Home Cookin', Sweet Tooth

Gooseberry Creek’s Perfect Pie Crust

For those of you who have been following me… you already know I love pie. I’ve already mentioned that my husband and I had barbecue for our wedding dinner, we love it so much. However, I failed to mention that we had a pie bar instead of cake. We love pie.

We love pie so much, that not soon after we were wed I was practicing my pie skills almost monthly to hone them in. I was on a mission to make the PERFECT pie. And the perfect pie starts with the perfect crust.

It took me a while to perfect this baby… and half of the struggle is actually in how you mix it. Although what goes into it is VERY important too.

Gooseberry Creek's Perfect Pie Crust

  • Servings: 2 Double Crusts
  • Difficulty: moderate
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  • 3 c. Flour
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 6 Tbsp Butter
  • 6 Tbsp Crisco
  • 1/2-3/4 c. Cold Water


  1. Preheat oven to 350º F.
  2. Mix Flour and Salt in a large mixing bowl with a fork.
  3. Cut in butter and Crisco with a pastry cutter until the mixture forms crumbles just under pea sized and smaller.
  4. Mix with a fork as you slowly add drizzles of cold water to the mixture until you can make a well formed but crumbly ball with your hands.
  5. Cut ball into quarters and form the sections into 4 individual balls.
  6. Individually, roll out each ball with a floured rolling pin on a floured pastry mat.
  7. Place bottom crust in a pie dish, poke holes throughout crust with fork, cut extra crust off the edges and add decorative design as desired
  8. For Fruit and Custard Pies: Bake for 10-15 minutes before adding fillings and top crust. Return the pie to the oven to bake for the indicated time on your fruit or custard pie recipe.
  9. For Creme Pies: Bake for 10 minutes before heavily brushing on melted butter. Bake an additional 5 minutes then lightly brush on some beaten egg. Bake for 5 more minutes before removing from the oven. Let cool before filling your pie.

Fur, Feathers, Fluff and Fuzz, Poultry, Saving Money, The Piggy Bank

Two Birds… One Stone

Living on a homestead or farm… you’re pretty much always trying to find ways to kill two birds with one stone. Efficiency is key on the farm and we do our best to work smarter, not harder. We work hard enough as it is and we are always about trying to find things that work in multiple ways, things that serve multiple purposes or things that can do multiple jobs.

Chickens… for instance.

We recently built a movable chicken coop to allow our chickens to “free range” in a contained manner and save us some money on feed. Initially, my father was concerned by the devastation the chickens were leaving in their wake; they like to peck and scratch until they’ve almost cleared the grass and have made some dust baths for themselves at each location.

Then we started to notice something happening at the oldest coop locations. Thick, green, beautiful grass trailed along behind the chicken coop. Healthier grass than the rest of the yard had! It was literally repairing the yard, one 12′ x 5′ section at a time. When we get a fenced in yard… I’m all about letting those ladies free range wherever they like.

So we started strategically moving the chicken coop about the yard to make a more consistent pattern of thick, fresh grass. It is working like a charm folks!  But why stop there? There are SO many more things they could be helping with… like the garden. So we tried it.

We had weeds popping up in our freshly tilled garden left and right, the perfect fodder for our chickens. They LOVED making a dust bowl out of the garden and taking care of our weed problem so we could plant our corn and squash. We killed not one, not two, but three stones that week as we fed the chickens, allowed them to weed for us AND fertilized our garden.

So technically…

Three Birds… One Stone.

Fur, Feathers, Fluff and Fuzz, Pets, Saving Money, The Piggy Bank

It’s a Ruff Life

It’s a ruff life for a long haired, adventurous pup on a farm ya’ll. I didn’t realize quite how bad it was until we’d lived inside Colorado Springs limits for 2 years and then moved back to the farm. Poor Mac, our mini schnauzer, literally gets everything his fur.

Mac needed a trip to the groomers about every 2-3 months in Colorado still, and those winter snow drifts could really mat up his fur, but it’s nothing like life on the farm. Here he needs grooming at least once a month and a bath every week to every other week. the cost really adds up.

To save money, we decided to start grooming him ourselves. My dad bought some Oster Clippers made for pet grooming, some hair shears, and a mini clipper and we got to work.  Yes, it is slightly expensive, but in 3 months it paid for itself. The bigger investment is the time it takes.

It takes anywhere from an hour and a half to 3 hours to groom Mac. He hates it. I mean he loves getting toweled off at the end, but everything else is a definite hate. So it really depends on how well he cooperates with us. Additionally, about once a year Mac’s beard just gets too long, is easily matted and needs either a serious trimming or to be completely started fresh.

This last time we had to start fresh.  And that takes more time.

I generally start with the Oster Clippers on Mac’s back and neck clipping against the direction his fur grows. I also hit his tail and legs with it as well as the tops of his ears. It is important to be careful not to catch any of the edges or the thin skin flaps of the ear and around the upper leg where the thin skin membrane attaches from the leg to the belly.  Ask me how I know.

Next I use the shears to trim the hair on the edge of his ear as I firmly hold the edge between my fingers to ensure I do not clip him. I trim his eyebrows with these as well, clamping my fingers together firmly at the base of them to protect his eye. The rest of Mac’s face is trimmed with the mini clippers that are blunt and much safer around his eyes.

When we are finished trimming and clipping and cutting, Mac gets his bath. In case you wondered… he also hates this part. He shivers in the warm water with his ears pinned back, standing stiff legged and unmoving while I douse him under the water spout and lather him up with Citrus and Sea Salt wash.

I use this soap because there has been so much controversy over the name brands available at our local stores. I figure it’s less dangerous for him and the label even says it is versatile enough for pets. After I rinse Mac off, we finally get to his favorite part; he LOVES being toweled off. He will charge the towel over and over like a Spanish bull, tail wagging the whole way.

Drink it Up, Home Cookin'


Fermented tea, also known as kombucha or “Booch” as I like to call it, has been around for hundreds of years but has only started to gain popularity in Western culture in the past several years. Full of probiotics and antioxidants Booch is great for digestive health as well and the immune system.

Many people have a strong aversion to the taste of kombucha, and I’ll have to agree with them… but only IF we are talking about store bought Booch. Home-brewed fermented tea is SO much better than the commercially bottled version. It has a slightly apple-like taste and is slightly acidic and tart with natural carbonation. It’s wonderful.

Just trust me. Either find a friend to bum it from or find a local store that brews and sells their own. Or even just take a leap of faith and brew your own! It took me a while to perfect my own brewing technique but here it is. I hope you enjoy it!

Gooseberry Creek’s First Booch Brew

  • Difficulty: easy
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  • 28 c. Filtered Water-divided use
  • 4 c. Raw Sugar
  • 2 SCOBY-at least 1/4 inch thick and 4 inches in diameter
  • 4 c. Starter Liquid
  • 32 Black Tea Bags

Instructions for First Time Brewing:

  1. Clean all supplies and your hands with the white vinegar.
  2. Replace plastic dispenser spigot with your metal one.
  3. Place 1 flour sack cloth over the top of the drink dispenser to keep clean and keep out fruit flies.
  4. Stick Thermometer Strip to the outside of your 2 gallon dispenser.
  5. Place pot over medium heat, pour 14 c. of filtered water into your pot and place in the tea bags.
  6. Remove flour sack cloth, pour 14 c. refrigerated AND filtered water into the drink dispenser, replace flour sack cloth.
  7. When water comes to a boil, turn off burner and set a timer for 10 minutes of steeping time
  8. Add sugar, stirring until dissolved.
  9. After 10 minutes, remove all tea bags.
  10. Remove flour sack cloth from dispenser and pour in sweet tea mixture, replace the flour sack cloth.
  11. When the thermometer strip reads less than 100 degrees Farenheit, clean your hands with white vinegar again, remove the flour sack cloth and place your SCOBYs into your tea mixture.
  12. Pour starter fluid in over the top and replace flour sack cloth, fastening it with a rubber-band
  13. Place Dispenser in an area out of sunlight with good air flow
  14. In 5 days begin tasting your brew daily until it reaches your desired flavor.
  15. Wash bottles with white vinegar.
  16. Bottle brew for 2nd fermentation or fridge storage.

A Piece of Work, Gifts

Herb Infusion

I don’t know about you, but I’m on a fairly tight budget. Between building a house and having this thing called a homestead, not to mention that my husband is from a larger family, we try to save money where we can. That being said, I do my best to give gifts that will be truly appreciated and used by the receiver.

Gift giving has always been one of my favorite things to do and I’ve prided myself in giving good gifts. So no way was I going to compromise my reputation and not still find quality gifts. In my opinion… even if you don’t cook, someone in your home probably does and we ALL eat. So I’ve found homemade, from the homestead, gifts to be a great hit with our family. I mean just think of all the possibilities!

The first homemade homestead gift we gave was herb infused extra-virgin olive oil and Serrano pepper infused apple-cider vinegar. All we had to buy were the dispensers! At first I thought that may be a little costly, but I was able to find some reasonable ones with good quality.

The supplies I used for each set is as follows:

2 Oil Dispensers

-2 Sprigs of a Dried Herb of Your Choosing

8 oz Extra-Virgin Olive Oil (may substitute other oil as desired)

8 oz Apple Cider Vinegar (may substitute other vinegar as desired)

– 2 Dried Serrano Peppers

(Optional: May substitute Serrano Peppers for 2 other dried hot peppers or 2 sprigs of dried herbs)

To assemble the gifts, remove the spouts from both dispensers. Place 2 sprigs of dried herb in one bottle and 2 dried Serrano Peppers in the other. Pour extra-virgin olive oil on top of herbs until the oil is 1 inch below the top of the bottle. Repeat this process with Apple Cider Vinegar over the Serrano Peppers until the Apple Cider Vinegar is approximately 1 inch below the top of the bottle. Place both spouts back on the bottles.

Let both sit at room temperature for 2-4 weeks (may be left longer) for the flavor to fully infuse the liquids. Present your homemade gift in a gift basket or with dispensers tied together with a seasonal bow.

*Note: When using Raw Apple Cider Vinegar, a film may appear floating at the top of the liquid and get thicker. This is the result of the “Mother” in the raw Apple Cider Vinegar and is a normal phenomenon*