Thursday, December 31, 2009

Another year over

and yes, as the song goes, a new one just begun. So here's a run down of what we have done this year. We have come along way in one short year. We have about 90% of our food consumption growing on our land. We now have 3 peach trees, 5 apples, a cherry, and strawberry plants, and a means to get all the pears we need in the fall.
We have the herb garden done. Working on a few more raised beds for the spring. going to bring in a calf for some meat. We are still eating on the pantry goodies we froze, canned, or dehydrated this summer. Carrots are still in the ground and we pick them as we need them.

Planning - greenhouse will have heat from a gas Coleman heater which we recycled.Its brand new and was thrown in the garbage. Jan. is a busy time for me around here with getting everything ready to plant. I also have tons of things to mail, orders to make and compost to gather.
we also are looking into buying an outdoor wood burner for our house to cut the cost of the electric we use.
everyone have a great New Year!!!

Monday, October 19, 2009

September - mid- October update

Well with over a month hiatus I am back. We here on our bit of soil have been going through a great deal of variety of things from sickness to just every day life.

I am happy to report that i am feeling better with some 'ME" time taken. the garden is almost done. Still have carrots in the ground, Still drying walnuts and peanuts. Now we are in the middle of hunting seasons which provides our family with 95% of our yearly meat consumption.
I went to a court days recently ( which is a really big yard sale) and found a juicer like my moms that I borrowed for $5, yes just $5. My mom paid over $50 for hers. I am one happy girl.
With the upcoming holidays arriving rather quickly I am also trying to find ideas for presents. If you all have any please let me know.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

How much is enough?

When buying things for my pantry I always wonder if we have enough food in storage in case of an emergency. After looking for a list to tell me round about figures of what we would need I came across this calculator that helps you figure out how much food you should store right down to the water. This will give you an idea of what you should need for your family.

A great find

Well yesterday I headed out for a trip, well not really just a bit o f a ride. I went to the new Amish store we have close the our home. I went to see what they had and if was any more reasonable to shop at it or go on to the grocery store. Well the results are in and its a go. We will definitely be going back on a regular basis. they had a great deal of things on my pantry list ranging from powdered cheese to flour. From sugar to lunch meat. Although we buy our flour and sugar from the bulk store this is great store to grab if we can't make it to the bulk store right then.
I found all the things I needed (eggs, cheeses, butter, baking supplies) and things I really didn't need( like chocolate) for a really reasonable price. And just for the icing on the cake is that the ladies that were working there were so nice and helpful, that is worth alot. The amount of canning supplies is awesome also. We have plans to go again next week and get more things.
I hope you find a great store that meets all your needs and is not too far from home. saving money while saving gas.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Around the bit in September- letting things grow

Well the rain once again has brought me inside. Inside to catch up my blogging, housework, and laundry ( which I would rather do when the rain is over so I can hang them up outside). I was working out in the raised beds clearing the summer vegetable plants for some fall planting - better late then never - for some radishes and peas before winter sets in.

OUTSIDE - The main garden has been cleared and prepped for a winter cover crop, which will give the soil some much needed nutrients it may have lost through the summer plants. With the cover crop along with a layer of compost that was made throughout last year next years garden will have an extra bit of help. Also on the agenda this fall is to cover a area for a new bed which will be used to grow something edible in the front yard next year. this new bed is part of my five year plan ( more on that later). Tomatoes in the raised beds are still providing enough tomatoes to keep them piling up and keeping me trying to find new ways to preserve them. Drying them has been the best way for me since I have what I need canned in the pantry. Peanuts are the last long crop I have in the ground which they will not be harvested until the first fall frost. We still have plenty of fresh carrots in the ground and with any luck will keep us through the winter with a cover over them.

INSIDE - We have been busy trying to organize the master bedroom and going through things that we no longer need. With any luck we can get rid of some things that others can benefit from. We are trying to keep our flour, sugar, and other baking supplies full for the pending holiday baking that we do here.

PREPARING - We are also taking time to get things for our emergency bags that we may or may not need. But just having them around I feel better knowing the family will be okay if something should ever happen because of natural or man made disasters. We still need a few things just to be sure. One thing we recently scratched off our list is another kerosene heater. We received it for $50 which is a great value and of course it is used. Used but in great shape and only used one year for a few days. Also today I am making my way to the new Amish store close to here to see what they have for our pantry. I will update you when I get back.

So with everything going on our lists of things to do and our lists of already done are still both growing. But hubby says as long as the "done" list is growing its okay that the "to do" list continues to grow. So with that I will end this post to letting all things grow, weither is be the garden, the garden plots, the pantry, or the lists.
Have a great homesteading day!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Tastes like dirt

the other night while sitting down at the dinner table my youngest son filled his plate with a bunch of food that came from our garden this year. As he started eating he looked at me and said " Mom, you know the potatoes at school, they taste like dirt."
Well with my amazed face I looked at him and said " well that's weird" I mean what else do I say. So from there I said " what does these potatoes taste like?" Pointing at the potatoes I fixed for supper out of one of our organic gardens. And without skipping a beat he said " like potatoes".

Now this is not the first time this year that I have heard someone say something tastes like dirt, whether it be potatoes, tomatoes, peppers. Which got me to thinking about how others are growing there gardens and with what sprays or fertilizers they use. I then offer them to try our tomatoes and they say they taste wonderful. Like a warm juicy tomato should taste like.

So with this it can only mean one thing, we will never use un-natural fertilizers on our garden. If un-natural sprays are covering up the great taste of a vegetable, what else is it doing?

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

August update

With everything going on on our bit of soil we are taking time and praying for all those that are in SoCal that are in danger of losing their homes due to the fires that are still burning.
The gardens are starting to wind down and we were blessed with a lot of veggies for our pantry. The pantry is full and the pears are just now ripening. We have had some rather cool weather here, feeling more like October then Sept.
Now for August our garden totals are awesome, 424 pounds and 12 oz for the month!!! With 311 pounds just in tomatoes. Of course they are not all done yet but We have surpassed our goal of 600 pounds for the year.
The above poundage came from watermelon, cantaloupe, petris squash, pumpkins, tomatoes, sunflower seeds, peppers, acorn squash, sweet dumpling squash, app;es, and tomatillos.
So far our grand total is 794 pounds.

Our tomatoes per pound selling at the farmers market for 99 cents per pound has saved us $307.89
Our watermelons have saved us $5.99.
our peppers have saved us $4. 78

Saving our family well over $300 dollars just this month. Of course the whole year is not done and I am working on totals for the year to see how much has been saved. But with everything I have ever grown it was always worth the effort instead of buying it. It's always better for you and tastes 100 times better then processed foods.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Picture post

Above - Peanuts

Pumpkins that ripened too soon

Horse shed that was made out of recycled materials.

Friday, August 21, 2009

A bit of pantry

So as much work as I have been doing I have alot of pictures that I need to get onto this blog. I figured I would start with the pantry that seems to be filling so very fast I am having a hard time finding shelves for all the goodies that are getting canned up. I also have the freezers full. ANd the top of the freezer with canned goods. The dehydrater has been running non stop with tomaotes, onions, pumpkin, and potatoes. We are really pleased with the vegetable pantry and now on to the fruit.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Homestead happenings - August

With everything growing like crazy my family has really seen how much a mom can juggle at one given time. It gets really hectic and confusing at times but its really amazing how much you can get done in a 24 hour period.
Keeping- Tomato soup ( thanks A for the recipe), hot juice, and tomato juice are the things being processed at this time. With the occasional bushel of green beans thrown in just for good measure. But really With 50+ pounds of tomatoes coming out of the garden in a day the juicer has been working over time! The pantry is full with an added 4 shelves put up which are all full also. The freezer also full. Its a good feeling when you know how well your family will be fed this winter.
Outside - We built a shed for the horses and also a much larger pasture for them to room and eat. It feeds them plus we now have about 40 minutes of mowing gone!! And as if cutting out the grass wasn't a big enough plus we also have no money out of our pocket for all the materials used. The shed was recycled from a bigger shed we took down for someone. We also got a kids playhouse which was recycled. the posts we had from when we first moved here and never got around to building the fence. The fence was given to us by a neighbor, he took it down to put up new, the fence is in great shape. He said it was going to the landfill - NOooooo. Okay he brought it to us. Yippee!!
Inside - still going through things to have a yard sale. this will take some time with the garden flourishing like it is. Our electric company sent us a letter about a program to help the environment and save energy. So we are signing up for that.
Well that's about all for now. I am trying to get the fall planting in the ground and the raised beds ready for the winter months with new horse manure on them for next years planting. You know you are a homesteader when you are thinking and planning for 6 months from the month you are actually in. HAve a great weekend!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Ways we homestead in the 21st century

I have been thinking for some time about how our life is different from most others that we know. I have been lucky enough to not have to work but it doesn't mean i sit around the house watching soap operas, waiting for the mail to run , or turning on the Internet to get a taste of whats going on in the world. No way. My life is really really different. When I say I don't work I mean I don't have a job away from our land. And my day is so full some days the TV doesn't get turned on until late in the day or if its raining. Also I have been known ( actually last week) to not have checked the mail for days. I do get on the Internet when the rain is falling outside and I can update the blog or do a bit of research on new homesteading ways.
I tend to our children and gardens everyday and the children have learned so much from our homesteading adventures. Everyone has there own special part of the garden that they wait patiently for. Son 1 loves the corn, Son 2 loves the potatoes, from planting to digging, Darling daughter loves the cucumbers.
But the food and gardens are only a small part of this way of life. We have never owned a credit card and if we don't have the money for it then we don't get it. There has been so many times that it has taken us so long to save money for something we thought we just had to have and when we go to the store to get it we decide together that we don't really need it at all. We buy alot ( about 90%) of items in our home from thrift stores, or yard sales. We never pay full price for much of anything. We save items for later use. We buy the things we can not grow on our land in bulk. Saves money, time and trips.
I take great pride in that we are not dependent on material things. I feel honored that my kids don't know the difference between name brands and whats "in style". Our style is our own. Our style is living within our means and standing beside one another. We have grown into a close family and our idea of a Saturday night out means fishing or finding a free event to attend. Also when we go out to eat it usually means eating outside. We have fun and enjoy each others company and we help our neighbors any way we can.
While making our laundry detergent yesterday I read the quote on the package of soap and it read " If you want to live free, learn to live simply." As I read it to my hubby his first remark was " that's us and I wouldn't have it any other way" Its truly a blessing to be able to live our life the way we do and we wouldn't have it any other way.
What things are you doing to make life simple? Are you living free?

Friday, August 7, 2009

Tomatoes in abundance

We are pleased that the tomatoes are coming on strong. We are averaging about 10 pounds a day. That's alot of tomatoes. With that many we have been making juice, sauce, and next up some salsa. I borrowed my moms juicer which made my job less and much easier. I love that thing. I would recommend it to anyone. It makes the juice go one way and the seeds and skins in a different direction. Shaving alot of time off the whole process. Also there are other attachments you can get for jams and pumpkin. A great buy if you process alot of tomatoes.


Yup its time to celebrate here on "our bit of soil" with a few of our family members turning a new age this month we are having a fish fry! And a little cake. We try to have a grand party for everyone. We play games and enjoy each others company.
Just another way a homesteader saves money. Make your own cake. Saves us about $60 a year here. I know $60 dollars is that all. Well yeah but $60 is alot of money to spend on just cakes. So here is our cakes I made yesterday. I blurred out the names for privacy.

The garden cupcakes is the cake I made for my moms birthday 2 years ago.
Its fun to put a little extra time into a celebration! Have a great day!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

July was wonderful

for harvest. Still have yet to find out where the heat went to but the produce is really growing. As in the recent post explaining we harvested 258 pounds of harvest from our gardens. Also I wanted to give you a run down on our harvest for dollars total expense for the year so far.
Growing our own corn has saved us $80.00 on an average of 3.50 per dozen
Blackberries saved us $5.00 on average of 2.50 for and 8 oz package
Potatoes saved us 22.90 on average 2.99 per 5 pounds at the store
green beans saved us $18.00 on average of the store price of 2.00 per pound
carrots saved us 9.03
cabbage saved us 1.45
pickles saved us 30.69 minus the vinegar I had to buy so the total saved was 26.69
onions saved us $5.97
Zucchini saved us $21.78 from an average of $1.00 per pound
Brussel sprouts saved us 1.29

With a total saving of $196.11 for one month
With $196.11 subtracted from our garden start expenses of 175.78 that means we have MADE $20.33. Woohoo we are no longer in the red!!! With more then 3 more months still yet to harvest I can breathe easy!! Gardening is easy, healthier, and profitable even if its just for your own family.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

July update

We have really been busy around here to say the least. I know there is still 2 days left in the month but being it was raining I thought this maybe my only break from the gardening chores that have been keeping me on my toes for the whole month. So with that said our poundage for July is 258. Yes 258 pounds harvested from our gardens for this month!
Also with a rouge estimate saving us $187.38. Still calculating the rest of the produce so I am sure that amount will continue to grow.
Our tomatoes are having a rough go. With the rainy weather they have been introduced to a bout of blossom rot but are coming out of it. They are heavy and we have been having to tie them up over and over again. They are tall and I am pleased with the looks of them already, although I have one problem. I forgot where I planted the ripe green tomatoes. Hope to find them soon.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Freezing, canning, and salting Oh my!

Although the weather feels like Fall it still is indeed Summer. The harvest season is in full swing. With peppers, cabbage, blackberries, corn, potatoes, and brussel sprouts all needing to be canned, pickled, froze, or dried we are i n the midst of our busiest time of year. Oh and did I mention putting up fence, 7 birthdays, and building a barn for the horses? Yup all that means a whole lotta late nights bonding with my kitchen. (Sigh) The pleasures of homesteading. ya gotta love it.
Our first set of corn has really set out alot of pounds and makings for some savory meals come winter. The potatoes are coming up and we have about 20 pounds in the pantry, where its cool and dark. When the potatoes come up new veggies have been filling the holes in the garden or raised beds. We have a lot of veggies in the pantry, almost nearly full, making me wonder where I will end up putting the rest of our harvest. I'm sure the cupboards could hold a bit more with a little rearranging.
Yesterday we went over the hill to check on posts for the fencing and alas the blackberries were ripe and much more to our surprise the wild animals didn't eat them all. SO we got a container and had a fun time picking them wonderful berries which will be jam sometime today.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

A little trip

puts it all in new light. I sometimes get tired and worn out. I sometimes think what life would be without canning, cooking, gardening, homesteading every day. That's why we thought it would be a great idea to get away for the weekend. Now we do not go many places. We travel very little but sometimes you just need to get away. The above pictures are from our trip.
We ate in restaurant's and really the only thing I wanted to do was come home and cook a home cooked meal. I loved seeing everyone from my childhood but we are happy to be back - home. I am happy we homestead. Happy to have the food on our land and pleased I had plenty of harvest to get canned when we returned home. Yes it was nice to have a little break but I wouldn't change how we live for the world!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Garden in July

The garden is in full swing. We have had an extremely weird summer with very few days over 90 degrees. More days with rain then without and more cooler autumn like mornings. But none the less no matter how the weather is this summer we must take it and try to do some good with it. The green beans do not like the weather but the cucumbers and tomatoes are loving it.
The first picture is of the potatoes, then cucumbers above the milk jugs, the milk jugs are where the early potatoes were which now is the broccoli, then above that is the peppers, melons, then onions.
Second picture, the one with the blue step stool in it, has beans and corn in it.
The third picture consists of zucchini, tomatoes, and corn in it. As in the previous post the tomatoes are doing wonderful, the corn seems to be stunted a bit ( maybe due to the weather).
None the less we are taking what we can get and if we need more the farmers market is right down the road. Hopefully we won't need it much but its there if we need it. I sure hope they have organic.
How is your garden growing?

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Tomatoes - big and small

With 158 tomato plants I plan to have enough to make sauces, salsa, ketchup, and sun dried tomatoes. As it turns out , ablove pictures, show we will probably have plenty of tomatoes to go around. All the plants look like the above photos, they are loaded. Some as big as a small bowl. We have several different colors of tomatoes growing like, pink, yellow, red, black, white, orange, and of course green. I hope to have enough ripe green tomatoes to make up a batch of green tomato sauce for the kids. They variesties of tomatoes are as follows : Uncle Mark Bagby,Verna Orange, Great White, Black Plum, Grace Lahman, Black Krim, Pinapple, Yellow pear, mama leone, rutgers, dads sunset break O'day, Old Virgina, Thessaloniki, and Aunt Ruby's german green tomato.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Getting over the fear

, the fear of the pressure canner. With help from other gardeners and harvest keepers I finally gave in and used the pressure canner. I was really shocked how easy it is to use, now I looking for anything and everything to can for the pantry.
Now I am hoping the green beans will start really producing so I can can more then one jar at a time.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

4 days in

and already we are having a bumper crop. With the tomatoes still yet to ripen we are experiencing tremendous yields. Vegetables are in my home laying everywhere, the pantry filling quickly and still have yet to pressure can anything. But the water bath canner has been getting quiet a workout. I find myself trying to figure out where I can place more shelves in our walk in pantry.
Oh yeah sorry for rambling but Happy 4Th of July. this July our family is celebrating our freedom of grocery stores. Looks like we will have little or no grocery store time. Thus this is more time spent with the family having fun weather it be just chillin or maybe a free time like fishing.
Okay back to the vegetables, in 4 days we have harvested 38 pounds 11oz these pounds are coming from onions, cabbage, zucchini, cucumbers, potatoes, beans and herbs. This is also done completely organic. Absolutely no pesticides what so ever.
Today we planted some fall broccoli and some more tomatoes bringing the total of tomato plants to 156 give or take one or two. I'm still hoping to can 1500 jars of food for this year. Hoping that will get us through till the next harvest.
Happy 4 Th of July!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Worthy of another year

So when we were planting the potato seeds earlier this year we were hoping for the best and just praying that we would grow enough potatoes to pay for the seeds that we bought. We purchased 3 different varieties small red ( shown in photo), Yukon gold, and russet Burbank. We spend around $20 dollars for our seeds and got 6 rows planted. Last night we grabbed the produce basket and up the hill we went to gather the red potatoes. The kids were having a blast - one trying to find the biggest potato in there hole and the other trying to find the most potatoes in theirs.
After clearing out the row, I came in to the house to weigh our treasures, 13 pounds of wonderful potatoes. That with the potatoes we have already harvested pays for the seeds and some seeds to save for planting next year. With 5 rows of potatoes still in the ground it looks to be a wonderful potato year.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

June harvest total

With this month approaching an end it is time for me to post our harvest for the month.
This month we produced 87 pounds and 4 oz. of good wholesome food from our own land.
I also have 31 jars of pickles canned, 4 bags of fresh green beans in the freezer and zucchini bread in the freezer.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

As I was canning today my daughter was talking about how one day I will have to go to her house so I can help her can her own garden. It made me smile and I was pleased to hear that she will want to keep her garden bounty for use in the colder months also. We ended up making 18 quarts and 2 pint jars of dill pickles yesterday. About 30 more jars of a pickle variety we should be set till the next harvest. With the way the cucumber plants are producing this year we should have no problem getting those without bartering or trading for more cucumbers.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Todays agenda

With the heat gearing up the central air will be on for a day of canning. Yeterday between rain showers I was able to get over 20 pounds of produce from the garden most of it from cucumbers. The above picture shows only a few of cucumbers harvested yesterday.So with the cucumbers growing fast the canning MUST start. Thats what I will be doing today. I will let you know how much I get canned. Last year we got only 10 jars of cucumbers becasue the plants died quickly. I hope to have way more then that this year.

What are you canning?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

One good turn - deserves another

This morning while talking to my mom she was telling me about something that was done in a town a few hours away where I was born and spent most of my childhood at. A family friend said she had received plants for her garden. But these were not just any vegetable plants. These were truly amazing plants. Not only were they free but they stood for something. See they gave people these plants on one condition: If you don't use the produce yourself then give it to a soup kitchen or someone that needs the food. Yes Victory and Freedom gardens are popping up every where. It seems everyone is thinking of alternative ways to stay out of the grocery store.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

April, May, June Dollars

In March I posted Jan., Feb., March dollars which showed how much money we have used to start our garden and a bit of that money was also used for supplies like, dirt, fruit trees, tools etc. So then we have spent a Total of - $244
With the produce we have harvested thus far from April until June this is how it reads

At the grocery yesterday, after butter and milk, I seen that "FRESH GREEN BEANS" maybe fresh but might not be organic, were $2.49 a pound that said we have harvested 3 pounds from our garden saving us $7.47

Also cabbage, again probably not organic seeing how no sign advised that of it was $0.49 per pound after cutting just a couple heads we managed to get 5 pounds thus far saving us $2.45

The onions were $1.99 per bag which looked like approx. 5-6 onions in each bag we have harvested 5 pounds so far as my onions have been equalling around 4-5 per pound by my calculations we have saved $7.96

Next come carrots with one pound package carrots at $1.99 and again not organic at the store , we have harvested 2 pounds of carrots thus far saving $3.98

New potatoes at the store for the red ones we have harvested are 3.99 per 4 pound bag. Again our potatoes have saved us $3.99 with many more plants in the garden still.

Leaf lettuce in a one pound BAG at the store are selling for $2.49, on sale!! But I got my organic lettuce in the back yard for free with 5 pounds harvested we have saved $12.45

I have no idea how to calculate the peas seeings how they don't sell them in the store fresh around here. Zukes are not being sold in the store yet either but I have 2 pounds ready to make into bread.

For a grand total these three months of saving are $38.30 bringing our total for supplies out of pocket down from $244 to $205.70

How much are you saving? I would love to know!! Happy gardening

EDIT: Cucumbers were priced for 0.68 cents a pound at a store we were at last night. As we have harvested 44 pounds it comes to a savings of $29.92

Bringing the new total of savings to - $68.22 thus bringing our out of pocket expence to $175.78 and its just July!!

Ones first attempt to pressure canning...

I first went to my garden shed thus this shed also stores all my empty canning jars. Sorting through hundreds of jars, deciding which size to use, making sure they are not damaged in any way takes time.
Of course then they must be washed. So into the house we go to wash the jars I picked in hot soapy water. While those were soaking I was able to get the dishwasher unloaded and was thinking about storing the clean jars in it until I needed them.
I then went to the pantry to fetch my pressure canner out of the pantry. With eyes gleaming and heart pounding I was thrilled it was finally time to use my wonderful investment I made a few months ago. I sat down to read the instructions once again. I have never used a pressure canner before, shucks I have never seen anyone use one before. So reading the instructions a billion times hopefully will be enough for me to understand how to use it. I then, as illustrated in the book, proceeded to attach the gauge and regulator. Looks good. Last but not least I did the rest of the prep in the book for all first time Pressure canners.
Getting all that done I was excited to be ready to pick the green beans I have been longing to can. Every year we freeze them and this year is exciting for me. To get more freezer space and the green beans on the shelf. Anyways picking the green beans picked plenty for about 5 pint jars. Good enough for the first time , small batch, just in case I do something wrong and something should happen to them.
Get back to the house and then, its time to start supper. Dun dun dunnnnnnn Hmmmmmm. I guess the canning will have to wait, the beans will be with supper, and the rest will go to the freezer. Bad news is I wasn't able to use the pressure canner yet, good news is I have 4 quart bags of green beans in the freezer.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Mid-month harvest update

With the garden growing fast and I would be completely unable to stay caught up if it wasn't for the rain. Of course the rain is probably the reason the gardens are growing so very well. Anyways with that said I am posting my June harvest thus far - in 15 days we have collected 20 pounds and 3 oz of fruits and veggies from our land.
On the preservation side I have put up carrots, peas, onions and a few potatoes. We are very excited to see how close or maybe even over we will come to our harvest goal.

Slugs and bugs - eeekks

As i was walking through the garden I discovered that it was time to run in the house and search the web for ways to get rid of potato bugs and cabbage worms.
After weeks of tiring to tempt anyone to pluck the little non beneficial bugs for a penny a piece, i still have had no takers. I'm sure the only reason no one wants the job is because they have watched me sit there for hours plucking the little boogers off the plants. After spending much of my time trying to displace them I am hoping to find a earth friendly- non abrasive- gentle to other beneficial bugs remedy. Thus I found if you sprinkle flour on the cabbage the worms then eat it and POOF. We shall see....
As for the potato bugs it took more then a few minutes to find something that might repel the bugs from eating the leaves off the plants. Which brings me to the hot pepper spray. A few hot peppers in some water. Let cool. Mix more water with the hot pepper juice ( so to speak). Spray the plants when cool. Done... Does it work who knows. Its not supposed to kill them just repel them. I am hoping it works. It would be really nice if it did. Not to mention this is easier on the pocket book.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Perfect start to a gloomy day

With several rows of potatoes I am pleased to see all my hard work with hilling them, picking off potato bugs, and pulling the weeds from around them is starting to pay off.

I collected 3 pounds of red new potatoes yesterday for our supper. Along with the very big and handsome onions in the picture also. The gardens are doing so very well this year. It must be the compost that I have been piling on the gardens throughout the year.

The harvest total for this month is drasticly rising which is good if we want to reach our goal weight!!

Go Rain Go!!!

No I am not going to say away. Recently I have heard alot about the rainy weather we have been experiencing but I am for one and alot of others around here tend to enjoy it. As in my way of looking at it, it gives me time to play catch up in the house with the cleaning. It helps the plants and veggies grow like crazy and gives me a slight break in packing water up to the gardens and new trees. It has given us time to redo the building that we traded for, it has kept our water barrels full,it has made the kitchen cool during canning, and our water bill low. Rain is my friend.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Just because

There are so many pictures I want to just unload but this is my favorite. It just seems everyone even the animals can't get enough of the fresh veggies. Here on of the kittens is in the Brussel sprouts.
Okay well that's all I have for tonight so I think I am going to bed. Good night!


With the weather changing every few seconds, it seems, I could not help myself but I had to take a few shots of the storm that was brewing out our back door the other day. The top on was right after they said our county could see hail. The bottom one was later that evening. I really love this shot becasue I can see aface in the clouds. Can you see it? Enjoy!

Peas and Carrots

With so much going on here on our "bit of soil" there is little time for computer. With that said this will be the first of a "grape" post. When I say "grape" I mean bunch of posts. With that said here I sit basking in the dark - maybe you was thinking sun? Sorry Like I said there is lots to do mostly in the daylight hours and no time or very little for basking.

But with so much to try to fit into the day we somehow get it all done. After getting out of the pool today the second time, or maybe it was the third, oh well. We then went to the raised bed garden to see if there was anything to munch on. I was happy and hte kids excited when we pulled the best looking carrot out of the ground. They said " look mom its a store carrot" This is the first year we had carrots that didnt take a whole row to make a side dish.
Todays harvest 1 pound of peas, 11 oz of carrots, 2 oz of potato.
This June month of harvest totals will be very exciting to see how heavy we are weighing!!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

2, one

I feel like saying blast off. Okay there you go I said it. So anyways there are 2 more days of school here. I am so excited. Alright I know I am one of those parents that are excited about the kids being out of school? yup I am. I would rather them be home then anywhere else. (sigh)

Also in 2 days we will have kids yelling at each other about who gets in the pool first, or bugging about going to the movies or when we might go camping. Then they might have a few fights amongst each other but want to try to drag me into it by saying "MOM so and so did this" which usually I settle by simply saying " Lets keep our hands to ourselves".But any ways summer vacation is wonderful no matter what. Summer vacation is a staycation.

Our staycation will consist of fishing, camping, hiking, and exploring. We usually take a trip to the local fish hatchery and swim in the lake. We are simple and the family really enjoys anything we do. Only thing is to agree on what to do first and to keep them just busy enough so they don't have time to pick at each other.

That said, if I happen to be not here posting at my regular time then its because I will be busy with the daily chores and the kids home. I will post when I am avalible, probably around 2 am. Have a great gardening day!!!

Monday, June 1, 2009

May happenings - update

So this month has been both busy and productive. We are very pleased with the new raised beds growing the veggies at an alarming rate.
- Our brussle sprouts are more then my knee height.
-The carrot greens are lush and plenty. Hopefully the roots will be just as wonderful.
-All the radish's are done for the spring but we hope to get more planted before the winter. Yes I said winter.
-We managed to get about 113 tomato plants in the ground this year and still have around 30 in the greenhouse.
-Our pepper plants are having a rough go of it due to the rains flooding the garden and washing out the plants by the handfuls. We were lucky enough to get more planted and with any luck will produce plenty.
-The onions are doing well although we are having a time with them blooming. This is the first year that has ever happened to me.
- As for the potatoes, they are fixing to bloom. I have had to hand pick the potato beetles off the plants almost every day but they seem to be disappearing.
- The melons are all doing well as well as the squash and cucumbers.
- Peas are coming along well and all the kids love peas now. They can't get enough of the sweet green fresh peas.
We have managed to get over 4 pounds of veggies out of the garden already and we are happy to think we won't have a hard time in getting to our goal this year.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Time for desert

I have posted pictures of the apple and peach trees but not the other fruits we have growing. Enjoy.
We have cherries, peaches ( see the lady bug), and strawberries.
Others include but not photoed are watermelon, cantaloupe, blackberries.

Garden in May

Our garden is really full. Some would say too full but nah we don't think that. With the recent rains( every day for 4 days) its very hard to get into the garden to pull weeds but I will post the garden pics anyway. So here you go.

In the photo on the top the veggies are 8 zucchini, 83 tomato plants, 10 rows of corn, then the potatoes. The picture to the right of the page is from the other side of the garden. First this way is the dreaded weeds that are growing everywhere in the garden, sunflowers the kids planted (heavy), 2 rows of onions ( 2 different kinds), melons, cucumbers, peppers, then the potatoes.

The potato box in the right is on its 3rd run. It is really growing well. I am excited to see how many spuds are In there. If they do well I am wanting to make an extended box to fit the garden better. A lot of people who have used the potato boxes say they grow a lot of potatoes in them so I am waiting to see how many more the box has then just the ones in the garden.

Monday, May 25, 2009

A true sign of summer

is picking cherries around our "bit of soil". We planted 2 cherry trees about 3 years ago here, last year we managed to grab around a handful off the trees before the birds got to them. This year we have around 2 cups up there waiting for us to pick them. But while ours are not fully ripe we went to hubbys dads tonight, his tree had wonderful red ripe cherries just waiting for us to gobble them up. My FIL said we could pick them in exchange for a cobbler. I can do that!! We picked 3 pounds 4 oz. tonight. One cobbler is cooling on the table and the other is still in the oven.
I love cherry cobbler as the rest of the family does also. Hopefully soon we will have enough off our trees to get enough for a cobbler or two and can or freeze some for the winter. I truly don't know how we live without the warm wonderfulness of cherry cobbler all year. I start wanting it in winter and some how survive until now.

3 pds 4 oz. cherries bartered for cherry cobbler

We have peas

This is our first year growing peas. So please excuse me for being very excited to see the pea pods growing every day.