Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Life in "Little Shouse on the Prairie"

I'm sorry I've been so silent - we have been nothing if not busy!  (As I'm sure all of you have been too!).  Hopefully, a picture is worth a thousand words, because that is all I'm able to get up today.  Here is a peek into our life as of late....

Master Hand Grenade became acquainted with winter driving (black ice) and learned the pitfalls of only carrying liability insurance!

And, the next day, his initiation as a butcher occurred.....

Making lotion bars...

Weighing the beeswax

Melting the ingredients

Cooling in the molds

The finished bars

Packaged and ready to go
And making cranberry wine....

Master Calvin scrubbing the barrel, with a Zebra lamp on his head
 (so he could be sure to get all of the nooks and crannies)

30 pounds of coarsely chopped cranberries

Into the "fermentation" vessel (also known as a 55 gallon barrel)

Raisins added (15 pounds)

Stirring the "must" with a pizza paddle!
Cranberry Wine

30 pounds chopped cranberries (fresh or frozen)
15 pounds raisins
45 pounds granulated sugar
4 1/2 tsp. pectic enzyme
1 1/4 C lemon juice
Wine yeast
15 gallons boiled/cooled water

Wash and roughly chop cranberries to allow juices to leave the fruit.  Transfer crushed/chopped cranberries to a clean winemaking fermentation container and add all of the other ingredients except for the wine yeast.

After allowing the cranberry mixture to stand for around 12 hours, add the activated wine yeast.  Stir each morning and evening for 5 days.  Strain and squeeze the solids, transferring the cranberry wine mixture into a demijohn, complete with airlock.

Rack after a month.  Rack once more after 3 months, and then two more times until the wine is clear and approximately 12 months old.  Bottle the wine and leave to stand for over 12 months.


So, there you go - a brief synopsis of life in "Little Shouse on the Prairie".


  1. I know that you live in a shouse and it is not a normal place, but your pictures always evoke a warm cozy feeling with a dash of elegance thrown in. Thanks for sharing them. As an insurance agent I have always told my young drivers to add up the premium they didn't pay from 16 to 25 (or married) and it usually is still cheaper to pay for your accident out of pocket and carry liability. It still hurts though - I know! I am assuming he is fine and that is the most important thing! (to you)

  2. Some years back I went to a butcher shop where a butcher was cutting meat on a bandsaw. He wore thick rubber gloves to protect him from the cold of the frozen meat. I carelessly joked "howm many fingers do you still have in those gloves?" recognizing the risk in using a bandsaw. He smiled and took off his gloves and two fingers on his right hand and one on his left were missing.

    1. Umm, that's scary. My in-laws own a custom meat processing plant and use a band saw every day when cutting meat. Been using it for the past 40+ years, no one has lost a finger (nor had any other serious injuries) yet. I think it's due partly to skill and partly to attention to detail. I'd be seriously worried about the skill of a butcher who was missing three fingers due to work-related injuries. Injuries like Master Hand Grenade's are part of the learning process, but I can't even imagine what the situation must have been for this fellow to lose THREE fingers! Yikes!!!!

  3. Our oldest totaled her $100 car - an old Roadmaster Wagon "woody" - stating she had hit "black ice". Upon examination we informed her it was "too much speed on newly bladed loose gravel". She now has paid for her own 4x4 pickup....and I think has slowed down too. Natokadn

  4. Where did you get the lotion bar molds

  5. use honey instead of sugar for some "Virign Viking Juice"

  6. Ahhhh, black ice. Thank the good Lord that it wasn't much worse. Lesson learned, move along. The wreck was probably still on Master HG's mind the following day. You all know how it is, I'm sure.

    Do you have a recipe for your Lotion Bars? They look wonderful. By the way, THANKS for all of your hard work, and especially your gift of Sharing this with us. Like Kathy said above "your pictures always evoke a warm cozy feeling with a dash of elegance thrown in" and I agree! A beautifully brewed pot of tea and a lovely bite of something to go with it has the ability to soothe many things, and bring civility to your daily life.

    God Bless,
    Janet in MA

  7. Enola,

    Black Ice is no fun to drive or walk on.
    Is Master HG's car still functioning to get to and from work? Just having liability doesn't work at all. Our son learned the hard way too.

  8. I'm really missing your blog! Hope all is well!

  9. Pray all is well with you and your family. Missing your wonderful posts and concerned.

  10. The full coverage vs liability thing is tough for older less expensive vehicles. In my family we used to think there were benefits to full coverage but after family members got in a handful of wrecks in older vehicles we are not so sure. What we saw was the insurance company is likely to just total out an older vehicle for something near blue book minus the deductible. Somehow the number they came up with wasn't ever what the car was worth.

  11. There are metal chain link glove available to protect his hands.Not sure what they cost anymore,but still cheaper then stitches ,I'm sure.Alflacs accident insurance might also be a good investment with his trade.

  12. Hope all is well with you and yours. Miss your posts. Wishing you a Merry Christmas and happy new year.

  13. Enola - we miss you and pray that you and yours are healthy entering the new year. It has been nearly a month and I know I am not alone wondering/concerned about you and your family......Natokadn

  14. Here is a simple recipe for Lotion Bars