Orangey Orange All-Purpose Cleaner

All purpose cleaner

All purpose cleaner

For a long time I have used a few simple items to clean with such as baking soda used as a soft scrub in the bathroom and lemon oil to polish wood furniture but I’ve never made an all-purpose cleaner. So, about a year ago I started searching online for a recipe and found an orange cleaner that I really like. Being a major fruit lover, I am all about the citrus; I love to eat it, smell it, wear the colors of it. The recipes I found call for soaking dried peels in vinegar for a week or so. I’ve been making it regularly and really like it.

Well, this past weekend I was cleaning out my laundry area and found a jar of orange peels that had been soaking for going on two months. Way past time to mix up some cleaner so after straining, I added essential oil to enhance the smell even more and added a couple of drops of dish detergent just to give it a bit of oomph. This stuff is really good! It cleaned up a greasy stove top easily and smelled nice to boot.

Orangey Orange All-Purpose Cleaner
  • Dried citrus peels, enough to fill a quart jar
  • Vinegar
  • 15 drops or so of Tangerine or other essential oil, optional
  • Dish detergent
  1. Save peels from oranges, lemons or citrus fruit of your choice. Dry in sunny place such as a window sill. Pack into a quart jar and top with white vinegar. Store in dark area such as a closet for at least a month. Strain, saving liquid. Pour into a clean spray bottle, add 2 squirts of dish detergent and about 15 drops of essential oil if desired. Shake to mix.


Notebook Recipe – Zippy Wing Sauce


Back when I first moved out on my own I started copying recipes into notebooks. The copying turned almost into an obsession to the point where friends were hiding their cookbooks from me or I’d be in their homes until all hours of the night scribbling away like a madwoman. The stickler was that I barely knew how to cook and really didn’t want to. I just liked the art of handwriting.

Notebook Recipes

Notebook Recipes

As a kid, whenever we traveled I also use to look in the phone book of the city we were in for all the riding stables listed. Not that we were going to visit them but I just liked seeing what kind of information they had about the stables. I WAS a horse crazy kid but still…..okay, so I might have been a bit odd when I was younger but I have a great collection of recipes! All that copying turned into 7 notebooks of recipes. Some of the recipes I cut out of magazines and pasted into the books but most are hand-copied.

Below is a Notebook Recipe – Zippy Wing Sauce that we really enjoyed this weekend.

When I cook wings I break off and discard the wing joints, then separate the wing. I then salt and pepper them and bake in a 375 F. oven, flipping several times until they start turning brown. Baste with the sauce about 10 minutes on each side. The next time I make these I’ll cook the wings on a greased rack set in the pan so the drippings can fall through.




Zippy Wing Sauce
Leave out the crushed red pepper and hot sauce if you do not want any heat.
Serves: about 2½ cups
  • ¾ cup honey
  • 1 cup water
  • ⅜ cup prepared mustard
  • ⅛ cup ketchup
  • ¼ cup vinegar
  • 2 tbsp frozen orange juice concentrate
  • 1½ tsp flour
  • ½ tsp crushed red pepper
  • a few drops of hot sauce or to taste
  1. Whisk all ingredients together in a small saucepan and simmer over low heat for about an hour. A wonderful sauce for any type of chicken.


Early Morning on the Farm

Early morning turnout

Early morning turnout

My job is in the city so I commute about an hour in the morning and afternoon. Because of this, I miss a lot of the farm happenings. This past Saturday morning found my husband out hunting so it was left to me to let out the chickens out from the Chicken Wagon and to let the sheep out into the big field. I was up and out the door just as the sun was topping the trees to take care of them. On the way out, I grabbed some bread that was on the south end of fresh and the cattle stick in case our ram, Rambo, decided to have a go at me and walked down to the farm. It was a beautiful morning.

Waking up in the Chicken Wagon

Waking up in the Chicken Wagon

Having a whole flock of sheep that are happy to see you is a great way to start the day. We all made our way out to the big field where the Chicken Wagon is parked. I could see the chickens at the windows and were anxious to start their day. After scattering the bread around for them and the sheep, I opened the door and scooted around to the back of the chicken wagon so I would not get rooster attacked. Between the rooster and the ram, you really have to stay on your toes.

I love to hear happy chickens singing and clucking.

Black and Blue Jam with Homemade Labels

Blackberry and Blueberry Jam

Blackberry and Blueberry Jam

I have been wanting to make some Black and Blue Jam using blackberries and blueberries. We had a good blackberry crop this summer and when the blueberry prices dropped at the end of the season I stocked up. What I did not use for the jam went into the freezer for more jam, blueberry pancakes and other dishes. Something about cooking or baking with fruits during the cold days of winter brightens my day.
For the Black and Blue Jam, I used the Mixed Berry jam recipe from the Ball Book of Canning: If you have never canned before pick up Ball’s canning book (that’s how I learned) and start with recipes that call for water bathing such as jellies, tomatoes, pickles, etc. They are easy to master. Then when you’re comfortable you can move on to pressure canning! For the Cherry Jam, I used the Cherry Preserves recipe of Ball’s and added a few tablespoons of my homemade bourbon vanilla.

I am always looking for new label designs and really like the way brown paper looks but it is expensive to buy. So, I asked for paper bags the last few times I was at the grocery store and used them. Here’s the steps, it’s very easy.
• Take apart the brown paper bag, I didn’t worry about the wrinkles

• Using a regular sheet of typing paper trace around it on the bag

• Cut it out and use just like normal copy paper
• You might want to adjust your printer settings to a thicker paper setting such as photo paper
• I set the color settings to Vivid, it helps the colors to be a bit brighter since the paper is dark
• Cut out the label and trim it so the ends overlap just a bit when wrapped around the jar. Dab just a bit of glue (I used an Elmer’s glue stick) in the middle of the back of the label to stick it to the jar then glue the ends together.
Here are the labels that I made. Feel free to use and happy canning.

Download Label design – Blackblue Jam

Miss Piggy

If you want to grow your own food but don’t have a lot of acreage you might be able to do more than you think. Our sheep, cattle, and chickens live over on Maplewood Hill Farm, our 15 acre farm down the street from the house. The lot that the house and yard sit on is less than an acre. There is a large garden, blackberries, blueberries, grapes, raspberries, sour cherry tree, sweet cherry tree, peach trees, plum trees, garden shed, kennel and a chicken house that doubles as an animal nursery. You can pack quite a bit into a yard! Currently residing in the chicken house is Miss Piggy.


Miss Piggy came to us as a little runt piglet that was getting too roughed up by her siblings so she needed a friendlier place to call home. She came to us in January and lived the winter in the chicken house buried under piles of hay. She came out long enough to eat, get back scratches from us and stroll outside for a few minutes if it was warm enough. Her company was an orphaned calf who she loved but the feeling was not mutual.

The intent was for her to go into the freezer but with the price of pork so high these days, quite a few of our friends let us know that they would buy the piglets if we had her bred. It took a village, but she was finally loaded and sent off to visit the boar of our dreams. She rendezvoused with him for few days and came back obviously traumatized from being with her own kind.


Loading her back up for the ride home went much smoother than the initial load. The farmer that owned the boar that she visited said the other pigs were pretty rough with her and he had to feed her off by herself because they wouldn’t let her eat. Poor girl, she’s been handled gently here and has only seen cows and Keb, the Border Collie. When we got her back home, she got a nice cool shower and a clean house to go to. It was just like when we got her; she stayed in the house and only came out to eat. It took a couple of weeks but she is back to her own sweet self and hopefully she’ll produce lots of piglets around Thanksgiving.


Chipmunks and Strawberries

Summer is all about sunshine, being outside, and having good times, right? One of the main characters on Maplewood Hill farm is Keb Mo (named after the recording artist!), farm dog extraordinaire. We just call him Keb. He entertains us.


Being a Border Collie, he likes to round things up and bring them to us. Not only does this include the sheep and cattle but other live things like possums and such. This morning he presented us with a chipmunk, a LIVE chipmunk. Let me tell you, that chipmunk was none too happy about being dug up out of his hole, picked up by a big slobbery dog mouth, and carted over to us. Needless to say, after telling Keb thank you for the present, he was asked to drop it. When Keb spit him out that little ground squirrel hit the ground running. I’m pretty sure he gave all us a good cursing on the way back to his hole.

Crunchy Strawberry Tarts


Another part of summer is big red juicy strawberries. I love these little tarts. Don’t sugar the berries and they will be a wonderful tart/sweet combination. These are great for get-togethers. I usually make 12 tarts and still have some left to cut into squares.

6 cups of crispy rice cereal
4 tbsp. of butter
2 or more tbsp. of butter for greasing
1 10-oz. package mini marshmallows
1 pint strawberries
Whipped topping

Using 2 tbsp or more (if needed) of butter, grease 12 mini-muffin or regular muffin tins, set aside. Melt the remaining 4 tbsp. of butter in heavy saucepan over medium-low heat. Add marshmallows, stir until melted. Remove from heat, add crispy rice cereal. Stir to combine.
Drop balls of mixture into muffin tin. You’ll probably need to butter your fingers or the back of a spoon and press the mixture against the sides and bottom of the muffin tin to form a tart. Let harden. When ready, pop out of the tins. Chop as many strawberries as needed and mix with the whipped topping (there’s no hard and fast amounts here, just use what you need). Drop by the spoonful into each tart.


Homemade Greek Yogurt

I remember when I was a little girl, my dad made yogurt with a little yogurt set. It consisted of a warming plate and 4 little containers that sat on it. Sometimes the yogurt set, sometimes it didn’t. I’ve read yogurt recipes that have you mixing the milk and a culture in jars, then storing in coolers, or in the oven, even out in the sun and if the all was right with the world yogurt would be born. Since it always seemed like such a hit or miss endeavor I never tried it…until I started seeing recipes about making it in a crockpot. Searching online, I read as much as I could from different sources and believe me it is YUMALICIOUS,  and is so easy to make!

Greek Yogurt

Crockpot Greek Yogurt

  • 1 ½-gallon whole milk (I’ve read that it can be made with a lower fat milk but I’ve never tried it)
  • 1 small container of plain yogurt with live cultures, 6-8 oz. (I usually buy a “natural” type)
  • Candy thermometer
  • Coffee Filters
  • Colander

Turn crockpot on low.

Pour milk into a heavy bottom saucepan set on medium heat. Using a candy thermometer, heat milk to 190 F. stirring constantly. When the milk hits 190F. remove from burner and let cool to 100F.

Pour into a crockpot, add the small container of yogurt (this is the starter) and blend thoroughly. Turn crockpot off and wrap with a large towel (I use a couple of bath towels). Leave undisturbed for 10-12 hours.

Check the yogurt; it should be solid with a yellowish liquid (whey) when you stir it around. To thicken it up, line a colander with coffee filters and pour yogurt in to strain. This may have to be done in batches depending upon the size of the colander. Let strain for an hour or to your thickness preference. I like mine really thick so I usually set the colander in the sink, pour in the yogurt and after straining for an hour or so I set the colander into a larger bowl. The whole thing goes into the frig to strain for a few more hours or overnight.

Put in a large container and refrigerate. Instead of adding sweetener or fruit to the batch I flavor each individual serving as it seems like I do not have to use as much sweetener plus I can mix up different flavors each day. Since I commute to work and we always have lots of fruit in the freezer from our garden, I layer frozen fruit in the bottom of a container, then a cup or so of yogurt, then drizzle honey over top. By the time I get to work the fruit is thawed. At this point you can add granola, flaxseed or other toppings.


Saving the Season

Fruits are now going on sale at the grocer as the growing season is winding down. I have sweet and sour cherry trees in my orchard but damaging storms and birds got more cherries then I did this year so once the price drops down to $1.50 lb. or so I start buying them like crazy to freeze. It’s really nice to be able to pull out a bag of frozen cherries in the winter to add to yogurt or to use in recipes.


To freeze – wash the cherries, drain and pit. I don’t have a cherry pitter so I just cut up the cherries by hand. It sounds laborious but it’s really not and goes pretty quickly. I’m usually listening to the radio while I’m working in the kitchen so I enjoy the process of harvesting food.

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper as it keeps the fruit from sticking to the pan. De-pit the cherries, spread the cut cherries out in the cookie sheet and pop in the freezer for overnight. No need to cover while they’re freezing. When frozen just scoop them up with a large spoon or spatula, put into a freezer bag or a freezer container and label. When you freeze fruit this way, it doesn’t stick together when frozen so it’s easy to take out exactly how much you need. It may take several batches of freezing depending on how many pounds you buy.

The pits and stems can be composted if you have a compost pile going. Between the cows, pig, sheep and chickens on the farm there’s always someone looking for a treat. Miss Piggy the pig, loves fruit so the trimmings go to her. I like that nothing is wasted.

Blackberries can also be frozen in the same manner.


I am a transplanted suburbanite living on a small Kentucky farm with my husband, 1 dog, 1 pig, six cows, 18 sheep, and 20 some odd chickens.

My husband is the farmer, I’m the planner. I’m the cook, he’s the dish washer. He’s always been a farmer, I’ve never been a farmer. Maplewood Hill is our sheep farm and while it may not produce a great amount of income it does produce lots of fun, laughter and challenges.

Growing up with parents from the Depression era taught me a lot about cooking from scratch and learning to spend on what was worthy while saving on what was not. I forgot about it for many years and am now finding my way back to a more frugal lifestyle. It’s all about being more frugal in a 40+ hour work week (with a 30 mile commute!) and living on a farm. I am never going to be 100% green, 100% frugal or 100% anything and that’s okay.

Frugal was started in 2010 to share our crazy farm life with our city dwelling family and friends. There was a total loss of online posts in 2013 so I decided to take a hiatus, but we are back up and running. It makes me happy to be frugal when I can and I hope you can learn something here that will help you achieve your own level of frugal happiness.