Move That Dirt, Baby!

backfilling ICF basement walls For a chronological listing of our ICF (insulated concrete forms) building, please see the ICF Building Index found in the menu bar.

Our ICF (insulated concrete form) basement is finally beginning to look like a basement! There is now dirt against two sides rather than just dirt mounds. It looks amazingly better!

After finishing the first coat of the EIFS (exterior insulation finishing system) we decided to wait about the final color coat until the roof is on. But, until the lumber is delivered for the roof and interior walls, we began back-filling the walls that will not be exposed.

Disclaimer: This is one of those times that I use “we” loosely – I actually did not move any dirt but I was there to cook for the fellas, bring them water (hydration is important) and take pictures!

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10 Ways to Save Money Juicing

10 ways to save money juicing

You might think juicing is expensive, especially for a large family.

I did too – And, it can be!

But, do you remember the saying, “Where there is a will, there is a way”?

There are ways to make juicing fit into the family budget!

One of the benefits of juicing is your body’s ability to absorb all the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, chlorophyll, etc. – they are delivered much faster to your body in liquid form since the body doesn’t spend time breaking down the bulkier items like fiber. So, for the family’s health, I think it is worth making juicing budget friendly!

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3 Steps to Beautiful Stucco – DIY!

3 steps to stucco collage

I love the look of stucco!

Especially since we are going for the “Tuscan” look in our vineyard home, stucco is what I want!

Real stucco is applied in multiple layers and is very labor intensive. But, we have found something that gives the same look as stucco but is more durable and easy to apply – great for do-it-yourself’ers like us – it is the exterior insulation finishing system or EIFS for short.

For a bit of background, we have done several building projects using insulated concrete forms (ICF) including our house overlooking the vineyard, filter house, barn, and greenhouse. You can find a chronological index of these projects in the ICF Building Index tab in the menu bar.

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My New Juicer and a Raw Carrot Juice Recipe

Juicing Bandwagon - Breville juicer and carrot juice recipe

Sometimes I am late jumping on the bandwagon and this is one of those times.

The bandwagon I’m talking about is juicing. I really enjoy carrot juice but to take the time to do it is another story. It is not so much the juicing but, the clean-up afterwards. You know, the juicer itself – it can really be a pain to get clean!

Then again, there are some juicers that leave quite a bit of juice in the pulp. Cheap, frugal or whatever you want to call it, when I see the pulp still wet with juice, I think I need to run the pulp through a second time – talk about a mess! Imagine trying to ring the feed spout with pulp that has already gone through the juicer – take my work for it, it is messy! Well, that has all changed – thanks to my new juicer!

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Wine Making at Home

crushing grapes tips and tools winemaking

One day, the plan is to open our own winery!

Someday.

But, not today!

For now  we are content to make wine with our own grapes at home  – hobby wine makers, that’s us!

Making wine was the planned activity for Monday – to glean the Roussanne grapes which were left after harvest and begin the wine making process. The first and last plants of each row are always left without being harvested because they are so close to the end post. The Pellenc grape harvester is turned on and off over these plants which means even after harvest, we still have some grapes to eat or to make wine with!

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ICF Basement Expansion

icf building blocks - great for diy'ers

For a chronological listing of our building projects with ICF (or insulated concrete forms), be sure to look through the new ICF Building Index tab in the menu bar.

In January 2012, we finished phase 1 of what will eventually be our basement built out of ICF (insultated concrete forms). We have been enjoying being in our own home but are so excited to finally be expanding it!

During my absence from Cultured Palate, we did some work you don’t know about yet so, let me fill you in before I share what we did last week!

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Where Do I Buy…?

How many of you are like me and have asked the following questions of a trusted friend?

Where do I buy…?

What do you use?

Which one do you recommend?

Not only have I asked these same questions but I receive frequent emails containing these very questions.

For me, it helps knowing that someone I trust uses a particular product or brand and recommends it. So, I have added to the menu bar across the top of Cultured Palate a new tab – Shopping Guide.

This Shopping Guide is a list of items I use in my own kitchen and recommend from companies I trust. Everything from kombucha scobys, herbs and spices, starters to olive oil.

I hope the shopping guide will help provide you with quality products for your healthy, traditional/real food lifestyle.

Hilde, Hildie or Hildy….

Hilde our new Jersey milk cow As I said earlier, during my absence from Cultured Palate, a lot has happened. So, I would like to introduce you to our new family milk cow. She is 1/2 Brown Swiss and 1/2 Jersey. The problem is the spelling of her name!

How would you spell it? Hilde, Hildie or Hildy?

My preferred spelling is “Hilde”!

So, while our family disagrees (playfully of course) about the spelling, everyone agrees that Hilde is possibly the best family milk cow we have ever had!

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Butchering A Cow

butchering a cow tips and techniques

“Butchering a Cow” might sound like a step-by-step tutorial, but I really just want to share with you how we butchered our steer Brisket (while encouraging you to also branch out beyond your comfort zone).

We purchased Brisket when he was a few days old from a local dairy (and steer-ified him soon thereafter). As his name implies, we considered him not as a pet but  future meat for our table. Last week, that happened – Brisket was re-located to our freezer.[Continue Reading]

Building with ICF – Phase 2

digging with the backhoe

Finally!

I really can’t believe we have started!

Yes, this week John began digging out the dirt to expand the basement walls of our home which overlooks the vineyard! If you have been following our adventure of starting the vineyard and building our own home, you know that we are now living in what will eventually be the basement – we finished phase 1 at the end of 2011.

As you might imagine, we have saved a lot of money by building ourselves and had a lot of fun in the process! But, like everything it takes time and patience. Building the house must fit around vineyard work which pays the bills! So, our primary time to work on the expansion is now, after harvest and before pruning which will begin in late January.

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