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~

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Homesteader Homemaker Happenings

(old photo, but this one is back in it's home for the garden season)

First, welcome to my new followers.  I hope you are enjoying my blog, where posts are reality (the good and the bad), and photos are never staged.

Good Golly!  We are so low on our stock of greens.  I may have to buy some until my seeds are planted.  Don't want to, but we need our greens.

Thursday night my "till man" was too tired to till.  Shoot.  Couldn't plant the potatoes and popcorn.  Dang it.  He was too tired to weed whack my raised beds.  Couldn't plant my greens.  Dang it.

However, I tended to the herb garden and worked outside for 3 early hours, starting at 7am.  Daughter had a friend over, and all the kids slept in while I worked.  Even Jesse was caught snoring.

I thinned my over grown lemon balm.  Got my rosemary, basil, parsley and cilantro planted.  I'm not replanting lavender.  It is so tricky to start from seed and the stuff in stores is not the real deal.

My chives are already going to seed.  Oh my.  So are a few of my green onions, which had hoped for.  My chives are looking much better this year, so I may make chive oil for cooking.

I planted the very last 4 flowers in the flower bed.  Got out my solar garden light, flipped one rain barrel, and remembered to fill it with enough water to avoid the wind knocking it down. 

I showered and had hoped to put bedding on the line, but it seriously looked like rain.  I did, and it dried thankfully (even though we got sprinkles).

I filled the dehydrator with lemon balm, and my kitchen smelled so good.  I'd have also made a tincture but I didn't have any vodka on hand.  I'll just wait for the over flow of lemon balm later this summer and make it then I guess.

I decided to go to town for two garden hoses I very much needed.  The boys cut my hose in half when they plowed over winter (never got to putting it away for winter - my bad).  One hose was just a hot mess - end broken off.  Hubby "MacGyvered" it, and it just kept causing me trouble.

Friday, May 24, 2019

Homemade Tick Repellent ~ More Rain ~ Garden Progress

I'm betting my hens are getting coop fever, with all this rain and wind.  Most likely stir crazy at this point.  We haven't had much of a day for them to free range lately.

Started my day making homemade condensed mushroom soup.  There is nothing better than homemade.  I made another for the freezer.  The first "can" went on top of pork chops in the crock pot.

Thursday morning we had a major storm roll through.  More rain is not a good thing at this point.  It's just downright bad.  I prayed my planted tomatoes made it through and went out after the storm let up to check.  

The wind was so bad, it took out power in several counties, and took down many trees, limbs, utility poles and more.  One daughter of mine is lucky it moved through our area quickly.  She had a bonfire out back with friends, and left all her stuff, plus all my furniture including seat cushions.  Nothing blew away, but my weed garden bucket, which I retrieved.  

I haven't had a break in the day to flip my rain barrels.  Probably a good thing, as they'd be over flowing anyway.

We will not be planting any peas this spring.  Not one type.  I will try to fall plant them weather permitting.  

I got 3 pots of zinnias started, and my spearmint replanted.  I planted mullein and comfrey in two different pots as well, and replanted the peppermint.  I'm not counting on time to get my raised be built in time to plant my "weed" garden, so it's back up plants for us.  I also planted the arnica, feverfew and yarrow.

Woohoo!  I got 68 tomato plants planted so far, but Saturday they are calling for bad storms again. Praying they all make it.  They are saying hail and tornadoes.  I hope they are wrong.  Now I need my overworked "till man" to till more so I can get the rest in.  He's working 6 - 10 hour days again, and may even have to work Monday.

It's Ohio Bike week right now, and the only day off, they are calling for rain.  We may not make it this year on the Harley.

I'm tempted to purchase catnip seeds, as my potted plant is not that big this year.  I will first check the barns for it, before spending the money.

Got a text while out in the garden.  She wanted to buy this pair of baby booties.  Shipped them the same day, to take a break from the garden.

Tick-Repelling Oil

(for adults, dogs, and children older than 5 - otherwise they recommend using a gentle rose geranium hydrosol)

2 oz. jojoba oil
20 drops geranium essential oil
10 drops lavender essential oil

Combine all ingredients, place in small bottle and label. To use: Before going outdoors, apply this oil to any exposed skin. For dogs, place a few drops on your hands and then gently smooth the oil over the coat. If you prefer spray, substitute 2 oz. of distilled water for the jojoba oil, and place all ingredients in a small spray bottle. Spritz over your hair, clothing and skin. Repeat as necessary. 

I have also read just using 1 part tea tree oil and 2 parts water for a spray, but haven't tried it yet.  I prefer the oil (recipe above), but the spray works better for your hair and clothing, so you may like to make both versions.  I tend to rub the oil up under the hair line and wear a hat some times.  We don't have a huge tick problem, but the wind can bring some in.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Homemade Bug Spray and Rain Updates

Wed. morning we attended our youngest daughter's awards ceremony.  It rained most of the day, so we only got mulch on one small flower bed.  It was cold, cloudy, and the rain just seems to fall.  It was literally cold enough to start up the woodstove, but I held back, due to the upcoming weather.

Thursday, I planted more flowers while it rained.   I toted 54 of my tomato plants out to the garden, and planted those in the rain until the rain was too much.   I got about half of them planted, then went to the front porch.  I leaned over the edge and got the front beds finished weeded.  Dropped my zinnia seeds too, but I have more to plant.  Gladiolus bulbs are now planted too.

Headed back out to the tomatoes, but guess what?  It rained again, and too much to be out planting in it.  I'm gonna have to buy a rain coat to get that job done apparently.

I stayed inside and made a hot cup of mullein/nettle tea.  My sinuses were giving me issues with all this rain and spring allergies.

I also made homemade bug spray.  The recipe is from Mountain Rose Herbs blog, and it works.  It was originally called "Bug away spray" but now you can google it as "No Skeeter Spritz" spray.   If you click on the link above (goes to my blogpost on when I first made it), the link to the original recipe does not work.

The ingredients in their newly posted recipe are almost the same, they must of just changed the name of it, and added one essential oil - cedarwood (in place of citronella oil).  

You will need to make a catnip tincture (also called extract) first (which requires fresh or dried catnip and alcohol).  Start that now, so you can make your spray and start using it.  You can also find instructions on how to make a tincture on the MRH blog as well.  

You will need organic essential oils to complete the spray.  If you don't have wild growing catnip, you can also find seeds to plant at Strictly Medicinal Seeds.  The tincture can also be beneficial to help with insomnia and upset stomach.

Here is the original recipe I have used, so you have both options.

Bug Away Spray

4 oz. catnip tincture (I used vodka to make mine)
4 oz. witch hazel extract
80 drops organic citronella essential oil
80 drops organic eucalyptus essential oil
40 drops organic lavender essential oil
20 drops organic rosemary essential oil
10 drops organic lemongrass essential oil
10 drops organic lemon essential oil

Mix all ingredients, pour into a spray bottle.  Shake before using.  I do find I have to re-apply often, especially if it's hot out and I'm sweating a lot.  

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Teabag Tidbits

Just a little teabag quote for the day.

Started a jar of comfrey infused oil.  I haven't decided yet, but I'll either use this as an oil or make a salve, to topically treat my varicose veins.

Made a breakfast scramble with collards, jalapeno and bacon.  Of course eggs, potatoes and green bell peppers as well.  I felt bad Hubby had no breakfast nor lunch to pack on Monday.  We grilled out Sunday night, and had been busy outdoor Sunday morning.

Baked Bourbon Blueberry Banana bread.  Snacks for the next day or two.

You know when the weather really is wacky, when you have this much asparagus, and no snap peas to go with it (when I normally do).  Peas aren't even planted sadly.  I roast the asparagus with rosemary and olive oil.

Today is our youngest daughter's last day of school. 

Considering our weather the last two years, I've asked Hubby to put building a green house to the top of the to-do list.  I can't survive with out it now.  It's imperative in order for us to eat healthy and stock up for the winter and spring.  The weather is definitely a struggle and I have a bad feeling it will happen more often than not.

Monday, May 20, 2019

Happy Homemaker Monday

I'm joining Sandra at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom.   Back weeks ago, I guessed I had 4 roosters and 3 hens with my spring chick purchase.  The other day I took another closer look.  I may be right, but time will tell.

Debby Flowers do you make and sell goat's milk soap?  Or anyone else that follows my blog?  If so, comment types and prices etc. please.

Breaking news! With the hot day we had on Saturday, and the early morning break from rain, the tiller was humming away.  Mower too.  We had to mow down the garden (last year's neglect), to start tilling where it was dry enough.  Hubby got 3/4 of the larger tomato patch tilled, but it started to rain.  Only a small portion of the large garden was mowed down.

On the breakfast plate. . .
Have no idea yet.

The weather outside is . . .
Cold.  We went from 80's and major storms yesterday to no rain, and we'll dip into the 40's tonight.

On my reading pile. . .
Book from the library

On my TV . . .
Justified on Amazon Prime

On the to-do list . . .

...for the month to-do list
-make horse chestnut tincture and infused oil
-make homemade bug spray
-make homemade tick oil
-plant garden
-finish flower beds, drop seeds etc.
-flip rain barrels
-start potted weeds and herbs
-build raised bed
-call greenhouses for sweet potato slips
-order more wasp/bee traps (non toxic)
-place an order for dried fruits, and other needs
-place order for essential oils, etc.
-clean oven
-clean fridge out

On the menu . . .
Spaghetti, asparagus
Grilled steaks, baked sweet potatoes with whiskey butter
...have no idea on the rest of the week
Hot taco dip for snacks
Banana bread for snacks

What I am creating . . .

In case you didn't see my post, I'm putting together these.  One for the truck, camper and car - notepad, pen, pencil crochet hook, eye needle, tape measure, scissors.  I'm still trying to restock my knitted dishcloths as well.

Looking forward to . . .
Planting the garden, better weather, no rain and another motorcycle ride.  A trip to the island.

Looking around the house . . .
It's a mess.  Again.  We had the grandkids over last night for a grill out.  Thankfully, the rain stopped for that to happen.  The colder, wet weather will keep me inside, so indoor cleaning will happen today.

From the camera. . .
Aurora watching the new cardinals make their nest in a tree just outside my study.  They were making all kinds of rukus to scare off the cat.  Super excited that we'll see baby cardinals.  Oh, I won the battle with the chickadees too.  They'd pack grass in outside next to an air conditioner, and I'd dig it out.  In it went, out it went.  So far, I've won.  Oh, and our hummingbird is back.  He/she was out getting dinner from my hanging plants last night.

I bit of porch cuteness.

The mailbox garden.  Making progress.

New to the flower beds.  Gorgeous begonias.

One of my simple pleasures . . .
A soak in the tub with essential oils.

Prayers . . .
A family friend with severe back pain, and no insurance.  

Sunday, May 19, 2019

More Rain and Random Ramblings

Woke up to rain showers Saturday morning.  My intention was to do the very last of the flower bed weeding and plant the last of the flowers, drop zinnia seeds and plant glady bulbs.  Everything was soaked.

So frustrating.  Farmers have not been in their fields at all around us.  Zero.  On my way to town, I saw a farmer hook up a sprayer to a 4-wheeler.  A friend of the family told us her father (farmer) is not planting corn at all due to the weather.

Saturday we got up to the 80's, but I couldn't do much work outside.  The bees and wasps were swarming again.  I must get that trap up ASAP.  I however, got 3 hours of weeding done in the mailbox garden.  It was full of grass and I neglected it for 2 years.  This year it'll be spiffy.  I will try and get a photo if the bees and wasps leave the area.  Believe it or not we got zero rain Saturday night.

It's Sunday.  Yay.  The only day my Hubby gets off work.  Guess what?  More rain.  Bwahahahahahahahaha!  Yep. Thunderstorms.  Later in the day.  At first they said 5pm, but now they say 2pm.

He is going to attempt to fire up the tiller and start in the tomato patch first.  Updates on if that even happens later.

I decided to buy myself a little treat to enjoy after planting flowers.

On another note, my mother had been asking where she could buy "baby" flamingos.  I found large ones, but she kept asking, leaving voice mails etc.  I decided to just go on Amazon and poof!  In less than a few minutes, had them ordered and shipped to her house.  She was elated and sent me this photo.

I have to admit.  They do look cute behind the larger one, ha ha!  She has since then planted bright pink wave petunias in that flower bed.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Storms, Flowers, the Un-planted Veggie Garden and a Crochet Emergency Kit

Thursday we had another gorgeous start to the day - sunshine and up to the 70's again.  I weeded the front flower beds. Indoor cleaning always suffers, but I had to take advantage of a good day outdoors.  It needed done badly. I still can't get into the veggie garden.

Evening however, brought on major thunderstorms, wind and possible hail.  I was pretty thankful I had not planted the tomato plants or anything for that matter.

(wasn't cheap and I still need more, and will add color with zinnia seeds and glady bulbs)

This is one small section that edges sidewalk off front porch.  It's a small start.  Needs a few more touches, my rooster planter and then mulch for all the beds.  We lost a few mums over winter, so come fall I'll add a few if I can.  We also lost the granny apple tree, the plum tree died and our large peach tree looks terrible.  The two red apple trees are looking good so far.  Elderberry trees look terrible, but growing.  Darn deer.  I have to put stakes around them this year.  We also lost a blackberry bush, and possibly a red raspberry bush too.

Funny story about that photo.  Hubby finally weed whipped.  He was trying to add more string to the gadget to finish, and we were sitting on the porch.  I told him to just let it go and do it another day.  His response, "If I listened to you I'd never get anything done."  To which I responded, "oh, so that's why the shovel is still sitting in the half dug septic tank?"  Touche.

Friday we had clouds all day, with a high in the upper 60's.  It rained.  Hmpf!  Again. It thunderstormed last night.  Again. More rain is in the forecast for the weekend.  I did some more porch cuteness.  

The wasps and bees are so bad this year.  I can't work in the flower beds after about 10am.  While I ran to the store Friday, wasps literally built a nest in my side door way.  We had to enter the front, go back out and spray it, then wait and knock it down.  Hmpf.

Have you seen this idea on the internet lately?  I made myself one for the truck.  I plan on making two more.  One for the car and one for the camper too.  Ha ha!  I give credit to Blackstone Designs website - notebook (3 for $1 at our Dollar General store), pen, pencil, crochet hook, large eye needle, measuring tape and scissors.  These would make nice gifts for friends and family who you know that crochet.  I also found out that it's much safer to crochet in a moving vehicle than knit.  I don't have a label machine, I just edited the photo with text, but would be cute to add that to it for gift (cricut maybe?).  This one went straight into "Red Lightning" (aka the truck).

I often forget to pack stuff when I bring car projects along on trips.  Speaking of memory issues.  I had to look at my lists to figure out why I ordered jojoba oil.  Sigh....I really did.  

Now, if I can put peace inside my chaotic home, it'll all balance out nicely.  I'm sure the rain will help me out with that.