Wilders is for the Young

Lucy found a large Maple leaf on our apple foraging expedition

...and Young at Heart

Otis finds a little time to be horsey for the children.

Forest Goats

Lucy made a little goat friend.

Apples are Awesome

Slicing and dicing our way through the bounty of apples.

Apples are Awesome

Even bad apples make great pectin!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Re-sourcing Resources

I am getting ready to make apple butter with the fruit we scavenged last weekend. Unfortunately, I only have three jars, not nearly enough to store the plethora of compote I will need to can.  I looked at buying new jars, but it felt so wasteful, so I headed over to Craigslist. 

WOW! I was awesomely surprised at what appears to be an ongoing listing for Jim's Jars in SE Portland. There were four separate listings as of this posting, with everything from caviar jars to pressure canners to fermentation vats, not to mention bakeware, spatulas and other kitchen gadgetry spanning the entire 20th century  (and older!).

Anyhow, I wanted to be sure to give this place a shout out, and will plan to get over there to check out the inventory as soon as we can.  The pricing was very fair and affordable for all levels. They even rent pressure canners for $5 per week if you don't need to buy one, although he sells them at quite reasonable prices too.

Note: I neither received compensation nor do I know Jim of Jim's Jars. I just saw great pricing on items that would be very useful for the modern homesteader and wanted to bookmark the experience. 

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Applied Learning - Apple Hunting

Today was our Family Fun Day Outing and we headed to Mt. Angel, Oregon for their annual Oktoberfest celebration. The Kindergarten area is always fun for the under 12 set, with free pony rides, an animal petting zone and bouncy houses for all ages! Biergarten avoided, it's a fun outing for our group, and I highly recommend discovering what Mt. Angel has to offer.

With both kiddos sound asleep in the back seat, we took the lazy way home, scouting for ferile apple trees on our route. Dan remembered an old warehouse where he worked had apple trees in the front yard that were never utilized so we turned off the main road and wandered that direction.  We were in luck!

Several apple trees and two pear trees were laden with fruit, both on the tree and on the ground. We grabbed my Envirosack, filled it up in about 5-6 minutes, and left plenty for anyone else who stumbled into their bounty. Modern gathering skills applied in the wild!

Now I'm off to clean and prepare these treats for the pot. Hoping to glean some pectin for our "efforts"... stay tuned!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Sunday - The Fruits of our Labor

Suddenly it was already Sunday!

We took our apples, washed and graded them according to how they would be used: A was for eating and/or slicing for the dehydrator, B was for cutting into chunks and getting out the pectin and/or using for applesauce, and C was for composting (or goat feeding). 

I was amazed how easy the pectin was to make and will be trying to do some canning with this if we have time to do more apple foraging in the next few weeks.

Dan modified a couple of recipes into a delicious blackberry/apple crisp that was the perfect end to the weekend. Warm and gooey, he made it in an iron skillet and baked it. So good!

The weekend in pictures...

June shares her homestead with us!
The kids really enjoyed feeding the chickens!

Forest Goats were another main attraction...

Especially for Lucy!

Making Pectin from the "Bad Apples"
Prepping the dehydration trays and grading apples
Slicing and dicing!

Taking time to play Horsey with the kiddos!

Lucy's proud leaf moment!

Saturday - Apple Foraging and Winemaking

On Saturday we hopped aboard the short bus and went apple foraging. We found a bunch of apples and blackberries in season, and did a lot of plant identification along the way.

I had fun pointing at things and asking what it was and could I eat it, perhaps I should've taken the edible plant class instead? We had lunch in an old county park along the river and then headed back to the homestead where the art of winemaking (and the very important element of tasting) got underway.

We sampled various wines from past batches and also started the berries we had prepared the night before into a new batch of wine. We learned about using various types of yeast to help feed the wine, and bottled a batch that was ready to move out of the car-buoy.

Saturday night we convened with the other camps and all had dinner - goat chili and salad. Well, I had mac/cheese with the kids, lol, but in my defense I was having stomach issues all day! After dinner we called it an early night and got up Sunday to process the apples we picked.

Friday - Elderberry Goodness

Friday night we got there and got settled at the home of our hosts/instructors June and David.  They are really amazing people and I'm so excited to soak up their shared knowledge. 

Our group, about 12 of us including our kiddos, sat in the living room cleaning elderberries from stems (over 15 lbs) while enjoying a few glasses of elderberry wine (juice for the younger set). The group of mainly 20-somethings made me feel ancient, but having a common goal in modern-day homesteading and DIY activities bridges the age gap just fine.

Aside from a restless night with little ones in foreign surroundings, we fell asleep late and awoke on Saturday ready for our next adventure.

Wilders Immersion - What?!

My husband is the adventurous sort. He embraces the outdoors as part of his arena for contact sportz of every variety. Me? Well, I like to go camping, but I like there to be running water and flush toilets too.

I'm not a total wimp and not afraid to try new things, so when Dan (aka Otis to his Trackers Bretheren) approached me about doing a 9-month immersion program through his employer, Trackers NW, I didn't cringe at the idea. My biggest concern was child care!  Our concerns were voiced at a Trackers gathering and we were invited to bring the whole family. Obviously they had never met the entire Brophy clan!

At this point, I got a little anxious. Being out of my element is one thing, but subjecting the chaos that is a family of four with two toddlers onto an unsuspecting group of 20-somethings had me downright concerned.

And wait... it starts WHEN?! Next weekend? Yes, certainly no time to panic! 

So I've decided to take you all along on our journey.  Admittedly, the blog idea came later in the weekend so the pictures are a bit sparse, but going forward, I hope to share as rich as experience I can without resorting to dragging you with me.

If you're interested in participating in a Trackers Immersion program, you can read more about them here.


Running With Scissors is morphing from your one stop shop for coupon deals into my dangerous antics as a modern Homesteader (wannabee).

I believe that couponing and homesteading are symbiotic in that we are all trying to use and conserve what we have to employ the most efficiency into our lives as possible. Whether one does this by raising chickens for eggs or getting free feed for those chickens through couponing, it's all part of the same circle!

Yeah okay, it's a bit of a stretch, but that's my angle and no matter how obtuse, I'm sticking with it! Hope you enjoy my journey and pick up a few tips and tricks to simplify your hectic life along the way.

--Ali B

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Swagbucks ~ A New Way to Earn!

I received an e-mail from our friends at Swagbucks alerting me to a new way to earn microbucks from my favorite search & win site!

Answer the daily poll and you will be rewarded! The e-mail says you can earn 30 bucks in 30 days, so not a ton, but every little bit adds up!

Happy Swagging!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Swag Bucks ~ A Primer

I'm sure you've seen my not-so-subtle advertising for Swagbucks here on the blog and on Facebook. I thought I would take a few minutes to share my experience with the site so perhaps you can see why I get so excited about it.

What is it? Swagbucks.com is a web rewards type site where you register and participate in various tasks like searching the web and shopping at your favorite retailers, as well as engaging in other activies such as phone recycling, submitting polls, and completing special offers. A video tour of the program can be found on their home page explaining the concept. Of course, there is no charge for using Swagbucks, but there are terms and conditions you will need to follow, especially a "one account per household" requirement.

Search & WinWhat can I get? The site randomly rewards you with digital currency called Swagbucks (SB), which you can use to buy things from their online store.  The best value is to buy $5 Amazon gift cards for 450 SB.  These can be applied to any Amazon account and once redeemed, never expire.  Unlike some of the other gift card offerings in the Swagbucks store, Amazon cards can be "stacked" - you can use as many gift cards as you have in your account all at once.

How do I earn Swagbucks faster?

Searches! I earn most of my SBs just by using the search engine as my default browser whenever I go online. One thing I do that was kind of a "rethink" in terms of how I access websites is to no longer use the address bar or my bookmarks to access sites directly. Instead, I just type the name in the Swagbucks search bar and then follow their link. This gives many more chances to win those random higher bucks throughout the day for sites I would be visiting anyway. There is a list of "Do's and Don'ts" is published for your convenience so you don't get in trouble for just randomly searching and/or clicking on things solely to try and obtain SBs.

Another fun way to obtain Swagbucks is through Swag Codes. Swag codes are posted all over the place... from the Swagbucks blog, to the fan page on Facebook, the "Swidget", toolbar, Twitter, and Swagbucks partner sites!  They can be part of a hunt where you have to search for clues to build the code or locate it, or they will just be given out via Swagbucks various connections (see above list). Some codes are user-specific, some are not, but all are time specific

Special Offers... Like many other websites, you can now complete offers to earn bucks. I don't participate in any of the paid offers, but there is a daily "no obligations" offer you can do for a chance at a few more bucks. Additionally, you can watch videos to earn micro rewards too... every little bit adds up!

Referrals ~ Notice I did not list this first!  Referrals are an awesome way to boost your SBs, but aren't required in order to be successful with the site. Members are rewarded with a 1000 SB match for each of their referral's searches.  Swag codes and other SBs are not eligible for matching.

Final Notes
I don't do most of the direct marketing type activies (sweepstakes, special offers, etc.) and admit that the browser is at times "Google lite", but I'm always online getting codes and such, and earned $165 in my first year with no more than 3 active referrals at any given time. I get most of the alerts from the "swidget" and the toolbar link, both of which are on the blog (right hand side of the page). They will either publish them directly or tell you there's a hunt with some sort of silly clue. This is not a get rich quick scheme, but is a fun way to get something free for something you do everyday anyway... surfing the internet! You certainly have nothing to lose but a bunch of free stuff!

Click A New Way to Earn! to learn about taking daily polls for micro Swagbucks.


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