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~

Friday, August 30, 2013

Dehydrating Garlic ~ Making Garlic Powder

Dehydrating garlic was next on my list of "to-do's," and to make garlic powder from my home grown garlic.  Some of my followers have probably already made homemade garlic powder, so forgive me if it's a boring post.  This is a first time for me.

We were gifted garlic two years ago, and planted all of them in the garden in the fall.  I dug them up the next season, and repeated that for one more year, expanding our harvest this year.  

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Sorghum, Honey, Ginger, and Cinnamon ~ Baking a Healthier Gingerbread

I have been looking through some of the recipes I collected over last summer.  Recipes that I had not yet tried.  I found one that uses sorghum, and I just had to bake it!  I buy locally produced sorghum and honey, so I had the ingredients.  I just adapted it with organic ingredients and our fresh farm eggs.

Sorghum is still a form of sugar, so it is not recommended for diabetics.  However, from the articles I have read, most forms of sorghum do not contain gluten.  And like Molasses, it is a good source for iron, potassium, and calcium.  In one article, I read that it contains more antioxidants than blueberries.  I find this interesting.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Dehydrating Onions ~ Making Onion Powder

My garden may have produced small onions, but boy they are potent.  You would have had a good laugh, if you were here to see my 14 year-old and I, cutting them up for the dehydrator.  

She had goggles on, and I was trying to fan my eyes, but that failed.  We had tears, and tears and more tears. Sorry for the bad, blurry photographs.  We were laughing so hard at the time.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Dehydrating Blueberries & Topless Blueberry Pie

Each year we purchase 20 pounds of blueberries, and it gets us through winter and spring.  I make blueberry syrup, jam, jelly, freeze some, and bake some. 

This year I am doing something new - dehydrating some.  They will be wonderful in baked goods for after school snacks and lunch packings.  I will use them in my homemade granola bars too.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

It's Moving Day

The sunrise was absolutely gorgeous this morning.  The fog was layered out of the east and northeast.

As the hour passed, the fog moved inward, dispersing thicker before starting to disappear.  The chill in the air is, what I call, "camping weather."  It's just cold enough to want to curl up in a hoodie or jacket, and sit around a warm campfire enjoying nature.  I love it!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Gardening Season Ends ~ Others Begin

The kids went back to school this week, except for my college daughter.  Unfortunately, she had to withdraw from this semester, even after buying all her books and preparing.  The balance leftover after all her loans and financial aid, could not be paid by her nor us.  The monthly payment for the balance was way too high for her (or us) to pay as well.  

Mornings are rather quiet, but exceedingly demanding.  I have been catching up on watering flower beds, dead-heading flowers, weeding, checking the tomatoes, and so forth.  Not to mention putting up the last of the 20 pounds of blueberries.  All of the onions are pulled, except for the red onions. Half were rotten, and what was left, were very small.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Bringing Christmas Home

Upon leaving the campground last Monday morning, Hubby tells me the front store sells pop-up camper ornaments.

Can you hear tires squealing to a halt? 

Yup.  I made him turn the truck and camper around, and we bought the last one.  What was he thinking anyway.  Sheesh.  He should have bought it when he saw it.

Now, guess who is wanting us to camp at Christmas, so we can put a Christmas tree in the camper?



Do you think he's gotten bit by the "camping" bug?

Monday, August 19, 2013

First Camping Trip 2013 ~ Enjoying Our Pop-Up Camper

We took our first camping trip last weekend.  This was a  good ol' fashioned, cook over the fire, no electronics, hike, bike, swim, and fish, camping trip. 

Before we left, as we were packing up, the dogs got into the truck.  They wanted to go for a ride.  We felt so bad, but they would not have had a good time.  The entire 200-some campsites were booked, and there were so many people.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Living Life through a Book ~ Letters of Woman Homesteader, By Elinore Pruitt Stewart

I must be crazy.  I bought this book several years ago, and never read it.  What is wrong with me?  Oh, my goodness, I fell in love the minute I started reading this book. 

I became so absorbed, I felt like I was Elinore, out on her camping trip to no where, enjoying the beauty and peace.  Can you imagine just up and leaving with no destination, a gun to supply food, and living completely from the land as you went?  I can.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Puttin' Up Herbs

I typically do better at putting up herbs in the early part of summer.  In the fall, most have flowered or gone to seed,and it makes it more difficult, such as thyme and oregano.  However, it's a perfect time for me to cut and dry more rosemary and sage.  I make tea with my sage, as well as use it for cooking/baking.

The weather continues to be cool, and I love it!  I want to go camping, but we are still attempting to get a temporary tag for it (the dealer has not mailed the title, and only has 3 days left to do so).  Hubby attempted yesterday, but will attempt again today.  

And the Winner is . . .

The winner of the mystery book and locally made chocolate bar is:

Winnie Nielsen!  Just e-mail with with your information, and I can send you off your prize!

Thanks everyone for entering.  I may be doing this again.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Dehydrating Cucumbers

(partially dehydrated)
Considering I have enough pickles stocked up, I decided to dehydrate the last of the cucumbers.  My cucumber plants are already turning brown.  I have not dehydrated cucumbers before.

I tossed the cucumber slices in chili powder, salt and paprika, to dry for chips.  I will also grind some into powder, for soups, stews, sauces, and dips.

My super chili peppers are being dehydrated today.  They are the only pepper that produced this season, out of all of our 50-some pepper plants.  I have a few habanero peppers on a few plants, but I'm not sure they will amount to much.  The chili peppers were sliced for drying, and then later I will be ground into chili pepper. 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Puttin' Up Jams and Jellies

I recently made a jam with cantaloupe fruit and vanilla bean.  This jam has such an interesting combination of flavors, I had to try it.  If I were to make this again, I would can it in 4 oz. jars, and give as gifts, or sell for $4.00 for the small jar.  In the end, I did not get 3 - 1/2 pints, but 2 1/2.  I followed the recipe exactly, but if you are interested, there is one on-line  -

Monday, August 12, 2013

From the Family Journal . . .

 . . . taught my 11 year-old daughter how to do your own laundry.

. . . found out my younger brother is engaged. Yay!

Creamy Cucumber Spread

This is one of our favorite spreads to top freshly cut cucumber slices with.  My goal is to make the cream cheese from our goat's milk, but that may not happen until we have 3 in milk.  We just are not getting enough milk for any more cheese making this season.

A few years ago, I found the recipe on-line, as well as in a book from the library.  However, the link does not work any longer, so I am sharing the recipe.  And of course, for the milk, I used our goat's milk.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

My Healthy Lifestyle Changes

A little "support" can go a long way.

If you have been following my progress in the sidebar of my blog, I am making healthy lifestyle changes this year, and my 11 year-old daughter has joined me.  We do not use the word "dieting."  We are making permanent changes to keep our bodies at a healthy "size" and in the best health we can be - spiritually and physically.

We were all getting to the gym on a regular basis, but as life goes, life got in the way.  By life, I mean Hubby having to work overtime, kids going here and there, emergency repairs, and suddenly "boom" we are not going to the gym.  We slouch it off, walk away and say what my kids say - "whatever."

Thursday, August 8, 2013

From the Homesteading Journal . . .

(all the old roofing loaded up by my son and Hubby's brother-in-law)

. . . it took two days, but the leftover roofing was removed, and half of the new roofing was put on. Hubby miscalculated on his measurements and we need to do an exchange for longer roofing. 

. . .we were blessed with enough cucumbers for me to can 7 more pints of bread and butter pickles. I purchased another bushel of corn and stocked that up in the freezer.  I also purchased 5 lbs. of beets, and added 1 pound from our own garden, and canned one batch of spiced beets.  And I purchased local peaches and canned 15 - 1/2 pints of peach jam. And that's not all.  I purchased 36 hot banana peppers and canned 4 quarts of Hot Pepper Mustard Sauce. I also canned 5 - 1/2 pints of Ruby-Red Grapefruit Jelly (another new recipe I wanted to try).

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Healthier Zucchini Cake ~ Blackstrap Molasses and Honey

I happened to be thumbing through a book I got for free at the library, and found a recipe for a healthier zucchini cake.  Although the book had outdated information on healthy eating, some of the recipes looked good enough to try (Foods that Heal, by Maureen Salaman and James F. Scheer, © 1989)

I had purchased blackstrap molasses from my last trip to Amish country (where it has been the only location to find it other than on the internet).

Hubby's co-worker shared two large zucchini's with us, so I made the cake to try, and shredded the remaining zucchini for freezing.  

The only thing I forgot to buy to finish this cake, was the slivered almonds.  Tip:  One of my daughter's suggested simply sprinkling chopped almonds on it next time.

Zucchini Cake
2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups zucchini, grated
1 c. slivered almonds
1 c.  apricots, chopped
1 lime (or lemon)
1 c. safflower oil (cold press)
1 c. honey
1/2 c. blackstrap molasses
2 eggs
2 t. baking powder
1 c. spring water

Beat eggs.  Add honey and molasses while beating.  Grate rind of lime and add with lime juice.  Mix flour and baking powder.  Add water and oil alternately.  Add zucchini and apricots.  Place in 9 x 13 baking dish.  Sprinkle top with slivered almonds.  Bake 350°F in the oven for 40-45 minutes.

Note:  This cake is moist if using fresh apricots, which is what I used.  I did have to bake it a bit longer.  My family devoured it. 

Monday, August 5, 2013

Reading, Recipes and Stocking Up

While the internet and cable was out, we did a lot of reading around here. We've been visiting the library much more often this season.  I was able to can a few things too.

One of the books I read, was A Killer Maize, A Farmer's Market Mystery, by Paige Shelton.  It was pretty good too.  In the very end of the book, the author shares recipes.  I have never made strawberry syrup, so I saved up 2 lbs. of my Ever-bearing strawberries and made some.  Although the recipe states you end up with 7 - 1/2 pints, I had 5.  Not sure why, other than the strawberries I used maybe.  Next time, I will use more if I have them.  This giveaway is closed now.  Winner is posted.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Preparing for Winter

These photos do not even show the last two or three truckloads the guys brought home this week.    Hubby's brother-in-law happened to see a home with a downed tree, and a sign saying it was free wood.  

The bad part was, that it was cut into those gigantic pieces that most folks do not want to mess with.  Hubby, his brother-in-law, his nephew, and my son, took the wood splitter up and cut it all. There were a few near accidents, but the all came through it in one piece (thank goodness).

We are thrilled.  It's red oak.  The best wood to burn for heat. We are ever so grateful for it.  They guys also took a rake to clean up the person's yard before leaving.

Proud "Mom" Moment:  Hubby said a woman across the street asked where that "young man" was, that had been out helping, and she told Hubby she never saw such a "hard worker."  His brother-in-law told him the same thing.  That "young man" they were talking about is my son.

They brought home 7 full truck loads.  And guess what?  There are more in neighboring yards, and they came out and asked if Hubby wanted it too.  I guess we're getting more wood.  Oh, and the wood is oak too.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Stitched Stationery

Without a television to watch in the evenings, I am finding myself working on my crafting projects more and more.

I just started the art of "stitched stationary" and love it.

I was looking over a few patterns over at Sublime Embroidery, and saw "Stitchable Stationary" but found it was out of print.

Looking a little deeper, I located the blog, The Stationary Place.  She posted instructions that got my mojo going to give it a try.

I searched the internet for coloring pages that were printable.  I re-sized them to fit my note cards.  I used her tip on punching holes over the pattern, and into my cardstock.  I simply held the printed picture with an office clip, and used a bright light to see where I was punching holes with a pin.

I then took embroidery floss and connected my dots, using my pattern for guidance.  I started with this basic cat.  But one thing led to another. 

I found this cute goat, and made him too.  And it kept going from there.

I challenged myself with this barred rock.  Boy, there were a lot of holes for this one.

 And of course I had to embroider a camper (he he!).

If you are interested in making these yourself, I simply cut cardstock in half, width-wise, to make two cards.  I cut white cardstock so it was just a bit smaller than the front of the card itself.  I embroidered the pattern, then attached it to the front of the card with double-stick tape.  I hand stamped the back with a rubber stamp that says "Handmade with Love" and I signed my name underneath where I had stamped.

Oh, and I don't know why I just kept on making cards with the farmyard themes, but I plan to expand on that too.  Maybe flowers, a cabin, cookery, camping, and all those fun things in life.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Camper and Clean Up

I never thought I would use the camper as my opportunity to find useful homes for things I had stored away in my house.

I bought these red dishes about 16-17 years ago, and have moved them twice, and just dug them out.  They will be perfect for the camper.  I'm not filling the landfill with stryofoam and plastic, and I'm not packing glass (which Hubby doesn't want packed in there, and I agree). 

Also in my dusty pie safe, was my grandmother's can opener.  I washed it up and it's going on the camper too (you never know).  Grandma would be proud to know it's still being used. 

Another item in my pie safe, was this vintage cup rack. At our last (city) home, I had a "coffee house" theme in my kitchen.  I had all sorts of coffee house signs, espresso cups and stand, and all the decor you could imagine.  After moving to the farm house (with very little wall space in the kitchen, and counter space), I put this in storage.  Now, it's in the camper. 

We stopped at a thrift store over the weekend, and found this old pink tupperware container, and it holds our mix n' match silverware now - $1.00.  The silverware cost us $.10/each.  

Now I have room in my pie safe for my jam maker (which was stored on top for a year).  Yay!  It's been a win-win situation. 
And because I am unable to sell my crocheted blankets over at Rooster's Crow Farm Store, I removed this one to use in the camper.  It's perfect for the couch that turns into a bed.

Update on the homemade bathroom cleaner.  I found this recipe over at Crunchy Betty's Blogspot.  I was simply searching for a cleaner that was as good as Scrubbing Bubbles, but made with natural ingredients. 

It worked great on my tub, but I have one tip.  Run your washing soda through a food processor to free up any clumps, before adding it.  Otherwise, the end result will be more clumpy, and difficult to use.

As for the "extreme clean" (the "Get'R Done" list), we had 25 things on the list.  I'll have an update on that soon too.  I'll have an update for you on what I get done without a TV anymore as well.  It rained yesterday, and I am madly doing laundry.  More rain is in the forecast (sadly) and it may put a poo poo on Farmer's Market day.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Healthy Crock Pot Cookbook

I borrowed this book from the library, and have already tried two of the recipes.  The most recent one, was the Tilapia with Lemon Potatoes.  

Just sharing for those who are searching for healthier recipes to toss in the crock pot.  I just adapt local/organic/homemade ingredients.

American Heart Association Healthy Slow Cooker Cookbook: 200 Low-Fuss, Good-for-You Recipes (American Heart Association... by American Heart Association (Sep 18, 2012)