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~

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Reflections of 2014

Over the past few years I have managed to post reflections of the entire year.  I apologize in advance for the length of this post.  I had no idea how many steps we have taken this year in successfully living a more sustainable, morally earned lifestyle, removing nasty chemicals from our lives, learning more about natural remedies, herbal teas, and so much more.  This lifestyle is not for everyone.  Although splitting wood is both physically and mentally challenging (our source of heat), I would not trade it for a switch on the wall any day.  And I could not have gotten this far without the partnership and support of my husband.

Of course the year didn't end without un-pleasantries, unpexpected repairs, trespassers, and drunken mud boggers, but I'm quite pleased with our progress this past year.

In January I (we) made. . . 
. . . homemade cough syrup for the first time.

. . . survived many winter storms, along with the coldest temperatures we have ever experienced.

Tried a new Lemon Ricotta Cookie Recipe.

Tried many new crochet patterns (dishcloths).

. . . washcloths for infants.

. . . a Bavarian Crochet baby blanket.

. . .made another new candy recipe - Sorghum Molasses Chips.

In February I (we) . . .

. . .learned to make homemade condensed soups from scratch.

. . .made homemade lemon extract for the first time.

. . .learned to dehydrate ginger for the first time.

. . .chased ornery goats on the loose.

. . .crocheted these smaller dish scrubbies.

In March of 2014 I (we). . .

. . .tried another new recipe that we love - Spiced Nuts.

. . . had new kids born on the homestead.

. . .cleaned, organized and made these bookmarks from recycled stamps.

. . .recycled an old kitchen cupboard from my brother, and put it in my utility room for storage.  I painted it and Hubby installed it.

 In April I (we). . .

. . .had another kid born on the homestead.

. . .cleaned out my closet and found cloth napkins, so I embroidered camping patterns for taking them camping in the pop up camper.

. . .received our spring order of meat chickens.

. . .planted two elderberry plants.

. . .embroidered more "camp out" patterns on napkins.

. . . made a soothing remedy for sore throats (these are wonderful to enjoy as well).

. . .tried another new recipe - Steel Cut Oat Bread.

. . .hugged Son as he left for boot camp.

. . . planted a new Eastern Redbud and Granny Smith apple tree.

 . . .enjoyed our first of the year asparagus harvest.

In May I (we) . . .

. . .hugged Daughter as she left for boot camp.

. . . had a stressful month, but lived through it.

. . .took advantage of our egg supply and baked another angel food cake.

. . . enjoyed the smell of fresh flowers in the house.

. . .tried another new recipe - baked beans with bulgur.

. . . enjoyed the front porch.

. . . Hubby and I built and installed solar light/plant hanger posts at the north drive.

. . . enjoyed time on the back porch.

In June of 2014, I (we) . . .

. . .  Hubby and I went kayaking for the first time ever (another marriage getaway).

. . .learned to cook with a new grain - millet.

. . .had good progress with planting the garden again.

. . . did not give up on protecting our property, home and way of life.  Despite.

. . .enjoyed more porch time.

. . .tried another new recipe - Rhubarb BBQ Sauce.

. . . enjoyed more homemade goat's milk ice cream.

. . . crocheted round dishcloths (or doilies).

. . . made more homemade campfire, fire starters.

. . . created these fun necklaces from recycled bottle caps and a crocheted granny round.

. . .enjoyed many beautiful blooms around the homestead.

In July of 2014 I (we). . .

. . . picked wild black raspberries and canned reduced sugar jam.

. . . had a berry produce on our newly planted red raspberry bushes.

. . . drove to South Carolina (for the first time every) to watch our son graduate from the Marine Corps.

. . . enjoyed our yellow squash bounty and made squash patties.

. . . started putting the garden bounty in the freezer.

. . .made homemade cream cheese with our goat's milk for the first time.

. . . the kids helped me put corn in the freezer (best progress yet).

. . . drove to South Carolina a second time to watch our oldest daughter graduate from the US Army National Guard.

. . . although our cucumber harvest had to be given away, we had the best garden bounty year ever.

. . . canned a new jam recipe that we absolutely love - Cinnamon Blueberry Jam.

In August of 2014 I (we) . . .

. . . started stocking the pantry and freezer with garden bounty.

. . . took our first camping trip of the year.  It was well deserved.

. . . stocked up the dried herb supply (best year of puttin' up herbs yet).

. . . had many beautiful blooms to enjoy outside (and bring inside).

. . . canned yellow squash relish for the first time.

. . . canned zucchini salsa for the first time.

. . . Hubby and I took time for our marriage (a camping trip without kids).

. . . had the best tomato harvest ever and canned more tomato sauce.

 . . . used a pressure canner for the first time, and canned home grown potatoes for the first time.

In September I (we) . . .

. . . canned corn relish for the first time.

 . . . canned tomato paste and pizza sauce for the first time.

. . . made corn cob syrup for the first time.

. . . canned barbecue sauce for the first time.

. . . squeezed in another camping trip.

. . . learned to infuse honey with elderberries.

. . . canned "pop" jelly for the first time.

. . . took time to watch the sunrise or sunset, and porch time with Hubby.

. . . practiced more needle tatting. 

 . . . took one last camping trip for the season.

In October I (we) . . .

. . . learned the art of "cro-tat" which is a combination of crochet and needle tatting.

 . . . learned about making oxymels and their benefits.

. . . took time to walk around the property, collect leaves, dry them and create framed art.

. . . made some fun crocheted paperclips.

In November I (we) . . .

. . . my inner Grandma W. inspired me to create Christmas ornaments from empty tape dispenser rings after cleaning out my junk drawer.

. . . made this new shelter for our barn cats.

In December I (we) . . .

. . . made handmade hand lotion for the first time.

. . . got the chance to have both of our older kids (both military) home for Christmas.

. . . made Christmas tree ornaments using my Mom's antique wooden spools.

. . . made homemade "vaseline."

 . . . grew Dakota Black popcorn for the first time (heirloom), and was successful with the harvest.

. . . made homemade Whiskey Butterscotch sauce (a keeper recipe for sure).

. . . made myself one last handmade, crocheted camper Christmas tree ornament.  

Through out the year we went endured financial stresses, such as having to replace our refrigerator, oven/stove, microwave, put tires on two vehicles, and a dog surgery emergency (and another dog had surgery to remove a tumor), but are making it through.

This year our family lost a wonderful Aunt who is in heaven now, and without pain or sickness.  We miss you Aunt J.

My younger brother and I have stuck by Mom's side, and seen her through many ER visits (I am praying for a much better health year for her in 2015).  Hubby's sister had many hospital visits as well, but both Mom and Hubby's sister are doing well right now.

After reading and sharing all of our successes, I am already considering new trials for the upcoming year.  Of course there will always be tribulations and challenges, but with God (and with the truest relationship) all things are possible.  

I believe.

You can read previous year update posts here:

Reflections of 2013
Reflections of 2012


Mama Pea said...

My goodness! What a wonderful recap of your year. Thanks for sharing. I don't know if I would have the patience to put together a post of our year as you did. But what a great compilation to look back upon. Sending best wishes for a fulfilling and contented New Year to you and your wonderful family.

Sam I Am...... said...

What a wonderful post! You and your family did accomplish so much and got through a lot and tried so many new things! A few things I had missed too! You've inspired me for the next year for sure. Happy New Year to you and your entire family....critters included!

Unknown said...

How about- I am already considering how wonderful, relaxed and harmonious our new year will be :) We will have all the support we need, at the perfect time~~~ Happy New Year!!!

Michelle said...

Great post. It was good to get a reminder of past post. Did you post the recipe for the sour throat remedy ? I would love to have it. Hope you have a great new year.

Pioneer Woman at Heart said...

Michelle, I added the link to the recipe. Here it is as well:

Pioneer Woman at Heart said...

Mama Pea, patience is the right word. I almost did not complete it. I didn't realize we did so much this year, despite two trips to SC.

Pioneer Woman at Heart said...

Sam I am, Happy New Year to you too!

Pioneer Woman at Heart said...

Nancy, I am very ready for more relaxation (more porch time too).

Pamela said...

What a great post! I'm the daughter of an Army veteran and the wife of a Navy officer - God bless those who serve.

Pioneer Woman at Heart said...

Pamela, we are very proud of the kids. I'm glad you enjoyed my post. I know it was pretty long.