Ward House


This little guy was taking advantage of the sun – love the detail!

dragon scales

I’ve also been busy working with Squidoo (link to my first lens, Damper Dance) and checking out hub pages – trying to expand my horizons (thank you Cindy, for the prompt).  Any of you have experience with either?

May 20, 2010 Posted by | journaling, wood cook stove | , , , , | 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.

Share/Bookmarka2a_linkname=”The Ward Hosue”;a2a_linkurl=”http://the-wardhouse.blogspot.com”;

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

How big is your between?

We are gathered around the table while waiting for dinner to finish cooking, the wind can be heard outside the windows, the cookstove is hot and crackling.  K14 has just finished attempting to booty pop – it looked more like a chest up and back.  The following conversation is between K14 & A18:

K14:  It was my between.
A18: Your between?
k14:  yeah, the space between your boobs.
A18: I have a between.
K14: Not like mine.  I can fit a softball between my between.
     a piece of paper would fit in yours!

 Yes, nothing is sacred at our kitchen table. 

January 27, 2010 Posted by | family, wood cook stove | 4 Comments

Dance a little dance

This weekend did not turn out as I had planned; however, it was a good weekend none the less.  Saturday morning I was supposed to be doing this – attending a Bellydance Flow workshop on layers.  *sighs*  I suffered from an alarm clock malfunction (operator error) and was not up in time to make the 2 hour drive.  =(   It appears that Mira Betz, one of my all time fav performers, will be in NC in August of this year; a workshop I would LOVE to attend.  Here is Mira Betz, in case you are curious.

Instead of dancing I ended up helping with this; digging up the sewer line at the Grist Mill & cutting/splitting firewood.  We really needed the firewood and it was scheduled to rain Sunday (which it did) so everything worked out.  Oh, and Ronnie is holding my new favorite wood cutting tool – the cane hook.  O.M.G.  It was a life saver for those big, round, heavy rounds off wood.

Still.  I would love to have shimmied for part of Saturday.

January 18, 2010 Posted by | wood cook stove | , , , | 1 Comment

When fear becomes real

Not the boggy man and we all see what is happening in the economy; the fear I refer to is when your major helper, chain saw operator, wood splitter helper and all around handyman goes down in his back.  Phelan has written many times about the need to learn certain skills necessary for homesteading.  Right now I am wishing that I had asked him to teach me sooner!  When Ronnie is healed, he is teaching me how to use that chain saw. 

Ronnie has been sore in his lower back for several weeks; we attributed that to needing a new mattress.  Yesterday we went out in, as it turns out, below 0 windchill to bring in some much needed furnace wood.  Now we have enough wood to last this week – that is stretching it.  Back to my story.  Tree felling went without a hitch and Ronnie was helping me maneuver a chunk to the wood splitter when he felt the pull in his lower back.  We were done.  He was able to hobble to the truck and sit.  That was about it.  Thankfully I had left the wood splitter attached to the truck so I didn’t have to maneuver that by myself.  Once loaded up with the other goodies (saw, gas, etc), we headed home.

Saturday and Sunday Ronnie has spent either in bed or a chair, moving very slowly, taking ibuprofen and icing his back.  We’ve watched several old movies, like Clash of the Titans and Sinbad’s Golden Journey.  I’ve crochet 3 potholders and finished another mitten.  Quiet times.  Considering it has been so cold, I am glad to have enough wood for now and to be in out of the cold.

Saturday, prior to Ronnie’s back going out, we had invited my Mom to come up so we could exchange gifts; she was visiting my sister in Bogota over the holidays.  We had much fun and received some amazing gifts.  I’ll blog about that later, and include some pictures.

Do not put off to tomorrow learning a skill that you need.  When the teacher is no longer available, it is too late.

January 3, 2010 Posted by | family, heating, wood cook stove | 6 Comments

One of those days

After this morning, I had to wonder what today held: coffee pot boiled over (used electric stove instead of the cook stove), my pizza stone broke ’cause it was sitting on the electric stove and I turned on the wrong burner while attempting to make that dang coffee.  *shakes head*

Jack ‘n Otis Update:  Jack is fine with Otis, Otis is not fine with Jack.  Good news is A18’s boyfriend has been looking for a cat and Jack looks to be a good match; single man, great paying job and an affectionate cat that has had shots and is fixed.

An eco friendly giveaway sponsored by  Keeper of the Home:  Eco-Friendly Grocery Shopping At It’s Best.  You can enter to win a Moukisac!  Love these things and the reusable bags for produce, nuts, etc. Keep for your self or use for a gift this holiday.

Onto the Holiday’s.  I realize that Christmas is a big deal for many people; not so at the Ward House.  I enjoy some decorating, having a tree (really enjoy the rosemary toparies shaped like a Christmas tree), baking and family/friends coming over to visit.  Where we run into trouble is the commercial aspect of the holiday.  Thanksgiving is not here yet and stores/radio stations are playing Christmas music; the Homestead already has lights and decorations up.  What the. . . Did I mention that someone down the street already has the lights up on their house???  *heavy sigh*  Yes, I know that gifts are not the ‘reason for the season’; how ’bout some walk to back up that talk?  Being a crafter that means that I work on gifts most of the year, especially if knitting is involved.  =)  There are many other reasons to give and it is not just Christmas.  I gift family and friends throughout the year; we are not guaranteed any time with those we love so why wait?  You may not have til December 25th. 

*climbs off soap box*  The height of that box makes me dizzy.  One of my neighbor has come into some figs, more than she can use, and has gifted several freezer bags to us. *cheers*  Now I need to decide on what to create with them – any ideas?

November 24, 2009 Posted by | Cooking, Pets, wood cook stove | 4 Comments

Socks, the conclusion of a story

 I am now working on the toe *yipee!* Tried on my MIL foot last night and it was just a few stitches too long for her size 5 foot.  That’s ok.  =)  I think this sock may be more of a primitive style Christmas stocking decoration than a foot adornment. 

On socks, knitting two a time, and a general review of different sock knitting styles can be found over at Knit and Tonic. . .A great summary and giggles to boot! 

Today was kind of hectic for a Monday and I am going to start up the wood cook stove and cook up some comfort food.  =)

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

October 26, 2009 Posted by | wood cook stove | Leave a comment


Yes, I am home from work today and have just begun to move around; it is about 1:05pm. Katelyn had a 24 hour flu over the weekend and even though I was in the room long enough to help her, bring food, check on, etc. I think the cootie has found a new home. *sniffles*

The need to eat, read, and knit have brought me from my cootied induced slumber; cook stove is now going with a chicken carcass stewing for soup later on today. That will be our Mabon/Fall Solstice dinner: Chicken noodle or rice (have not decided which one…yet) soup made with carrots from the garden, celery and some onion, homemade bread, and cheap wine. Thank you MrsB for naming our dinner tonite. =)

Mabon/Fall leaves a sweet melancholy feel to my soul. I leave you right now with this:

September 22, 2009 Posted by | Cooking, wood cook stove | 2 Comments

Socking it

As promised, I have pictures! The cuff still has a few hiccups and I cannot explain why other than this is a learning process. The heel went well and this picture was taken prior to my pulling it out – yes. I pulled out the heel and am redoing it now that I know what I am doing. *cough* What did I learn? At the end of each row you must either knit or purl, depending on the row. You cannot let that last stitch be a slip or it creates a fubar situation. Allow me to demonstrate. . .

This is what it looks like when you slip the last stitch; there should not be that one loop that kinda of runs through each row – this loop does not grow and becomes tight if you have enough rows completed. Thus my, you cannot end a row with a slip; either purl or knit. And this is why I am pulling the work out. If not corrected now, it will create a problem later on. Every row, on both sides, should look like this.

While I was creating, brainstorming, and unraveling, my oldest and her friend finished this pinata for a Spanish class project. This is for decorative purposes only and is not to hold candy and beaten to death with a bat by blindfolded children.
It basically says that our every action affects the earth.

This weekend included 9 pints of apple sauce along with pickling brussel sprouts and banana peppers. Tonite, since I am out of canning materials (namely fruits and veggies) looks like it will be an evening of soup making and knitting.

Oh, I had some beef fat that I had saved to boil down for the tallow (soap making) and I think it burned – smells HORRIBLE! I believe the cook stove was too hot. =/ Any tips/hints on how to boil this down into a usable form? What should it look like when it’s done? Is dark brown unusable? *bleck*

September 21, 2009 Posted by | Canning, Cooking, family, self sufficiency, wood cook stove | 6 Comments

Canning failure

Until yesterday afternoon, I felt fairly confident in my canning abilities. In the last 3 years, I have had one jar break during canning and three quarts of beans not seal. Not bad odds for a novice canner, IMHO.

Saturday my friend, no-pictures-please Beth treated me to one of Maggies’ fabulous canning classes (birthday present) and in this class we made dill pickles. I learned so many new things during this class, including to check the rims of your jars to make sure there are no nicks (leads to an improper seal) and that I can use 2 grape leaves in place of alum to keep those pickles crisp. Beth and I had great fun and after the class, we visited one of the local wineries. Mmm, Mmm, Good!

So Sunday I was determined to finish canning the corn I had taken off the cob Friday. Friday was a successful corn canning day. Every jar sealed and the corn looks so pretty! I think I left my canning mojo at Maggies. Look at this corn – what happened? As far as I can tell, my process did not change: wood stove and canner are the same. Times were the same. ???? Can one of you expert canning gurus offer some suggestions? I’m thinking too hot? Though the canner should have indicated the heat was off, yes? Anything else?

I am very sad about the 7.5 quarts that are now useless. Well, I am guessing they are useless; all jars sealed and I have not opened one yet. *sighs* Could it just be discolored and not burnt?

August 31, 2009 Posted by | Canning, wood cook stove | 4 Comments