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, September 30, 2016

Homemade Fruit Picker

You-Tube has it's advantages.  Hubby and I watched a few videos, went out to the barn and got a broken hoe.....

 ...cut out the bottom of a plastic bottle, and stapled the bottle to the handle.  Wa-la.  Not real fancy, but functional and free.  It works too.  Homemade fruit picker is now off the "to buy-it" list.

I woke up early and told Hubby, "I can't can a thing today - no onions."  Which he quickly said at the crack of pre-sun-up, "I can run to the store real quick and get some for you." Ha ha ha!  Oh that burst of energy he has now.  And no, we are still not canning, and no quick trip to the storeWe'll get them later, maybe from the farmstand, but not before 6am, ha ha!

Thursday, September 29, 2016


Hubby and I had a good laugh at the end of yesterday.  As we were driving home, I said, "I feel like I'm playing hookie from my tomatoes."  I really was, and it felt so good.

We went to the movies to get out of the house, watching "The Magnificent Seven."  Don't worry,

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

The Recovery

While Hubby took a nap, I took a little walk out to the tomatoes and fall green beans to check on them.  And the remaining cauliflower (which looks great due to some recent rain).

I ended up coming in for a basket, and picked 21# of tomatoes.  That brings the grand tally to 365.39# this season.  

However, in all that picking, the wind was wicked, and I lost one of my favorite earrings that I don't wear that often (it was a special occasion to wear them for Hubby's ride home).  It was a wake up call to me.  I think I lost it in the tomatoes somewhere.

I should not have gone to the garden.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Coming Home....

I'm bringing my husband home today folks.  He had the best care at the best hospital, and a high-five to Yawni, his nursing assistant who had us laughing a good amount of the time. Good laughter, good conversation, and lots of laughs.  Although I think Hubby talked her ear off with all my self-sufficient ways, and weed remedies, ha ha!  

He got to talking about comfrey and I could not stop the man. He is definitely feeling much better and I can't wait to sit on the porch and love on him today.  

Thank you for all your good thoughts, well wishes and prayers.  We will be celebrating life.  Tomatoes can wait.  Or they can be part of dinner.

The temperatures here really dropped, so the tomatoes may have rotted overnight anyway.  I better get this posted so I can get the laundry on the line before sun-up.  I have to get that love of my life back home where I can spoil him again.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Getting through......

The tomatoes will remain on the table today.  I had all sorts of plans to get them into the freezer, make ketchup again, and so forth, but I have no energy and can't sleep on top of that.

Hubby is still hospitalized. 

Sunday, September 25, 2016

....from the handiwork journal and other random tidbits.

One good thing happened due to our camping dilemma on Friday - I finished the baby blanket.  (We had planned to deliver it today, but......)

While Hubby and his nephew went to fetch the stranded camper, I retreated to the front porch to crochet and relieve my headache.

I also got 1 boot cuff finished, and another started.

Then I sulked again, as the air cooled off and I was imagining myself sitting around a campfire....

I got over it.  

Saturday Hubby

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Camping Trip Malfunction

Although we picked the hottest, most humid weekend to camp, we went.  Even though the air conditioning wasn't working in the truck, and it was to be 90°F.

It was our first time to go camping at this beautiful, scenic campground.  Waterfalls, long hikes, horse riding - the works.

Meals were super simple this time, and hiking shoes were donned.  Two took off work, one taking the entire weekend off, and two were taken out of school for a day.

We packed up coolers, bicycles, chairs, and tables.

Two hours or so into our 3 hour drive, and we stopped at a gas station.  A guy starts waving at us.  Hubby says, "now what?"

Hubby gets out and then shakes his head.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Tomatoes, Oh Joy Tomatoes! ~ Tidbits

Tomato-Herb Jam.  I just couldn't help myself.  I had just enough ripe tomatoes to make this, so I did.  It's a first time recipe.  Another BHG recipe.

Unlike tomato-basil jam, it uses zero pectin, and simply sugar.  It's more of a sauce than a jam.  They call it "adult ketchup" because you use a bit of pinot grigio to make it.  Now I have this opened bottle of pinot that is chilling for dinner.

Tincture Tip

I have finally ordered, and received my bottles to properly bottle and label my tinctures.

Guess how I "washed" my bottles and droppers?

I used vodka.

I visited a brewery in KY once, and they "wash" their bottles with bourbon, so they do not water down the content.  


Just thought I'd share that info.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Hot Peppers and Winter Prep

I finally found some habanero peppers, so another batch of hot sauce was canned. 

I used my own serrano and jalapeno peppers for this batch. I got exactly 4 - 4 oz. jars this time, and boy is it hotPersonally, hubby and I much prefer the first batch using cherry bomb (hot, but not burn-your-mouth-off hot).  It's all up to your taste I guess.

Did I share the recipe (BHG) link?  Triple Pepper Hot Sauce

I put more dandelions on the freezer.  I am pretty sure we'll be well stocked with greens, but I have another list that needs filled before the snow even thinks about falling.   

The barn cats are eating up a storm.  I am taking this as a warning to prepare for a bad winter.  They are already trying to fatten up. 

Today?  It's another day with tomatoes.   And the next day too.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Pears ~ Anise ~ Uses for Ginger-Brown Sugar Sweet Potato Butter

The pears are ripening before I want them to, so I canned Pear-Star Anise Butter (Ball recipe).  It's a first time recipe for me.  I can't wait to taste it.

Anise intrigued me, so I started researching it too.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Bilberries ~ Eye Tea, Tincture, Vinegar, and Syrup

The older I get the more research I have been doing on all sorts of fruits and vegetables, in relation to a healthy body, good eyesight, fighting off illness and diseases, and so forth.

I originally started researching bilberries due to the amount of goodness it can do for your eyes and veins (varicosities)

A few years back, when I was looking at all sorts of herbal tea infusions, I found one for "eye health" and have a jar in my pantry all year long.  I still felt it wasn't enough of the bilberry, so I started doing more.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

De-Program? Ha!

I brought in another 21.11# of tomatoes on Thursday.  Our whopping tomato tally reached 304.33# (so far this season).

I didn't have enough to can a 1/2 batch of tomato sauce, so I decided to use a portion of them to try that new BBQ sauce I wanted to try. The recipe is from Better Homes and Garden's and they have the recipe online.  

The trick I have been using to check the reduction amount, is to first measure with the handle of a wooden spoon.  I tie on a twist tie, and wipe it clean.  Each time I measure I can quickly see where I am in the process.  By the way, this recipe tastes so much better than Ball's recipe I canned two years ago.  We love it.  Next batch will be a double batch.
In between all that, I got greens in the freezer, but I'm falling behind.  The yellow straight neck squash is piling up.  The cauliflower is just now producing as well.  The swiss chard is going bananas, and I cannot squeeze more time into my day.  The fall prep list is growing.  It's growing so fast, it's burying the big "to-do" list. 

Friday, September 16, 2016

Tomato Paste ~ Canned

A few have asked for me to share the recipe I use for canning tomato paste.  Here you are:

Thursday, September 15, 2016


Oh my gosh!

Mom found these on clearance and texted me if I wanted one.  When I said yes, I had no idea she found two.


Can you believe these are solar?  Adorable!!

Last night Hubby and I played a joke on our 17 year-old.  Her homecoming dress arrived and she left it on the kitchen table as she went out the door for driver's ed.  She had tried it on, loved it, pranced around with it on etc.  I told her to put it away or the dogs would chew it up.  She left it sit, so Hubby and I tore up the bag, tore shreds from an old t-shirt of the same color, and left it on the floor by the table.  When she got home, I filmed her approaching the table as King looked down on the shredded mess.  She said a few words of panic, and slowly picked it up.  Oh, my gosh, funniest thing we ever did to a kid I think.  We all got a good laugh before going to bed.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Barbecue Sauce ~ Gutting the Garden

The first year I canned BBQ sauce was 2 years ago when we had a bumper tomato crop.  It was the ball canning recipe.

We did not like the taste.  Just something about it.

Then, I came across Grit magazines homemade BBQ sauce, made from ketchup (we used home canned), pure maple syrup, dry mustard, black pepper, and cider vinegar.  It's not canned, but I was so excited to find it, because I wouldn't have to can it (just the ketchup).

So, while ketchup was reducing to can, I put a pot on another burner and whipped up a batch.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Monday Crazy is Back

I started out Monday with Hubby waking me up, "Hun, did you thaw tortillas?"

"Oh poo, I forgot."

I got up anyway, and charged slowly scooted my feet to the kitchen.  I weighed out tomatoes for delicious taco sauce.  I've been canning this for a few years and we love the taste of it.  One year we canned BBQ sauce (Ball recipe) and did not like the taste.  I still have one jar of it left.

Anyway, it was a maddening Monday for sure.  While the taco sauce reduced, I had to get pork chops in the crock pot for dinner.  In between those two jobs, I did my usual exercise (reluctantly).

(before the chili powder, dandelions and eggs were added)

Then it was breakfast time - Sweet Potato Breakfast Burritos.  I had to run out to pick bell peppers to make it, so I went ahead and grabbed my tomato baskets and went to the garden.  The recipe is online with Clean Eating - absolutely delicious I ate it without cheese and loved it.  I used dandelions vs. spinach as well.  It was just what I had more of in the freezer.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Slower Sunday

Today, I started the day much more relaxed. I will try not to think about tomatoes until tomorrow.

Yesterday was a madwoman shopping day.  We needed chicken feed, coffee, toilet paper....necessary items.  I got my car an oil change (saving Hubby the work).  Also, we took too long to get our 17 year-old her driver's education classes, so we had to get her a new permit.   I was whipped at the end of unloading and putting everything away.  Today, we deserved to relax.  Hubby worked overtime this weekend too.

Hubby and I took our coffee to the front porch, and watched the sunrise for the first time this fall.  In fact, I can't remember watching it this summer, we were so busy.  Today, we enjoyed it. One kiddo even joined us.

I can hear the ragweed growing out in my vegetable garden, but today I will not listen.  Today, I will relax.  I keep repeating it in hopes I'll listen to myself, ha ha!

Friday, September 9, 2016

Random Tidbits ~ Relaxation Day!

Woke up to fog today.  School even closed after they had a 2 hour delay.  The weather is strange, but I got my motorcycle ride last night.  Hubby is sweet. He came home and said "ride after dinner?"  and when I said "where?" he said "you pick" I'm doing it for you.  It's really for both of us.

We delivered Jack Daniel's fudge.  Word got out, after leaving a few pieces at Hubby's nephew's house, and even after dropping it off, we got another call for more.  I will most likely make another pan for his family to try, and hopefully mine too.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Hot Sauce ~ Home Canned

Hubby loves hot sauce and I use it in several recipes (and our steak marinade).  I decided it was time to try canning it.  I planted serrano hot peppers this year by accident, when I purchased my jalapeno plants.   They were mixed in and I didn't see the labels.

I drove down the road and bought some cherry bomb peppers from our roadside stand guy we rely on some days.  He was out of habanero, so I decided to try cherry bomb for the first batch.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Another Drought

Despite the heat returning, the canning continues.  The tomato plants are loaded with green tomatoes and we accidentally knocked a few off.  

Yesterday, I baked a green tomato cake while the pizza sauce reduced.  I am so far behind on blanching greens, I feel like the day passes so quickly now.

I don't know how I pulled it off, but before I canned the sauce, I sliced up some home grown potatoes, onions, and tossed in some green beans into foil packets.  With canning season taking up the stove top, I took advantage of the grill.  We pulled the last of the steaks from the freezer, marinated them and grilled them. 

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Jack Daniel's Fudge ~ Holiday Prep

Don't throw tomatoes at me, ha ha!  I spent the Labor Day weekend laboring in the tomato patch(s).

Hubby and I had to re-tie the 100-some tomato plants and finally finished them up yesterday.  By the time we picked tomatoes, it was too hot to remain out there, and too late to start a batch of anything with tomatoes.

I tried a new recipe to see if it would be a different spin on a holiday treat for gatherings.  I lined a 13 x 9 pan with parchment paper, then lightly oiled it.  You could use non-stick spray if you prefer.  I didn't use much at all really.  

Pour 1 cup of Jack Daniel's Whiskey over 2 pounds of sifted powdered sugar and stir.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Lesson Learned ~ Tidbits

We've been gardening for maybe 5 years.  I really can't remember without looking in our homesteading journal.  Anyway, we used to plant the smaller roma type tomato in our garden.

Hubby was in charge of purchasing the tomato plants this year, and he brought home a larger heirloom paste tomato.  Actually a few varieties to try.  This was a ripe one, but the sunlight was reflecting on it in the photo.  You can see it was about 4 inches wide.  It's not a beefsteak variety, but a paste.  I have no idea what the correct name was, and will be better at that next year, but these babies are huge and heavy.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Random Tidbits ~ Cowboy Candy ~ Sticky-note-itis ~ Bonfire

So, you know how I blogged about adding greens and adding the nuts, and "boom" my weight started coming off?  And my nails grew?

Well, come to find out, I found this article on "Why Adding Copper...." from Clean Eating.  Makes sense to me.  Maybe I was lacking the copper in my diet.   I knew my thyroid was wonky, but the more I read the more I learn.

And for a twist on things....

I took one afternoon off from tomatoes (hoping they didn't over-ripen), but jalapenos were having their day, thanks to someone who bought two pounds at the Farmer's Market.  That would be me of course.  The third pound came from my own garden.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

More Tomatoes ~ Oh my!

Ketchup requires 10 pounds of tomatoes - 3 batches made.  More to make later I hope.

I've been successful at getting the tomatoes cut and cooked down before the sun rises, but not through the sauce maker.  Early is best when canning with sauce anything.  This was a double batch of tomato paste (20 pounds).  That is one of my smaller sauce pans - 8 inches tall, and 10 inches in diameter.  That is what it looks like before it becomes.....