Saturday, August 30, 2014

Late Summer Harvests

The garden is waning quickly with a few struggling tomato plants, okra and crowder peas.The peppers are continuing to produce but in reality it will soon be time to put the summer garden to bed. Our late crops did next to nothing, due to lack of rain and extremely hot temperatures and most have been plowed up.

Today we harvested the spaghetti squash. Unfortunately a week or two late as the bugs had beat us to them. Though, most are still edible they will not last the winter as we had hoped. It was a bumper crop and could have fed all of our families (mine, sis and mom) for the winter. Grr...
 All is not lost, however, as sis has been very busy in the greenhouse. Broccoli, cabbage and collards have been started from seed and are almost ready to go in the ground.

A beautiful greenhouse cucumber is climbing on a trellis giving us hope that we may eat cukes well into the cooler months. Several little greenhouse tomatoes are waiting to be potted in larger pots too. As soon as the hot temps break kale, spinach and lettuces will go in along with beets, carrots and radishes.



Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Homemade Laundry Detergent

While a friend was staying with us recently, some of my clothes were washed in with hers.Unfortunately she uses a detergent I am highly allergic to and within a few short hours I was covered in a bright red rash and itching like mad. This was not the first time it had happened I had a reaction a couple of years ago and it takes WEEKS to go away. I find this kind of scary, I mean what is that stuff made of, really? So, the other night I was flipping through my July/August copy of Mother Earth Living, Home edition and low and behold a whole article on homemade laundry items. I could not wait to get to the store! Just a few ingredients and I was in business.

Arm and Hammer washing soda, Borax and a bar of castile soap.
Here's the recipe:
Grate the soap very finely and mix with 8 cups of water. Slowly heat until soap dissolves. In a 5 gallon bucket put 4 1/2 gallons hot tap water. When soap has dissolved add to bucket along with 1 cup washing soda and 1 cup borax. Use 2-3 tsp essential oils of your choice (I used lavender) stir well, cover and allow to sit 24 hours.Use 1/2- 1 cup per load.
The next day I stirred well and put it too the test. A stinky dog blanket was washed. Eureka! Now a load of clothes... I am hooked. The best part? All of the ingredients cost about 11 dollars, there is enough washing soda and borax to make 6 or 7 more batches only having to buy the bar of castile soap. That breaks down to about 5 dollars for a 5 gallon bucket!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Really, I Can Explain

Well, I can't believe it's been this long since I have posted! Time flies and days get away but here's the lowdown.
Recently, mt husband was approached about selling a piece of property we own. It happened to be the property where he houses all of his construction equipment, supplies, ect. The offer was made by the county and if we accepted it would have to be a swift and quick move. We took it and it has been a frantic couple of weeks moving 15 years worth of "stuff". Almost done...
There has been the clean up of trees downed by storms, repair work to fences and the everyday chores that have to be done no matter what. Mowing and weeding and feeding and milking.... I have still been preserving that last of the summer's harvest by pickling and freezing peppers.
A little surprise was born...
Meet Oopsy Daisy or Baby O for short. Guess we'll be milking over the winter ;-)
And then, a dear friend needed a safe place to land and spent two weeks with us. Add to the mix a 7 year old little boy and an 8 month old Malinios....I don't think is a word to describe that!! Chaos doesn't even begin to touch it. She has now found a place to start her new life and things have begun to return to normal. Not that "normal" has ever been a word to describe our homestead!
And so with the promise of some cooler days in the forecast I am looking forward to Fall and the rhythm of some slower days.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

A Busy Week

It's been a busy week here on the homestead. Ziva has had training sessions with her trainer. We have had to go out in public and (gasp!) try and ignore other dogs. Still working on that!
Wednesday I took a few hours to enjoy a divine lunch and enjoy some company with a couple of girlfriends. We fixed a tomato balsamic salad, figs stuffed with goat cheese, wrapped in prosciutto , sliced peaches, and cheese. That was followed with black bean brownies. Wow! We were supposed to make soap but only ended up with one batch done because we talked so much. A fun and recharging day for me.
I have been making some freezer meals to have for days that time gets away. A large pot of vegetable soup made from home grown beef and veggies..the only store bought ingredients was a handful of pasta I tossed in. Also stuffed banana peppers. I made twelve. Enough for supper one night and froze 2 packs for other meals. These were delicious and I plan to make some more.


Today I gleaned the garden. The weekend is supposed to be somewhat of a washout and I am planning a canning and freezing bonanza with what I harvested. Though the garden  is starting to wane, there was still plenty of peppers, some paste tomatoes and peas.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Feeling Unsettled

This morning I awoke to the news that the missionaries infected with Ebola would be brought here to the states. I felt a bit unsettled with this news. Oh, if it were my family I am sure I would want them home too, but this deadly, contagious virus frightens me. And bringing them to Atlanta no less.....I know many people have had the same reaction as I have. Then there are those who say we must trust that those in charge know what they are doing. Ok, sure.
So, when things trouble me I do things that make me feel safe and in control. Today it was organizing the pantry and defrosting the freezer. By the end of the day I was feeling much better knowing that I have plenty of stores and that we could live safely and comfortably if times called us to do that.
Neat, tidy and organized. With plenty of room to add more jars!
Oh yeah! A nice clean freezer ready to fill with late season veggies and hopefully a deer or two.
I did end up with a short list of things I needed to replenish, therefor I will make a trip to Bj's tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Filling The Pantry

And still I can! Earlier this week more salsa and tomato sauce. Today spaghetti sauce.
Thus far almost 100 jars have been filled and tucked away for winter use. Though it sounds like a lot there is still much more to go. The late tomatoes have set fruit and I will can plain tomato chunks along with homemade Rotel. Also late cucumbers are up and more pickles need to be done. Pesto to be made and frozen, I still have garlic scapes waiting patiently in the fridge and the basil is gorgeous.
The okra has started to produce so of course there must be some pickled and as an experiment this year I plan to bread and freeze some. Wouldn't that be yummy along side a pot of beans this winter?
The Red Ripper crowder peas are ready to start picking and they will go into the freezer too. Busy times here on the homestead!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Adding To The Farm

Last fall we purchased 6 acres that adjoins our farm across the pond. This past week Doug started clearing it to ready the ground for sowing this fall. It is a lovely rolling piece of land, almost mountain like and even though I felt a bit panicky as the trees came down I think it will be quite beautiful when completed.
This is the view from our backyard looking across the pond as they started.
The view looking back toward our house. A mess now for sure but soon fencing, a barn and grass!