Harvesting has begun…

Aside from lettuces and herbs, and considering we planted late, we are finally starting to get a harvest from our garden. I also notices we have tomatoes starting to ripen and a few peppers that might be big enough to toss into tonight’s salad.

What are you harvesting?  What are you looking forward to?  Let me know!  Until next time – live simply and love abundantly!  Grace and peace…

Ann’Re
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Planning Long Term

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Grandma and Grandpa

I see a lot of people taking the plunge and moving to homesteads, going off grid, and generally moving to more sustainable, self sufficient living.  There are lots of benefits to these lifestyles that far out weigh the negative.

What some people don’t realize is that there can be a lot of hard work attached to these ways of living.  I wonder if these people who say they are in it for the long haul are just living day to day or are they really considering the long term?

My birthday is right around the corner.  It’s a big one.  A lot of the things we had hoped to do are starting to fade.  I am finding out now that my bad joint pain can be limiting.  The heat and humidity in the summer send my asthma into attacks.  While I consider myself in pretty good shape for approaching AARP age, I have to face the fact that I’m not a young anymore.  While I’m not yet out to pasture, now is the time to set things into motion that will make those years easier.

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Me with Hubb

We actually started thinking about it when we bought our house 12 years ago.
While we didn’t mind having a basement, we wanted a ranch style home so that if this is our final home we won’t have to worry about getting around it when we’re older.  This was important because we had seen older family members who were having a hard time with stairs including one who fell down a flight of basement stairs.  If we move, we will again look for something that will take us comfortable into our older years.  So, while we don’t want to limit ourselves, we also don’t want to make things harder down the road.  It takes thoughtful planning.  Gardening, raising animals, caring for the home and property…how will you handle these things in your older years? For example:  chopping all your firewood by hand isn’t as easy at 70 years old as it is for a 40 year old.

20141028_081817I know many of us are optimistic about these things in our later years.  “Oh, we’ll manage.”  Will you?  Even the average American lifestyle is challenging to the aged.  I’m not aged (*sigh*) and I have a hard time opening jars and bottles due to the joint pain in my hands.  I wonder how this will effect my gardening and canning?  How will this effect my butchering meat?  How will this effect my crochet business?

Have you thought about it?  Now is the time to plan and put things into place for your lifestyle long term that will make your older years easier.  It’s much easier to do it now while you are able than to wait until the day you find you can’t.

Until next time – live simply and love abundantly!  Grace and peace…

Ann’Re

Cauliflower

20170601cauliflower3I have been gardening most of my life. I don’t consider myself an expert, but I know what works for me and what doesn’t.

One thing I have not been very successful at growing is cauliflower. I’m not sure why. This year I thought I would try AGAIN and I am excited!  Silly, I know, but I have tiny little cauliflowers in my garden! *garden happy dance*

Until next time – live simply and love abundantly!  Grace and peace…

Ann’Re

Farmer’s Markets

I have always had a love for farmer’s markets since I moved into my first apartment. It was a small studio apartment that was directly across the street from the city’s farmer’s market. Not only could I see and hear the weekend busyness of this big city market from my main street windows, but all I had to do was walk yards across the street to experience it. This city girl was hooked.

Now I’m living out in farm country and I’m thinking about selling at a farmer’s market. We have small farmer’s market here locally which has a nice mix of local farmers, Amish and a few artisans. I have always thought it was interesting that in a rural area such as ours farmer’s markets are so small. The average I’ve seen at the handful of markets around us is about 15-ish local sellers and their produce selections are usually small. I think part of the reason for this may be the local flea market (which is huge but only open during the week), but even the produce sellers there are very few compared to the artisans and antiques. I think another may be local tourist markets that sell produce that is sold farm stand style but with commercial produce.

Despite that, the small local farmer’s markets do get a good bit of local traffic. I have been considering whether to join for the past year and I think I am going to do it. I plan on selling mostly greens such as lettuces and spinach, and doing some bread baking. These are two areas that I enjoy and that I don’t see a lot of people there selling. The Amish that do offer baked goods sell mostly cookies and pies. I also may take some of my crochet items like dish cloths and market bags.

I have researched our state laws and the cottage laws and I am comfortable with my plans. The farmer’s market I’m planning to join has a very reasonable yearly fee and runs two days each week. While I hope this venture will be financially profitable, I hope even more to connect with people and promote buying local.

Do you shop farmers markets? What brings you back? Are you a seller at farmers markets? What do you sell and what do you enjoy about it? I’d love to hear from you! You can answer in the comments below or post a link to a post you’ve written about it.

Until next time – live simply and love abundantly!  Grace and peace…

Ann’Re

Garden 2017

Gardening season is officially under way here @home.  Wheeee!

2017gardenweedsLast year we weren’t able to get a garden going and we left it fallow for the season. That was hard. It was the first time in many, many years I haven’t had a garden. The result from letting it go is that the garden plot is now very weedy and turning it over by hand is not going very well. We are planning to rent a big tiller this week and get it tilled.  Son is going to whack all the weeds before we till.

2017gardenraisedbedsIn the mean time, the four raised beds are planted and growing. Compost from last year was added as well as local compost to fill the beds.  I didn’t start any plants this year so I purchased tomatoes, cauliflower and onions.  Not heirloom this year but we’ll work on that for next year.  Radishes, broccoli and peas were started by our own saved seed.  Everything is doing well except the broccoli which I think is a bust.  The first bed has broccoli (well, supposed to have broccoli) and peas.  The one behind it has cauliflower and radishes.  The bed next to it has tomatoes and onions.

2017gardenlettuceThe raised bed near the house (dubbed the kitchen garden) has lettuce, garlic, spinach and carrots.  The early spinach planting is pretty much done and bolted and has been reseeded already.

The herb garden is sparse this year.  My lavender, yarrow and savory didn’t make it through the winter so I will need to plant new.  I’m not sure why because our winter was actually fairly mild as a whole.  Chives are going 2017gardenchivesfull blast and drawing many bees.  Hubby loves having them in salads.  We had a nice small harvest of asparagus this year and we are hoping for a bigger one next year.

Lastly, the strawberries are looking great. This bed is badly in need of a good weeding, but the strawberries don’t seem to mind. I’ll need to cover these with bird netting because the local birds (as well as our own chickens) will gobble them up once they start ripening.

2017gardenstrawberriesJust a small update for now.  I’d love to hear about your garden this year whether it is a big farm garden or a small patio container garden.  You can leave a comment or link to your own blog post.

Until next time…live simply and love abundantly!

Ann’Re

Where has the time went?

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Fall leaves by the garden a few years ago.

It’s the last day of September.  How can tomorrow be October?  I love fall, it is my favorite season, but it seems summer slipped by somehow.

It is a bit odd not to be harvesting from the garden.  We didn’t purposely leave it fallow, we really did intend to put in a great garden this year.  It just got put off by so many other things.  In the end, leaving it fallow isn’t a bad thing for the garden, but I do miss the fun of reaping the harvest of what we planted.  Now it needs to be cleaned up and prepped so that we can be ready for spring.

But we do have eggs.  Our three hens Marigold, Lucy, and Izzy are laying some beautiful eggs and they are such fun to have around.  It is time to start buttoning down the coop and run for winter and start making plans for what we need to do.  Since this is our first winter with chickens it will be a lot of trial and error for us.  I’d love to hear some winter tips from experienced chicken owners.

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One of our past harvests.

We might not have a harvest from our garden, but now that it is cooler I will still be doing a bunch of canning, freezing and dehydrating.  We can get some produce here locally (golly the prices have gone way up since last year!!) and we’ll be getting meat as we find some good deals.  Apples are in season so I want to start off with that, and I’ll see what deals I can find locally.  I also want to try using the apple scraps to make apple cider vinegar.  We’ll see.

The end of summer has brought a real struggle with my health.   I’ve been having a real battle with my asthma and all the medication that goes along with that really scares me.  Fall is always harder for me anyway because there is a lot of leaf burning around here and the smoke seems to hang in the air.  I really want to find some good ways to help my asthma that would reduce the medication or maybe even eliminate the need for it.  I can hope.  I have tried a lot of stuff but have never really seen any benefits.  The biggest thing I know I need to do is get back to eating healthy and avoiding foods I know do not help…like dairy and sugar.

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Throwback, first day of 6th grade.

Homeschooling is also in full swing.  Hard to believe it is the last year.  Also hard to believe that we homeschooled 12 years.  Wasn’t always easy, but I would do it all over again.  It is going to be weird hanging up this chapter of our life and not homeschooling next year.  I also can’t wait to see what God has in store for our son as he moves on to college.

That is it for now, off to do some chores around the house.  Until next time, I hope you have a wonderful and blessed day!  Grace and peace….

Spring Has Froze

Greetings from cold and snowy Indiana!  Spring is struggling to get going this year and our spring projects are a bit slower than we had planned.  In my cup this morning is regular old coffee with stevia and almond milk.

DSCN3224-webreadyOne of our projects was to build a backyard chicken coop for the chickie babies.  Not so much babies anymore…they are all feathered in now and getting big.  But they are growing fast and outgrowing the dog cage they are in.  We have all the supplies for the coop…just waiting for the weather to cooperate.  So far our diva dog Pepper has been very good with them, so we are hoping she will turn out to be a good protector and not an antagonist.
I had hoped to get the early spring garden in but again, trying to work around the weather has made it a
challenge.  pantryMy seed starting indoors was a
big failure and I haven’t had a chance to redo the heirloom tomatoes and peppers I wanted to start. Are you seeing a pattern?  lol  Even so, God is in control so in His capable hands I will leave it all and just take things one day at a time.

One of the indoor projects that we did finish turning a spare closet into pantry.  Hubby and son work hard and got it finished and I got it filled it up.  It is so nice being able to have everything in one place now…and fairly organized.  They did a great job!  Our washer also sprung a leak and thankfully hubby and son were able to fix that as well saving us from having to buy a new washer.  We are also waiting for better weather to finish the roof.
Another things I’ve been up to is I have been slowly working on restarting my craft business.  I had it going successfully for a long time, then decided to pull the plug grayshawl1when it (and other things) started taking a toll on my health.  Things have changed a lot in the short few years since I stopped and since I want to do this right I am not rushing things.  The most time consuming part for me is taking pictures of everything and listing them.  I have lots to list so taking pictures, editing and listing is a slow process.  Despite that I find myself enjoying this much more than I ever have.

That’s it for now.   I hope all is well where you are, I’d love to hear how your spring is going.   Until next time, grace and peace!

Psalm 51:1-2
Have mercy upon me, O God,
According to Your lovingkindness;
According to the multitude of Your tender mercies,
Blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
And cleanse me from my sin.