One Flourishing, Frugal and Fun Family!

One mother making ends meet and surviving today's recession by writing. One family learning to live off the land, cut back on expenses, and to live a simpler and a more self-sufficient lifestyle.

Adopted Motto

"Eat it up,
Wear it out,
Make it do,
Or go without."
~A Pioneer Sampler, by Barbara Greenwood~

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Garden Work

Today, we were blessed with a green pepper.  Cherry tomatoes are starting to turn red, and 2 zucchini are just about ready to pick.  I transplanted a lot of green onion, flat leaf parsley and more chives.  I worked mainly in herb garden #1 today, weeding, thinning, and cutting some for dinner.  The Kohlrabi is about ready in a few areas also.

I pulled more lettuce to top our bean burritos (which are made with dry pinto beans and onions).  The red onions we have grown are delicious too. 

I also weeded a flower bed, and thinned some, placing them into several other flower beds.  I dug up a pink cone flower and planted it up by the southeast corner, near a small lonely bush.  I added a perennial (I have yet to correctly identify, and will post a photo when it blooms) and more forget-me-nots.

I noticed that my gladiolus are about to start blooming soon.  I can't wait to see them when I sit on my front porch. I haven't had them in my flower gardens since our last move.

The fiesta daisies are beautiful next to my thick dark hostas, and many marigolds re-seeded from last years flowers.

The green onion went to seed giving us many more starters to plant or to share.

One sweet corn stalk was broken down and eaten by an animal.  Possibly a rabbit, since the corn is not on the stalk yet.  We are placing glass jars, upside down, around the corn rows to deter the little boogers from entering  - a trick from my Grandmother.

I feel good about today's garden work, especially getting my first canning experience completed.  I have many supplies to buy, but will add them to our wish list for later.

First Canned Jam


We did it! Finally! After we picked (mostly by my son) 10 cups of wild black raspberries, we now have 6 pints of homemade canned jam! Every recipe was different, and every source we checked on how long to process the jars had different measurements and times. We cannot wait to enjoy our hard work. We all participated in it and it's 6 jars of jam I don't have to buy at the store, and it is much healthier by making it with fresh berries. What a blessing it was to find fresh berries on our property!
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Watermelon Popsicles


My 13 year-old daughter was actually bored yesterday.

She cut up a watermelon, cut hearts, dinosaurs and other shapes using cookie cutters,

Monday, June 28, 2010

Rain, rain and more rain

Finally.  Rain arrived.  The thick, sticky air is much more tolerable today.  Although it is still raining, I plan to visit the garden today.  I have my eye on 3 zucchini that would make a nice dinner tonight.

Thank you all for helping me identify plants and pests.  Our goal is to be self-sufficient, and not have to run to the store for items we can grow or provide through dairy animals etc.  We don't believe in chemicals on or in our food either.

It's been an interesting start with this journey.  Many people think we have lost our marbles and that the grocery store is the best invention every.  Other people think we chose a way of life that is too much work. 

We now have about 6 cups of wild black raspberries.  We have located an entire are of berries and can't wait to pick more.  Making jam will be a fun and good experience for us.  Espeically with berries I didn't have to buy.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Enjoying more wild black raspberries

We are enjoying more delicious wild black raspberry pancakes today.  Made with preservative free whole wheat flour of course.

If we can muster up the energy to pick 8 cups of berries, I will make homemade jam for the first time ever.  The weather is sweltering hot today.  My eight year old was covered in sweat, picking berries, before 10am.  The humidity is horrible today, so rain should be on it's way.

Friday, June 25, 2010

What is this?



We have these small orange worms on our potato leaves. They are eating away and I keep picking them off. We don't use chemicals, so that is out of the question.

I tried looking these up on the Internet but nothing under potato pests comes up in my search. Any idea what these are and can I pick them off and feed them to my chickens?

Time for a Movie ~ Julie & Julia

First of all, let me say that I ordered this movie from the Interloan program at our local library.  I did have to wait several months, but it was free to watch.  Patience is a virtue, as they say.

Of course, like any movie today, there are parts that they could have left out.  Parts that would allow this movie to be more appropriate for the younger crowd.  I did enjoy it and found myself laughing hysterically when she cooked the lobsters.  My husband laughed when she had her break down - as he has seen me during a cooking moment as well.  It was very realistic, funny, and inspiring if you love to cook.

In fact, I went to the library and checked out the very same cookbook they use in the movie.  There are so many recipes that I can use with veggies from my garden.  Cucumber recipes, Eggplant recipes, and lots more.

Our local newspaper tends to rate all movie reviews with a poor review.  I think they gave this one a 2 1/2 star rating (out of 5).  It definitely deserves a higher rating.

Yesterday, while my husband was grocery shopping, he pushed his cart past the lobster tank.  He told me he almost came home with a few of them to cook.  I found this very funny!  I have never cooked lobster so this movie may have started something in our house. 

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Another "what is this" plant?


My husband bought this for $.50 and was told it blooms orange flowers that are edible and can be put in salads. I'm on another mission to find out what this plant is called.
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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Wild Black Raspberry Pancakes and the Heat

Today is a hot and sweltering day.  I have not completed any writing other than here on this blog.  The kitchen temperature is reading 90°F and we are continuing to go without air conditioning.  It will cut our electric bill in half from last year.

For dinner we enjoyed homemade whole wheat pancakes made with hand picked wild black raspberries.  Very delicious!  It was something inspiring for, the two kids who went out to pick them, to enjoy eating them.  They saw their hard work was worth it.

What is this?


I'm posting a photo of a berries we found growing on our property. I am hoping my Farmgirl Sisters can help identify this plant. Edible? Poisonous? Ornamental?
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Monday, June 21, 2010

New Discoveries ~ Wild Black Raspberries!


We discovered several wild black raspberry bushes on our property. With 6 acres, there is still more to discover. We are delighted to find these this year. They are delicious.  I'm glad we can enjoy these - grown without harmful chemicals.
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Saturday, June 19, 2010

Summer Puzzle Mania

We could be calling these hot days in June, "dog days" already.  Even the dogs are laying around underneath ceiling fans, hardly moving a muscle.  We opted on not using our window air conditioners this year.  Our decision came from the high cost of electric here. We will be saving the most money in July, August, September and October.

We stay clear from the direct sun, during the hottest part of the day, as much as possible.  Today I noticed several puzzles set up around the house.  One daughter has a 750 piece puzzle going, one just finished a 100 piece puzzle, and another is working a 500 piece puzzle.  The last one had me cracking up.  It's a puzzle of jelly beans.  I'm guessing she will be working on that puzzle for a long time.  Then again, maybe not.

I'm glad I kept a few easier puzzles in my closet, because hot days like today are definitely for slower paced activities.  Perfect for puzzles.

Garden Bounty - Potatoes


This is our first year to grow potatoes. Extended family purchased starters and shared them with us. Next year we plan to grow red potatoes. I have plans to chop them up for frozen hashbrowns after we harvest them. Right now we are digging around the plants and pulling the smaller ones to boil up with green beans. They sure do taste better than potatoes from the store. When these are pulled from the ground, they are very hard, unlike the softer ones you find in the store. Same thing with turnips, beets and other root vegetables. It's so nice to pull something from the garden and made a dinner with it. And is chemical free, grown with rain water and good ol' sunshine.

I can't wait to see what we will eat next. It's been hard work taking care of the garden, but it has been a huge help with living frugal and healthy.
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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Keeping Productive

During the craft sale, over the weekend, I made another pair of baby booties. I just need to add a tie or ribbon to complete them. I used leftover yarn and will probably use scrap ribbon. It was too humid to make much more. I think this I'm getting even better at making them and will have scrap yarn on hand for this. It's perfect to tote to doctor appointments, waiting time in the car, and for when I just get tired of doing other things. I'm sure a center would love to have them donated.
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Big Eggs


No wonder one of our hens has prolapse. A few of them give us double yokes a few times over the summer. Here is the latest larger egg.
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Saturday, June 12, 2010

Craft Sale Gone Bad

We crafted,we loaded the car, we unloaded, we set up and sold.  Or so we thought we would.  The cost of a 12 x 12 foot space was $25.00.  We sold to 2 people and made $22.00, putting us $3.00 in the hole.  We were not happy people.  By 3:30pm we were so hot and sweaty we tore everything down and went home.  My daughter made over 30 bracelets, 2 necklaces, keychains and earrings, all made by hand with hemp cord and beads.  The items were beautiful, so this was upsetting for all of us.  The money raised would have paid for her cost of a class trip next school year.  A very expensive, all class trip.

Now, the question is, should we try another place at another time?  Or do we say we're done?  It's too hot to decide today.  I guess with the recession, it's even harder to sell handmade items because people have cut back on spending. 

And here we were more concerned that we would get rained out and it still hasn't rained.

I think I will head to the porch and read a good book to relax.  That is, if the rain and predicted storms don't force me off the porch.


Friday, June 11, 2010

Lettuce in the Garden


I had my first salad today, using fresh home grown lettuce from the garden. I even cut about 3 long green onions and snipped it in to the salad. Yum! I can't wait until the tomatoes, green peppers, spinach and everything else is up. It's great to be eating so healthy too. It's also nice not to have to drive to town and buy lettuce.
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Bucket List



Crocheting baby booties has been on my "bucket" list for a long time. Funny how things work out, because I am just now finding a pattern I like, and all my kids are grown. It was sure a fun way to mess with the kids today! LOL! Each one kept asking, "and why are you making baby booties?" It was fun to get them all worked up!

The top photo is the progress I am making. The one on the left is the first one I made. The one on the right (top photo) is the second one, and much better looking. I worked the ends of the bootie tie in as well.

The kids are writing their own bucket lists as I sit here and write. They were so bored that they went on-line to find "stuff" to do and decided to write 100 things on a bucket list. It's better than hearing them complain, or say "Mom you're no fun anymore!"

Well, another thing is off my own bucket list now. Maybe down the road I can donate baby booties to shelters and centers? Time will tell. I got the chance to make it today because it rained. The humidity is horrible so we are indoors. Although we still do not have air conditioning on, we are a bit more comfortable inside than outside.
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Horse Riding Lessons and Chickens

My oldest daughter has finished her first 8 weeks of English horse riding lessons.  It's a bit of a drive each week, but I have discovered a local area park in which I can sit and write.   Soon I will find my way to their local library for wireless Internet.  Who knows, maybe I'll actually get some work accomplished.  I made the mistake of bringing my younger girls on these weekly trips.  All they do is talk and talk and talk.  What was I thinking?! 



One of our hens recently experienced prolapse.  We built a separate pen for her immediately, to keep her away from the other hens.  From what I learned at www.MaryJanesFarm.org, the hens will pick on her and she will diminish.  She has now recovered, but is not laying eggs just yet.  She's perky and I even caught her chasing a fly in her pen.   There is always something to learn on our homestead.  I'm sure it will become more interesting when we add more animals.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Gardening and a Stray Cat Problem

I sipped my coffee on the front porch this morning, in hopes to get another glimpse of a deer.  No luck.  It was later than usual, about 8:00am.  I wanted to vacuum first and that caused me to get outside a bit later.

Even thought 3 kids helped me in garden, I still have a lot of work to do.  I need to hoe between the rows and pull some stubborn weeds.  I managed to re-plant beet seeds, and dropped some radish seeds in between the spinach.  Not much of the spinach came up either.  Most likely from the downpour of constant rain we had a few weeks ago.

We have a problem stray cat.  He keeps coming to the house every night, attacking our 9 month old kitten, which is the only outside male cat.  We've brought them inside each night to avoid any scrapples.  One screen in the house is practically torn to bits from the inside cats warning this stray to leave.  We've brought the barn cat food inside each night, but it won't stop coming.  I will have to figure a way to get rid of him, even if it means having the humane society trap it.  He's a pretty mean one.   This is why people absolutely need to have their barn cats trapped, neutered and spayed, and released.  If someone had neutered this stray, he probably wouldn't be coming around like he is. 

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Black-Eyed Peas

We, believe it or not, have tried black-eyed peas for the first time ever.  I picked an easy recipe from the Internet and gave it a whirl.  I did, however, pre-soak my black-eyed peas and cook them prior to making this recipe.  I had placed them in freezer containers, so when I found a recipe, I just needed to thaw them.  I changed the recipe up a bit too. I added about 5 cloves of garlic vs. a "pinch" and used 3 onions.  The kids each ate 2 bowls each they loved it so much.  And of course, for our family, I used 2 pounds of black-eyed peas instead of 1.

Morning Deer

I got up early to water my flower beds and to water the watermelon plants.  It was probably just before 7am when I looked out across the property.  A doe was standing in the bean field and munching away.  With the crops being rotated this year, I can see the deer more often.  Last year's corn fields gave them a way to hide.  This year I have a feeling we will see many more deer.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Roses ~ June 2010

 Blue Moon Rose

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Potato blooms


After a few days of rain, the potato plants are blooming. Many of the seeds that recently sprouted, are rising a few inches after each rain also. It's too wet to work the garden today, but if the rain holds out I will weed and hoe tomorrow. It's fun to see what's growing each day.
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