Sunday, September 20, 2020

Today was fridge purging day. It has become a jumbled mess with all the produce coming in out of the garden. There were a few gallons of old milk to go as well. Our chickens LOVE fridge cleaning days! Nothing ever goes to waste here on the homestead either the chickens or pigs get it. We actually have very little to compost.

Late this evening after feeding we started back on the high tunnels. Even though they are not complete we amended the soil in one half to try and get some seeds in the ground. We tilled in compost and some organic cow manure and got the bed raked out and smooth. Tomorrow some seeds go in!  

Sunday, September 13, 2020

A Prepper Pantry Meal

Last night I decided to play around with some of our food stores. I never really fix a meal just for me when hubby is gone but this time I thought what the heck. For an add water only meal it wasn't too bad!

I grabbed a box of my grand daughter's mac and cheese, some freeze dried hamburger, freeze dried green onions and some chili powder.

I refreshed the hamburger for about 15 minutes. Then I dumped in in a pot with all the other ingredients I pulled out. Ta Da! 
Pretty tasty! And plenty of leftovers too!

Saturday, September 12, 2020

And Yes... More Pepper Preserving

 I had really planned to take the day off from preserving. Hubby is out of town until late evening and it's been cloudy and rainy. I have a couple of books I would like to read without falling asleep mid first page! I did some housework and took care of critters. I picked up a book and read a few pages but the bucket and bags of peppers kept calling. Preserve won't be sorry....I'll be so yummy this winter...  Fine! Fine! So the better part of the afternoon was spent slicing up all the beautiful bell peppers and freezing for fajitas and various other dishes that use them sliced. I have to say the colors were amazing and a beauty to behold.

I placed them on cookie sheets, let freeze and vacuum sealed them like I do my okra. 8 bags stashed in the freezer with a bunch more waiting to be picked.
Then I started on the banana peppers. I picked out the straightest ones, sliced in half and seeded them. (I'll chop the wonky ones for soups and cornbread) Then I stuffed them with a mixture of cream cheese and grated sharp cheddar. They too went on a sheet to freeze and then I stacked them in a container with wax pepper between the layers. They will be a treat this winter to pull out, bake at 350* until hot and bubbly and devour! 
No I wasn't sorry. I love preserving the harvest. maybe I will take tomorrow off though! ;-))

Friday, September 11, 2020

Never Forget

 What a somber day it was. I like everyone else will never forget where I was and what I was doing when the towers were hit. My heart morns every soul lost and is grateful for all the brave men, women and search and rescue dogs for all their sacrifices. I remember weeks afterwards I'd look at the sky, see a plane and feel a knot in my stomach. Let's never forget. God bless America.

On a somewhat brighter note I finally harvested my Greasy Beans. They are an old Appalachia pole bean. Years ago I was gifted a bag of them that had been dried by stringing them up and letting them hang for several weeks and are called leather britches. I found some seeds this spring and have been excited to try yet another way of preserving the harvest. I strung them on dental floss but any type of thin string will work.

How cool is that? So far I have 3 strings done with more beans to harvest. I'll share the end results in a few weeks!

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Piles Of Peppers

 The peppers are coming on strong! Hanging full of all kinds and colors. The cowboy candy I made ealier has been a huge hit and today I canned another 12 jars. I'm probably going to have to do one more round to get us through until next year. ;-)

I also froze several more bags of okra cut up and dusted with flour and vacuum sealed.
I am almost beside myself with this counter full of happiness! Now to make room in the pantry.

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Plenty Of Peas!

 Yesterday I finally finished shelling the bushels of peas picked on Monday. Today was preserving day. I canned 28 pints of crowders and 4 pints of butter peas. I have more butter peas to pick and get canned sometime this week.

While waiting for them to process I shucked the last of the late corn and got it cut off the cob and cooked up for the freezer.
Another long day in the kitchen but well worth it come the cold winter days!

Monday, September 7, 2020

High Tunnel Getting Closer!

 Happy Labor Day!

And labor we did.. Hubby spent most of the day working on the high tunnels. Friday they poured the footings. Today he dug out the weedy dirt, put in stone, hauled in some better dirt and a load of compost. 

While he worked there I was in the garden for several hours. I picked crowder peas, butter peas, the last of the corn and LOTS of peppers. After tending the animals I sat and shelled peas in between opening gates and doing footwork for him. It was a long day but very happy with what we got accomplished!

Friday, September 4, 2020

Let's Catch Up!

Well the last few weeks have been a blur of activity here on the homestead! The garden has continued to bless us with it's bounty.

 Canning has been a daily activity. Lots and lots of yummy goodness has been tucked into the pantry and freezer. Basil marinara and fig preserves

Basil pesto
More jalapenos, this time seeded and in chunks since they have been so hot!
And our new favorite Cowboy Candy. Jalapenos canned in a syrup for a sweet and spicy treat that is amazing!
Our late corn is coming in as well as the peas. In the freezer they went!

We finally got the custom tarp on the hoop houses. They look much tidier now.
The high tunnels are about to be started. We laid out the corners and skimmed the grass off.

We sold our last 2 Kune Kune sows. I have 3 Large Black Hogs reserved. 1 gilt and 2 barrows that will be ready in a few weeks. Our plan is to cross the gilt with our Kune Kune boar for faster growing piglets. 
Lastly we added this little cutie. A gift for my granddaughter who adores rabbits. 


Monday, July 20, 2020

And More Maters!

 This morning I unloaded the dehydrator and loaded it once more with roma tomatoes. I bagged the ones that dried overnight.

Then I started to work on the other pile of Better Boy tomatoes to can. I peeled and chopped for 2 hours. 

At the end of my canning session 6 quarts and 2 pints were added to the pantry! There are still a lot of tomatoes to work up so it looks like tomorrow will be salsa. 

Sunday, July 19, 2020

Dehydrating Romas

Hubby and I worked in the garden this morning tidying up, weeding and picking what was ready. I took the day off from canning since I have been hard at it all week. Tomorrow is another day! I did come in and load the dehydrator with Roma tomatoes. I got 5 trays in before the multitudes arrived for Sunday supper.
Tonight's supper was a glorious meal from the farm's bounty. Smoked sirloin tip roast from our cow butchered, fried squash, green beans, stuffed peppers and fresh homemade bread. We are once again blessed here on the homestead.

Saturday, July 18, 2020

Hoop Coop # 2

Done and done. Well almost. We are planning to have a tarp made to fit them exactly for a neater appearance.

Once that was done I was off to the house to can the salsa I prepped last night. 11 pints canned before afternoon chores. I also finally got the herbs that had been hanging out in the dehydrator put in jars.

Tomorrow it will be loaded with Roma tomatoes.

Friday, July 17, 2020


Today's harvest. All I can say is wow! Blessings abound on the homestead.
The next few days will be plenty busy preserving the harvest. Of course and tomato sandwiches are definitely on the menu. 
This evening I went ahead and prepped a double batch of salsa to can tomorrow at some point. Tomorrow morning we will be finishing the second hoop coop for the Speckled Sussex chickens. 

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Canning Cube Steak

A little canning experiment today. I canned cube steak from the freezer. Our freezers are full and I am trying to make some room. I am also trying to add some shelf stable quick meals to the pantry shelves. I seared the steak on each side and put on keep warm in the oven. Then I tossed onions and mushrooms in the pan and softened those a bit. I heated up some beef broth and then was ready to pack my jars. Most jars got 3 pieces of steak, a couple got four. I then packed the onions and mushrooms around it and topped off with beef broth. I de-bubbled well and popped the lids on and into the canner it went.
My hope is that when I open a jar I can dredge the meat in flour, give it another sear for a bit of crispness and thicken the broth and veggies for a quick gravy. A side of mashed potatoes and a salad will make a rib sticking winter meal. Finger's crossed. I will update as soon as I open a jar.

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Pickled Peppers and Blueberry Syrup

I am really thankful I got the garden picked down yesterday because it has stormed off and on all day today. By the end of the day we had gotten right at 3 inches of rain. That was ok because I had plenty to do in the kitchen!
First I sliced up all the jalapenos I picked yesterday and got them pickled.
Then onto making blueberry syrup. I cooked the berries down and drained them for a couple of hours. Then I added sugar and let simmer for a while. At the end a splash of vanilla. Yum.
 I really would have liked it thicker but I was getting tired and still had evening chores to do and it was going to be a sloppy mess for sure. However, at the end of the day 12 jars of peppers and 8 jars of syrup ready to be put away for the winter.

Monday, July 13, 2020

Chicken packaging day! After morning chores I gathered all my bags and my vacuum sealer and got busy putting the chickens in the freezer. Several hours later close to 90 lbs were all bagged up and ready to go. After I got the kitchen all cleaned up and sanitized it was time for afternoon chores and checking the garden. I picked lots of jalapenos and more blueberries along with a fair amount of tomatoes. They are going to be in peak production by next week. I also picked the first of the blackberries.
On tomorrow's list... pickling jalapenos and blueberry syrup!

Saturday, July 11, 2020

Poultry and Pickles

We were up before daylight this morning to butcher chickens. We had 26 this round. My youngest son was able to help this time and it was a true blessing. I did the killing and plucking, he did the the middle step which is cleaning up the feathers the plucker missed and the first rinsing. He then handed them off to hubby to gut and cut. We got all of the birds done in 1 hour and 50 minutes. I think that's a record! Of course there is clean up afterwards but being that I have the dirty job I am relieved of that and get to go take a shower. ;-)
Once cleaned up I wandered back to the garden. I picked more tomatoes and blackberries. It is looking a little sad. We need rain desperately. We have had no measurable amount in almost 2 weeks and with the temperatures in the 90's it has gotten really dry.
We let the guineas out of their hoop coop today but they were a bit shy and didn't venture far. I finished morning chores and after a bite of lunch I started on pickles. I got 10 pints of Kosher dills canned, a combination of chips and spears. I had hoped to get to the jalapenos but that will have to be another day because it was time for afternoon chores!

Friday, July 10, 2020

Garden and Guests

Out to the garden early this morning. I had a couple of people coming out for a farm visit today. One this morning the others later this afternoon.
Today's harvest was more green beans, lots of blackberries, cucumbers and tomatoes. Oh and peppers. LOTS of peppers. My first visitor is a sweet friend who said she just needed a farm fix. We wandered through the garden and visited with all the animals. I sent her home with eggs and potatoes.
After she left I made a quick trip to the feed store. I needed to get home and do some mowing to help hubby out. He was coming in early to set up for our second butchering day in the morning. I got almost all of it done and the blackberries cooked down for juice before second visitors arrived.
They are the cutest family with 3 young boys just starting their homesteading adventures. This was their second visit. I sent them home with peppers!
After they left I unloaded feed and got all the critters tended.
We had a late supper of veggies from the garden and grilled deer tenderloin the boys had harvested in the fall. A long day. A good day. Life is good on the homestead.

Thursday, July 9, 2020


I set some duck eggs under a broody hen a few weeks ago and they are hatching! 3 so far with another that should be out tomorrow. Bless her heart. I feel really guilty taking them from her but they don't speak the same language and for their safety they have been moved to the tack room in the barn.
I have several broody hens under which I have set a good many eggs. Most are due to hatch around the 18th. If she continues to stay on her nest a couple more days I think I'll share some eggs in reward for all her hard work.

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Canning Continues

For the last two days I have been hanging out with my stove canning away. I have used up almost all of the worst potatoes we sorted out on Monday. Yesterday another double batch of vegetable soup was finished  That makes 21 quarts so far. I think with the few we had left from last year that will get us through the winter, since I have several other varieties on my list to can.
Today I canned beef stew. 7 quarts are now residing on the pantry shelves. I will do at least one more round, possibly two since we were down to 2 jars. It is so yummy when I add a handful of peas and thicken the broth with a little butter and flour. Served with some homemade bread... yes definitely 2 more batches.
The kitchen is smelling quite divine these days!

Monday, July 6, 2020

Sorting Taters

With lots of help from family today we got the potatoes sorted. We went through every potato inspecting for any blemishes or cuts that would cause them to rot. The ones that had cuts went into a use now pile. Those that were not totally perfect went into use first baskets and the perfect ones will be saved for last.
Sis took home 2 bushels and mom took about 1/2 bushel. I kept 1 bushel in my working pantry and the rest were put in storage in an unfinished area outside our basement where it stays cool and dry.  We are feeling very blessed this day!

Sunday, July 5, 2020

Hoop Coop Complete

Our new Sunday ritual is working in the garden after breakfast. We weed, cultivate and harvest whatever is ready. After that was done, we finished the hoop coop started yesterday.
Most of it was done with repurposed materials found here on the homestead. We covered it with a temporary tarp since we plan to attach a second one facing the opposite direction on the back of this one for our small flock of Speckled Sussex chickens.
We had about 6 total hours in this one. Since we were basically winging it as we went, hopefully the next one will take a little less time.
The Guineas think it is quite nice.

Our plan is to keep the birds in here for about a week and then allow them to free range with the hopes of them returning to the coop each evening for their safety.