Happy Halloween, Lifers! Well, we had a busy night last night carving pumpkins and handing out candy to the kids that stopped by the house. It was a lot of fun, and it was fun to see the costumes and interact with kids and their parents. Some of the parents even dressed up, which was really fun to see.
I hope you had a Happy Halloween. Did you carve pumpkins? What did you do with the seeds? I have a pumpkin seed project ahead of me, and I will be using the recipe we posted last year (and is listed below) to create Baked Bacon Pumpkin Seeds (delicious).
The cover photo shows our front step. We each carved a pumpkin, and Savannah even painted one for a contest at her work. She won first place and did a wonderful job. A lot of kids and adults commented on it all night, and it was pretty cool to see all the pumpkins glowing on our steps. The best thing was that no one smashed the pumpkins in the night. Maybe mischievous kids don’t do that anymore, which is great.
We have a FULL News from Around the Bend this week, so I will get right to it! For this Happy Halloween Edition of News from Around the Bend, we are going to talk about some of our recent posts and podcast episodes on Small Scale Life, then Julie’s picks and my picks.
Small Scale Life Picks
It was a busy week last week as I was on the road, and I did not get a chance to post a News from Around the Bend. I am catching up, so in case you missed what happened on Small Scale Life recently, here is what we have published recently.
Small Scale Life
For the past 9 months, the Small Scale Life Facebook Community has been providing money-saving advice, tips and hacks on Thursdays. These tips were part of an overall effort to help people save a few dollars by being wise stewards of their limited resources: money, energy and time.
As I went through the old posts, I found that most of the posts were focused on our grocery shopping and activities in the kitchen. I compiled the list from real posts from the Lifers and added some personal stories to each one. Take a listen by clicking this text. My goal is to educate and entertain you at the same time.
Small Scale Life
Last week I completed a post and podcast episode on the road in Central Wisconsin. I am very excited about this one because I was highlighting positive things other folks in the Small Scale Life Community were doing to make their neighborhoods and communities a little brighter. Click on this text to read the article and connect to the podcast episode.
I was SO EXCITED, I even took out a Facebook and Instagram ad for the post and podcast episode. What I forgot to do, however, was share it in the Small Scale Life Facebook Group and some other communities right in my backyard. Sigh!
Check this podcast episode out. There is some great examples of things you can do in your community to be the change and help people out. At the same time, I discuss what we are doing with the Small Scale Gardening platform in an effort to teach about gardening to students. It’s a way to teach about gardening, writing, some math and science! It should be a fun project!
Julie’s Pick of the Week
Julie has been a busy gal recently with a lot going on at work, and things are really picking up for her. She is really stretching herself with some of the things she is learning, and it s great to see her learning, doing and growing. Jules did provide a Pick of the Week for us below.
KARE 11/Vault Studios
This podcast documents the brutal murder of a husband and wife and kidnapping of their 13-year old daughter Jayme Claus. The reporter who covered this story from KARE 11 News in the Twin Cities pulled together the podcast to document the kidnapping, the search, Jayme’s brave escape and the aftermath. Some of our friends were directly involved in this story: some lived near these small towns and helped search; others knew the family and Jayme personally. It is an amazing story.
As I discussed the podcast with Jules this afternoon, I commented about how sick people like this have destroyed our high-trust society. Parents are very cautious, and children no longer play freely outside. It is no wonder that the man responsible for this heinous crime was transferred to a prison in New Mexico; I imagine he wouldn’t have lasted long in a Wisconsin prison.
Tom’s Picks of the Week
Moving forward, I have some different picks that are more in line with our typical fare here at Small Scale Life. I have some recipes for you this week, especially as we are putting up the last bits from the garden and working with pumpkin seeds. I also have some podcast for you as well. Let’s go!
Small Scale Life
Last year, I asked Lifers in the Small Scale Life Facebook Group for their favorite baked pumpkin seed recipe, and our friend John Mathison from Elk Mound, Wisconsin, provided pictures and steps for how to make baked bacon pumpkin seeds! Click this text to get the recipe. Think about it: bacon plus pumpkin seeds equal a delicious and winning combination to me! Last year, we made these, and they tasted great. I have a bowl full of seeds, and I will be making them as soon as I post this article.
A Modern Frontier – Adam Rick
I remember some of my grandma’s and mom’s Mason jars of tomato sauce had large amounts of water in the jars. It always caught my eye, and I wondered how one could limit the amount of water one would get in their tomato sauce. Enter my friend Adam Rick at A Modern Frontier.
Adam Rick posted a solid article (with great pictures) of his tomato processing methods. Click this text to get the recipe and process. While many homesteaders use cool food mills or Kitchen Aid Fruit and Vegetable Strainers to process tomatoes, some of us use more “manual methods.” Adam uses his freezer, Ninja food processor and Nesco roaster pan to freeze and then cook down his tomatoes. The resulting tomato sauce is thick, and does not have a large amount of water in it.
As I look at my own tomato sauce and salsa recipes, I smile because I go through similar steps. This year, I have been moving forward with processing the tomatoes and freezing the tomato sauce. The idea is that I would collect enough batches of tomato sauce and either can it or make salsa out of it. The main difference between my method and Adam’s method is removing the skins and seeds. I still do go through that step!
Good job, Adam. I have some fresh tomatoes that could be processed using your process. I would like to test out your method.
Modern Homesteading Podcast – Harold Thornbro
My friend Harold Thornbro and the Modern Homesteading Podcast are back! Harold ended his blog called the Small Town Homestead and production of the Modern Homesteading Podcast earlier this summer due to some life events. It is great that he is back online and producing content once again. Welcome back, Harold!
Harold is kicking off the Modern Homesteading Podcast once again with a brand new episode titled “Integration rather than Segregation for an Efficient and Productive Homestead.” Click on this text to read the article and listen to the podcast. In this episode, he outlines how you can use different plants, insects and animals to work together to improve your homestead or garden. In “permaculture speak,” Harold talks about integrating different plants, insects and animals to create “guilds” which work together to benefit each other. The idea is that you are put these things together so that they mutually benefit each other. Plantains or comfrey help the trees by retaining water and providing nutrients, worms improve the soil, bees and other insects pollinate the flowers and the bushes and trees bear fruit.
It makes a lot of sense, actually. After all, if you look at a forest, you will see that most of the growth happens around the edge of the forest where smaller plants can get sun and water, and the normal growth and death cycles during the year add nutrients to the soil. You can even do this on a small scale in your garden: planting beans or peas next to tomatoes will increase production due to nitrogen the beans and peas fix in the soil. It does work, even on a small scale!
Take a listen to this and think about it. How can you make small changes to your garden or your property to improve production and the functionality of your plants and trees?
Cryptids and Paranormal (Happy Halloween Special)
The Bog – Dave Martel
Fitting for a spooky and Happy Halloween, Big Dave Martel and his cohost Tristen discuss various creepy creatures from Germanic lore (trolls, draugrs, sea monsters, etc.). They also discuss their own paranormal experiences. Fear of the dark? Yes, our ancestors had much to be afraid of, but that is what ancient lore and mythology are all about!
Living Free in Tennessee – Nicole Sauce
Each week, Nicole Sauce goes for a walk and comes up with a Thought of the Walk. In this episode, Nicole talks about reorganizing her freezer, coring tomatoes (hey, this is related to an earlier selection for the week), and pantry management. Click on this text to read the article and listen to the episode. Nicole’s advice is this:
The thing you eat from your pantry or freezer is the most thing you WANT to eat in your pantry or freezer.
You are looking forward to EATING what you are saving and storing in your pantry or freezer and actually EAT it. At the start of canning season, you won’t have a bunch of things you like and were saving for that special occasion, but somehow you never decided to eat that thing! Even worse, you could find that great stuff that you REALLY wanted to eat…four years later. I mean, how many of you have started digging in your freezer and found a prime piece of meat or fish and find that it is 5 years old? It happens, especially when you are getting half a pig or cow!
Earlier this year, Nicole published a cookbook titled “Cook with What You Have,” which fits right in with our 10 Kitchen Thrifty Thursday Tips episode on Small Scale Life this week as well! Check out that book today using the link below! Note: Small Scale Life is
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