It Hasn’t Even Snowed Yet…

2015june13garden7…and I’m thinking about spring gardening.  How about you?

While I’m harvesting seeds for next year, pulling out finished plants and even planting fall and winter tolerant vegetables, I’m also starting to think about the spring garden.  Fall is a great time to add compost and soil amendments while you let it rest until spring.  As your compost breaks down, it recharges the soil beneath it with minerals and microorganisms that works it’s way down.  If you till, fall is a great time to plant cover crops that will be tilled into your soil in the spring.   Radish is really popular here.  We were slowly working toward raised beds so that we wouldn’t need to till, but I am starting to consider permanent 30″ flat beds instead.  Still no tilling, but no wood frames to worry about.

Growing up I learned from my grandfather to cover the garden and perennial plants for winter.  For us this meant raking the fall leaves onto the garden and around perennials.  In the spring we would turn them over into the soil.   I still do this, except I am getting13-11-08snowaway from digging or tilling.  Using a mower will shred them nicely, and if you have a bagger you won’t need to rake them.  Some people will cover their gardens/beds with straw or wood chips, still there are some who actually use tarps or other weed barriers.   A little work in the fall will greatly impact your garden in the spring.

 

Fall is also a great time to plan for garden expansions.  Covering areas you want to expand with compost materials and a tarp over the winter will choke out the vegetation under it and make your spring work a little easier.  I have a couple areas I’m considering expanding so I want to get the materials ready.

One area some might forget is cleaning up and caring for your tools.  This might mean things like applying boiled linseed oil to wood handles, sharpening, sanding, oiling metals so they don’t rust.  In the spring they’ll be ready to go when you’re itching to get out into the garden.

IMG_20161230_085416Another great fall prep is writing your thoughts down about this season into your garden journal.  (Of course you have a garden journal…any notebook or notepad will do.)  Give a summary about how things went, what worked well and what didn’t, what improvements or plant varieties you might like to try, weather challenges you had, pest battles, you get the idea.  This are things you can use as you start planning and prepping for next years garden.

A bit of work in the fall will get my spring garden going much quicker when the weather breaks.  I can’t wait!

Job 37:9-10 From its chamber comes the whirlwind, and cold from the scattering winds. By the breath of God ice is given, and the broad waters are frozen fast.

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

Ann’Re

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Homemade Snack Bars

It is getting colder quick. Today’s high here in Northern Indiana was only 38F/3C. Brrr.  Tomorrows high will be a bit warmer at 45F/7C.

bars1Since I’ve been changing the way I eat to help control my pain, I have worked to eliminate processed sugar. I’m not a sweet snack person but more of a salty snack person. Eliminating processed sugar was a bummer, but not really that hard. Eliminating chip and crackers?  Tough.  But I do like sweets once in a while and when I came across LÄRABARs, they were perfect.

I was looking at them the other day and I thought “Hmmm…dates and nuts. Bet I can make that.” I happen to have dates and cashews…so that’s what I set out to do.

I had no idea what amounts to use, so I winged it.  I tossed a few handfuls of cashews into the food processor and spun them around some.  Then I added pitted dates until I guessed they looked like the right consistency.

bars2Once it looked right, I spread the date and nut mixture onto some plastic. It is a plastic zip freezer bag that I cut open and use when making tortillas or sticky things like date and nut snacks. I shaped it into a rectangle-ish shape and cut it into bars. I guess they were just under a half-inch thick. I ended up with 16.

I had some snack sized zip bags that I thought would work well, but the bars being sticky wouldn’t be easy to get in or out. So I wrapped each piece with wax paper before I put them into the zip bags.  And being frugal…I’ll just wash and reuse the snack bags.  Yes I will!

bars3How cool is that? Of course I had to taste test one, so I actually packaged up 15. I tossed all the snack bags into a gallon zip bag and put that into the refrigerator.

The whole process…including pitting the dates and stopping to sample one of the bars…took maybe an hour.  Wrapping and bagging the bars took the longest.  I don’t know if I saved any money, but it was nice to make my own snack.  I’m hoping to test out some different flavors with other nuts and dried fruit.

Have you tried making a homemade version of your favorite treat?  Leave a comment below and let me know.  If you have a link to a blog post or a recipe, I’d love to check it out!

Psalm 16:11 – You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

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

Ann’Re

5 Favorite YouTube Channels

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I really love YouTube. So many times I’ve need to figure out something and there is always videos on YouTube that have answers.

While I have a channel on YouTube, I don’t use it to make and post my own videos anymore.  It just wasn’t something that works for me.  But I do follow quite a few amazing channels and thought I would share five of my favorites in no particular order or topic.

1. Darci Isabella – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC3_A9yDRB1TMyah5CD0TfyQ

She is AMAZING and funny, and inspiring. She has a large family and minimalist lifestyle. As a hoarder (yes, I admit it) I soo, soo want to minimize and she has giving me lots of ideas and encouragement.

2. Townsends (James Townsend & Son)https://www.youtube.com/user/jastownsendandson

They are located near us and I first came across them at a local festival. While I’m not really into reenacting (although I could be persuaded!) I love all the recipes that are shared here, and have tried quiet a few of them. I also really like that videos are presented in 18th century costumes and settings.

3. Our Half Acre Homestead – https://www.youtube.com/user/TheMrsVolfie

Bev is so amazing and has so many helpful videos on all sorts of cooking, canning, crafting, and homesteading topics. She is very real and her videos are quite like you just popped in for a visit.

4. Appalachia’s Homestead with Patara – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCXyRtDXzptYN56-UxNhYAbQ

I wish I could harness half her energy. lol I love her! Her channel is full of good and solid information on homesteading and raising animals and I’ve learned and applied so much from her on raising chickens.

5. Starry Hilder Off Grid Homestead – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCqTGYxXH21MTYnMoOZGvX6A

While I have learned quite a bit from her, I admit that I just enjoy watching her. She is uplifting and encouraging, and I love seeing how well they live off grid and the beautiful scenery. If I were to live off grid, THIS would be how I would want it.

There you have it. It was hard to pick just five because there are so many great channels I enjoy including John Suscovich, Growning Your Greens, The Boss of the Swamp, One Yard Revolution, and one of my newest favorites Sounds Like Reign.

I hope you’ll check them out and let me know what you think. I’d also love to hear what some of your favorite YouTube channels are or even if you have your own channel, maybe it’ll become my new favorite!

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

Ann’Re

It’s Fall Ya’ll!

treeinwoodsdead

Trying to enjoy the fall weather here @Home and spending time out in the woods before the cold sets in.

treesinwoodsroadWe went out this past weekend and even though it was spitting rain, we got out into nature to get some fresh air and exercise. The weather has been warmer than normal lately so it’s been easy to get out and enjoy it.

The leaves are just starting to change here in Northern Indiana. You never know how they are going to be until you are in the midst of full color. A couple years ago the leaves went from green to brown and totally skipped the color. One year we had the most amazing color changes I had ever seen. It’s my favorite time of year and I’m always eager to see fall how ever it comes.

How are you spending your time these days? Comment below and let me know, I’d love to hear from you!

He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper. Psalm 1:3

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

Ann’Re

For Tarin – Ovarian Cancer Awareness

ovariancancerawarenessMost everyone knows that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  Most also know that the ribbon color is pink.  Thanks to raising awareness, many lives are saved each year from breast cancer.

Most probably don’t know that September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month.  Most probably don’t know that the ribbon color is teal.   There is not enough awareness about one of the most deadly of women’s cancers.

img_20170106_001226_967Each year, approximately 21,980 women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer. In 2014, approximately 14,270 women died in the United States from this disease. The symptoms of ovarian cancer are often subtle and easily confused with other ailments and many women won’t be diagnosed until the cancer has spread…like my husband’s cousin Tarin who fought a brave battle.

She knew something wasn’t right.  For almost a year even the doctors didn’t recognize the symptoms of ovarian cancer.  Once Tarin was finally diagnosed, it had already spread throughout her abdomen.  After surgeries, chemo, and many other treatments, she lost her battle after nearly seven years.  She left behind three beautiful children and many who loved her.

Had there been more awareness, she might have been diagnosed sooner.  Had there been more awareness, the 5-year relative survival rate for ovarian cancer might be higher than 45%.

Please help spread the awareness, continue to pray for those who are battling ovarian cancer, and the families of those who lost a loved one to it.  If you’ve lost a loved one to ovarian cancer, I would love for you to honor them in the comments below.

 

Tea Time

qapcuppa

My son has a cold and I feel like I’m starting to get it.  It’s a rough start to the morning but after a nice hot cup of instant coffee (yeah…instant…*sigh*) it’s time for some tea with honey and lemon.  Living in town we don’t really have a good place to have bees, so we get our honey from one of the local farms.

The diet program I’m on for my joint pain is no sugar.  But I’m not sure how to handle that when you’re sick.  We use honey A LOT in the winter in our homemade cough medicine, in teas with lemon etc.  If I buy cough drops or OTC medicine it has sugar in it.  A conundrum for sure.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on that.  In the mean time, I’m going to crawl back on the couch under an afghan, sip my tea, crochet, and read some blogs. Somewhere in there will be a nap or two.  Hope your day is great!

Jeremiah 17:14
Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed;
Save me, and I shall be saved,
For You are my praise.

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

Ann’Re