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~

Sunday, September 30, 2012

More Spiders....sigh...

This orb weaver is hanging out at the old water trough I use for planting flowers in.  My son is enjoying the presence of it, and loves feeding it bugs.  You have to admit, the coloring is pretty neat.  However, I won't be touching this one. 

This orb weaver spider finally came back out for it's photo shoot. However, you can see that it is hanging upside down under the wrapped grass hopper.  I was not about to get any closer to try and photograph the other side.  Eww!  This spider was the one that almost ended up in my hair while I was picking tomatoes.

Saturday, September 29, 2012


I put an S.O.S. out to my mother.  We are badly in need of some hedge apples.  The spiders are everywhere.  In the kitchen, on the counter, in the bathtub, in the shower. Ugh. Here my son rescued us from this man eating female that was on my kitchen floor (shudder).

The other day, while picking more tomatoes, I almost got my head into a orb weaver web.  That spider was ginormous!  Ugly too (shivers).  I went back out to take a photo, but it was gone, and no matter what I moved in the garden, it didn't come back out for it's photo shoot.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Quick Homemade Barbeque Sauce

I have been contemplating whether or not to can barbeque sauce this year.  

I put southern style ribs in the crock-pot and topped it with one canned jar of homemade grape jelly, and one jar of home canned ketchup.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

What We Are Reading

My 10 year-old daughter stole this one off my shelf.  I guess my writing is influencing the kids more than I have realized.

Hubby is reading these magazines.

I am reading this book.  A book about how a pickle factory is taken over by a big city guy, trying to change the way of farming and make more money.

 This is what my son is reading.

This is what my 15 year-old daughter is reading.  With all her school work, she doesn't have time to read for fun.

My 13 year-old isn't reading anything but the computer screen.....tsk, tsk.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Watermelon Jelly and Watermelon Fruit Leather

With more watermelons in the garden, I decided to experiment with new recipes.  We grew heirloom watermelons, so they are full of seeds.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Excerpts from a Journal Junkie

...the araucanas are now laying eggs, and they are a teal color (a slight combination of green and blue).

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Making Liquid Hand Soap

We are another step towards complete self-sufficiency.  I made liquid hand soap for the first time.  It's not really a necessity, as we have the handmade goat's milk bar soap.  However, it is useful to have at all the sinks.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Birth of a Baker and the Cookie Takers

My youngest daughter (10 years old) has been bitten by the baking bug.  She's been wanting to bake easy cookie recipes all the sudden.

Yesterday, I allowed her to bake some, with the assistance of her older sister.

As soon as these cookies were cooled, they dissappeared.  I asked her what she did with them.

"I'm hiding them so they won't eat them all."

Later in the afternoon, I saw her eating one.  Then later, another.   I asked her, "Did you hide those so you could eat them all?"


Just about dinner time, she was walking around the house trying to sell them to her sisters for $1.00 a piece.  Her brother was at work.  I got a giggle out of this.

Her sister's were not paying for cookies, tackled her, and stole them from her.


In the end, everyone did get a few cookies.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Italian Tasting ~ Taco Sauce Recipe ~ Family

Grab a cup of coffee or tea.  This blogpost is a bit long.

The morning here today is cool, and so pleasant.  Rain is in the forecast.  I planted this Morning Glory from seed and it is just now blooming.

The fall weather is bringing in blooms of all colors, including this purple.  I cannot tell you 

the name of this flower without looking it up.  It's been moved from two houses and still growing strong.  The hummingbirds, butterflies and bees love these flowers.

The kids wanted another party - Italian.  There is no way I can possibly whip up another successful party, with all that food in one night. 

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Stocking Up Continues

Yesterday I finally got back out to the gardens.  I must have picked about 40 pounds of tomatoes, and this pot full of peppers, and one spaghetti squash.  I picked two types of green pepper, red pepper, cayenne, jalapeno and banana peppers.

I picked a handful of strawberries.  They are growing so much better in my new raised beds this year.

Yesterday I canned 3 1/2 more quarts of seasoned tomato sauce, using up about 23 pounds of those tomatoes I picked.  

Today I will make another batch of taco sauce.  My family devoured another 1/2 pint jar the other day.   Today, I also need to freeze all those peppers you see in the pot, and freeze more tomatoes.

I plan to set aside some banana peppers for an Italian treat that we have never tried. 

In the back garden, where we planted the watermelon and baking heirloom pumpkins (and the last of the tomatoes and sweet potatoes when we ran out of room),  I noticed something has been eating the produce.  They are eating the pumpkins and the larger tomatoes.  Must be the raccoons that were trying to get in our chicken coop.  I need to weed out there, but quickly pulled the few pumpkins that I could salvage for fall  decoration.  We won't be baking any of them this year. Between bugs and animals, they are a lost cause.   I can always buy some from a produce stand as well.

Tomorrow, rain is in the forecast, so that will making future weeding much easier.  Then I need to pull the collards and plant my garlic for fall.  The fall peas and beans should start to produce after this next rain.  It's our first fall planting, other than garlic.

The finished scarf - completely with scrap yarn from other projects.  It turned out pretty nice.

Spiders!  It's that time of year again.  When they decide that my home is their home.  Yuck!  We already found an ugly wolf spider in the kitchen sink this morning.  There is another very large one (not sure what kind it is) making a nest next to a window.  I'm saving that one for my son to remove.  I better learn to shake out my clothing from now on.  Some spiders like to climb.  I better get the rest of the webs sucked down with the sweeper this weekend.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Freezer Meals ~ Clean Sweep ~ More Garden Bounty

While cleaning around the house, I found this 1963 cookbook.  This sounded like a great way to have sandwiches on hand.  I may have to try this recipe yet.  Although I'd make my own dressing for this.  I love the fact I can use own, canned sweet pickle relish.

Clean Sweep Updates:

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Taken Away

Last weekend, hubby whisked me away again for a night away.  It was completely by surprise and completely at the last minute Friday.  We really enjoyed ourselves, and had some short, but well worth it, relaxation.  We brought some flowers along this time.  As parents, we are spending more (serious) time giving ourselves time away.  This stress stuff is serious and we are taking it seriously now more than ever.

I think we relax so easily, due to the quiet surroundings, peaceful sounds of the waves, and the lack of clutter around us.  Not to mention lack of kids sniveling and arguing, and lack of electronics and noise pollution.

This little strip of shops is basically downtown.  The island is only about 4.6 square miles. 

Our favorite coffee on the island.  Mmmmm!  The owner bakes all the baked items herself.

Our secluded retreat.  No people, no traffic, no nothing.  Just a few birds, waves and a few boats in sight.

It was island-wide garage sale day, so we decided to drive around and see what people had.  We were delighted to find an antique, round butter dish for only $2.00!  What a deal.  This works perfectly for the hormone free butter we buy.

The garage sale day allowed us to drive down private lanes and drives that normally are off limits to tourists.  We saw some very nice homes by the water's edge (and very expensive also).

We also found this green melmac bowl for $.25 and a set of blue rose plates (also melmac) for only $.75.  These will go in our wall tent or trailer/camper in the near future.

Hubby, being a goofball. Ha ha ha!

Although we had the luxury of cooking in our room, we try one new food each visit.  This trip we tried Plantain Nachos.  We enjoy this restaurant, with it's outdoor seating.  The nachos are delicious.  The chef slices plantains length-wise, bakes them out, and does a quick fry in duck fat.  They are crispy and thin.  Then the chef tops it with black beans, corn, green peppers, red onion and mouth watering spices (spicy).   It's topped with a bit of sour cream.  Maybe on the next trip, I will get a photo to share. 

An islander shared with us, another special treat to try on our next visit.

This week?  Back to deep cleaning I'm afraid.  However, when it's all done, it will be so nice and refreshing.  We may even be wood splitting this week.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Fall Cleaning ~ Bringing the House to Life

The lighting was bad, but the second photo is much better on showing the true colors on this fabric.

I'm fall cleaning in a big way right now.  I went through my fabric pieces and found this one.  It's a find from Goodwill and was only a dollar.  It's about 2 yards maybe and will soon be an apron.  Sometimes a farmgirl needs help from another farmgirl, and she'll soon be getting my fabric to sew me an apron.  Goodwill doesn't sell too many good deals anymore, not in our area anyway.  This was one more clutter item put to good use.

I am completely out of laundry detergent, so I grated goat's milk soap is melting in a pot of water as I type.  I'll be starting the day with laundry and more fall cleaning.  

I organized my cotton thread by using an accordion style, vintage wooden rack.  I found it at a garage sale for $.25!  Can't beat that.

I thought I would need to add longer pegs, but the cones hang on these nicely.  I haven't had one fall one me yet, and this is mounted on the inside, and above my bedroom closet door.  Not sure if they will get dusty in the closet, but I plan to use these threads over winter.  Either way, these are off the floor and not in a container, so I can see what stock I have.

Our billy goat is already in the rut now.  P-U!  I can smell him from the door.  

I better start tackling an area to clean.  It's bringing new life to our home.


Sunday, September 9, 2012

Quality Clothespins?

My clothespins seem to disappear often around here.  We take some camping too.  The kids use them for wall tents (and me too).

Friday, September 7, 2012

Friday's Ramble ~ Turning Zucchini into an Instrument

Conversation between me and hubby:

"Uh, honey? Did you know you can use a zucchini stalk like a recorder? You know like an instrument?" (Me)

"Honey, you are just not normal." (hubby sighs and lowers his head with a smile, shaking his head from side to side)

Crazy as it sounds, it's true.  If you still have zucchini in your garden give this a try.  According to this page in my book Log Cabin Cooking, Pioneer recipes and Food Lore" you can. 

It's a ramble kind of day today.  Grab a cup of tea or coffee for this one.

Yesterday I changed up my day.  I actually cooked dinner.  The family is so used to seeing me standing at the stove canning, or out in the garden.  I was not driving out for supplies, so I surfed the net for recipes.  Allrecipes is always a nice one.  I can search for recipes by the ingredients I have.

I made Cheesy Sausage Zucchini Casserole, but changed some of the ingredients - used cream cheese and cottage cheese vs. processed cheese food, and used jasmine rice in place of regular white rice.  Delicious!

I still have some pears, and didn't have enough ripe ones for jam.  I made Pear Bar Cookies.  Yum!  I doubled the recipe, and it was out of the oven just before the school bus pulled in.  We ate them warm, and they tasted like a pie.  So good!  And so naughty.  I made these with the organic pears from my hubby's family and organic, unsalted butter.  This family is so spoiled.

I started weeding my flower beds.  I spent over an hour out there and came in soaked in sweat.  Yuck.  It's been so humid here lately, but my flower beds look terrible. 

The kids are getting lazy.  Every day I have to go upstairs and turn off lights and fans.  Dishes are being left everywhere and floors covered with whatnot.  It's no wonder my youngest could not find her shoes this morning, almost missing the bus.  And they think that when I remind them to pick something up, that I am nagging.  

One of these days they will realize what responsibility is.  They have one job chart - dinner dishes. Yet, every night I have to remind them.   Pretty soon, I'm going to have to give each of them an assigned set of dishes.  I'll engrave names so they can't say, "I don't know who left that there" and "I didn't do it."  You know?  That just might work!  Ha ha!

Speaking of that, they not respecting each other.  Guess they need a dose of reading from the virtues and morals book.  

Our youngest daughter is running for student council this year (again).  Last year she was not voted in.  Hopefully she will this year.

Update on my hubby's kidney donation:
The hospital that they were to have this done at, and then rejected for no good explanation, was recently written up in the paper.  A nurse placed a kidney with waste when it was to go to a recipient.  Some 900 transplant patients are being sent to other hospitals.  I guess that's why they continued to avoid his sister's calls.  They literally did not return any calls to her and to her case worker.  

I started writing exercises to gear up for that novel the kids keep reminding me about.  With a large family, it's tough to concentrate here anymore.  Hubby and I see how much we need a place of our own, so we are working on that.

Technology.  I dislike it tremendously.  E-mails.  Texting.  If used correctly, it's great.  Not used correctly, it's all out negative.  

I've only had to use my dryer once this summer.  I had put out two large loads of towels etc. and it rained.  I could have left them out, but rained the next day too. I love my clothesline.

I may be donating scarves to the homeless again this year.  The granny square pattern I have been using, can be made with all of my scrap yarns.

I need to get my l laundry out, and will be back to sip coffee and read blogs.   Enjoy your day!

"No one lives on the top of the mountain. It’s fine to go there occasionally —for inspiration, for new perspectives. But you have to come down. Life is lived in the valleys. That’s where the farms and gardens and orchards are, and where the plowing and the work is done. That’s where you apply the visions you may have glimpsed from the peaks."
~ Arthur Gordon


Thursday, September 6, 2012

From the Handiwork Journal . . .

...finished two crocheted flower dishcloths, and one large knitted dishcloth for my Aunt.

 ...finished a small afghan.

Keepin' it Real

Queen Latifah was spectacular last night.  She appeared prior to the opener of the Giants vs. Cowboys NFL game last night.  Sadly, both hubby and I fell asleep before the came was over.  Ha ha!

I love this woman.  She is all about keeping life "real."  She's been a role model of mine for years now.  They couldn't have picked a better person to sing the national anthem.

With copyright issues I did not add a photo of her, but you can google her name and read all about it.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Homemade Noodles ~ Crackly Pear Cake

At the end of last year's season, I invested in my dehydrator and this Marcato Pasta Maker.  It came with only one attachment, so I am using the above cut, for noodles.  Hopefully, by next season, I will have attachments for lasagna, ravioli, and more.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Pantry Space ~ Laboring on Labor Day

This is a cabinet that my husband built me several years ago.  I used it for books, but have removed them to store my canned goods.  We lack kitchen storage space, so my storage is now in my living room (no kidding).

I even have more stored in a cupboard in another room.  I love this cabinet, so I may be building more of these for next season.

I put more smaller jars in this one, after I took the photo, so it's pretty full this year.  

Labor Day Updates:

Hubby and I spent Labor Day working in the garden.  It was hot, humid, and uncomfortable.  Shortly after I dug up more potatoes, and he spread out manure, we had a short down pour.  After that, we had intermittent showers all afternoon and evening.  

Hubby even helped me make a batch of seasoned tomato sauce, and wants to do it again.  I am forever thankful for his help. 

I spent the evening hours crocheting winter scarves and writing a list for fall cleaning and winter preparations.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Salsa Party ~It's Fiesta Time ~ Preserving Continues

We had a Salsa Party, to taste all four of the salsa recipes I canned this year.  The Peach Salsa recipe used a small amount of honey. 

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Everything in Abundance ~ Canned Banana Peppers

(canned 8-26-2011, last jar used 9/1/2012)

We haven't been able to get a break this past week.  It seems that the Lord is blessing us in abundance, and all at the same time - eggs, tomatoes, peppers, pears, etc.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Pureed Cucumber ~ Chicken Wraps with Cucumber Suace, Salsa, and Honey

We discovered that pureed cucumber can be frozen and used for facial masks, for soap making, and for winter soups.

For our facial mix, we peel and puree 1/2 cucumber, and add 1 Tbsp. of  plain yogurt.  These facials are wonderful, and once it's on our face, it's so refreshing.

We haven't made soap with it yet.  However, now that I know I can freeze it for that purpose, I am stocking up on it. 

We continue to stock up - every day.  It rained last night a bit and I am still getting more tomatoes. I've been so busy canning and freezing and dehydrating, that I forgot to call and get an appointment for the chimney to be swept.  I better do that next week.

Hubby has a sore tooth, so I called and made him a dentist appointment. We have a bad habit of always putting the kids before us.  I hope it's not too late to save his tooth.

My son dropped out of college for his own reasons.  He's a mature adult and was paying for it himself, and it was his decision to make.  He's researching ways to sell his artwork, such as designs for t-shirts and such.  He's working on a large drawing this week.  

Hubby helped my son fix his car last night.  Thankfully, it was a quick fix and inexpensive.  My son needed to drive to work at 4am.  He's not happy with his job, but I commend him for not quitting until he finds another one.  Jobs are very difficult to find here.  He's going to need a better car soon too.

For dinner last night we used up more cucumber and salsa to make Simple Sweet and Spicy Chicken Wraps.  These were a hit, and utilize cucumbers, organic chicken, and raw honey.

My teenager that is in the 8th grade, was stressing over her class trip (that is next spring).  She told me that students are not allowed to wear capri pants or skinny jeans on the trip.  I had to remind her it will be cold out and that skinny jeans are inappropriate when they are representing their school.

I over slept, so I better get busy.   I have some jelly, jam and possibly tomatoes to deal with today.  

Pears won't last so I may even make a Crackly Pear Cake too.  It's a good thing I blog, so I can go back and see what I can make each year.  I often forget.  I can go down memory road too, reading that post (click on the cake to read it), because I was going to college to get my degree in journalism.  I dropped out when my kids were in their car accident, and Mom was in the hospital for heart surgery.  There was just too much going on to be able to concentrate on my work.  Maybe I'll go back some day, but not now.  Then again, writer's don't need a college degree to write.  Maybe if I wanted to work for a newspaper.  Photo-Journalism sounds interesting too.

There I go again.....rambling.  I guess today is a ramble kind of day. Sigh....