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~

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Husking Corn

A few friends have been telling me to try husking the corn this way - boil with the husks on, then remove.  Of course this isn't a good way to do it for freezing it, but eating and otherwise.  I'll be honest, I'm sticking to the old fashioned way.  There was still hair on the corn, and I could not fit as many cobs in my largest pot with the husks on.

Monday, July 30, 2018

It's On!! The Hitch is On!

Sunday morning we were up at 5am, and couldn't sleep, so we backed the truck up in the driveway and put the new hitch on!  It's on finally, after not camping for a year and a half!!  I am so excited, but unfortunately school will be starting next month.  Here's hoping for some nice fall weekends.

We celebrated our hard work with an afternoon motorcycle ride, and live entertainment and lunch on the patio (at the restaurant).

Oh, I have a list of canning to get done, and we have already chalked off Friday from doing any work, so it'll be a busy week in the kitchen (and garden).

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Hittin' the Road

Friday started with a much more relaxing day.  Less to do, although the list is long.  I just chose to ignore most of it.  I had a bad night Thursday night, which involved a coughing fit.  I tend to go into panic mode when I even get a sniffle.  Thankfully, with Hubby's support and my essential diffuser, I made it through the night with some sleep.  I haven't been drinking my nettle tea for allergies and it was wham-bam experience.  I got side tracked from regular, natural allergy maintenance.  A tea infusion was waiting for me Friday morning though.

Homemade hand foaming soap was refilled, along with a 5 gallon bucket of homemade laundry soap.  Thankfully we got some rain, so it was a non-gardening day.

I did a few essential oil steams just to make sure I was not going to have another night of uncomfortable coughing.    Good gravy, what was I thinking when I wasn't making it this the past few weeks?  I guess hitting the garden early every single day, I just plum forgot about it.  The cottonwood is flying everywhere right now.

Saturday Hubby and I hit the road.  We both needed it.  A long motorcycle ride with friends and family to get a well known bologna sandwich, where they sell (what I call) mile high pie.  You can't even get cell service in their tavern either.  And not much in the surrounding town.

As for a camping getaway, I've been bugging Hubby to get that new hitch on the truck.  We'll see if it happens any day soon.

Friday, July 27, 2018

Finding my Mojo

After waking up with a bit of a sore throat (allergies), I decided to take Thursday off from the garden (avoiding the grass), and get some inside work done.  I was up just before 5am and downed a cup of hot ginger tea before making good ol' organic coffee.

It started as a beautiful day, but I was praying for rain too.  We need it badly.  We got rain too.  Twice during the day, but not enough.  We could use more.

Even though I've been whooped by dinner time, dinner has still been getting made - homemade chicken alfredo and roasted rosemary asparagus.  The alfredo sauce has been posted before, but not the entire recipe.  We are just low on fruit.  The red raspberries need rain.  The blackberries are loaded, but not ripe to pick just yet.

Homemade Alfredo Sauce
1/2 cup organic butter (or homemade)
2 cups (1 pint) organic/non-gmo whipping cream
4 oz.  organic cream cheese (or homemade)
1/2 tsp. minced garlic*
1 tsp. homemade garlic powder
1 tsp. homemade Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 cup grated organic Parmesan cheese.

Melt butter, cream cheese and whisk in the whipping cream.  Continue to whisk until blended, then add the remaining ingredients.

Toss in diced and cooked organic chicken, and your favorite cooked pasta.

Note:  I've used freshly minced garlic before, and you can also make your own homemade minced garlic.  Simply dehydrate, but don't grind it into powder, just pulse in a coffee mill until it's "minced."  You can also mince it fresh onto parchment paper and dehydrate.  I linked on how I slice and dehydrate the garlic.  To make the powder I grind it up in a small coffee mill and store it in a glass jar in the cupboard.  

Roasted Rosemary Asparagus
Clean asparagus and lay on a baking tray with rim.  Drizzle with organic olive oil and sprinkle with chopped, dried rosemary.  Add salt and pepper.  Roast at 400° for about 15-18 minutes.  

As for finding my mojo, I took my handiwork to the porch to simply have some well deserved relaxation time.  Although that was after I made a big batch of blueberry pancakes for the rest of the week and weekend.

I also started back on the book shelf.  More remains on my kitchen table.  I was able to sort out some to save, and a few more to give away.  I have not purged my crafting books though.  Those stay.  And anything homesteading related.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

100 days of, coffee, coffee (grab a cup of our favorite bevarage's a long one)

I'm up at 5am this morning.  The corn is all done for the this season.  Well, sort of done.  It's been shucked, removed, and frozen finally. 70 cups so far this year, and I am saving a dozen for another reason this weekend.

Tiger comes crying for an ear right when I starting slicing off the corn.  It shuts him up for just a while, until he begs for more.  Most of the cobs went to the chickens, but some went in the compost.

I'm still putting up blueberries (20 lbs).

Sliced a few cucumbers up for vinegar-cucumbers.  I typically use the recipe I posted years ago, but leave the oil out.  I was plum out of garlic (getting pulled soon), and had one dinky dill plant to use for it).

New Recipe Tried - cucumber juice.  Delicious.  I just peeled and blended, strained the pulp, and added some organic lime juice and sugar to taste.  The juice would be pretty good to make cucumber margaritas with too.  The pulp was given to the chickens for a nice afternoon treat.

The pumpkins have been resurrected now.  They look good, but man the weeds are out of control this year.  I used the hoe for these (getting a 3 hour upper body work out).  The idea is for the sun to dry up the weeds and create a mulch to prevent more.  The popcorn is next.  It's been a weed, water, weed, water year.  Once rain, but it's in the forecast for today.

Speaking of rain...if we don't get any, I don't see us getting tomatoes, green peppers, turnips, chard, hot banana peppers, get the picture.  Watering with well water is great, but not good enough. 

Yes...depressing year this year.  I now have to find a resource for stocking up organic, freshly grown green beans.  Almost makes me not want to plant a garden next year.

Even thought the squash all looked great, it's not producing anything now.  What was producing is now looking like it's dying off or not growing right.  Even the cucumbers.

I seriously need to focus on something else.  Something positive. Something constructive - target practice?  I had another driveway "creeper" the other day while I was sitting on the front porch.  It may help blow off some steam too.

We were also invited to a weekend bike week in WV.  We turned it down, and now I wish we didn't.  I soooo need a break from negativity, bad mojo, and set backs.  Every day starts with several cups of coffee, combined with heavy sighs.

I'll be honest, I'm not even sure a motorcycle ride would revive me.  I've been down right cranky, miserable, tired, and as "Youngest" called me, salty.

Even the chickens are causing havoc.  Four got out of the run fence the other day.  Guess I better check the fence.  Then again, maybe I should just let them have at it in the garden?

Hubby has lost his mojo for just about anything too.  The truck now needs work, two tires need replaced on the car, he's way behind in mowing, and the hitch has not made it's way to the truck.  Which means no camping, and we haven't gone camping for 1 1/2 years now, and that is definitely one of my "happy places.

Stand by, while I go find my "happy" place.....I'm sure ya'll getting tired of my weed posts.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Cleavers Facial Wash ~ Natural Wrinkle Remedy

When ever I read something new about a weed I harvest, I give it a try if I can.  The season for cleavers are over for us, but I wanted to share this.

I made a tea with cleavers. I just made sort of an infusion in a pint canning jar, strained it and put it in the fridge.  

Dip your washcloth into the tea and rinse your face with the tea solution at room temperature (or cold).  Cleavers at as a skin tightener, so in reality, reduces wrinkles and lifts up the skin naturally.

Some people may have a bad reaction to this facial wash, so try a small area at first.  If you use fresh cleavers in you tea (not recommended for this), you have greater chance a having a skin reaction.

I used this tea for 2 straight weeks and feel and see a difference.  I also used it cold on my face, and it felt great in the heat of summer.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Time for sweet corn and blueberries

Monday was not about the garden, it was about dropping another $200 for Youngest - school uniforms, photos etc.  It will still save us in the long run, but man.  School is not cheap.  That doesn't include her shoes, supplies and other necessary clothing.  They told us we'd spend only 1 hour there, but ended up spending 2 hours, and it was a 30 minute drive there and back.  We didn't get home until almost 2 pm.

Rain was in the forecast again, but the weather man has been wrong this year.  So wrong.  We need more, so I was hoping they were right for a change.  We didn't get any, and it's in today's forecast too (slight chance).

I had food to freeze, and a lot of it.  Despite rain and dry/hot weather, the cucumbers, zucchini and other stuff needed dealt with.

Three bags (slightly short of 3 bushels) brought home.  We'll need a tractor to plant this much sweet corn in the future.

The fun started.  

Youngest and I shucked the first bag while Hubby went to work on a call out. Tuesday I got a double batch of corn frozen, but we have two more bags to shuck yet.  Here is my recipe to freeze corn - freezing corn.

I finally found not one, but two sources for MI blueberries.  The last time we were able to obtain them, the 10 lb. boxes were $31.00.  The price this year, despite a bad blueberry year was $27/10 lb. box.

Twenty pounds of deliciousness.  I'm so happy to find a source and so happy to restock, but like I said, things are all happening at once.  It's a good deal too.  They were selling them $7/qt.

The minute I started working on the corn, Tiger was meowing like crazy.  To get him to stop, I gifted him a cleaned corn cob, and he loved it.  Soon after, he was napping peacefully.  He's such a cutie.

The chickens got to clean off some corn cobs too, so everyone was happy.  We even had some corn on the cob with our dinner last night.  

Today is going to be super busy, packed with work, so I'm praying I can get it done.  I'll have to clean up and then make dinner too.  But first, the garden.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Weekend of Work

Can't purge books?  I found a sure fire way to do it, that's for sure.  Just empty the bookshelves completely, remove the shelves, dust, and start sorting through the books.  A rainy day helps too.

Oh my.  I must have been one crazy Christmas lady back in the day.  I think I purged over 200 Christmas related books.  I had everything the Christmas Almanac, to the Treasury, kids books to Christmas related novels. purge continues as I sort through them. I even had a book with Christmas recipes, crafts and traditions for around the world, ha ha!

I actually found one that is now on the "read it" list right now.

I bought it at a library book sale, and apparantly forgot I even had it.

One book went to a family member on Hubby's side.

Yeah, I was a crazy Christmas lady.  I ordered this book way back in the day, and never used it.  It has recipes too.  (this is only one double wide book shelf, not including my homesteading bookshelf and my "study" bookshelves)

We loaded the car to the hilt, and headed to the other "Big City" to drop it all off at the thrift store.  What a good feeling that was. 

There are a few more things to do in the living room, and I'll be moving onto the next.  It's looking pretty nice and much more "livable" now that the dogs are not eating my sofa cushions.  Next year we'll replace the couch.

Sunday, Hubby helped me recover (weed) the sweet potatoes.  They look pretty good too, thankfully.  We did that early in the morning, so we took the rest of the day off. Hubby did a few small "fix it's" around the house too.

After delivering a birthday cake and ice cream to my step daughter, we high tailed it back for a ride with with a friend, and when we got back the kids showed up to raid the refrigerator (they looked like animals that hadn't eaten in weeks).   As we were all on the front porch friends stopped in, so it was a fun day even after garden work.

Rain is in the forecast today as well.  We'll see if they are correct.  It was still a tad bit wet on Sunday, so I'm hoping we get more rain.  It sure makes weeding go much faster.

Last night Hubby showed Youngest how to pop home grown popcorn.  She was a happy gal.  She needed a snack, and what's not better than home grown popcorn?

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Coffee and a Day of No Weeding ~ Dehydrating Miner's Lettuce

Thursday evening, to honor my hard work in the garden, Hubby surprised me by not working overtime.  He took me on a ride on the Harley, ate at our favorite steak house (which has special motorcycle parking), and ended the evening with adult beverages on the porch.

Friday I piddle-dinked around, sucked down coffee, moaned and groaned, complained, let out heavy sighs, wished I drank the beer and not the Crown Royal the night before, and contemplated.  I won.  Even though we have weeds to pull, I decided I didn't want to poke my eye out bending over the 4 foot grass and weeding the sweet potatoes.  Hubby volunteered to weed wack it down to where I could easily see the roots, so I took the day off, in hopes for rain.    There was a 50% chance of rain at 10am, and that motivated my decision (although I'm out there at 7am and done by 10am). By the way, the rain arrived, and may arrive again today.

Oh, I had inside work to do, like make a batch of turkey-zucchini meatballs (recipe to come soon) and get them in the freezer.  

I placed an order to restock my dry beans, brazil nuts and other organic items I cannot buy in stores.  Of course, right after I placed the order, I remember one item I forgot.

I had carpets to clean and spot clean, and books to dust and get back on the book shelf.  I have a HUGE load of stuff to take to the thrift store, and lapghans to crochet (for sale).  I now have 4 lapghans on my hook. Yes 4.  I'm a crazy crochet lady lately.  

Why 4?  Well, when I start them, they are just perfect in hot weather on the porch, but when I get about 1/4 of them done, they become indoor projects, with good ol' air conditioning, and a good movie to watch.

We've been visiting our 19 year's place of business, where she just became the Assistant Manager (movie rental business).  We are so proud of her. Although this business is highly unlikely to stay open much longer, she'll have this experience on her resume and higher pay.

Miner's Lettuce was new to the homestead this year.  In looking to winter food stock and preparedness, I decided to dehydrate some of it.

I am grinding up into a powder.  I will be adding it to my breakfast smoothies (or lunch), to soups, stews, eggs, pasta, and what ever else comes to mind.  

Friday, July 20, 2018

Random Tidbits

This was the sunrise a few mornings back.  It was absolutely stunning.  The photo doesn't show the pink it had, but it was beautiful.

Guess who visits me about 7am every morning?  Look closer.  The chickadee was going in his/her nest.  Funny how it goes right in there, so close to me, and while I'm on the porch.  I now talk to the plant before watering it (ha ha!), just to make sure I don't drown it or have it fly out and scare the pants off of me.

Well, it really must be Christmas in July.  I got another green egg.  Hm.  I only have 2 of those chickens in my clan, but I'll be happy to get any from them.

After this year's debacle of a garden (weed fest), Hubby now wants to move to move the garden. No way I am moving it.  Where it's at, it's protected from the farm poison.  A tractor and bush hog are now at the very tippy top of the wish list, but the weather is still to blame.  We just have a lot of costly expenses this year, so it'll have to wait.

We finally sent off the check for Youngest to get her last of the driver's ed done.  She'll get picked up from the house in the car, and do her driving time.  They drop her off too, so it's easy peasy, but costs another $250.00.

Someone remind me I have red raspberries in the freezer on a tray.  I so often flash freeze them, and forget they are in there, ha ha!

I came in from gardening, and found Youngest pilfering through my books on one of the kitchen tables.  I just broke out laughing, but I'm so glad she's doing something other than social media or watching movies.  She helps with housework while I'm outside too.  The books haven't been sorted and put back yet, so my kitchen looks like a messy library, ha ha!

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Preparedness ~ Weeding and no rain

I drained another jar of 4 thieves vinegar.  It lasts a year in the fridge, so if I have the ingredients I'm making another jar during this hot, hot summer.  It's a blessing to have during winter when sickness runs rampant, and with one still in school, germs are a plenty.

Un-burying the herb has started.  I'm about to mow down the carrots though.

Upon pulling the tall weeds in the end of the herb garden, I noticed my green onions were killed off for the first time in all the years I had them.

I have about 4-5 left, so this was a sad moment.  That end used to be packed with so many green onions, I'd have to pull some bulbs every two years.  The parsley is dry as a bone and the dirt is like concrete there too.

Spent yesterday morning in the potatoes, and more to weed.  They look terrible. It's very iffy at this point if we'll get much of anything.  The potatoes will most likely have a post of their own soon.  What a mess.

We seriously lack rain.  The grass is bone dry, and even the plantain is starting to die off.  However, we are hearing that the rain is returning possibly late tomorrow and all through the weekend.   My goal is to weed out all the potatoes before it arrives, and hope for the best.

Yesterday, I was down right exhausted, so I made a cup of hot tea using part gingko and part nettle, to restore my energy.  It worked too.  I could actually breath better too.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Homemade Cake Flour ~ Serviceberry Drop Cookies

To make homemade cake flour, simply remove 2 Tbsp. from each cup needed, and  then add 2 Tbsp. of organic non-gmo corn starch.   Sift many times before using.

You can buy organic powdered sugar from health stores.  You need powdered sugar for this recipe.

Serviceberry Drop Cookies
(recipe adapted form "How to Prepare Common Wild Foods" by Darcy Williamson)

1/2 cup organic butter, softened
1 1/3 cups organic powdered sugar
2 farm fresh eggs
1/2 tsp. homemade vanilla
3/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp. cake flour (see instructions at top)
1/2 cup dried serviceberries

Soak dried serviceberries in 1/2 cup boiling water for about 10 minutes.  Drain.

Beat butter until creamy.  Slowly add sugar until it's fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time.  Add vanilla.  Gently add flour, and don't over mix.  Stir in serviceberries.  Drop onto cold cookie sheet, about 4 inches apart (about 1 tsp. size drops).  Bake at 350°F for 10 minutes.  Remove from hot trays and cool on a rack.  Sprinkle with organic powdered sugar.

Serviceberries contain iron, vitamin B2, maganese, copper, biotin and other good stuff.

Note:  Make cookies small.  They spread out and are thin.

Mom picked the berries in the rain, so I took some over to her too.  They are very good.  The season for them is very short, so next year I'll have to raid her berries so I can make a few more new recipes.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Rain ~ Substitute for homemade cream of mushroom soup

The rain that was predicted at 11am, was pushed back to noon.  Then it was pushed to 1pm, and again to 3pm.  I was starting to wonder if we'd even get any (again).  Later I checked it again, and it was once again pushed back to 4pm.   

Our oldest daughter stopped out for a visit, and it sprinkled long enough for her to run from the porch to her car to roll up her windows.  

Mother Nature is really making me work my bum off this season.  Hi-ho-Hi-ho, it's off to water I go.....

While putting my roast in the crocky yesterday morning, I realized I has zero mushroom soup in the freezer.  I tend to have a few cans of organic store bought soup, but there was none to be had.  In desperation (or you could call it creativity), I had one can of organic crimini mushrooms and onions (no shallots either).  I whipped up a batch and it was just as fantastic on our roast as the original mushroom soup recipe I use.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Happy Homemaker Monday

I'm joining Sandra at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom today.  Sunday we fried.  It was 92°F with a heat index of 99°F.  We literally didn't go outside much at all.  Hubby and I hit the garden work first, but it was too hot and humid to be outside.  We even said no to a motorcycle ride to get ice cream.  It was that hot. 

Today, rain is once again in the forecast, and we may actually get some this time.  It's to rain all day, so first on the to-do list is work on the green beans in the garden.  If I can resurrect the second row, we plan to mow down the last two and replant.

On the breakfast plate. . .
Eggs, toast with home canned jam, coffee

The weather outside is . . .
It's hot and humid, and we are praying we finally get rain.

On my reading pile . . .
Herbal books from the library.

On the TV . . .
McCleod's Daughters

On the menu . . .
-organic roast, carrots, potatoes and onion
-stuffed shells, steamed broccoli
-chicken with home canned hot pepper mustard sauce, wild rice and beets
-egg salad sandwiches

On the weekly to-do list . . .
-work in the green beans in the garden
-shampoo half of the hallway carpet
-hang the last new curtain in the front room
-wash the front door curtain and wash down window and door
-dinner prep
-make a batch of homemade baking mix
-make homemade taco mix
-work on purging more books

What I am crocheting, knitting, sewing or creating. . .
Two lapghans, another set crocheted ice pop holders, and a knitted dishcloth

New recipe I tried . . .
Whiskey Balls.  They are pretty good too.  I adjusted a recipe from my Maker's Mark cookbook.  I used non-gmo organic chocolate crisp rice cereal, and organic ingredients.  You can't find a non-gmo, organic marshmallow whip, but you can make it homemade.  I found a recipe online at Attainable Sustainable.

Whiskey Balls

1 cup organic non-gmo chocolate chips
7 oz. marshmallow fluff (see recipe link above)
2-3 Tbsp. whiskey
3 cups organic crisp rice cereal
1/2 cup organic coconut
3/4 cup walnuts, finely chopped

Melt chocolate, let cool but not harden.  Mix in the marshmallow and whiskey.  Add remaining ingredients.  Form into 1 inch balls and chill.  I used my large cooking scoop and it worked great.  They were larger, so next time for a larger Christmas crowd, I'll use the smaller and probably get about 5 dozen.

Next on the try it list are some serviceberry recipes.

From the camera . . .
I think my auracanas think it's Christmas in July.  I have gotten one of their eggs since last Christmas.

We had 3 visits in one day from this hummingbird.  It has a red chest.

In one day, a chickadee built a nest in one of my hanging pots.  He paid me a visit this morning too.  

Looking forward to. . .

Sunday, July 15, 2018


It's either too hot or too wet, and this is our reality.  This is a small side of the front porch flower bed.  I have trees growing in it, ha ha ha ha!

The mailbox flower bed.  Trees are growing there too, ha ha!

If you look close enough, you'll see my roses in that weed field next to the house, and in front of that, across the sidewalk my weed packed herb garden.  I wasn't kidding when I said the weeds were so tall, I could see them out my windows.

Another view of the herb garden.  Even the grass can't be caught up with, nor the trimming.  You should see my vegetable garden.  It looks like we are growing hay out here.

On a good note.  I tried something new this year.  I took 5 geraniums inside over winter, and 3 survived.  Check out this one. . .

The plants I kept out in the living room, near the wood stove over winter, did the best.  Sure saved money on buying annuals.

This my friends is a row of beets.  A very long row, and that is a row of carrots to the left and the horribly looking peas to the right.

Two and a half hours later, I found the beets.  Some are looking really good, while others are a bit small.  I didn't finish the row in that photo either.  

The tomatoes have been resurrected, but are pretty small.  The cut grass has fried up in the sun and sort of made a mulch for them though.

My carrot row.  It's about 40-some feet long.  

After a few feet of weeding, I had to stop and water it.  There was no way the weed were coming out in that dried up dirt.
So yeah, the reality of gardening this year hit our homestead hard.  So hard, there is no way to keep up with it all.  The garlic needs pulled, and everything needs weeded out.  Well, the garlic isn't coming up until we get rain next.

Somewhere in there are 4 rows of green beans that go all the way to the left.  Yeah, I'm about to mow it all down and just buy it this year.  

Just like all the rest of the garden - half didn't make it, some are nice and big with blossoms, and some are dinky.  Some simply fell over after I pulled the weeds.

Here is all that wood from my younger brother.  It was not all unloaded when I took those photos either.  It's stacked 6 feet tall in the first photo too, and I'm starting a second row.