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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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

Catching Up

Since my blog posting has been sporadic over the past year I thought I would do a brief update and catch everyone up on what has been going on here @ home.  I did post more regularly on my Instagram and my Facebook page, I hope you’ll check them out.

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My husband’s cousin and her children.

Last year was really busy with all sorts of things: family, health, home, schooling etc. We had several family members going through various trials, one of the biggest was the loss of hubby’s cousin to ovarian cancer. Such a beautiful woman lost too early to a cancer that there isn’t much awareness for. She had been going to doctors for a year trying to find out what was going on before she was diagnosed. We are heartbroken, continuing to pray for her children and family as they learn to live without her. My own health has been an issue over the past year, mainly my asthma. I have had asthma since I was a young child and this past fall was probably the worst it’s ever been, and making some drastic dietary and supplement changes have helped dramatically. The main change for me was getting serious about eliminating dairy. We have also worked on filtering the air better to help keep the dust down.

Our home has so many projects going on, but when money is tight you have to be selective on what gets done and what gets put off. We still don’t have a working dryer but we took advantage of the mild winter we had used the clothes line when we could. Those times where we couldn’t we could haul laundry to the local laundromat. I don’t mind hanging the clothes up, but the challenge was trying not to trigger an asthma attack while doing it. This summer we are hoping to get some painting done, replace several windows and our doorwall, get our rain barrels going again, and more. We’ll see how the budget shakes out as to how far we get.

Our internet was cut. This was a HUGE adjustment. I didn’t realize how dependent I was on it and that made me uncomfortable. While I do want to be connected, I don’t want to be dependent. I’m not able to keep up with blogs and channels as much as I used to, but I am now spending more time reading real books. Cutting the internet and land line was a big help to our budget. Having the cell phones with limited data has been great overall and I’m not really sure if we’ll go back to having internet.

Noah

Homeschool Senior

Noah2

Class of 2017

Homeschooling has been bitter sweet. This is our last year of homeschooling. Our son will graduate shortly. This past year has been full of wrapping up one journey and preparing for another. It’s hard for me to believe that I did it…I homeschooled him from kindergarten right through to graduation. He’s looking forward to pursuing a career in Information Security and I’m excited to see him spread his wings. Bitter sweet. Mama loves her baby.

weedsWe had so much going on last year we never got around to getting the garden started, so we left it fallow. This year it is overgrown and needs a good taming. While we are a little behind in getting that part done, all the raised beds are planted and growing. Not everything is heirloom this year, but I am looking forward to growing, harvesting and preserving what we do grow.

Our Daisy dog is now a year old. What a challenge and a joy she has been. She is such a sweet dog, but she is just full of energy it is hard to keep up. daisyTennis balls are her absolute favorite toy and she loves to have you throw them for her. She still chases the chickens once in a while, but she is learning. Pepper dog is quite protective of them and Daisy is slowly learning from her. Unlike Pepper, we haven’t done a good job of socializing Daisy with people and we do have to work on that. I’m happy to accept any tips for that.

The pantry. Pretty empty. We did stock with some store bought food, but we miss our home canned food. My first canning of the year was some pork we got on sale. I’m hoping to get things like beans done now before things get busy and the weather gets warm.

beadsMy Etsy shop has been opened about a year now and it is nice to have an opportunity to share my hobby with others. I really enjoy doing craft shows and art fairs, but they are a lot of work and take a lot of time. While I miss meeting the people at the shows, it has been fun to send my work off to people far away…even as far as Australia.

Hope you enjoyed this highlight. I’m off to get laundry going. I’d love to hear what you’ve been up to. Feel free to comment and let me know, or share a link to a blog post.

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.

 

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!