by | Chickens, economy, family, self sufficiency | 3 Comments

It’s just nasty.

Earlier I posted about having a sore throat.  Well, it got so bad that swallowing was torture and there were other nastiness that made eating, drinking, talking extremely painful.  I drove 2.15 hours to my doctor in Charlottesville and she was shocked at what had happened.  It is not strep though she said it was viral in nature; not something they can treat though she did write a script for antibiotics (not going to fill) for just in case and a mouth wash to make healing a little more comfortable (not filling).  She said it needed to run its course.  *sighs*  Knowing that it is not bacterial and there is nothing that really can be done other than waiting seems to make it better, for me anyway.  I took several ibruprofen (which helps on the pain) and plan to just take it easy. 

In other news, since I was off for the day , I went by the ‘local’ community college and finished registering for two massage therapy classes that will start on Monday; health and anatomy – assuming my financial aid comes through.  Neither class causes anxiety as I had to pass anatomy to get my personal training cert so this’ll be a nice review.  The anatomy is Mondays and Wednesdays 6-8:50 pm (includes a lab), intro to massage therapy (health) is on Friday’s at 5:00 pm.  Why am classes?  Currently all my eggs are in one basket.  If something happens and my job is no more, I have nothing to fall back on other than waiting tables.  While waiting tables is good money, it is not as marketable as massage therapy.  Massage therapy is more inline with my dance/creative side.  I’ve noticed that since taking on more cerebral work and being outside and dancing less, my health suffers – see opening paragraph.  I have never experienced something like this before.   

I’ll keep you posted on that track.

January 6, 2010 Posted by | economy | 6 Comments

Spinning a yarn

In addition to the fab book about Living with Goats, another timely publication arrived last week – a trial copy of Spin Off magazine.  We do not yet have wool producing animals, however I still found this edition an interesting read.   There was one article, in particular, that caught my eye, and it was about Polwarth Fleece and the process Robin Russo (the author) went through from washing the wool to eventually spinning. 

I have read on the net that when people say they are allergic to wool it is not the fiber that creates the allergic reaction but the chemical process that is used to remove the lanolin (greasy coating) that makes wool workable.  Robin mentions that she uses Kookaburra wool scouring formula to clean the wool.  I like this part of the product description:

This plant based, non-ionic cleaner is an earth friendly option for wool processing. Rinsing is optional.  Scour contains no peroxide, alkali, phosphates, or enzymes so it is safe for all septic systems and the environment.

I have to wonder if the “plant based, non-ionic cleaner” is a selling point for this product, do commercial processors use non plant based, ionic cleansers and is that what creates the itchy in wool?  Things that make you go Hmm.

In researching the above question I found that fleece can be ‘damaged’ by everyday particles like dirt, hay, straw etc.  The University of Maine has a great article, Handling and Marketing Wool, that discusses how wool is valued and its grading and classification.  Gleasons has a great article on cleaning wool fleece using your washing machine!  This is all an interesting read yet it still begs the question of why wool is itchy.  Then I found this which addresses the carbonization process of scouring wool and now it roughens up the fiber.  Roughened fibers could definately make someone itchy. 

Another popular thought is that the itchiness of wool is based upon the diameter of the fibers. Sheep 101 states that if more than 3-4% of fibers are more than 28 microns thick, it becomes uncomfortable to wear.   So what about in the ‘olden days’ when wool was it. The schsnizzle?.  Were all those people walking around wearing itchy stuff?  I need to ask my grandmother.

January 2, 2010 Posted by | Crafting, economy, self sufficiency | Leave a comment