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, April 30, 2019


We had a beautiful morning sunrise Monday morning.  It was cold out, but gorgeous sky.

Never hit your shin on something.  The pain is like no other.  I've been using up my freezer stash of comfrey poultices.  They are helping, but man...

(used my mortar and pestal for a small amount)

I've also been picking plantain.  I somehow got an itchy patch of a rash on my ankle (hm, could be from wearing flip flops out when it was warmer and brushing on something).  I got rid of it using a fresh plantain poultice in two days (second one I added fresh chickweed).  Yay, for the power of weeds.  Our plantain isn't very big yet, but we are getting some here and there.  I also ordered a free small food processor for small batch making. 

Does anyone here take horse chestnut for varicose veins?  Would love to hear your input.  Just wondering if I order the horse chestnut, do you make the extract as you would a "tincture?"

I placed my order for jojoba oil.  It's time to make homemade tick oil.  It can be used on humans or dogs and it works.  You can also make it with water and spray it on, but I prefer the oil, so I don't have to re-apply so often in the hot sun.

We continue to get rain.  The farmers are behind by 3 weeks getting into their fields, so you can imagine how far behind we are.  Flooding issues almost everywhere right now.  I told Hubby, if we can't plant with good timing, I won't plant at all.  It would be a complete waste of time.  We can't even get the tiller into it until it dries up.  We are not yet at our planting time, so say a prayer, send up good vibes and positive mojo.

Baked away the cold rainy blues - blueberry crumble.

Monday, April 29, 2019

The frustration is real

Does anyone have a natural ant killer I can use in my herb garden.  I was walking by it and saw a puffed up area in my oregano.  I stepped on it, and poof a bunch of ants came out.  Urgh.  Cornmeal doesn't kill them, and I can't use artificial sweetener nor borax.  I'd contaminate my herbs.  I am however, dumping boiling water on the hill.  I will have to do it a few more times, and if it works, replant some of the oregano.

This my friends, is my rose bed.  Does anyone have a natural homemade weed killer?  I don't care if it kills off the roses either, I want different ones anyway.  It's the most frustrating bed we have, and nothing has worked from weed fabric to 6 inches of mulch on top.  

Well, since I wrote up this draft for the post, I found another way to handle this weed garden from hell - roofing shingles and rocks.  We know someone re-roofing, so we hope to get some of the old singles soon. Until then, guests will just have to enjoy the weed fest going on. 

We are due to have 4 days of rain starting today (again).  Sunday we had planned to piddle around, but guess what?  We took off south to pick up a new radiator for our 19 year-old's car.  While we were there, my step-daughter called.  She gave birth to our 3rd grand child - a boy.  We drove north and made a visit to the hospital.  What a busy weekend.

I don't have clean house slippers to work around the house today.  Sigh.  Thanks to Jesse.  He's been so good off the leash, and in plain day light I just go out with him.  However, he smelled a dead rabbit in the road and went straight for it.  He's back on the leash after I ran through the sopping grass, saturating my slippers and socks.  My slippers are drying after a good washing.  As for that dead rabbit?  Hubby went out and shoveled it off into the field north of us.  We later watched a vulture having it's meal.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Crisis Averted and other Tidbits

Saturday morning I had a plan to harvest as much chickweed as I could, but we had a crisis.  Daughter's prom.  Although she is very capable of doing her own hair and nails, she broke down and sobbed Friday night.  Overwhelmed.

Those are her real nails.

Prom "do"

We spent the day running her around to friends we know at a salon, getting toes, nails and hair done.  That really took up the day until we then had to figure out where to do photos.  Rain was moving in about the time we needed to do photos.  Prom prep went from 9am to after 4pm, then we took photos in a hotel lobby (rain).  Ran home and literally had 30 minutes before heading to the school.  Her Dad walked her in the "march" before prom, and I think it made happy tears for all who were there to watch.  He announced daughter's name being escorted by her "Dad" and it was so sweet to watch. 

We were so tired.  Not to mention broke.  One more year of a prom.  Whew.

Chickweed will have to wait.  I do hope I get some after our snow Sat. night.  Sigh....praying it makes a comeback and I get a lot of it.

I've been after Hubby to dig the septic cap for weeks.  I finally got him to do it, but he only half dug it out, and the shovel is still sitting there.  I'm about to dig it myself.  He needs a tea for motivation around here.  Oh, and try and convince him to put a riser on it so we don't have to dig it. Yeah, that won't happen either.

It's sunny today, but cold.  Woke up to the 40's and it's windy too.  

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Random Ramblings

We are still unpacking, a week after our trip, ha ha!  It was our first "vacation" in almost or over 20 years.  I guess I deserve more time to unpack.  The nice part of it, is that what's still in our bags, is clean clothes we packed extra.

We are getting boat loads of rain, so there is no garden work going on, and we are to get rain for about the next 7 days.  It'll take a while for things to dry out.  We are down to the lows in the 30's again.

Jesse, eye balling my carrots.  I made roasted carrots to go with dinner and he had to have a few bites.  Crazy dog!

The other day Youngest Daughter got home from school.  I said I needed to put the hens in from the run.  She said, "I'll do it."  I was totally shocked.  When she didn't come right back in, I wandered out to see if she had trouble.  I heard voices in the barn.  I popped my head in, and she was not only standing inside the coop with the littles, but holding them and talking to them, ha ha!

The spring nettle is up.  I've been consuming much of it.  I do need to freeze some for breakfast meals and for other meals.

Finished this book on the trip to TN.  Sort of got boring 3/4th of the way through.  Donating it to Goodwill.  Ordered a book from the library.

Finished this dishcloth, and started another.  Not much time for "play time" recently.  I think it's time to dive right into the garage and utility room for indoor cleaning.  All depends on the weather and wind.

Friday, April 26, 2019

Wild Violet Jelly

The process of this spring jelly is so intriguing.  It starts out the color of this (above).

Wild Violet Jelly
2 cups freshly picked wild violets
2 cups of water, boiled

Place violets in a quart canning jar and pour boiling water over it.  Seal with the canning lid, allow to cool, and refrigerate overnight.

Day 2
Strain the violets from the liquid and add juice of one lemon or 3 Tbsp. of organic/non-gmo lemon juice.  Pour liquid into a steel pan and add 1 pkg. powdered pectin and bring to a boil.

Add:  4 cups of sugar, bring to a boil and boil 1 minute.

Power into sterilized jars, wipe rims, add lids and rims and place in canner pot to boil for 15 minutes.  (1/2 inch head space) Cool for 24 hours.

Yield:  approx. 4 - 1/2 pint jars or 8 4oz. jars.
(3rd time I made this, I squeezed the liquid from the violets, getting 1 more 1/2 pint jar of jelly.

Note:  I break this up into 2 days, since it takes a bit of time to pick all those violets.  You can just let the violets sit for a few hours, but I feel you get a better flavor and color if it sits over night (or up to 24 hours).

It ends up this color, and the house smells amazing.  I doubt I'll get enough violets to can this again, but I do have a good supply of jellies and jams.

Wild Violet Jelly makes a wonderful gift, so if you are already stock piled with jelly, gift it.  It's very pretty and tastes great!

I'm so thankful I picked them when I did.  Rain is coming, and possible snow this weekend.  Yes, I said snow.

Thursday, April 25, 2019


I'm posting a very short post today, since I bombarded you with a over lengthy one yesterday.

I had pulled paper out of a box, and I found him pouncing in the paper.  He then darted in and out of the kitchen, flying into the mound of paper.  So funny!  Glad he had some fun before I cleaned it up, ha ha!

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Flowers, weeds, and wild flowers....oh my! And a goodie from the veggie garden

First, I apologize.  This post is a long one.  Grab a java or tea.  Or a meal, ha ha!

Wednesday my day was a bit wonky.  Hubby sent me all around the "big city" to fetch more tomato plants and flowers.  Even the back streets are getting close to the construction zones.  Ugh.  I have to use more gas to take the long route too, taking all the back roads.  Better than getting caught up in the construction zones though.

Early morning, the sky looked like the sun might shine, but minutes later it turned to this:

Thunder rolled in, but no rain thankfully.  Some areas got short rain showers though.

I had to zip back home to pick up sticks.  Hubby hired our biker friend to mow the almost 6 acre homestead (not all is mowed).  Anyway, the back of the house, where the trees are mostly, and winter wind ripped branches down was a mess.

The guy was already mowing when I arrived.  I hurried and changed into work clothes and loaded up the cart not once but twice, and dragged a huge limb to the brush pile. Most pieces were about 5-6 feet long.  Take about a workout.

Then I dug up all the naughty ornamental apple trees that were trying to take over my flower beds.  I would never plant one of these, but it was here when we moved here. Pretty in the spring and pretty in the fall, but it's mostly "bird food" and draws in spring and fall birds by the hoards.

Then I did some cleaning up of the front flower bed, breaking off the dead mum stalks, etc.  

Anyway, I planted 6 new pink hyacinths, and 6 red tulips.  All I could find this late in the month.

All were on clearance, so if the moles return the loss won't be that great if my tulips disappear, but I think we are in the clear.  

More flower photos:

...and the weeding will continue throughout the week, as I harvest weeds along the way.

Just a sampling of the chickweed the spring rain has brought me.  I'll be drying the first harvest first for a medicinal oil that might be used to make a salve.  

Despite the first mow, I have wild violets popping up. I'll be keeping an eye on them over the next few days to see if I can harvest enough.

I sometimes feel like a kid in a candy store when I find something in my garden. And so early in April!  I'll be clearing the asparagus patch tomorrow before I do anything.  Oh my, such a delight!  I better remember to take the wheelbarrow.  Hubby hates it when I leave a pile of stuff out there to pick up later.  I've been much better about it this year.

Then is was back inside to wash dishes and tidy up.  

We are still not back to 100% of our energy.  By late after noon I was draining my quart of nettle tea infusion for a nutritious cold brew.  It was beam me up Scotty or go take a nap, ha ha!

The family was lucky enough to get beans soaked and into the crock pot for some "unrefried refried beans" for breakfast burritos, a new recipe to try, etc.  I am not back on board with cooking full dinners.  I must...must...get to the grocery store.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Tuesday Tidbits

Although vacations are nice, home is nice too.  My own bed, my homemade food, my teas, weeds and what not.

Poor Jesse must have missed my company.  He's been following me around like a kid wanting his Mom.  His Mom didn't take long to take advantage of us being back home.  She left all day Sunday and didn't come home.  Jesse has been by my side constantly.

Speaking of Easter Sunday, our oldest wanted a meal on Sunday, so we drove to the store Sunday morning, but by 2pm we had canceled it.  One left, one was working, and one didn't respond, so we were literally in pajamas on the porch at 2pm, playing cards and drinking adult beverages.  Our biker friend who came and took care of Jesse while our daughter was at work, came to drop of the house key.  He stayed and chatted on the porch for more than 5 hours.

My fitbit is making a liar out of me.  The day we walked out of Dollywood I had over 15,000 steps.  Most likely had over 20,000 by bed time.  I synced it when we got home.  It said on that day I walked 9,000 steps.  Hm.  Liar, liar, liar.....

Monday was rough.  I plowed through it, as did Youngest and Hubby.  My clothesline worked over time, and I had dirty dishes to wash that our 21 year-old never washed while we were gone.  She did however, vacuum the front room and clean a bathroom.

It rained a lot while we were gone.  We came home to wet, tall grass.  The to-do list is back in action, although slow, ha ha!  Trash had to go out, kitchen cleaned up, and I had a stack of rotten bananas since our daughter didn't eat them while we were gone.  Mail was stopped so that was picked up, but I didn't do grocery shopping just yet.  We grilled out, and took it easy last night.  I'll be writing up a menu for the week today.

Banana bread was baked.

Banana cookies were baked.

Look at that grass!  Oh my.  We'll be mowing very soon.

My daffodils are in full bloom.  What a pretty sight to see. 

There is a rescue dog that we've been eyeing.  It's possible we may take Jesse with us to do a meet and greet.  Just not sure yet.  We may wait and see if Jesse goes with his Mom when she moves out.  Just contemplating....

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Snafu ~ Tennessee Spring Break Trip

Our spring break trip to TN had a hickup, snafu.....unexpected event.  Youngest daughter woke us up at 5am Sunday.  She was pretty sick.  Best guess was food poisoning, but she wasn't going anywhere any time soon. I quickly made a batch of homemade ginger-ale to start with, and go from there.  She rested most of the day Sunday, but still pretty sick.  We canceled our  trip reservations and waited to see if she'd be better by Monday (and try and re-book another lodging choice.

We rebooked for leaving Tuesday, and she still wasn't feeling her true self.  I expected we'd cancel when Hubby woke up early Tuesday morning (3am) sick.  I thought for sure we'd cancel the entire trip.  He got up, sucked down homemade ginger-ale and made the drive Tues. morning.

I'll admit it was a rough 9 hour drive (with many stops).  Both Hubby and Daughter had upset stomachs.  We made it, and crashed for the night. 

The next day, they both were ready to go, but couldn't eat much.

First stop was the Aquarium in Gatlinburg.  Famous for the shark tunnel you walk through.  It's pretty big and fun to see.

Glass bottom boat rid over the sharks!  Of course another $10.00 per person on top of the admission price, so we let Daughter go on it, which was on her "bucket list."  She had a blast.   

What next?

Anakeeta.  See that lift up the mountain?  There are all sorts of shops, walks, a ride and the best views of the mountains.  

 They made me ride up in this!!  I do not do heights well, and my one hand was numb from squeezing the back of the chair all the way up.  And....and...they stopped it twice before we got all the way up.  Ugh.

I made them ride the enclosed cabin down with me, ha ha!

Another place on Daughter's "bucket list" was rolled iced cream.  Not as good as homemade, and very expensive.

We took a break and went to the hotel to soak in the pool and hot tub, and had prepared for a 6pm dinner show, but found out after checking our records, they moved us to the 8:30pm show.  Grr.  We didn't enjoy it.  First we don't eat dinner that late, the chicken wasn't served until 9am, and Hubby and Daughter were still not feeling all that great.  We left early.  Daughter was upset with the use of the animals.  You couldn't take videos, but could take photos.  It was dark so all my horse photos were blury.  They did trick riding, for example one female had each foot, on two horses, and was standing, riding it around and through fire.  When they ran out buffalo and then long horn cattle, I was a bit sad too.  I know they are all trained for the show, but I was a bit sickened by the use of the animals day in and day out, over and over.  We'll not ever go to this again if we do return.  Food was terrible.

Next day was Dollywood.  Daughter rode most of the rides.  It was in the low 80's and beautiful.  She spent the evening in the outdoor pool.  This place is huge and full of entertainment and activities and shopping.  

Next stop was the Alcatraz crime museum.  We actually enjoyed this.  Fun and very interesting.

Next stop was a dinner show with MoTown.  We had a very nice time here, and bought the DVD of the show, and had it autographed.  Daughter had a blast!

The drive home went more quickly than driving down.  Everyone was feeling grand and full-filled.  Daughter had the best time ever.  There was a lot we didn't do, so we are contemplating another trip down in the future.  Although expensive.  It is very commercialized in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg.

We visited 3 Harley Davidson stores too.  Daughter bought a few tops too.  

The one thing we all missed?  My home cooking.  We are so looking forward to a home cooked meal now.  

We have a day of rest today, but Hubby is already up and trying to plan a get together with all the kids and maybe a motorcycle ride.

Happy Easter!

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Random Tidbits

Not much going on here lately, other than indoor work thanks to Mother Nature and the cold weather.  Egads, this is a picture-less post.  I've had to refill some homemade goods lately like our foamy soap and vanilla extract.  It's been so cold, I had to wear my carhartt out on Wed.  The wind was wicked.

I took a day for me!  Got a real hair cut, joined one kiddo for a lunch, picked up seed potatoes, made a library return and other fun stuff.  By the way Youngest is being trained now to color hair.  She is allowed to take manicure appointments during school hours too.  Too bad I don't have long nails right now, or I'd go just for her to get the experience.  Garden work started, so my nails are cut short.  I may just have to go in a few weeks anyway.  

I have been spending most of my mornings cooking and baking for the day and week, and find myself getting dishes out that I had just washed and dried and put away.  Including measuring cups and spoons.  Sigh...the wrath of rotation.  At least we are eating good.  By the way, the blueberry pie I made recently only has 1 cup of powdered sugar and a small amount of brown.  It's a King Arthur flour recipe ("pie with a twist").

We finished our Yellowstone series from the library.  Not sure what we'll look into next.  

I've received word of another free vendor event in May. I'm not doing it.  I am too busy now with the warmer weather, and can't waste any good day not working in the garden(s).

There is a delay on the bathroom remodel.  I'm okay with that.  However, it delays any family get togethers here.  I'm okay with that too though.  Just lots of work to do here anyway.

The chicks know my call now.  They are so excited to see me bring them treats.  Right now we see one definite rooster, but unsure of the rest at this point.

Hubby and I took a random road trip.  Cornhole boards have been ordered and we got to see new places.  We literally got home and went out dancing.  I'm a bit tired today, but laundry is on the to-do list.  It's pouring down rain today.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Blueberry Pie ~ Getting Vitamin D and "Iron"

It's amazing how much beautiful sunshine can change your attitude for the day.  It's been so nice to see a bright sun-shiny day lately.  I had a lot on my to-do list, but first things first.

Blueberry pie was baked, and because I will forget about it if I go work outside, I put laundry on the line.

While that was baking, Hubby sent me a text - "Bike Ride."   I just hurried up my garden work.  Got another bed weeded. Woohoo!

Our 19 year-old stopped in the previous night and brought her kids with her.  King just looks so cute in that photo.  

Chickweed is coming up.  Super excited about this.  It's not ready to harvest just yet.  I am about out, so I'll be checking on it often this spring.

As for the "iron" you probably guessed it.  That's referring to the bike ride we took.  Just an early week "refresher" on the "sanity saver."