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, June 29, 2022

Just lots of work in a day . . .

 I was out of the garden by 8am.  It's mostly tilled, but today I need to weed and till.  Grass is up around some plants, but other than that, I'm keeping up with it.  I had to run to "the big" city" again.  I needed a new rack for my canner pot.  I searched for hours online, and only found them on ebay for $20.00.  I ended up going to Wal-mart and getting the pot and rack for $24.00.   

I moseyed over to the meat to pick up something to grill, and wasn't shocked to see there was nearly nothing in the way of chicken.  Two packages literally (should have taken a photo), and thankfully all organic was available.  Same with the ground beef as well.

I went to the hardware store and picked up paint for the living room and bathroom door and bathroom cabinet.

Not the greatest photo, but I finally painted the beam in the kitchen ceiling.  It was truly a balancing act on the ladder, to avoid using a ton of paint tape.  My husband is tall enough to do it without a ladder, but he is overly, completely, and utterly exhausted from work.  He was thankful I did it, but I did have our handy-man working in the bathroom, so using a ladder was okay.

I still have half of the ceiling to paint, and the trim around the bathroom door, but once the bathroom is done, we can (gulp) take a look-see at the damage of the living room floor.

As for the bathroom, the entire floor was removed yesterday.  I'm frustrated, as the people who put the last floor and drywall in, just left debris under the house.  It's been a lot of work, but our handy-man is still at it.

Again, sorry for the bad photo, but I realized yesterday, that the paint on the beam matches the praying hands from Mom.  I'm still cleaning the cubbies and adding new items to them.

I thought I had bought seeds to plant tarragon, and could not find them.  I had searched the stores for a plant or even seeds and found zero.  Frustrated, I came back home and went thru my seeds again, and found them.  Those got planted, although late.

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Errand Day ~ Bathroom Project Starts!


This was my fitbit at 7pm  last night.  It was errand day, and not by choice.  I had to go to the "big city" for an estimate on the truck.  We may be getting a second estimate, because the first will not fix paint chips on the hood from the deer encounter.  

Anyway, I took all my lists with me and landed at 5 stores!  I loaded online digital coupons before leaving the house.  Meijer had 20% off all ball canning supplies (you can check, but not sure how many days it's good for).  I picked up more canning lids for a great price, as things are not going well in this country, and wanted to be prepared.  Also, our Wal-mart had higher prices on canning lids than Meijer.  The 20% off was a great deal considering the times we are dealing with.

At Home Depot (my last stop), I had to wait forever at the paint counter due to lack of employees.  It was a very long day.

Meanwhile, our handy-man was gutting the entire smaller bathroom.  We ran into many unhappy surprises.  First, after the shower was removed on the other side in this photo, we discovered there was a leak in the back of the shower that disintegrated about 2 feet of drywall.  AND!  They did not use the proper drywall for behind a shower. 

The toilet was removed, only to discover that the metal fixture under the seal had completely rotted, and the flooring around the toilet was rotted.  So.....half the floor was removed, only to discover we'll need to replace the entire bathroom floor.  Oh joy for us. 

However, while the floor is out, we are having our handy-man (adding more costly dollars, but worth it), add heat tape to all the pipes under there.

Monday, June 27, 2022

Happy Homemaker Monday

 I am constantly forgetting what day it is, with this miserable work schedule my husband has.  

I'm definitely not running out of things to get done around here either.  I finally got some cabbage fermenting.

By the way, have any of you canned sauerkraut? I just looked up one recipe in one canning book that requires 25# of cabbage.  I would cut that down, but would like anyone's feedback on how it tasted after canning it.  Any other small batch recipes too.

I'm joining Sandra at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom. I will link up later when she posts.

The weather . . . 
-hot, humid and no rain in sight

As I look outside my window. . .
-grass is dying and the yards look terrible, but garden has been watered consistently.  I have another maple tree to plant, but have it in a bucket of water until we see we'll get some rain.

Right now I am . . .
Drinking coffee, trying to get enough energy to get my power shower.

Thinking and pondering . . .
I want to plan a camping trip or something when this work week schedule is over, but there is no end in sight just yet.  I need to start boxing up stuff in the living room to prepare for that project, but have to make room somewhere to put it.

How I am feeling . . .
Tired, exhausted, run down, the whole sha-bang.  I'm up super early today due to help arriving to gut the bathroom.

On the breakfast plate. . . 

A veggie dump with dandelion greens and bacon.

What I am wearing . . .
Depends on the time of day. Early am - gardening clothes (jeans, tank top, muck boots), out of the garden clothes (sweat pants, t-shirt).  By 4pm?  Pajamas and I'm not kidding.  Have to go to town clothes?  That would be jeans, and a nice top or t-shirt.

On my reading pile . . .
-no time to read right now, did some tilling in the garden yesterday

On my TV this week . . .
Mystery channel

On the menu . . .
-turkey, veggie
-Philly, either in a bell pepper or on a bun

Looking around the house . . .
-as I told my husband, "Rome wasn't built in a day" 
I still have some painting to do in the kitchen, then the bathroom gets painted, then we move to the living room.....

To-do list . . .
-wash bedding
-paint bathroom door
-put away dishes, wash crock pots
-water grow bags
-get estimate on truck damage
-mail in rebate

From the camera. . . 

Damage done from the deer.

Prayers . . .
...for workers to get the machines repaired and back up and running so my husband can go back to normal work hours and we can finally have time with each other.

Sunday, June 26, 2022

This and That

I noticed when we stayed at the island the last time, she had black washcloths with the work "makeup" on them.  Genius.  I could just go to the store and buy black ones, but made one myself with cotton yarn to see if it would work well.

I love this pattern, so we'll see how it goes and if the face makeup will stain on it or not.  I'm hoping it works vs. using my other lighter washcloths that do stain.  I don't wear makeup that often, but I am happy with this pattern, and they stitch up quickly.

Thankfully my husband had Saturday off, however, he never took my bathroom door off the hinges for me.  It'll probably happen tonight.  We have a hired handy-man coming to help gut the bathroom (so happy for that).

We finally picked up a new toilet for the bathroom, and wow the prices have really gone up.  $229.00 for one on sale!  Thankfully we had $140.00 in rebates from the kitchen floor repair.

Three of the kids came over to have a lunch for Father's Day.  I was tickled pink to have their boyfriends take a desk down from upstairs and see the girls remove more of their belongings from upstairs.

I've been taking advantage of the weather, and getting the laundry caught up, and dried on the clothesline.  We were to get rain today, but now they are saying no rain.  We are literally having a drought.

I wanted to plant some arnica seeds, although late, but may wait until we do get rain.  My calendula seeds are sprouting, so that is good.  I've had to water daily though.

Saturday, June 25, 2022

Fruit Bags

I have no idea why I never thought of this, or not ever heard of this, but somehow I learned about it the other day. 

They are fruit bags you put over your tree fruit, to keep birds and bugs off of them.  I just covered a lot of apples, but may get the ladder out there and get more covered up.  I am also hanging garlic around the bottom of the branches to keep deer and raccoons out of trees.  

I'll be sure to let you know if they work.  They even have bags for your grapes.  I may have to put our grapes in next year.  The last ones were ruined, and I can't remember why.  Maybe a drought and we just couldn't keep up?  Anyway, I learned something new.

Friday, June 24, 2022

This and That

In conversation with a professional in the financial business, I was told we are already in a recession regardless of what the news is saying or not saying.  I'll be honest, I am wondering if people will even have money to spend on craft shows this coming Christmas time.  

Last night I made this sheet pan dinner, and it was very good.  The only thing I would add is a dressing for the chicken once it comes out of the oven. I'm thinking cherry-bourbon BBQ sauce or something.  Other than that the bacon grease made this dish very tasty.  A good recipe for bad times as well.  You can raise your meat birds, grow your own sweet potatoes and brussel sprouts, and raise the pig to render the lard for the cooking process.  I do have cast iron pans in case of a black out, and can cook over a campfire.

I'm ready to start gutting the smaller bathroom, but our handyman told us, "I don't do weekends."  I guess if it works out, I'll get doing that on my own.  I've been watching Youtube videos of how to take a corner shower out.  The problem is I am not allowed to operate a saw by myself.

Thursday, June 23, 2022

Foraging ~ Ramblings


The wild black raspberries are on early this year.  They are small, but tasty.  

I have a lot of plantain in the flower beds, and I am happy to say I have a wild growing mullein plant again.  So happy for that.

The heat if finally letting up a bit, but no sign of rain.

My husband took the truck to work the other day, so he could get the gas can refilled.  A deer jumped out of the ditch and smashed into the side of the truck.  I'm still waiting on the collision repair guy to call so I can take the truck in for repairs. I sure hope it doesn't take a year to get an appointment.

I finally baked us a chocolate angel food cake.  It's good and light, but there is not much chocolate flavor to it.  I don't get to make one very often, but it's a nice light dessert for this hot weather.

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Hot Days ~ Sore Muscles ~ New Books and other ramblings

Woke up to 77°F at 6am.  It will be another hot one, but not in the 100's thankfully.  It will be in the 90's though.

I didn't check the heat index yesterday.  I was too busy weeding the last of the tomatoes.  Our mower/handy man was mowing, and the mower broke down.  He spent the hottest part of the day fixing it.  I took him about 3 bottles of ice water and two popsicles to keep him cool.  Not a good time for the mower to stop working.

I actually cooked dinner in the heat.  I had a brain moment, and normally cook chicken fajitas over the grill or stove top.  This time I baked it in the oven as a sheet pan dinner.  So much easier and tasted great!  We treated our handyman to some too.

I feel like I have read the Self-reliance book before, but I double and triple checked my shelf.  I did not have it.  I have not had time to read either yet (other than flipping thru it to take a look-see).  I ordered the one on chickens, because it has instructions on dehydrating eggs (and other ways to stock up eggs), and canning chicken, recipes and more good information.  During this time of increasing inflation, I wanted to make sure we were prepared.

Boy oh boy, my body aches from the garden work yesterday.  I'm not sure I'll get out there today in this heat.  I completely forgot about preparing for a dinner tonight, so that is on the list first.

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

English Muffin Rings

Over about a year ago, I looked into buying a set of baking rings for English muffins.  I guess I just sort of forgot about it, as I had not baked some in a while.  The above photo is making the English muffins without the rings.  The dough would rise nicely, but spread outward and delicate to move from oil sprayed foil to the pan (as directed on the original recipe).

I ordered myself a set and gave it a whirl.  Instead of using foil, I used parchment paper, cutting it into 8 squares.  I lightly oiled them and put the dough in the rings during the second rise.  I also oiled the inside of the rings.

I then could pull off one at a time delicately, and boy did I get a thicker muffin.  Will do it this way from now on.

I also used the rings to fry eggs for muffin sandwiches.  Works great!  You do need to oil the ring, but it makes eating the breakfast sandwich much easier.  Love my new kitchen gadget.

Monday, June 20, 2022

Happy Homemaker Monday

The smaller tiller (runs on a battery) broke down after the 4th use.  It's going back.  We spent the entire Father's Day searching for a better one.  We finally found one, and it runs on "gulp" gas.  It was the last one they had and it was 1 hour from home.

We finally bought a new tire for my wheelbarrow ($32.00!!!).  It's in the back of the truck, and guess who took the truck to work this morning.  Yeah...not sure yet why he didn't take his car, but the wheelbarrow will have to wait.  Again.

We took Mom, Dad and my Uncle flowers.  Mom's cemetery is very close to Dad's, and surprisingly, the last flowers I took were still there (we had a bad storm recently). We stopped to buy more flowers for Grandma and Grandpa, but we could not find any in the stores.  

Bluebell flew the coop yesterday.  I guess I'll be clipping her wing.  I cannot wait to build a better coop, but we have so much on our plate right now.

Today I am joining Sandra at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom.

The weather . . . 

Well, I woke up to rain, so I am not sure I'll be getting the weeding done today.  The heat returns as well.

As I look outside my window . . .

It's raining.

Right now I am  . . .

Getting ready to post this blog post.

Thinking and pondering . . .

What my day will be today due to unexpected rain.

How I am feeling . . .

Exhausted of this work schedule.  My husband said it may be coming to an end in 3-4 weeks.

On the breakfast plate . . .

Not sure yet.  Will figure that out after a power shower.

On my reading pile . . .

Haven't had time to read.

On my TV this week . . .

Netflix.  Whatever looks interesting.

On the menu . . .

-Chicken fajitas, grilled
-not sure for the rest....will work on that later today.

Looking around the house . . .

The kitchen painting is winding down, but I still have the ceiling to paint, and then it's time to gut the bathroom.  I may be doing it by myself.

To do list . . .

-weed gardens
-bake a breakfast
-marinade chicken

From the camera . . .

Nothing.  Oddly.

Devotional . . .

Haven't picked up a book in days.  I need to be better at that.

Saturday, June 18, 2022

Kitchen update


Just a look-see at the oven area.  I still have to paint that wooden beam in the ceiling and half the ceiling, but I'm super happy with the results.  It's so much brighter!

The weather is much cooler this morning, and I am thankful for that.  It will be another full blown day in the garden.  The larger tomato patch was finished yesterday.  We actually have tomatoes on the very first plant I put banana peel water on.  That area has been fully weeded and tilled.  Today I have to water every thing, including flower bed, herb garden, newly planted trees and potted flowers.  Then it's back out to weed the other garden.

I'll admit, I was not ready to do all of this solo.  Coming in from the garden, downing some Haymaker's punch, and painting.  I have really slacked in the cooking department due to the garden work that needs done.

Friday, June 17, 2022

Still painting and other ramblings. . .

It's been a whirlwind week!  First Derecho, then 105°F heat index, followed by a hot week with the 90's.  I am trying my best to get out to the garden early, and tie up tomatoes in the dryer portions of the garden.  One area will take a few days to dry up enough to even walk into.

My ladies have been getting treated with chipped ice.  It's been miserable, but glad that the heat is drying up the garden too.

I sort of feel like I've been tossed into the food processor and the pause button is broke.  The schedule here has been overwhelming.  There is so much to do, and yet the honey-do list never gets checked off on his only day off.  

My clothesline broke, so it's off the honey-do list and on my list now.  I was not a happy camper either.  It takes multiple trips outside to hang it all up, and then take it all down before it even dried.  

I'm still painting in the kitchen.  Rome wasn't built in a day.  I just got my husband to remove a corner trim, but I need to paint the last window, ceiling trim above the fridge (and floor trim behind it), and put things back in place.  Next up?  The other half of the ceiling.

My cabinet finally arrived!!  I waited 9 weeks for delivery.  I love it.  Once painting for the day is complete, I will scour the house for Mom's dishes and put those in the cabinet.

If I get certain things done today, I will be able to have my husband help me start gutting the bathroom that has to be dealt with (if he gets a day off this weekend).  The vanity is in my utility room and I really want it back where it needs to be.  Yes, that means more painting, but we haven't painted anything in this house for 14 years (other than my "office").

Our handy-man came over and repaired brakes on my husband's car. We are so thankful for him being available.  He is coming back to haul limbs out of the yard from Derecho, and other work for us.  

Yesterday, I made sure I took time for myself and crocheted.  I have a new item I am working on.  Once it's complete, I will be sure to show you all.

Our kale is looking good, but not much of the chard came up this year (oddly).  Anyway, Derecho gave us two more cucumber plants.

Thursday, June 16, 2022

My Flowers ~ Haymaker's Punch ~ Inflation is out of control!!

My flowers still look beautiful!

The heat returns, and I am prepared this time.   I was out and back in by 8:30am, with a heat index of 89°F.  The tomatoes look better than the day before, but still way to wet to get in there to tie up plants.

I will monitor my gardening time out in the sun, but have what's called "Nature's Gatorade."

The recipe is from the Farmer's Almanac, but also online with Mother Earth News.  

I cut the recipe down for a 1/2 gallon, and used molasses, and did not add extra brown sugar.

On the handmade home front, I am so frustrated with this inflation.  Walmart raised their cotton cone yarn from $7.99 to $12.95, and never have the colors I need.  JoAnn's raised their price to $15.99.  I went online to check Michael's and they have them on clearance, and all are out of stock.  I ended up finding one color on Amazon for $10.95, but the only option for the other colors in stock were $14.99 and that was "on sale" as they have raised their price to $16.99 for a cone of cotton yarn!!  Hobby Lobby has limited stock and I do not like Premier yarn at all.


Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Sweet Cherry Jam ~ Breakfast Hash with Eggs ~ Ramblings

I got a small batch of sweet cherry jam (reduced sugar) done.  I most likely won't make any more considering I had to buy the cherries.  Our cherry tree died for some reason, and I didn't have the time to plant one this spring.  Hopefully next year.

I'm obsessed with these dip bowls by Pioneer Woman.  Love them for cracking eggs before adding them to a recipe.

Breakfast - sweet potato hash (with an extra reg. potato because that is what I had), with eggs on top.  I added jalapeno for a kick and it was so good.

It's been confirmed that we had a Derecho.  The area of Amish country around Berlin, OH had so much damage from the storms that they called a Level 3 and no one was allowed on the roads, to allow for cleaning up the debris.  Hotels, and motels closed, businesses closed due to the damage and power outages.

I went out to the tomatoes, and I literally almost lost my boots in one patch, and could not get into the other at all.  It was under water.  I will go out early this morning, and see if I can get into at least one and tie up plants.  Not sure it will happen.

Not the best photo, but dinner was chicken/apple/cranberry/pecan/blue cheese.  Very good on a hot day.

I like to keep bottles of ice water on hand for our mower guy and our hired help for other work around here, and it was already up in price to $5.29 a pack.  Horrible!

Today's heat will be worse than yesterday.  I will be outside soon to trim rose bushes, but will be back inside if the tomatoes are too wet.

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Thunderstorms, Wind up to 75mph, Hail.....

 Although I pushed all of our front porch furniture up to the house, I found it all in a pile this morning.  Thankfully, it  is all there and in good shape, but wet.

We lost power, but woke up to power thankfully.  Many are still without power.

We lost a few trees, and I will be checking the barns later after the rain quits (yes, more rain this morning after a night of storms).

I slept thru my husband's alarms on his phone, and with the power out, I'm not sure he got his coffee this morning.  I see he also left his wallet behind.  I am praying he has enough gas to get home, or someone will let him borrow cash to fill up to get home.  

Our backyard is full of branches and tree limbs, and tomato stakes are still standing, but will have to be re-pounded.  

I will need to re-set the clocks on everything that lost power, especially the coffee pot.  My husband lives on that pre-set timer at 4:30am.

Yesterday I could not find pickling lime anywhere in the local stores (in one direction anyway).  I ended up ordering it online.  The way things are going, I am going to try and can extra for the kids.  I have a feeling things are going to get worse.

Monday, June 13, 2022

Happy Homemaker Monday

My husband finally had Sunday off, but we pretty much spent it running around for errands, and for about the 3rd time (even though it was on the list) forgot the new tire for the wheelbarrow.  Sigh.  

We successfully planted my flowers I bought 2 weeks ago, and weeded the lower front flower bed.  We also put a tarp down to extend one area of the flower bed, to make mowing much easier.  We will not plant there for 1-2 years, to make sure we kill off the grass.

We tag-teamed and tilled the gardens, but the belt broke on the larger tiller.  We totally forgot to buy one when we were in town.  We did remember to buy a new filter for it though.  Oddly, it was still very wet out there, so I have not had to water anything but the grow bags and flowers.  The herb garden has the least amount of weeds right now.

We finally both got haircuts, but I was so ready to cut my bangs myself.  Luckily, our daughter was working and had a time slot for both of us.

We stopped at several stores and brought home 2 azaleas for one area around the house.  I had him make a stop at the Dollar Tree so I could run in for 2 things, one being bungee cords.  I got in line and boy was it a long line.  There was a woman in the other check out with a cart filled to the brim and over flowing.  Preparing for another Armageddon?

On a good note, our electric bill went from in the $200's to down to $94.00.  Amazing how low it can go with all the kids move out.

Today I am joining Sandra at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom.

The weather . . . 
If we are lucky, we are to get rain late tonight.  Actually storms, so I hope the tomatoes are strong enough to withstand any wind.

As I look outside my window . . .
I have a pile of cement blocks I need to remove from the yard, but that is last on the list, otherwise thankful we got the flower bed area covered with a tarp for a future expansion (possibly more herbs).

Right now I am  . . .
Sipping coffee, trying to wake up and figure out on a breakfast for my husband tomorrow.

Thinking and pondering . . .
I really need to get flowers to the cemeteries.  I just don't want to go by myself, but I really want to get them there.  We have not been able to sell our hutch, so we have contacted Habitat for Humanity to see if we can donate it to a new home they are building nearby.

How I am feeling . . . 
Somewhat rested, but not looking forward to another long week of these work hours.  I guess I'm going to have to take the tire off the wheelbarrow and take it somewhere to make sure I get the right one.

On the breakfast plate . . .
Have no idea yet.  Today it may be leftover french toast, scrambled eggs and blueberry sausage (unless I save it for my husband for tomorrow and make something for myself today).

On the reading pile . . .
Haven't had time to read lately.

On my TV . . .
The Patriot, Netflix

On the menu . . .
-Apple/pecan chicken salad (a refreshing dinner on a hot day)
-grilled burgers with tomato and our garden lettuce
-I want to get some iced tea made with home grown spearmint (my favorite)

Looking around the house . . .
The floor trim was never put in on Sunday.  Time got away, and it was just not done.  I do have to get a corner piece painted, but we may end up replacing it.  The people we hired to paint, removed it and put it back up, but destroyed it with staples.  A piece of floor trim will also need replaced.  They broke it in half removing it (sigh).

The to-do list . . .
-water grow bags and flowers
-move one hosta
-a small bit of laundry
-work upstairs
-put up more strawberries
-tidy up kitchen
-make a breakfast
-check all lists I have going...sigh...

From the camera . . .

 I saw about a dozen finches yesterday.  They love this thistle.  They would visit me in the flower beds until I yanked my 5 foot weeds, but they sure do love them, and I am seeing so many this year.

Prayers . . .
Us.  We are just so spent lately, and it's even difficult to enjoy my husband's day off anymore (packed with to-do's on the honey-do list).  He is on edge most days when he gets home.

Saturday, June 11, 2022

Day off but not by choice


I've been running myself hard ever since my husband's crazy long hours/days started.  I should have known, that if I didn't be more careful, I would get sick.  I did.  I woke up sick today, hence the late post. 

Thankfully, rain is on the way, but tilling will not be done today.

When I went to the porch to get some fresh air, I found my husband had all of this delivered!  The best husband, and the best timing ever!

Make sure to take care of yourself!

Friday, June 10, 2022

Handheld Vacuum Sealer Updates


I purchased this handheld vacuum sealer, due to the one recommended not being manufactured right now.  America's Test Kitchen recommended a different one, but after doing my research, found out it may not be made again. 

The only issue I have is that the battery cover pops off easily.  I just put some duct tape over it.  

The bags are more difficult to seal than a regular ziploc bag, but once sealed they work great.

Update on these after almost a year of using them:  Now that it's just us too, I plan to put all what I freeze in one larger bag, and just take out what we need.  Other than corn, I think it will work great for us, and us on buying ziploc bags this year.