Of Sea Salt, the Art of Bathing, and Writer’s Block


One of the great pleasures in life is the bath.  It is often overlooked for its relaxing abilities.  It is basically a gift to oneself!  I personally have a great deal of trouble relaxing.  I feel like I have to go-go-go all the time.  I have lists of lists to do and I must fill every moment doing something or I get antsy and quite grumpy.  I promptly fall into bed at 9:00 and sleep great.  However, I think a little balance is due.  I am not a super young person and though I love to keep busy and I will be even busier on my next homestead, my body, mind, and spirit could use a little break.  I practically have to trick myself into relaxing!  A bath is just the ticket.

One of the great things about this house is the claw foot tub.  Oh mama, it’s wonderful.  I am nearly 5’10” and the ordinary bath tub doesn’t cut it.  I love its curved back and circular bath curtain.  I can hide from the world…at least until I get bored!  So, I include a few implements to keep me in the tub for a bit.  A great glass of wine, a book, sugar scrub, a candle, and a wonderful soap.  My girlfriend, Deb, brought over a few bars of delicious soap.  Despite my being vegetarian she insisted I would love them (they are made from a bit of her cows).  Sure enough, it is like slathering on lotion.  They are heavenly bars of soap!


And tonight being New Year’s Eve, we are going to a hotel with Rodney and Pat and swimming in the pool, soaking my very cold muscles in the hot tub, and then ending the evening with a swing dance.  I cannot wait! There isn’t likely a claw foot tub in the hotel room, but I am loading up my bath stuff and am going to enjoy every second of the hotel bath.  A little pampering to start the new year.  I am going to trick myself to relax!

Sea Salt Bath

Sprinkle 1/2 cup of baking soda into the bath.  Baking soda balances the PH level of the body while pulling out toxins.  (A great way to get rid of chlorine out of the skin if the kids are avid Flippers.)  The baking soda leaves your skin very soft as well.

Then add 1/2 cup of sea salt.  I know most people use Epsom salts but they are large and hard to dissolve.  The sea salt dissolves wonderfully, also pulls toxins from the system, and relaxes muscles.

A drizzle of olive oil all the way across the tub (for heaven’s sake, don’t slip!) to moisturize the skin.

Essential oils to transport you.  Do not use volatile oils like rosemary, mint, tea tree, eucalyptus, cinnamon, clove, etc.  They sound tempting but you will burn your skin! (Been there, done that.)  I personally am taking rose, jasmine, lavender, ylang ylang, and a touch of cedar.  Citruses are uplifting, florals will take you on an instant vacation.

Sit, sip, read, relax.

A quick thank you as we wind down this year.  I have had a terrible case of writer’s block for years.  I wrote three cookbooks to fill the time.  Only an occasional poem would come forth.  This blog has broken through the barriers and I am writing like a friend.  I hope to chronicle our journey while inspiring and teaching (and learning from) all of you.  So, thank you for reading.  What are your dreams this year?  What do you hope to create and achieve?  I am listening….

Love, Katie


Wishing You A Simple Life!

Katie in the petting zoo  (The pictures denote simple things you can do for cheap…You can play at a petting zoo!)

From my first modeling contract twenty years ago, to expanding my dance company to two sites and eventually closing it a few years later from exhaustion (not really good at delegating, I taught every single class!), I was always trying to get more, get more, when we catch up we can slow down….you’ve probably said it yourself.

IMG00054  (Go for a walk or nice hike)

We made such a drastic change that we still get confused looks from friends and family about why we live where we do, in the size house that we do, with the business that we do.  Doug’s brother is pretty certain he should go get a “real” job.  We are used to the confusion though.  We only hope one day they will understand that for everything one has, every material item, every dollar spent is time off your life.  How many hours does it take to pay the car payment?  How many hours does it cost to purchase the new shoes?  There is always money to be made.  We can always make what we need, we just choose to make less so that we don’t spend our life working for things that are not permanent.  What a waste!  Life is short enough!  I would rather sit on the tree swing, taking in the sweet smell of lilacs in the spring, sipping hot coffee, and writing in a journal than stressing through rush hour to get to a job that doesn’t allow me to enjoy what I just worked for!  Our lack of bills and decreased spending has allowed me to breathe for the first time since I was a child.

IMG00033  (Ride your bicycle)

Of course there are things that need to be paid for.  Food, shelter, clothing, some outings, etc. so we must have a job.  All of us have a gift within us, usually more than one talent, that could suffice to make enough money to survive.  For us, it was making herbs into medicine and making luxurious body products safe enough to eat (but not very tasty), and now to teach those skills.  I also opened a new dance company with a smaller amount of students just so I can dance!  None of these businesses needed more money up front than we could come up with to start, no loans.  It looks as though we live below poverty level if you were to look at the numbers, but we have never been richer or happier!  It means that we have designated what gets cash and we never feel like we are suffering.  If I desperately feel like I need something, I will go make a little more to get it.

Doug and Eliza Doolittle  (Snuggle a kitty)

But I am happy with a packet of seeds, a deck of cards, a journal, pots of coffee or tea, okay, a bottle of wine, some popcorn, a vintage dress from the thrift store, the new “old” aprons that my friend gave me, a sliced radish with smoked sea salt, the tabby on my lap right now, and simplicity and peace in our household.  This may be your year to find what you love, pursue it, and give up the rest!  And I will try to simplify even more!

Happy New Year Everyone!

IMG00055 (Marvel at how beautiful nature is)

The Entertaining Farmgirl Strikes Again


I love to entertain!  Being a farmgirl is not all about perpetually dirty fingernails, loose chickens, and seed catalogs.  It is about living a simple life.  Living a simple life, however, means I am not off to the theater all the time to see a play (just once in a while) like I used to be and knowing that every time I go out to eat I am spending just a little more of my future homestead money.  So, what is a girl supposed to do to have a good time?  Have friends over for dinner, drinks, and laughs of course!

My friends from the city will bring empty egg cartons to refill and will bring a dish or a drink.  We laugh until our sides hurt.  They must like coming here because it is quite a drive but they are here often and I love it.  Crossing the bridge into our little town brings instant serenity.

My friends from the country will bring a canned good or a great bottle of wine.  We skip down the country roads to each other’s houses often and enjoy a long evening of dreaming up new implements for our farms, what chicken breeds to get next year, and play music on the fiddle and guitar.

It costs nothing to have friends over and it will prove to be more fun than any movie or fancy restaurant. (Don’t get me wrong, when we do go out on a date, it costs a pretty penny.  I apparently am spoiled.)

Here are some ideas for a lovely New Year’s lunch or dinner complete with my recipe for Seafood Chowder.

First pick a decorating style:

If you use a regular tablecloth make sure it has a stunning print.  Big florals are a bit much, opt for small floral prints to create a country cottage look.  Pick up vintage floral plates at the thrift store when you see them.  Not a set, just one or two of a great old pattern.  The mix-matched look creates whimsy on the table.  Use votives strewn across the table for light.  Cloth napkins and tea cups with a pot of great tea would make a lovely theme.

You could use a bright oil cloth table covering; they are shiny and fun and add a touch of vintage to your table.  Solid plates, earthenware preferably, but plain colored dishes set off the colors in the oil cloth.  Amusing sayings on cocktail napkins give an element of surprise when folks pick up their napkin.  I have a few right now that say, “Can I be the designated drinker?”

How about an Indian blanket like the one shown?  It adds a pop of southwestern to the table.  Use wood candle holders or faux wood candles and pine cones to decorate the table.  Fiesta ware or even toile china looks great on these blankets.  Wine glasses add sparkle and cloth napkins will complete the look.

Lastly, a quilt as the table cloth, mix-matched china, small canning jars for drinks, and tall candles with a tea pot filled with flowers create a funky elegance to your gathering.

With this seafood recipe, Champagne would be excellent.  So would a  Pinot Grigio but being a red lover, I found that a good Pinot Noir fits nicely as well.  A loaf of fresh Italian or French bread is a must to sop up the glorious dredges.  Happy New Year my friends!

Seafood Chowder New Year’s Style

5 T of olive oil

1 cup of minced onion, 4 celery stalks chopped, and 4 cloves of garlic minced

Saute in oil until onion is just turning brown

Add 4 potatoes chopped up small and 6 cups of broth (I used onion broth)

Boil for 15 minutes and using potato masher, mash potatoes some to thicken

Add 4 cups of corn (preferably that you canned last summer)

28 oz shrimp and 24 oz of crab meat

1 cup of cream

1 t of bay seasoning, 1 t of seafood seasoning, and 1 t of Cajun seasoning (I have way too much fun at Savory Spice Shop, you could use a blend of dill, paprika, salt, lemon pepper, garlic, etc.)

Heat through another 10 minutes.  This serves 12 so feel free to pare it down to how many people you are serving!


All Hail the Clothes Line!


“How will the clothes dry in the winter?”  It was an innocent question and one I probably asked years ago.  I didn’t really know how to answer, so I just said, “The sun!”  It takes a day longer, but the clothes do dry on the line outside even in winter!

“I think the dryer is going to burn down the house,” I told Doug.  “It smells like burning rubber and it takes two hours for anything to get remotely dry.”  It was a fairly new dryer.  It stopped working, no kidding, the day after the warranty ended.  Dryers should really be called “Perma Set and Shrinks” anyway.  They are not that great of an invention.  I was getting tired of all stains (Doug’s shirt is a magnet) becoming permanent and the complaints from the family that their clothes were too small.  It was an easy decision.  The first appliance I didn’t replace with an electric model was the dryer.

I have not used a dryer in four years.  I do not miss it.  There was one when we moved into this house in March and I had them move it to the garage.  The beautiful, old clothes line that graces the yard was the first thing I saw when we came to look at the house to rent.  This is where we are moving.  It was incredible.  Three strong wire lines strung across three poles firmly staked in the ground.  In Parker, our clothes line was the fence.  In the last house we went through two clothes lines, both of which blew away.  They were the kind that looked like an umbrella.  This one has been drying clothes for decades and continues to do so.


Before you shake your head and say you will never give your dryer up, listen to the advantages.  First and foremost, I am forced to stand outside for a full five to ten minutes in nature hanging clothes.  The kids don’t generally volunteer so I am typically alone and at peace.  The repetition is calming.  The weather is always different and wonderful.  On most days, the sky is clear and the air fresh.  Birds chirp and sing and commune in nearby trees.  The chickens play at my feet.  The space is quiet and serene as I hang fresh laundry on the line.  It is better than meditation.

Next point, 9 cats people.  9 cats.  Add a few dogs in and we are talking skeins of pet hair.  The dryer did alright at pulling hair off but set these clothes out in the wind and watch them look like new.

I also hate to iron.  I just don’t unless I am sewing because Grandma said I had to.  There is nary a wrinkle in sight after the line gets through with them.

They always smell fresh.  No fabric softener needed with its fake smelly chemicals of mountain air or made-up flower names.  Just really clean, fresh laundry.  If it should be out on the line during a snow or rain storm, even better.  Can’t bottle that smell.

I have an indoor clothes rack that Doug put together for me.  It is great except that it is located in the back room where the cat’s water actually freezes on cold nights.  With no sun or wind the clothes truly never dry.  When I get a wood stove, however, the rack will be lovely to use in the winter.  It holds two loads of laundry and will dry quickly in front of a fire.  Until then, it takes approximately one hour to dry on the line in the summer, and at most, three days in the dead of winter.  Not too bad.  Never do I forget to take the clothes out of the dryer that inevitably a day later will have permanent wrinkles until they are rewashed.

The clothes line is a gift.  I get fresh air, nature, and a sense of what my ancestors experienced, sweet, fresh laundry, and a lower electric bill!

Wildlife Lover


Living with wildlife is part of the beauty of the lifestyle we have chosen.  Others may call them pests, but we call them animals.  The picture I snapped from this side of the window last night at dusk was of a young deer eating the rest of the birdseed.  Naughty?  Yes, but Santa had already come so there is plenty of time to make up for it next year.  The sky was so blissfully brushed rose and the stars were just coming out.  The chickens were snug in their coop, the cats under the tree, and the dogs on their beds, the whole world was sweetly humming Christmas songs, and the snow was such a joyous sight.  Such a vision of this sweet deer and her sister and baby resting in my yard on their journey made me sigh and be thankful.

When we first moved out here every deer we saw had us pulling over to the side of the road with our heads hanging out the window blowing kisses and waving.  (I am actually not kidding about that.) We still slow to see families of deer, hope for their safety, and blow a few kisses.  To provide a safe place for them to rest and be is part of our reason for homesteading and wanting a larger homestead, more sanctuary….for them and for us.

The key is distraction.  We have posts around the garden perimeter and clear fishing line strung every foot all the way around.  They cannot see it, it spooks them when they run into it, and it kept all manner of animals out of the garden.  They have since recently figured it out so I will come up with another distraction for next year.  Birdseed is the same.  Bumble, the mighty farm dog, keeps most animals out of the fenced part of the yard but I let this one slip.  The deer usually hang out in the unfenced yard, eat the compost buffet by the garden and rest under the large tree.

Katie and Baby

Katie and Baby

Inside the fenced yard, Scamper the squirrel waits for Bumble to go inside.  He does love himself a birdseed snack.  To remedy his acrobatic feats, trapezing from feeder to feeder, he gets his own bowl on the outdoor table.  Lots of peanuts and a nice blend just for him.  It does the trick, he knows where it is, and would rather get the easy snack then worry about Bumble catching him by the feeders.  At our old house, outside our bedroom window, the squirrel there would actually start chirping and yelling and would throw his bowl when it was empty.  Not so great with manners, that one, but really funny to watch!


Here at this homestead, I have watched Scamper grow up this year.  His brother is the one I am holding in the picture.  He fell from the nest and Doug swooped him out of the street so not to watch him get hit by a car.  He died of internal bleeding later that day.  His mother was hit last week.  Because of the fleeting lifespan of these adorable creatures, why not spoil them a little while they are here?

Coyotes have a right to live, we are in their space after all, just pen up the chickies.  Raccoons and Foxes are a fun sight as well.  I just don’t want them all in the chicken coop for Half Price Chicken Wednesday.  But live and let live.  They have a right to live as much as we do.  I love seeing them cross the field yonder.

I am enthralled by the Sparrows and the Mountain Jays, their calls and their antics.  I love all the wildlife.  I could never go back to the city.  Not enough life for me!

Merry Christmas and Wishes


I have been awake before dawn.  A child-like giddiness remains in me.  I will have to wake the children in a moment.  I cannot wait much longer!  Andrew, Shyanne, and Emily do not think that Santa is coming because they are older and there was a silent sadness in them at the thought.  This in essence is our last Christmas in the memory we know.  Santa did come last night.  I cannot wait to see their faces.  Next year a grandchild, and grown children, and Doug and I will have to figure out new customs, but this morning, they are still my small children.

A few Christmas wishes for all of my friends out there; dear readers and friends to meet….

May you find fabulous books and art to inspire you,

That you may learn new things this year to come,

That you will have delicious wines and well seasoned food,

Conversations that sooth the soul,

Friends that you hold dear,

Well behaved family nearby,

Music that makes you sing,

Health in your bodies and in your minds,

To find Spirit in everything,

To be filled with joy and maddening laughter,

To have Hope, Love, and a Flourishing garden.

Merry Christmas one and all.  God bless you!

Homestead Christmas Festival and Pet Reindeer


When you have a dream, a goal, a vision of what you would like in your life, you should write it out. I will probably say that again sometime in future posts as I have seen many written dreams come to life. This one is in regards to Christmas and Doug as Santa Claus. Now, I understand that Doug is Jewish and not quite old enough to have the long white beard but I am working on it. He is a good sport and knows he will become Santa Claus. Just a matter of time. (Evil laugh) We already refer to each other as Mr. and Mrs. Claus when addressing the labels on presents.  He already has the beard thanks to our new small town lifestyle, and it looks great. Thanks to our teenaged daughters, he gains a few white hairs in it regularly. I suppose I add a few too.  We both love Christmas and the twinkly lights, and candles, the carols, the food, family, friends, fun and the spirit of Christmas.  We love festivals and animals so here is where the plan begins.

When we get our homestead, we will have fleece animals (more on that later) but why not throw in a few reindeer?  We must have reindeer.  They are gentle, docile, fuzzy and would look great on any homestead, particularly mine!  I am so enamored by Christmas, no one would even think twice.  Now as my friend, Nancy, says, “Everything must have a job, must pull their own weight.”  They don’t give milk or eggs, we don’t eat meat, and I have enough animals whose entire job is to be cute, so we will take them to Christmas events.  Enough events to pay for their food maybe.  Anywhere in December that would like a few live reindeer can call us.

Back at the homestead though, we will have a festival of our own.  Lord, we like ourselves a party so we will throw a Christmas festival of our own!  Spinning demonstrations, food and drinks, farm tours…..wait, hold that thought….What about a private party?  Buy tickets, get a full farm to table dinner, reindeer hugs, farm tour, spinning demonstrations, yarn, eggs, and other delightful gifts for sale in a relaxed off grid atmosphere?  And Santa Claus!  I,  myself, have some darling costume outfits that can be used to portray dear Mrs. Claus.  I will have to learn to sew a beautiful suit for Doug complete with plush velvet and faux fur, shiny boots (good for trudging around a farm in the winter anyway), and a lively hat.  Oh what fun we shall have!  You are invited dear friends, one and all.  Merry Christmas!  Santa comes tonight!

Ginger Spiced Apple Sauce and Trees


Thousands of apples covered the ground and still many hung from the branches.  Nipped by the early hail storm, small for the year, invisible to the bugs, they were small, pocked, and perfect.  Piles went in to a bag for apple sauce, a pile of bruised ones for the chickens, and a pile for Nancy (who is my fellow lover of canning).  Even with all those pounds of apples taken, it looked like the apples replenished themselves before our very eyes, for no spaces on the ground or on the branches were seen.  The amount of apples this year were astonishing.

We picked out two year old trees, ones the girl at the nursery said might actually produce an apple or two for us this year.  Very exciting!  Two apples and a plum tree set off in the back of the truck for new lands, our back yard.  We planted them with an existing, much rejected apple tree in the back yard, which was not much bigger.  The large apple tree next door laughed.  But I shall have the last laugh, I thought, as I envisioned myself picking luscious apples off of the new trees.  Savoring the fruit of our hands…and prayers.  God forgot to send me a memo about watering.  For the first few months I watched and if it rained (ever so pittantly this year) I didn’t water.  If it didn’t, I would lug out a five gallon container of water and give each tree a nice drink…like a once a week.  It must have been a tease for them once farmer’s markets started for our trees did not get the proper water they should have and the drought didn’t help the cute little mini forest either.  They are alas still standing and trying not to be dead.  Not sure what the mysterious holes at their base are either, I hope not voles.  So, here with the ground in snow and Christmas presents to wrap, my mind wanders to next year’s garden and orchard, as it does every year upon year; next year will be the best year ever!  Because by golly, despite the amazingly high water prices out here, I want an orchard.  How much do you water trees?

All those apples were from my Great-Aunt Donna’s yard.  She is an amazing grower, a Master Gardener, 85 years old, spry as they come and I hope future generations will speak of me the way I speak of her and will come to my yard to gather piles of apples.

Ginger Spiced Apple Sauce

You don’t even need a recipe for this. You cannot mess it up.  Throw all the apples in the pan (I do not peel them, just take out the core) and add a bit of apple juice to keep it from sticking to the bottom before the natural juices come out, just a big splash now, not too much.  You don’t have to add sugar, apples are quite sweet, but I do fancy a little honey or brown sugar in mine.  Cook this down over medium heat until you are able to put an immersion blender in and get it nice and thick and a little chunky.  (My immersion blender will have to be replaced with a food mill for our homestead)  Add in a big spoonful of pumpkin pie spice and about half of that spoon of powdered ginger.  Taste and adjust flavors.  A pinch of salt wouldn’t hurt.  You can eat the sauce just like this or you can can it.  Ladle into pint jars and replace the lid (I cheat and only rinse the jars and lids in really hot water) and boil in a pot of water that covers the jars for 17 minutes at our altitude. (10 minutes for sea level and add one minute per 1000 ft of altitude.) Yum.  Not too late to go get some apples and make this delicious sauce.

Help Wanted- Farm Dog



Name– Bumble Bear

Age– 8 years old

Previous Job– Racer.  Spent 23 hours a day for nearly 3 years in a kennel, raced in the meantime. Won 5 races, didn’t finish the rest.  How he won, I’ll never know.  I don’t think he knew he was chasing anything.  He was just running with everyone else.  He runs into the occasional wall, not great coordination, really cute.  Rescued, has lived on this couch ever since.  A bit doofy, but awfully sweet.  A great family dog.

Farm dog– He does like to sit on his lawn chair outside and watch the chickens.  He chases off any intruders; squirrels, cats, coyotes, deer, foxes, raccoons.  If they don’t run, he can’t do much else.  When the terrible tragedy of the evil four year old and his dog occurred (they were in the chicken coop killing chickens), he could not find a vicious bone in his body to frighten them off and proceeded to pout on the couch for 12 hours, too afraid to go back outside.  Since he does want to chase everything away, and all said intruders come by at night, we are up every night to let him out to chase.  He does not have enough fur to stay outside and would be very upset without his couch.  (We cannot have a dog door as we have nine indoor cats.  If you only want cats for two weeks around here, let them out.  Coyotes, foxes, and semis will make quick work of them….no dog door.)


Name– Windsor Wizzer (never had a great bladder)

Age– Old as dirt (17)

Previous Job– Children’s toy, doll clothes model, companion on long walks.  Retired.  Sleeps on big cushion most of the day.

Farm Dog– Blind and deaf, thinks he is a cat.  Enough said?

So, now you understand my help wanted sign.  Bumble can hold down the fort here because it is a small enough area and I guess I don’t need to sleep through the night.  But on the next homestead, I plan to have more land as well as alpacas, goats, and sheep.  I know that donkeys and llamas make great guard animals, but a farm dog is very nearly a necessity if for nothing else but they complete the quintessential farm view and we like dogs.  I need a dog that can be a family dog and a guard dog and not eat small children.  A furry kid that can sleep in the mud room with a dog door so that they can scare off fuzzy intruders without getting me up.  Assuming we stay in Colorado that means he/she has to have enough fur and warmth to withstand single digit temperatures as well as high 90’s in the summer.  They should not under any circumstances eat the chickens and they should not be a runner (Huskies are out).  They should be a herding dog so to help me with moving animals.  But not so bored that they nip at my heels all day.  With those requirements in mind, does anyone have any ideas about what breeds we should look at?  I would rather rescue and feel like we need to get a puppy in order to get them used to all the animals already here.  Your input is most welcome….

Snow Days and Chocolate

IMG_0307   IMG_0309

The children are most definitely confused.  When the word went out that school was cancelled for today, it was yesterday and the scene looked like my first picture.  Not a lick of snow, even in the middle of the night when I had to let the Greyhound out.  Everywhere in the city people’s phones have been alerting them of an upcoming blizzard and schools are shut down.  Possible highway closures loom.  Yet, as we speak, at 8:00 in the morning, it looks like my second picture!  But, this is Colorado.

Many people think that Denver is a part of the mountains, but it is actually not.  The other misconception, fueled by Coors commercials and scenes of Colorado during Bronco games is that we are covered in snow all winter through.  A veritable dream land of snow, twinkling under clear blue skies.  Everyone skiing to work!  Actually, we are in a bit of a drought most years.  Our majestic peaks, some hour and a half from where I live, are tipped with snow and the highest mountains are covered.  We have a few flurries during the winter and at least one wallop.  Which we did not have last year sadly.  The wallop is two or three feet of heavenly snow that allows us to sit in our pajamas and drink hot chocolate all day from the comfort of home.  No one really worries because tomorrow the streets will be clear and by the next day you’ll never know it snowed.  This makes for amazing Colorado weather, unless you are a gardener.  Water would be most welcome!  (It is illegal in Colorado to have rain barrels.  Weird.)

So, even though there isn’t much right now, we could get seven inches (which means a foot out here!) and lots of wind so we can’t find our way.  We must decide whether to go open the shop.  If the schools are closed, the shops will most likely be closed too and we risk not being able to get back if they close the highway.  I am going to plead the case to Doug that we must have a day of pajamas, hot chocolate, and wicked rounds of Rummy and other fun games.

Note to self though; next homestead must, I tell you, must have a well (with water rights) and a wood stove.  In the meantime, the coffee is ready, the heater on, the Christmas tree lights are shining, and I have a super secret recipe to share with you.  Enjoy it my friends, and wherever you are, take a snow day!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Thingies That Are So Addictive

1 package of graham crackers, crushed to smithereens with a rolling pin

1 stick of butter, melted

1 cup of peanut butter

1 cup of powdered sugar

Mix all ingredients well and press into a cookie sheet.

Melt ½ a package of chocolate chips and pour over graham cracker mix spreading with a spatula or spoon.

Place in refrigerator to set.