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Friday, August 28, 2020

How to make Pear Butter, easy and so delicious!

Have you ever made Pear Butter? If not, I hope you do soon. With a few simple ingredients, you can make one of the best-tasting preserves ever!  It is a favorite around here and I think your family will love it.

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Encouraging Hearts and Home 08.27.2020

Cheesecake Cupcakes, Z(ucchini) Apple Pie, Bread, and Butter Pickles, Creamed Corn, and How to Grown Strawberries are this week's featured posts. 

Hello and Welcome!

We are ending our full-time camp hosting with the month of August, and going part-time for the month of September before calling it a day! We were happy to help by staying on a bit longer (we had thought 08/19/2020 would be our last day) to be available for those late-season campers. A reduced schedule is coming about in just the right amount of time because we have fall work needing to be done on our property and a heat source to install in our little apartment. Our first winter in Montana was chilly and we had only a small electric heater for comfort!

Richardson Ground Squirrel, eating carrots!

We have also been busy learning about all the local critters at Lake Como. This is a Richardson Ground Squirrel. They eat constantly getting chubby and storing body fat in preparation for hibernation. They have been such fun to observe. They do love sliced carrots, but I think their true favorite was the dried corn we offered daily! They can go into hibernation as early as July, but we had the pleasure of seeing them, and treating them to good eats up until a week ago. 

We have observed the lake level change, the seasons of rain into dry summer heat, and the wonderful little critters in search of food for their long winter ahead. Being so close to nature, it has been a calming slow down of my own schedule. I love how living close to the land helps keep us in synch with the seasons of the year and in a more indirect way, our own lives... 
Thursday, August 20, 2020

Encouraging Hearts and Home 08.20.2020

Chicken Alfredo Lasagne, How to Staycation, Fresh Blueberry Pie, and How to Sew a Zippered Pouch are this week's featured posts. 

Hello and Welcome!

Believe it or not, I have finally made and enjoyed my first "hobo" dinner! While I always thought they sounded convenient (and they are!) the usual ingredients suggested were often a hamburger patty, some sliced potatoes, carrots, and peas. Kind of like a chunky stew in a packet. And while I love hamburgers, I wasn't sure I would care for that combination of ingredients. 

But we have had a great time with the "hobo" dinner craze happening in our little camping circle. It has worked out that Saturday nights are now "hobo dinner" potlucks. We each make up our own preferred packet of food that is cooked over the fire. While the food cooks, we visit, give knitting lessons, or just relax. Then we dine. I have even made a side dish of carrots hobo style, and they were so good. Lightly charred, tender, and sweet from being roasted, with no added sugar. Those will be made again!

Even at camp we usually have chicken thighs ready to cook up, so I started with that in my hobo stack up.

In order stack, a thick slice of onion, green beans, chicken thigh, cheddar cheese, more green beans, and another thick onion. The onion slices cook up tender and offer moisture for the green beans and chicken to cook without drying out. Season generously with garlic salt, pepper, and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. I prefer to wrap in parchment paper, then heavy-duty foil. 

Tip: double wrapping in foil allows you to take the outside layer off, keeping your hands clean while you open the packet to enjoy your dinner. 


Saturday, August 15, 2020

How to Make Homemade Woolen Dryer Balls, eliminate dryer sheets for good!

Do you want to eliminate commercial dryer sheets? The ones full of chemicals and paraffin? We did too. I made the switch and we have never looked back! You can eliminate artificial fragrance and the waxy residue from your laundry. Your clothes are just as soft when you take them from the dryer...From the DIY Homemade Household side of the blog!

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Encouraging Hearts and Home 08.13.2020

Lemon Yogurt Cake, from a milk carton to a Bird Feeder, and Whoopie Pies are this week's featured posts. 

Hello and welcome!

I wish I could tell you that our days are filled with neverending exciting activities, while at camp, but alas...being at camp is much like being at home. There are meals to cook, dishes to wash, a bed to make, and other chores as assigned by the Ranger. But it is an excellent trade-off because we love being in the forest, breathing in the fresh air, and observing the changes in the season as the days go by. The best part? Meeting the hundreds of wonderful people who have come to camp. It is definitely a bonus!

And just like at home emergencies and routine problems come up. In the very early hours of the morning, we had lightning strikes that started a fire high up on the ridge. On the south side of the lake. My hubby got dressed and went down the hill towards town to be within cell range to call 911 and report it. All in all, there were six fires started by lightning in the Bitterroot Valley, all were put out as the day went on. The fire crews are quick to respond and get the job done! We got to observe the helicopter repeatedly flying low over the lake to dip a "bucket" for water and then fly over the fire and drop a sheet of water to put it out. We heard the buzz of helicopters until early afternoon. It was a reassuring sound, to say the least. 

Encouraging Hearts and Home @ Scratch Made Food! & DIY Homemade Household.
Steel wool fills in the gap on the right side of this cupboard.

Encouraging Hearts and Home @ Scratch Made Food! & DIY Homemade Household.
Not pretty, but very effective!

And I can also give you some tips on having a mouse (or 3!) in your house...We heard them, they even walked over the countertop each evening searching for food, quickly climbing down into the open space behind the propane stove, the little devils! We learned for our co-host that steel wool is the best material to fill any holes in the trailer and any gaps in from one cupboard to another. Steel wool is the one item they will not chew on! We also were successful in using a live trap to capture and release the mice. We did not want to use any poison as the birds eat the mice...and while it took a few attempts, in the end, we were pleased with the outcome!

If you or anyone you know has an interest in becoming a volunteer for your local campgrounds, national parks, and federal forest lands campgrounds, I hope you visit, opportunity is calling!

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Encouraging Hearts and Home 08.06.2020

A Free Printable Menu Planner, Strawberry Lemon Water, and Visit Brooklyn Bridge Park are this week's featured posts. 

Hello and Welcome!

We are entering our last month for camp hosting. August is a warm month in most parts of the country and that is no less true in the mountains of Montana! There has been one saving grace, however. When the temperature rises too high, the thunder kicks in, and with it along comes a bit of rain to lower the temperature. When this happens I am most grateful, because as luck would have it we also discovered that the A/C is not working in our little trailer house!

In the evenings and between camp chores I have been knitting winter scarves. This is my "inventory" so far, but I know many more will come about in the quiet evening hours.
Winter scarves to share!

These will be given away to those needing or wanting a winter scarf. In the past when I volunteered to help cook and serve a weekly meal in our local church, there was an offering table. Gifts for those coming to eat could help themselves to what they needed. These will be given over to the table for the next meal. 

Since we are down to the last month at camp, I had better get busy with my own discoveries of the wonderful out of doors right there at my door. First on my list is getting into the kayak and paddling around. From there is a 3.5-mile trail walk in to see some spectacular waterfalls, and of course the 3.5-mile walk back! I think a sack lunch might be a good resting period before the return trip begins!