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?

13-11-08snow

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.

13-08-08harvest

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.

6thgrade

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.

 

Seed Starting 2016

seedlingsEven though my garden is buried under snow, in my mind it’s spring!   It’s time to make garden plans, order and start seeds.  This year I am excited because I am starting more of my own seeds and ordering less.

I had also hoped to make my own seed starting mix, but I wasn’t able to get what I needed.  I used a basic seed starting mix that I already had…non organic, but it was only peat moss, vermiculite and bark fines.  I’m trying to get away from using peat.  I added the last bit of coconut coir that I had on hand.  I can’t find a good source around me so I’m going to have to find a good source online.  Do you make your own seed starting mix or do you buy it?  If you buy it, what kind do you buy?

I had picked up a few trays on clearance from our local big box hardware store.  Well, not really local as most shopping is at least a 30 minute drive.  I love finding these kind of deals.  The plastic trays that I already had were old and starting to crack.  I also picked up some cheap dixie cups.  These are great for starting seeds.

160209plantlights1160209plantlights2I don’t have any specific grow lights or plant lights.  I just use regular bulbs that say full spectrum or daylight that run over 5000 K in cool light appearance.  The ones I have right now are 6500 K and 100 watt.  While I HATE fluorescent bulbs, these are the most cost effective (LED’s are still very expensive) and work work well for me in this tiny green house.  I also have two small fluorescent tube lights that used to be in our kitchen.

So far most of the seeds I have started are all my own seeds from last year.  Roma, Marglobe and Black Krim tomatoes, pablano peppers, white onions, red romaine lettuce, and slobolt lettuce.  I planted some cabbage, spinach and kale from seeds I bought last year, but just to be safe I will be ordering more.  I also planted some celery seeds I got last year but they have yet to germinate.   I have to buy bell and banana pepper seeds yet.  I also have some hot pepper seeds that I have been growing for years now.  I don’t know the name of the pepper but they seem to be Tabasco peppers from what I could find.  They are one of hubby’s favorites for making hot pepper flakes.

That is it for now.  I’d love to hear what your garden plans are for this year and what seeds you’ll be starting or have already started.  Until next time…grace and peace!

Happy New Year!

Wow, it’s been a little while since my last post. After my laptop died and then my tablet shattered, my online activities were greatly diminished.  They still are to a point, but thanks to a new tablet some things are a bit easier.

I hope that you and yours had a wonderful time over Christmas and New Years.  We didn’t go anywhere and didn’t have anyone over (everyone seemed to have their own plans already) so ours was nice quiet time at home.

Now that it’s the new year, I’m already thinking about the gardens.  I am making lists of seeds that I’d like to order and starting to draw out where everything is going to go.  I am also shopping for clearance garden supplies…you can get some great buys this time of year.  Tomatoes and peppers will be started here soon so I need to inventory my supplies to see what I’ll be needing.

I am also re-launching my craft business.  I was doing quite well but a few years ago I with everything that was going on at that time, depression set in and I quickly got burned out trying to keep up with it.  I thought it best to step back from it and focus on myself and my family.  The time seemed right to revive it and I’m excited.  While I will have a link to my business, this blog isn’t for selling anything.

I am still committed to minimizing my home and life.  I did quite a bit of decluttering in 2015, not as much as I wanted.  Being a borderline hoarder I think I did pretty good.  I found a book online by Marie Kondo called The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and I am hoping to get it. I think one of the biggest roadblocks I have to decluttering is letting go. If I can change this mind set I will be on my way.

I am off to start planning our sons birthday day. He wants to start the morning off with French toast and bacon, ending with dinner at his favorite restaurant.  He is growing into a fine young man.  I adore him!

Until next time…grace and peace.

The Last Harvest

It’s kind of sad pulling the last of the vegetables out of the garden, pulling the plants out and getting the garden ready for winter. I do still have spinach, broccoli and one tomato plant, but everything else is done. The weather folks are calling for a hard frost this weekend, so it was time. The one tomato plant is in a hoop house up by the kitchen door so it should be fine. I normally use that for lettuces in the fall and spring but the tomato was a volunteer and took over. It makes hubby happy. 🙂

 

2015Oct15beansa

The last of the beans. Some seeds for our garden next year, some seeds to trade and give away.

 

2015Oct15peppers1a

The last of the bell pepper and sweet banana peppers.

 

2015Oct15Peppers2a

After getting chopped and ready to freeze, over 8 pounds of sweet peppers.

 

2015Oct15peppers3a

A whole basket of hot! Pablano peppers, hot banana peppers, and chili peppers.

 

2015Oct15spinacha

Our first harvest of fall spinach.

John 4:35-36 – Do you not say, ‘There are still four months and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest! And he who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit for eternal life, that both he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together.

Canning Corn Using A Drill

wpid-20150823_212640.jpgQuite honestly, I felt it was easier to just buy frozen corn than spending all that time cutting corn off the cob to can it.  After buying some corn that we planned on canning, hubby wanted to try using the drill to cut the kernels off.  He got the idea from a friend who had shared a video she did when she used her drill to do 400 ears of corn.  She bought the special made bit she used, but hubby was sure he could make one.  Most of what we found only included sales information on a drill bit and not DIY information.  After watching a few videos and doing some searching on the internet, hubby figured we would need a 4-inch lag bolt and a big washer.  So off to the hardware store he and our son went.  He came back with a 4-inch stainless steel lag bolt and a fender wpid-20150823_212544.jpgwasher.  Our son cut the head off the bolt with a hack saw, then used the grinder wheel to take off the sharp edges.  That chucked right into hubby’s drill.   He slipped the fender washer on and was ready to go.  He drilled into the end of the corn, spun it through the corn cutter…and just like that it was done.  It took longer for us shuck the corn than for hubby to cut the corn off.  How cool is that??  Now you may decide you want to weld the washer to the bolt, but that is up to you.  Hubby says he isn’t going to bother.

wpid-20150824_112733.jpgIn a short amount of time, we went through 104 ears of corn and got it ready to can.  Which I’m in the process of doing.  I have 20 pints in the canner right now, and 18 waiting to go in.  I’m using the instructions in the Ball Blue Book for raw pack.

Hope you find this helpful.  Here is a short video, “highly professional” video we did showing hubby cutting the corn off the cob with the drill: