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…



Texas and Preparedness

A friend from Texas (just outside of Houston) posted live videos on Facebook this morning as he tried to get around his town to get some supplies.  He couldn’t get very far as everything was flooded.  My prayers go out to everyone down there as the flooding continues.


We aren’t doomsday preppers or zombie preppers.  We do keep practical emergency supplies on hand and have plans in place in the event emergencies happen…and we’ve used them when things did happen.

After hearing about all the devastation down there in Texas hubby was concerned about our own preparedness.  We may never see a hurricane here in Indiana, but there are many other things that we should be preparing for.  We haven’t done much with our emergency supplies in quite a while and when we began going through things we found we were not in good shape.  Our emergency bags (bug out bags, 72 hour bags) had outdated/expired supplies and missing items.  Our vehicle emergency boxes were not even in our vehicles.  Hubby’s get home bag was in the closet.  Our pantry is rather empty.  Our water storage is low.  Our plans and paperwork haven’t been updated.   We’ve got some work to do.

Preparedness is for EVERYONE.   Having basic emergency supplies on hand is not something that should be overlooked.  Every family should have plans in place if they are faced with an emergency situation.  For example, does your family know what to do in the event of a house fire?  Do you have copies of important papers and contact numbers that aren’t all in your phone?  We had a couple homes here locally that were totally lost to fires.  Thankfully everyone was safe.

You NEED to do this for your family.   You can’t plan for everything, but doing what you can ahead of time will make a huge difference when emergencies do happen.  Here are a few websites to get you started.
Red Cross

We continue to pray for those in Texas as they deal with the flooding and devastation from the hurricane.

Prepping and Water

I truly believe all families should have some water in storage for emergencies.  You never know when you could find yourself in a situation where you can’t drink your water, or don’t have water to drink.  We all have heard about Flint, Michigan water problems. Then on the news recently was a local community that was on a boil alert due to some big bacterial contamination.  Last week another neighboring community was on a boil alert and another again yesterday.  Last winter several local communities has major water problems when freezing temperatures were causing city water lines to burst and even freeze.  A couple months ago we turned on our own faucets for water and it came out brown.  And then there are the StuffHitttingTheFan situations that our country has the potential to fall into.  Extra water is good, and more water is better.


Our visit to Indiana Dunes.  The lake was so beautiful.  LOTS of water.

If you have your own water source, that is probably the best position to be in.  There are still situations you need to plan for, but you aren’t relying on anyone else for water.  But for those of us who live in town and rely on public water, it is important to find other options.

I’m on several canning/prepping/homesteading groups and these groups are a wealth of ideas and support.  One of the things I see that is very popular right now is dehydrating.  It is really nice to be able to dehydrate fruits and veggies…and other things…and be able to store them in much less space than it takes to store canned goods.  Also, those freeze dried foods from places like Mountain House are easy to use and a great convenience in emergency situations.  Dehydrated/freeze dried foods are great because they don’t take up much space, they are light and very portable if needed.  But in a StuffHTF situation where getting clean water could be a problem, what if you don’t have access to water at all?  Water isn’t very portable and one gallon per person per day in an emergency situations is a lot of water.

We don’t plan on leaving our home in emergency situations (bugging out) unless it is our last resort.  That would be if our house was hit by a tornado or fire, a major flood, you get the idea.  We do have some bags set aside that include water filters and purification tablets in case they are needed.  “Bugging in” is a different story.  If we can weather out an emergency in our home, we have water set aside here for emergencies, access to water in our hot water tank, access to water in our house lines that we can fill the tub with, two 55 gallon rain barrels, as well as water filters and purification tablets.  But here where we live, we aren’t close to water sources.  There are lots of little lakes and such in our area that we can drive to if needed, but not really within walking/biking distance.   The closest spring is over an hours drive away.  Ultimately we want to have some water stored here @ home that will get us through most emergency situations.

Here are some ideas as well as some of the drawbacks.  The easiest way to start is to buy packaged water bottles and store it away.  While this is a practical way to start, this isn’t the most frugal.  More frugal would be to buy water is larger containers such as one, two, five gallon etc.  The larger the container, the heavier.  One thing also to consider, the plastic containers may not be suitable for long term storage.  The plastic milk jug style containers don’t hold up.  I’ve had a couple that leaked out and I didn’t know it until I found a puddle on my pantry floor.  The large water cooler size jugs are heavy, but hold up better for long term storage.  You can also recycle containers such as clean two liter bottles and store water from your own tap.  However you decide to store your water, you want to make sure to are rotating your stored water.  Out with the old, in with the new every six months.

You can get deeper into water storage including water collection, filtration and purification.  There are many great websites that have good detailed information that can fill you in on how to do that if you are interested and I’ll link a few below.  But I hope that regardless of your views on prepping, you will consider having a minimum of one gallon per person per day for at least three days worth of water for your family, and don’t forget to add water for your pets.

Extra water is good, and more water is better.


Prepper? Homesteader? Survivalist? Other?

2016Aug25Chickens“You’re NOT a homesteader!!”

Yes, I’ve heard that and no, I’m not.  I don’t fit into the homesteader mold nor do I fit the prepper or survivalist molds either.

While many things I do are popular in these lifestyles, I don’t really fit the mold.  I have a totally different philosophy and goal than most others.


Making slippers for Christmas gifts,  just like mama did.

I’ve always been on the frugal side.  Sometimes more frugal, sometimes less.  Much of what I do is just what I had learned growing up.  I’ve always been interested in the outdoors, gardening, camping, hiking, farming etc.  Growing up in the city didn’t give me many opportunities for them, but I really enjoyed any chance to be outside with nature and camping/hiking became and still is one of my favorite activities.



Celebrating my birthday with my great-grandmother…a homemade cake and homemade party hats.

I heartily understand the philosophy behind prepping and I agree with most of it.  I don’t feel like I need to live barricaded in militarized zone with 30 years of food and supplies put up in my hidden armored bunker.  If you do, that’s fine.  I do feel, however, that as the manager of my home I need to be as prepared as possible to care for my family in what ever situation comes our way.  We live in crazy, fragile times.  But I firmly believe that the extreme form of prepping goes against what the Bible teaches.  The Bible tells us to love our neighbors, to take care of the orphans and widows, feed the hungry, visit prisoners.  It doesn’t say only do these things when times are good and stop when “stuff” hits the fan.  I will do my best for my family, but together we serve God first.


Canning grape jam.

There are so many ideas of what a homesteader is. To some it’s living completely off grid and to others it is simply adopting a more self sufficient lifestyle where ever you might be at.  Living off the land is hard, hard work, but can also be rewarding.  We live in a small town on a small lot, and while I do a lot of things that homesteaders do, I wouldn’t classify myself as a homesteader.  But again, a lot of these things I do I learned growing up.  For example: I learned gardening…organic gardening…from my grandfather.  In the big city.  I learned to make things by hand from my mother and great-grandmother.   I learned to be frugal from my grandmother…like using old clothing (read: underwear) to mop the floors and putting left over bread that is starting to stale in the freezer to use in the future for stuffing.  When I moved out on my own, I appreciated the farmers market that was right across the street, and I found out first hand how practical being frugal was.


The garden goes all the way to the wood fence.

All these things became very real for our family when my husband lost his job a while back.  This area of Indiana suffered a great blow with many automotive, trailer and RV manufacturers laying people off or closing.  Hubby’s company closed and sent the work elsewhere.  Not being burdened by lots of debt and having a well stocked pantry with a garden got us through the hard times when many others were going under.  Not only were we able to keep our heads above water, but we didn’t have to rely on any assistance, food or utility programs.  And even then, we were able to help out others when they needed it.  I’m not saying it didn’t hit us hard because it did.  Only now are we starting to get caught up on things that we had to put off during that time (like getting our roof fixed, replacing appliances that stopped working etc.)  But being frugal, prepared and doing as much with our land as we could, we made it through when many others didn’t.


Curing onions in the garage.

So I guess you can classify me under what ever category you would like.  I’m not prepping for any zombie apocalypse, but for real life circumstances for my family and those around me.  I’m not living on an off grid homestead with livestock, but we are trying to live more sustainable where we are.  If you asked me what I would call it…I guess I would call it living Proverbs 31.  I’m a homemaker.  Regardless of what circumstances arise, my main responsibility is to God first, then my family and my home, and then helping others as I can.

What about you?  Do you fit the mold or are you an outlier like me?

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


Matthew 25:34-40 – Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’

Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’

Storing Eggs Long Term

We’ve been talking about getting laying hens for several years. We were told that living right in town we couldn’t have them so we had been working to change that. We recently found out that we can, and so we are starting to plan on getting chicks in the spring.

We have a lot of people around this area (especially Amish) who sell fresh eggs so we already enjoy farm fresh eggs. Now we’re looking forward to having an abundance of our own eggs. I already understand about storing eggs short term, but have never really felt comfortable with long term storage…like prepping storage.

I have seen lots of posts about different ways to store eggs for long periods. Since we haven’t raised our own, my preference was to have dehydrated/powdered eggs on hand. They actually don’t taste too bad as scrambled eggs, and there have been times when I’ve had to use it for baking when I’ve run out of eggs (like now) and it works great. But what about storing whole eggs?  Safely?

I came across this video from Jas. Townsend and Son, Inc. on YouTube and while they are really more into reenactment than prepping, it’s still good information to chew on. I’m not going to run out and start storing my eggs any of these ways, I honestly think I’ll stick with the dehydrated for long term storage, but maybe at some point when I have an abundance of my own eggs, I will decide that it’s practical.

I’d love to hear your thoughts.  Have yourself a great day!  Grace and peace!

Prepping For Winter

winterWe don’t consider ourselves extreme preppers who are preparing for a zombie apocalypse or some other doomsday scenario.  We also aren’t interested in shunning all technology and living as one with the land.  We do consider ourselves practical people, being prepared for general everyday and sometimes unexpected emergencies.  We don’t have a hidden bunker somewhere, but we do want to make sure that in the event of situations beyond our control, we can easily take care of most of our needs.  For example, I was very thankful for a well stocked pantry when we suddenly found ourselves on unemployment.  Another example was an unexpected and prolonged power outage in the middle of winter.  We had everything we needed for lighting and heat. And lastly, when they forecasted big snow storms, we didn’t have to worry about fighting crowds that were emptying the grocery store shelves for last minute shopping.

winter2Our main concern this year is the ability for Hubby to get back and forth to work.  He has a long commute on windy rural roads, and since our truck died we only have a small car to rely on.  If we have a winter this year that is anything close to last winter, this could be problematic.  All we can do at this point is to make sure that he has everything he needs in case something happens, such as getting stuck in the snow, sliding off the road, having roads closed, etc.  Our biggest concern was if he has to wait in the car for help, or walk out in the cold to get help.

Another concern of ours is making sure I have foods that can be fixed even in the event of a power outage. We do not have a fireplace or a wood stove.  While the gas stove generally works during a power outage, our oven will not so I need to prepare accordingly. And should the stove stop working, having our propane camp stove handy as well as a supply of propane serves as a back up.  And we have used our outdoor grill in the winter, when our oven stopped working.  I think Thanksgiving and Christmas turkeys are better on the grill!

winter3Our last major concern is water.  Last winter saw many, many people here with frozen pipes. Even pipes that are insulated can freeze.  Yes, snow can be used for non-potable water, and even drinking water if it is boiled, but it was so cold last year that the snow turned to ice which makes it more of a challenge to use.  Better to make sure you have a sufficient supply of water on hand.

In the end, we want first and foremost to fully rely on God.  We cannot prepare for everything, but with our trust in Him we can get through anything.

Proverbs 3:5-6 – Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.

Romans 8:- And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.