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, January 3, 2016

Reflections of 2015 ~ Part 2

Harvested our first shell peas.  Sadly, due to rain, we only had enough for a few meals.  

 Add four new herbs which all did well in pots - Lemongrass, Calendula, Peppermint, and mullein.  All organic, non-gmo.

The rain did us one favor - plumped up the wild black raspberries that grow on our property.  Canned my first batch of reduced sugar jam (uses a lot of berries, so this required lots of picking).

By June 30th of 2015, I was able to harvest a small amount of peas and peppers, and one yellow squash.  Just too much rain....

We had a small break from the rain, and did some landscaping work on the homestead.

By July we were doing our best to get into the garden to weed it.  There was just never enough dry days to dry the garden out completely.

I stitched a set of redwork towels for my kitchen.

Continued to try new recipes - Wild Alaskan Salmon Burgers

Harvested enough green beans to freeze two quart bags before we were once again flooded out.

 We had a good amount of car repairs in 2015.

Mid July - more rain.

Made homemade tortillas for the first time.  I love these!  Especially when they are made with real lard!

Purchased corn from the market and put up over 80 cups.

Canned sweet pickle relish by purchasing vegetables a the Farmer's Market in 2015.

By July 24th of 2015, we deemed the year the "worst" garden year ever.

Made lemon pepper seasoning for the first time.

Last July I took Mom and one daughter on a road trip.

With Queen Anne's Lace in abundance, I canned more jelly.

Canned Beet-Cabbage Relish for the first time - delicious!

Harvested enough tomatoes to can one batch of tomato sauce.  Son flew home for a military leave in August of 2015.

Made my first jar of calendula oil.
Said our goodbyes to our beloved Alias.  We miss him dearly.

Hubby bought us a canoe, so we went camping while Son was home on leave.

Dug out my tatting and worked on it on rainy days.

Made homemade cinnamon raisin bread for the first time.

With the very last of the tomato harvest (very slim harvest), canned one batch of homemade ketchup.

Made black and blue butter with whiskey for the first time - delicious on grilled steaks and baked sweet potatoes.  I'll be making this a lot for our summer grill-out dinners.

Tried more new recipes - black eyed pea salad.  I also made sorghum molasses butter for topping carrots and whatnot.

Made baked onion rings for the first time, as well as caramelized onions (which went into the freezer).

Despite a terrible garden harvest, my flower beds did pretty well.

Made more new recipes - Collard Frittata.

Made a few comfrey poultices for the first time, and Oldest daughter got to try it.  I'm a firm believer in medicinal herbs.

Made another new recipe - Egg Dip.  We love this stuff!

Due to lack of outdoor garden work (rain), I devoted my time to an "extreme" clean inside.

 Made my first catnip tincture....

...which I used to make this homemade bug spray (for humans) and love it! 

I was lucky to harvest one good cabbage by early September of 2015.

Discovered that wild growing milkweed was the best cure for poison ivy.  It worked fast and better than store creams.

Made homemade healing salve and lip balm with my homemade calendula oil.

Made more homemade tortillas using lard.  Best recipe I ever used.

Made homemade peppermint hot chocolate with my homegrown peppermint.

Made fire cider for the first time.

By late September, we started tearing down the big barn.

Made sage honey for the first time.

Harvested black walnuts for the first time.

Made homemade "neosporin" for the first time.

Made cranberry butter for the first time.

Brought home two new additions to the homestead.  King on the left, and Zuri on the right.

The year ended with Son coming home for a military leave, which sent him back with a new car.  We pray that next Christmas we will not have anything go wrong.  Overall, a good year of experiences, despite losing pets and having the worst garden year ever.


Mama Pea said...

Good wrap-up for your year. So interesting so read through.

Did you ever consider becoming a chemist? You have such a knack for researching information and then actually producing a product. Of course, the best thing is that you judiciously use only natural and organic ingredients. Today with more and more folks becoming conscious of the hazards of using commercially produced products that are harming us, you could start your own company of healthy products you've made!

Pioneer Woman at Heart said...

Mama Pea, I have tossed around the idea of opening a market to sell the items needed to make most of things I have made. I'm always afraid it will steal my time from caring for and stocking up for my own family though. I'm still considering it. Today I found that my homemade "neosporin" works great for those nasty dry cuts I get along my fingertips from dry hands (and my lotion does wonders but I have yet to restock). I also recently learned that lemongrass oil is a natural insecticide for bugs. I can mix organic olive or jojoba oil with it and cover my skin when cleaning the barns now. Once my lemongrass stalks are thick enough, I can make my own oil from it.

GrannyAnnie said...

I adore lemongrass oil! The list of things I use it in just keeps growing and growing. Organic and non-gmo anything is definitely the way to go with anything. I think gmo should have never been invented.
Those peas look so yummy! When I have some growing, I have a hard time getting them to make it all the way into the house.

GrannyAnnie said...

So, so very sorry about Alias.

Pioneer Woman at Heart said...

Anna, I am enjoying learning so much about herbs and essential oils.

RB said...

I'm sorry you've lost so many pets this year. I've said so often that I believe one can get a tiny glimpse of heaven in the eyes of a loving dog, and I believe that.
I pray King and Zuri live long healthy lives.
God bless.

Pioneer Woman at Heart said...

RB, Alias lived to about 15 years, Mattie lived 16 years and sadly, Sadie only lived to be 9 years old. Knowing the illnesses they can get from store bought dog food we are extra careful with the pups. We hope they live long lives alongside Jesse. This also has me wondering if raising rabbits for meat would be helpful in providing for the dogs too.

RB said...

We only buy Purina products; I think they're the only ones that haven't had a recall. Our oldest dog lived 17 years (best friend I ever had), then I had to put her down due to terrible arthritis she had that was causing her awful crippling pain. Our oldest cat lived to be 28 before passing away, she was still climbing tall pine trees the week before she died.
God bless.

Pioneer Woman at Heart said...

RB, wow! Your animals lived long lives.

RB said...

We've often been very blessed that way.
Praise and Thank God!!!
God bless.