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, July 25, 2017

Kitchen is in full swing ~ Handiwork

Zucchini has over-flow-eth-ed.  I know that is now a word, but it's the truth.  

The freezer is well stocked - 4 more pint bags of sliced and 8 cups of shredded into the freezer.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Cucumbers ~ Yellow Squash ~ Cleaning

The cucumbers are starting to roll in this year.  Last year we didn't get many.

I pulled out my old recipes and whipped up a Fresh Dill and Cucumber Salad.  Hubby and I love it.  I have fresh dill that grows back in the flower bed every year thankfully.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

The Garden and other bits

Zucchini continues to produce nicely, but our yellow squash has mold. 

And since it was 90 degrees with 70% humidity, and outdoor work slowed for a blip in the week, I made a cake. 

Zucchini snack cake with lemon butter cream frosting.  

Hubby's favorite, and made only once a year.  It requires fresh blueberries.  We haven't found them in bulk form yet either, so these were not cheap.  This cake requires fresh blueberries, hence why it's only baked this time of year.  Although, as Hubby has graciously reminded me, we sometimes find organic blueberries later in the season.

Here is a close-up photo of the drying radish seed pods.  We are tickled pink.   It's the first year our plants went to seed.

What we'll do without this season?

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Weeds are Winning....

.... and I am Not Worried

For once. 


Food wins.   I put more beets and zucchini in the freezer, and more beet greens.  I believe I am up to 40 servings of beets right now.  I may pickle some.  I haven't decided yet.

I do not like to mess with browning meatballs on the stove top, so I went in search for one online that is baked (and for the sole purpose to use up zucchini).

We love lots of zucchini right now, and so far I haven't had the need to give any away.  I still need to freeze more in the shredded form, and slices.

Back to the meatballs....

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

More tidbits - mostly garden-ish related

Zucchini is on in full force, so it's been the typical recipes, freezing etc. Zucchini was chopped into teeny tiny bits.  I canned our first seasonal 10 pints of famous zucchini salsa.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Books, Books and Books!

.....from the library
This one is interesting.  

Who has eaten a peanut butter and pickle sandwich? 

Random Tidbits ~ Zucchini

I pulled all of my garlic (somewhere between 175 and 200), despite the humidity we were having.  It needed done, and the remainder of the garden is still too wet.  One job done, and only a few bulbs didn't come up.  And thankfully only a few rotten bulbs.  

It was wet I tell ya'.  I hosed a ton of mud off the garlic, but rain was due again (which we got late afternoon yesterday), and I wasn't losing it.  I had to hose off myself and my garden gloves.  That one in the photo was a Russian Giant variety, but my new variety and my own were not much smaller than that.  I have to admit though, the variety I've planted for years, had the most smallest ones too.  I may do away with it, and only plant the other two.  I guess we'll do a taste test first.  Hence, the area I planted is the best area to grow it.  And not far from the peach tree (which helps ward off bugs and what not).

My first ever, quart bag of blanched shell peas made their way to the freezer.  Even if it's the only one, it's one step ahead of last season. 

Friday, July 14, 2017

A Deserving Day Off

This bird is annoying the heck out of me, and trying to take over my front porch.  I have no idea what type of bird it is, but the beak on it is longer than most birds.  The sound it makes is sooooo annoying.  It would come all the way to the door when I was inside, squawk, and fly off before I could get a photo. I keep ringing my dinner bell to keep it away.

....just another day in the life of our homestead.

So?  Did we get more rain? 

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Funny ~ Flooded

I have to tell you all about this.  Sort of a family funny in a state of complete worry.

The last time we went up to see sister "L" they wouldn't let us in.  The nurses said "give us 30 minutes." So we visited with family and waited. 

At the time to ring the desk again, his BIL said, "tell them you are Donald Trump." 

Well, he did, ha ha ha ha!  The desk was closed, so you had to call the nurses and they would open the doors etc.  A couple sitting close to the desk starting laughing and it just made everyone's night.  They let us in too, ha ha ha! 

Also, I have an update on her at the end of this post.

So about the flooded part.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

How does your garden grow? ~ SIL Update ~ Meatballs

This was a post that was to get posted a few days back, and got lost in the shuffle....

The zucchini is on, and the straight neck yellow squash is also on.  I've already started harvesting it.  Cucumbers have blossoms now.  If I planted as well as I think I have, we won't have to plant pickling cucumbers next year.

My 40-some foot row of pumpkins are doing very well  (they have doubled their size since I took this photo).  You don't see the entire row, because I am still weeding it.  Vines are about 4 foot long - two varieties of organic non-gmo pie pumpkins.  Last year, I planted the pumpkins in with the popcorn, and we didn't even get blossoms on them.  That was disappointing, so this year, I planted them in their own area.  There are no squash mounds in the tomatoes this year either.  Hubby tilled them up last year, so I don't even take those chances anymore.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Baking up a little love ~ Einkorn Snickerdoodles

I felt so awful that Hubby had no breakfast to take to work yesterday, and no lunch.  Literally.  We haven't been home but one day I think. 

So, as soon as I could, I baked up a swiss chard/zucchini frittata topped with chives.

Monday, July 10, 2017

SIL updates ~ ...from the handiwork journal

We did a lot of hospital hopping in the last few days.  During our visits I couldn't read, and like to keep my hands moving.  I took along a bag of handiwork, whether we went by car or motorcycle.  I visited with family/friends while we all took turns visiting sister "L."  She is still in ICU.

Quick update on the sisters.  Sister "L" was getting her heart balloon removed on Sunday, and weaned of heart pump.  They removed the vent Saturday night.  The procedure for the heart pump took several hours, so we didn't get to visit.  The plan is for two stents to go in on Tuesday.   Sister "P" is doing much better and might be going home soon.  Everyone is back to work today, so sister "L" gets a day of rest before the procedure.  However, even though we were called last night and sister "L" was doing well, we got a call at 5:49am this morning.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

We interrupt this blog....

...with a short announcement.  Hubby's sister "L" had a heart attack and we've been running back and forth between two hospitals.  Sister "P" is also in a hospital.

Sister "L" is the same one that was diagnosed with pancreatitis, which we now know was incorrect.  Her pain was due to blockages and doctors never looked.

Thus, she was ambulanced to the same hospital that Hubby and I were both in.  Once there she stopped breathing.  They brought her back, but could not do a bypass emergency surgery.  Her heart was shocked by the CPR, so it has to rest up for possible stents.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Enjoying the Garden Goodies

Although the dogs love watermelon, you rarely see a cat who loves it just as much.

 Tiger loves it.  Jasper, not so much.

The peas are still rolling in.  I am planning on putting up a second pea fence next year.  We are getting enough for dinner, but not enough to freeze (shell peas included).  With four of us to feed, it's been a blessing for dinners, but zero shell peas are getting frozen so far this season.  We enjoyed buttered snap peas for dinner last night, and I made Pumpkin-Sage Macaroni.  

The macaroni dish uses fresh parsley and sage from my herb garden.  Mmmm!  Love this dish. 

What's going on in the garden?  Weeding.  Lots and lots of weeding.   Lots. Of. Weeding.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

The Back Porch

 (Me and my more off than on again book)

Although we love our front porch, we do have a back porch.  More like a side porch.  The front faces east, while the other one faces south.  Sort of a boring post, but Hubby gave me a bloody nose this morning, so I'm hurtin'.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Bits of Barn Wood and other random tales

Happy 4th of July!
We stayed around the homestead for the holiday weekend.  Well, most of it.  We visited family and friends at the Lake, and stole off on a few motorcycle rides.  But.  We started on the big barn.

We've managed to move one barn door from the ruble.  It wasn't moved very far, and is now waiting it's next move. They are heavy by the way.  It'll take more than two of us to get it up and on the other barn.  Hubby and I dug through the debris and started pulling out barn siding.  We took the saw to a few, made them look nice, and delivered them to the folks who knocked the barn down.  They loved the "samples" and we'll be back to this mess.

All that siding laying down is weighed down by beams, so we have to get equipment to take care of that to free up the siding.

See that siding up on the old straw?  Well, I removed the fungus covered wood, and crawled up there.

I got what I could without putting myself in danger, and my legs got stung by stinging nettle.  It hurt the entire time we were out there, and my legs were red.  However, by the the time we retired that day, the rash was completely gone.  Seriously.  Could I be immune to it now due to drinking nettle all the time?  I know my hands broke out with a rash before, but my legs seem to have a reverse situation.

I planted zinnia seeds 3 times this year.  The first planting, 3 places popped up.  And a pot of them.  However, all the remaining plantings did not.  I replanted.  Nothing.  I bought seeds and replanted.  Nothing.

Then I saw them.

Birds.  They have multiplied this season. 

The robins and chickadees in the exact locations of the plantings (I put markers so I knew where to water).  Grr.  They were eating them so no flowers.  I will have to start seeds indoors next year, or if you have a tip to keep birds out of the flower beds (without looking gaudy) please share.

We may be eating ground hog as well as rabbit for dinner this summer.  I now have a ground hog issue. I've seen him before, and thought he was just passing through, but no....

June bearing strawberry season is over, and it's the end of our radishes too.  The radishes left in the ground, are already going to seed.

This is the last of the harvest.  I won't be getting another batch of radish relish, but I will be roasting these.

The peas are still rolling in thankfully.  Both snap and shell peas.

Bread was baked again over the weekend.  Just our regular 'ol every day stuff going on here.  Nothing spectacular, nor exciting.  Other than I lost 4.2 of the 10 lbs. I gained since the stint in the hospital last winter.  Proof if you lose weight fast, you'll gain back over what you lost, and it is very (very) difficult to get it back off.  The scale has moved and I am very (very) happy about it.  Only 5.8 more to go, and I'm down to my lowest weight of last year, then it's onto a new goal.  

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Crisis in the Chicken Run

The weather was hot, humid and downright miserable.  Mother Nature kept teasing us with a sprinkle here, a sprinkle there...

...and dark clouds everywhere.  Ha.  Sounds like a poem.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Creative Meals ~ Eating Empty Pea Shells ~ Handiwork ~ The Garden Grows

Another creative week of stretching meals - used up the last two organic sweet potatoes I had on hand.

I had green onions and dill in the herb garden, so I made us some creamy sweet potato salad.  Yum.  The dressing is half yogurt and half mayo.  We love this stuff. 

Fish was pulled from the freezer (so thankful for that), and we still have veggies in the freezer from last year.   That bumper crop of green beans has been useful.  I still have a few servings of broccoli too.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Calendula Cookies ~ More Peas

The title is correct -  Calendula Cookies.  I added these flower petals to salads last year, and this year I am expanding.  I found several recipes in a book from the library, regarding edible flowers.  Something new to try this year, and new to blog about. 

The cookie recipe uses about 18 flower heads.  I had flowers, and I had a hankering for cookies (when I shouldn't be eating any). 

Monday, June 26, 2017

Picking Peas In Pajamas

Saturday we picked peas in our pajamas, had a leisurely breakfast on the porch (fresh eggs, homemade bread with home canned jam and coffee), and then by 10am took off on a motorcycle ride. 

We ran some errands, and rode to a campground where extended family and friends were camping for the weekend.  Good food, lots of laughs and they were all talking us into changing our plans.

We had a wedding to attend in Michigan.  Hubby's sister had been taken to the hospital (trouble breathing).  We was admitted over night for tests.

Sort of a funny tale about the weeding.  My biggest challenge?  Finding a nice outfit for an outdoor wedding, that didn't make me look like I left the garden or got off the Harley, ha ha!  I succeeded.  Even though I lost 38 lbs. last year, I found a skirt and top and some dressy sort of flip flops to wear.  And, believe it or not, a matching purse.

Sunday was a repeat.  Picking peas in our pajamas, and a leisurely breakfast on the front porch. 

Only there was no homemade bread to be had.  Zero.  Not even a tortilla.  However, I had a few pieces of homemade flatbread in the freezer, one last package of bacon in the freezer, and a few measely potatoes.  Wa-la!  Omelets were made.  Flatbread was saved for later.

We later drove up to visit Hubby's sister in the hospital.  Tests continue.  She has pancreatitis.  She's had it before I guess, but she is doing well now.

Garden work continued, but today it looks like rain.  I've been up since 3am, and my catnip tincture failed for insomnia.  It's gonna be a long week.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Salmon and Peas and the "poof" of the Mac n' Cheese

My older brother ("aka the fisherman") gifted us with some Michigan Salmon and more bluegill.  We are already enjoying the delicious fish.  I made us some salmon patties using ground organic oats, a bit of mustard, a tiny bit of water, and some green onion from the garden.  Mmmm!  

But that's not all.

 I picked more peas.  I made a pan of buttered snap peas.  I didn't have a shallot on hand, and my shallot powder is gone too.  I used an onion, and it was still delicious.

Our daughter who turned 18 yesterday requested Alton Brown's Macaroni and cheese (baked) for her birthday dinner.  I had cheese in the freezer, so I made it.  However, you won't see a photo of it here.  Zuri-raptor got her paws (and jaws) on it, and well that was to be today's lunch.  Somehow the girls, even though I reminded them, forgot it was on the counter.  The veggies of course were all saved at high altitudes which left no space to hide the dish (other than the top of the fridge, and I should have done that).  The mac n' cheese contains onions.  Sigh.  We attempted two methods to get her to throw it up, but to no avail, she would not. So.  Yeah.  The fun begins.

We finally got rain. I am heading out to pick peas and possibly radishes this morning.  It would be a great day for a motorcycle ride too, but other plans are in the works.  First I will be enjoying breakfast on the front porch.  I hope you all have a wonderful weekend.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Random Tidbits ~ A Crockpot Summer

The rabbits are definitely an issue this year.  This is the worst year ever.  One had babies in my chicken run.  Big mistake.  The chickens killed them all.

Bread needed baked.  New recipe too.  The recipe is here. I turned to the internet for this recipe, and was quit pleased. In fact, Youngest Daughter saw the bread, made a sandwich, and raved about how soft and delicious it was.  Used 1 Tbsp. brown sugar vs. white sugar.  The recipe called for 2 cups of milk and room temperature. I had exactly 1 1/2 cups left in the house.  I made a 1/2 cup using dried milk to make up the difference.

Library books need returned and new ones picked up.  Ha.  Yeah, like I'm a gonna' get time to read 'em. I however am enticed by the Home and Health one - 501 recipes. I may have to add a few to my Christmas "wish" list.

I should have the kids monitor me when I multi-task.  I almost burned a frittata.  I set the timer, walked outside...should have never left the kitchen.  The other day I almost forgot the rice in the crockpot cabbage roll casserole.  Speaking of that dish, it was sort of a budget creation.

After my big birthday shin-dig, our daughter's grad party, and another daughter's expensive car repair, the budget has been pretty tight.  

I was pretty nifty thrifty with the cabbage roll dish.  I had two halves of cabbages leftover (red and green), I had a quart of home canned tomato sauce, home canned crushed tomatoes, homemade tomato condensed tomato soup in the freezer...and wa-la..dinner was made on a dime.  I used leftover ham vs. beef/pork.  Turned out Fan-tab-u-lous!  We discovered Parmesan cheese was better than mozzarella cheese.  And it's delicious without cheese.  This was the first time trying this type of recipe.  I may have to make cabbage rolls this fall when cabbage is in full harvest.  I do love my crockpot though.

Complaints were spouting from my vegetarian daughter (it had meat in it).  I told her I don't make special requests when I have to cook with what I have, and I reminded her I boiled eggs.  She's a big girl and needs to learn to cook.

The peas are flourishing and I must pick daily now.  

I made another batch of garlic scape and radish spread.  We absolutely love this stuff, and our vegetarian daughter (the one turning 18 today, and who hates most vegetables), loves it now too.  Hubby wants me to make a double batch so he can share it at work, but I'm running low on garlic scapes.  I may have a few more out in the garden.  As always, when Hubby loves a dish, says "you should serve this in our own restaurant."  Ha.  Yeah.  Like I want more work. 

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Broccoli Pizza

A few days back, I made homemade whole wheat flatbread.  We ended up taking a long motorcycle ride on Father's Day evening, so the pizzas were not made.  I put the flatbread in the freezer and we finally made them.

It only took a few minutes to thaw the flatbread.  Now I know it freezes well, so I'll be putting some in the freezer vs. pizza dough.  I topped them with spinach pesto, then the broccoli (and it was supposed to have wilted spinach, but I ran out after pesto was made), topped with mozzarella cheese.

 I baked them at 400°F for about 15 minutes or so.  This flatbread worked beautifully for these.  Just enough to make it a pizza, crispy on the bottom, and delicious.

The flatbread was rolled to about 7 x 5 inches.  I got 8 pieces of bread in the batch.  The recipe stated I'd get 12, but that would be the thickness of a tortilla or thinner.  The recipe I used was from for the whole wheat flatbread (used part all-purpose and part whole wheat), and the pizza recipe is from Eating Well, called "Green Pizza."  We think it needs some hot red pepper flakes, but that's about the only suggestion I got from the taste testers.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Strawberries, Peas, Wild Black Raspberries and Weeds

My mother wants to know why she hasn't heard from me.  You probably laughed at that, right?

And here is why.  Grab a cup of your favorite's sort of, kind of, a long post.  Or come back when you need an excuse to just sit for a spell.

Aside from that mess of a barn we have to clean up (felled tree #2 is still on the ground too)...

We picked up 4 quarts of fresh strawberries.  We used to pick up 12, but we are well stocked with strawberry jam right now. Thankful for that too.  Even if I have miss-counted, we have more than enough of the other fruit jams.  And we are needing to stock up less with the shrinking household.

Three quarts went into the freezer, and 1 quart went into a fresh strawberry pie for Father's Day.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Down, Down, Down....

This showed up yesterday afternoon, while I was out fetching eggs late in the day....

and this happened......

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Herbal Hair Tonic and Hair Oil Updates

I made an herbal hair tonic to encourage hair growth and repair.  You can read the original post  here.  Why I made it is written below.  The hair tonic is made with all nettle, but I'm considering adding burdock root now.  The tea infusion I am drinking is made differently.

I have researched this through a few books and online, and do feel calcium helps hair and nails, so I made sure I was also drinking nettle and tulsi teas (infused for a stronger tea).

I made my tea infusion using 3/4 cup dry nettle and 1/4 cup dry oat straw.  Both are good combination for calcium, and hair and nail health.  I used a quart canning jar, poured boiling water over the herbs, placed the lid on, and steeped it for 4 or more hours, sometimes making it at night and steeping all night.  Drinking within 36 hours, before it goes rancid.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

This and That

The bad:  my debit card was hacked for the 5th time this year.

The good:  it's back to using cash, so I'll most likely spend less.  I've said this before, but now I am really going to focus on paying cash only.  I have even been only using my pin and with the chip reader.  Folks, it still isn't safe.  Cash or credit card these days is best.  The bank said it was a "national chain" which means it was Home Depot or K-mart.  I don't get out much, and I do not pay ANY bills with my debit card.  I don't shop online with it either.

The bad:  my mullein did not grow back.  How does a person kill an invasive weed?  Ugh.  Too late to order seeds to grow it again too.  I have zero in the pasture.  I had it in a pot, but will plant it somewhere in the ground next year.

The good:  my yarrow survived the raccoons rampage on my planted pots last year.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Hot, Humid and Down Right Uncomfortable

Rain was in the forecast yesterday, so I decided to do a long workout, then go out and pick what I could, and return to the indoors.  I baked burger buns for a grill out dinner.....

....blanched and froze swiss chard....

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Curried Lentils ~ A Crockpot Summer

As promised, here is the recipe for the curried lentils.  However, I don't have a photo of it.  I do have one of what I made with leftovers.

 Curried Lentils with Spinach

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Garlic Scape and Radish Spread ~ Roasted Spring Vegetables with Brussels Sprouts

I am still getting a few more garlic scapes, although most have been cut of.  

If you happen to have one garlic scape, this recipe is wonderful.  I have to buy the organic cream cheese.  I don't have a source for raw goat's milk or cow milk right now.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Pie Pan Bangers ~ Sugar Snap Peas ~ Puttin' Up Radishes ~ Plantain Poultice

Mom gifted me some pie pans when she came to the grad party. 

They are now attached to the pea fence for another rabbit deterrent.  I just hope with "Biker Sally" up, the glass bottles in place, and now the pie pan bangers, the garden will thrive.

Our sugar snap peas are on, and growing quickly.  I can't wait to harvest that first bite.  Yum.