Pioneer Woman at Heart

One Flourishing, Frugal and Fun Family!

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~

Thursday, July 11, 2024


 I may be popping in here now and again.  It's only been a few days, and I miss writing my blog.  You may get a post here or there in the near future.  

Although in that short time, I have purged about 40 books, and most were literally from home schooling days, and non-fiction books from when the kids were all in school.  I have also purged 2 boxes of craft supplies.  I kept a TON of crafting, recycling craft supplies and more, for when the kids were in school as well.

Cleaning the "spaces" has been gratifying, so we can eventully "enjoy" the newly organized spaces.  

I'm am working on transitioning from raising kids, and having the roll of "Mom" for so many years, to "empty" nesters.  It's not like I am out of "things" to keep me busy around here, especially during garden season.

You'd think I'd be busy with the role of "Grandma" but sadly that is not the case.  I'm trying not to dwell on the fact, there is a newly born grandchild out there this year, who we have never met.  We don't even know where they live.  Not all families are created equal.  When there is nothing you can do about something, you learn to move on in life.  We can't waste time on trying to make sense on what doesn't make sense.

Although we have made great strides with home repairs and updates, there is still very much more to do as well.  We have more work on upgrades, regarding our vegetable/fruit gardens (fencing, expanding, raised bed project).

Great words of advice.....

"Focus on you. For more than 18 years, the focus has been on your children. Permit yourself to be a little self-centered. Get up to date on all medical appointments you have put off. Reevaluate your diet and start an exercise routine that includes cardio, weights and stretching. Go through your closet and decide what to keep and what to update. Try out a new hair color or style to go with your new role."  Source:  Finding Purpose in an Empty Nest, by Pam Molnar, Oregon Family Magazine

Routines change, life changes, daily duties change, and even the homesteading path in life changes.  

When I pick some yarrow, the first thing that pops in my head, is "oh I need to blog about what I'm making with this" and I eventually get side tracked, ha ha!  Self sufficiency at it's best for sure.  Blogging was always a part of my writing passion.

Who knows what is in store for the future.  I'll leave it at that.  You may see some updates here and there.

Transitioning © July 2024 by Kristina at Pioneer Woman at Heart

Monday, July 8, 2024


I started this blog way back in 2008.  It's hard to believe I've been writing this blog for 16 years.  It doesn't seem like it's been that long either.

In those years we raised kids, dairy goats, chickens, pets, and so forth. I've shared our going-on's and gardening ups and downs.  I've shared my home repairs, upgrades and renovations.  I've shared my dehydrator experiences, handicraft and other craft experiences. 

I learned a lot from fellow bloggers and followers.  

I've shared many foraging recipes, DIY salves, lotions, chapstick recipes and more.  My blog was a great place to both share and learn.  

I really enjoyed writing my blog, reading blogs and sometimes laughing out loud.  Our family also went through many losses in the past 16 years.

It has come to the point where screen time is less, and more person to person is more, and overall more free time.  It's time to put an end to Pioneer Woman at Heart blogspot.

Finale © July 2024 by Kristina at Pioneer Woman at Heart

Homemade Garlic Jalapeno Seasoning

 I had a recipe (put on the internet in 2021) I made once last year, and could not find it.  I ended up finding it, but the recipe called for Weber's store brand Garlic Jalapeno Seasoning.  

You know me right?  I went on a mission.  First, I am not really a person to store a "mixed spice" in my pantry, other than my homemade "fire powder" for spicing up dishes when I want to.

However, they do come in handy for traveling, and especially when camping.  Mixed spices also come in handy for grilling out, grilling at a picnic etc.

To see the actual ingredients in the store brand, you can simply read the label next time shopping, or find it on the internet.  I have no idea what stores sell it, or if they even make it anymore, but sharing what my mission was pretaining to this seasoning.

The original seasoning contains sugar (more than the jalapeno), "spices" (no specifics on what this is), citric acid, gum arabic, rice concentrate, and "natural flavors" (huh?  why?).

Salt is listed first as an ingredient.  I salt and pepper myself, so I left this out, but you could add it.

Other ingredients listes are Garlic, Onion, Jalapeno Pepper, and Green Bell pepper.

I'm also sharing links to some of my older blog posts that may help if you have never dehydrated garden goods, or are interested in getting a dehydrator for this purpose.

How I dehydrate Garlic

How I make my dehydrated garlic into garlic powder

Making dehydrated onions and making onion powder etc

Dehydrating our hot peppers

How I grind dehydrated hot peppers

Deydrating and making green bell pepper powder

Here is what I mixed:

3 Tbsp. Garlic Powder, Homemade

2 Tbsp. Onion Powder, Homemade

1-2 Tbsp. Jalapeno Powder, Homemade (the more, the more heat)

1 to 1 1/2 tsp. Green Bell Pepper Powder to your taste, or leave out

Mix and store in an air tight container.


2/3 cup dehydrated jalapenos = Approx. 2 Tbsp. Jalapeno powder

Our jalapenos are being harvested from the garden now.

If you do not grow a garden, or own a dehydrator, many Amish or bulk stores sell these ground powders, but be sure to read the label.  I have seen green bell pepper powder for sale, but it is expensive.

If you are wondering about the recipe that started this all, here it is:

I am not affilated with the cook on this video.  I found it by searching for new recipes to make with our home grown green beans - One Skillet Cheesy Ground Beef and Green Bean Casserole.

Note:  I first made this recipe with fresh minced garlic and jalapenos, so you don't always need a special seasoning

Another time I simply used homemade onion powder, homemade garlic powder, homemade fire powder, and homeamde green bell pepper powder.

Today's post title should be "Youtube made me do it" ha ha!

Homemade Garlic Jalapeno Seasoning  © July 2024 by Kristina at Pioneer Woman at Heart

Sunday, July 7, 2024

Protecting the Harvest ~ Raised Beds Project

 The tree baffles are up, but the second one will need some work.  The bottom branches are lower on the other tree.  Anyway, we'll see if we can save our apple tree harvest this year.

If you are interested in how we built our tree baffles (a device to keep raccoons/squirrels from climbing up the tree to eat the fruit), here is the source with the "how to" on how to build one with a 5 gallon bucket.

Source: Welcome Wildlife, Tree Baffles...

Update:   The tree baffles work!  I happen to look outside at just the right time and a raccoon was at one tree, looking up confused.  It ran off.  Our $4.00 buckets paid off.  You could possibly get them free if a restaurant could save buckets too.

(Source:  Menards)

Temporary fencing has been installed around the green/wax beans now.  We simply used inexpensive plastic fencing on a roll, zip ties and wooden tomato stakes.  It's high enough to keep the rabbits out, but low enough we can step over it.  Time will tell, if we'll get a harvest this year or not. 

We can take the fencing down at the end of the garden season, roll it back up and reuse it if needed.  For now, anyway.

I had saved some tin pie pans a year ago, and have put those on strings and on each side of the tomato garden.  The wind bangs them onto the fence, and the noise keeps the birds out, as well as the sun shining on the pan.

I have also ordered two solar devices to keep the rodents out of my herb garden.  They send off a sound, in which the rodents do not like, and is said to keep them away.  If this does not work, I'll be fencing my herb garden too.

(2019 photo)

Now I understand why I would always see our barn cats sitting in the herb garden.  They were after the rabbits.

Our greens are in a waist high raised bed this year, and they are much smaller due to the soil content.  I'll be putting them back in the fenced garden ground next year.  Something is eating them, and I'm guess it's grasshoppers.  Ants are also in the raised bed.

The radishes have been thinned out, but they are not doing that great this year.  It could be the lack of rain, and having to hand water this year.

Tree digging was finally done.  There was a black walnut and an ornamental apple tree growing in two flower beds, a mulberry tree (above) growing in my asparagus patch, and one large invasive honeysuckle growing in a very small flower bed that completely took out, and removed rocks etc.

My compost bin was being buried in wild grape vines, so we unburied it, but there is much more work to do around the barns and house yet.  It's crazy how the birds can plant so many obstacles for us.  Not to mention the squirrels.

Raised Beds Project

I am digging up my rhubarb to put in a temporary location, so we can dig up all of our 16 year old raised beds completely. We will need assistance with it all, so it may be an all summer project, with finishing up next year.

We want to lay something down in a large area in it's place, topped with taller raised beds, but something that will last a long time and deter grass/weeds etc. so we do not need to mow between the new beds.  I've seen thick black fabric on a roll, but we want to deter grass etc.  Any suggestions?  So many of my fellow, experienced homesteaders/bloggers, no longer blog, so we may be on our own with finding this information.

Part of the reason I blog, is learning from others gardening experiences (or homesteading overall).

When we were on the island one year, we saw that a restaurant has large sheets of something rubber or similar, with grow bags on top, to grow their own veggies/herbs.  I never asked what it was or where to buy it, but now I wish I had.  

If you have suggestions, please comment and where to buy it.  I'm thinking it'll be 4 to 6 beds or more depending on our space/area.  I'm thinking beds will be 8 x 4 x two feet feet tall.

Also, suggestions on what to put in the bottom to eliminate filling the entire bed(s) with soil.  Logs of wood and twigs?

Saturday, July 6, 2024

Crocheted Face Scrubbies

 My go-to porch project, and car trip project has been crocheting "face scrubbies."  Initially, these were made and sold at craft shows, but brought in very little cash.  They can be used to wash your face, used to help remove makeup with face soap, or used to apply facial toner.

They are environmentally friendly to use in place of cotton rounds for face toner.

I made a few with scrap cotton yarn for myself, and tucked them into our travel case for traveling and camping, but decided to make several for the master bath.

I was purchasing 100 count cotton rounds, which are not that expensive, but I do use 56 a month.  The cotton rounds are about $2.38/100 pack, which is slighty over a pack for every two months.  Not a huge savings, but a savings no less, and nothing goes in the trash.

I use my clothesline to save on electricity, and I also have a small clothesline indoors, as well as drying racks.

Years ago, I made these reusable face pads using scrap fabric on one side and re-purposed flannel sheets on the other side.

 I no longer have a stash of scrap fabrics, but I do have more cotton yarn.  I will be making more of the crocheted version, for the other bathroom.

They can easily be hand washed, or put into a delicates wash bag with zipper.  Patterns for the crochet rounds are all over the internet, and with different patterns.

I haven't worked on any other handiwork lately.  The garden has kept us very busy.  The heat also plays a part if if I'm working on anything handiwork related.

Something I learned:  I just learned that some restaurants mix pancake batter in scrambled eggs to make them go further, and make them fluffier.  I was floored when I heard this, but I'm guessing it's just iHop who does this.  Our locally owned places here do not.  I find it crazy, as some people who think they are getting just eggs, and may have allergies or health issues, do not know this.  We do not eat at iHop, but sharing.

Crocheted Face Scrubbies  © July 2024 by Kristina at Pioneer Woman at Heart

Friday, July 5, 2024

This and That

 I hope you all had a wonderful 4th of July.  We had zero plans.  The humidity was so bad, it could choke a person, and then it rained.  However, by dinner time the rain had cooled down the heat and thinned the air, so we grilled out with a few kids and played cards.

Today the air quality is said to be bad.  More rain is on the way.

Whats been happening?  Well, it's been hot.  Very hot.  

Delivery days happened.  There were personal deliveries to those who had "stuff" in our garage, a trip to the thrift store for donations I purged, and more.  We have more planned deliveries for other items.

I'm now contemplating a book purge on another bookshelf.  The photo only shows a portion of one shelf on the bookshelf (gulp).

On the repair front, weather stripping needs replaced in a few doors.  The weed whacker needed a new part (now fixed), and a few windows needed new locks installed.

On the garden front, we have harvested a few more bits.

Three garden salsa hot peppers, and one zucchini.  I made fresh salsa with the hot peppers, and boy are they hot!  They are a much more potent heat than jalapenos.  It will clear your sinuses.

A few days ago, I started saving our coffee grounds.  I am sprinkling them along the green/wax bean rows in my last ditch effort to save them.  One, they add nitrogen to the soil, and two, it deters some rodents and pests.  I'm hoping it works.  I guess we'll find out soon enough.

We have purchased some inexpensive plastic garden fencing on a roll to install around the green beans this weekend.  We joked that our green beans cost us $$$ this year to grow.  It will work for the season, until we recover our previous fence expensive, and buy more fencing for the entire other garden.

We are really hoping for more rain today, because I need to thin out the radishes (soil has been pretty dry due to the heat), and we have 3 trees growing in beds of various locations that need dug out (birds and squirrels are the worst planters).  One tree is a walnut tree, and their roots are like cement.

Speaking of rodents, I finally got my husband to get all the supplies we need to build two tree baffles.  If they do as they should, we'll make one more for the peach tree.  Yes, they will be green, because we could not find white buckets, other than Menards (and they were twice the price).  At least it's better than hot orange, ha ha!  Pictures to come later hopefully.  The supplies were much less expensive to do it this way, vs. sheet metal or baffles.

On the kitchen front, I tried a new recipe.  Only because it sounded delicous.  You mix greek yogurt with peanut butter and place scoops on waxed paper.  You freeze it, then coat it with melted dark chocolate.  I don't have a photo to share, but it was very good, however, the yogurt/peanut butter mixture did not freeze in the 20 minutes the recipe said it would.  I waited an hour, and still not frozen.  It took a very long time, so I have plans to do it differently, and in mini-muffin pan liners next time.  It's a sweet, high protein, cold snack for a hot day.

The kids didn't need eggs, so I once again boiled some, and made egg salad. It's great for a quick meal on a hot day, and you can top it with home grown microgreens.

As for the zucchini, I may use it to make a zucchini-jalapeno frittata.  Possibly with some Canadian bacon on the side, bacon or other breakfast meat.

This and That  © July 2024 by Kristina at Pioneer Woman at Heart

Wednesday, July 3, 2024

Garden Begginings of July

 July 1st was fantastic weather here.  I was literally in the garden the entire day.

I came in about dinner time, to start making breakfast for the next day.  I was at my limit of energy, so it was a big batch of scrambled eggs, with some Canadian bacon and blueberry sausages.  There may be pancakes later this week.  There may be radish hashbrowns depending on if they are ready soon (planted late this year).

Kitchen time is so much better, now that I have a new kitchen faucet. It's had problems with water pressure, and getting hot water (build up most likely) for awhile now, and the hose recently broke.  

We are heating up this week now.  We are to be back to the 90's today.

Our peach tree.  Despite it looking half dead (as it has the last few years), it's still hanging on.  The apple trees are full of apples again.  Tree baffles are on the to-do list.  We plan on making our own, but every year we forget due to other projects.  I'm hoping we can get supplies this week.

Potatoes were hilled.

Canteloupe blossoms are on.


Jalapenos are on, and the Garden Salsa hot peppers are about ready, but the tomatoes are far behind (and a lot less than last year).

Boiled eggs from the chickens, and made egg salad with a bunching onion from the herb garden.

By the way, if you are out of mayo, or do not have eggs to make homemade mayo, Greek plain yogurt works for egg salad.  It's not my favorite, but it works, and adds more protein.


I planted (late) 9 "fooled you" hot peppers, and have more to plant.  Since the rabbits got all but one of the tomatoes in the other garden, we have room to add them.  I am planting them, because my husband bought them by mistake, thinking he was buying another hot pepper.  I planted them next to our hottest peppers, so we'll see if they will fool us or not.  They are a mild pepper.

I also planted a lot of marigold seeds just before the last rainfall.  We'll see if they come up. 

The mystery berry is indeed wineberry.  They are tiny.  

Sort of hard to see in that photo, but what the rabbits left of the green beans.  We are working on rigging some sort of "fence" to keep them out, but I am weeding like crazy first.  It's a hot mess after all that rain, but everything else is looking good.

Gophers are a struggle around here.  They were the ones eating down the hot peppers early in the season.  They are much different than rabbits in behavior.  If one is outside, they take off running, as soon as they hear the slightest sound.  Rabbits on the other hand, will just sit there and keep eating, as if I'm no threat at all.  As if they are saying, "hey lady, thanks for the delicious food."   Life in the country.  City folks are having gardening issues with them too.

A fence is the only answer, and I think we were "lucky" all these past years.  However, the rabbits ate some of my flowers this year too.  First time for that in all the years living here.

The squash bugs are here much earlier this year, so I have taken care of that, as I saw eggs on the pie pumpkin leaves the other day, and a few actual bugs under one zucchini plant.

The lack of rain has brought in ants. We live in an old farm house.   Again, I have soaked cotton balls in a 50/50 mix of borax and sugar (made into a paste with water.  I place the soaked cotton balls onto a small piece of waxed paper to keep it from sticking to the counter top.  The next day, there are no ants.

Solution for flies getting inside the house.  I was told that a mix of peppermint essential oil and clove on a cotton ball/round, and swipping the areas of the window will keep them out.  So far, it's worked like a charm for us.