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, April 30, 2023

Need Help Finding Organic Music Garlic!

 I normally fall plant our garlic, but once again it was eaten over winter (all 80 cloves!!!), and we believe it's the work of voles.

I need to spring plant garlic now, and I cannot, for the life of me find anyone selling organic music garlic seed for spring planting.  I can only find "fall" planting garlic.

I like music, but I would try any organic garlic at this point.  I'm so frustrated right now.  

(Source: Territorial Seeds)

Anyone?  I even looked on Etsy, and all that I see are pre-orders for fall.  Sigh.,....urgh...

By the way, we have moved the garlic grow bags closer to the house now.

Saturday, April 29, 2023

Breakfast Grits ~ Strawberry Crunch and a lot dirty dishes day


(recipe is from The Southern Lady Cooks, online)

I made us a sausage/tomato/chili and cheese grits breakfast casserole, to use up some tomatoes from the freezer.  It was the first time to try this recipe, and it was delicious.  So delicious my husband kept coming back in the kitchen to get another bite, and another, and good.  I made farm fresh scrambled eggs to pair with it.  I will be taking some to youngest, as it made a lot.

Where do you all buy your grits?  I'm having a terrible time finding organic/non-gmo grits.  I need to day to search online I guess.  Any tips on where to buy them would be great.  It's been a while since I bought any, so if I find some, I will stock a bit in the freezer.  

In celebration of the crazy work schedule ending, I baked a strawberry crunch for my husband to take to work, for their celebratory dinner at work.  I love having those frozen strawberries on hand, and they smell as fresh as they did when I froze them.

After all the dishes were washed (hubby did the washing), dried, and put away, I did a lot of re-filling of stuff.  It was like everything was out all at once.

I buy a lot of organic ingredients in bulk, so the black pepper was re-filled, cinnamon, homemade vanilla, and the sugar canister needed refilled (I do not bulk buy sugar).

Speaking of homemade vanilla.  I keep this in a box in my closet, and when I went to retrieve the vanilla, I saw a tincture I started in 2021 and completely forgot about it.

The tincture has sage still in the vodka.  Is this still good to strain, or should I toss it?  I guess that year it was super crazy, so I completely forgot about it.

Most of the rainy day was involved with baking, but my wonderful husband went upstairs and helped me move the things, so I could paint more flooring.  


Friday, April 28, 2023

Whew! Crazy Hours End! ~ Extreme Clean/Renovations Update ~ Garden


We made it through it!  My husband had to work 14 days straight, with a switch to 2nd shift, and that was hard for the both of us.  It has finally come to an end.  Now we can get back to our home projects and have the evenings to ourselves. 

I literally have several lists going right now.  I figured, when this schedule is back to normal, I have options on what we do next, ha ha!

I have been painting the upstairs sub flooring with odor killer paint, and have one room more than half done.  We are super excited to get this job done, so we can install flooring.  I should the larger room's flooring painted in 3 days, 4 tops.

We have purged many boxes in the last two weeks, donated quite a bit, and our trash bin filled up as fast as it was emptied.

I have just a few more boxes to go through, but they are larger boxes.  The bedroom/closet are almost done.    We haven't talked much about door paint color yet.  We'll pick up paint swatches next trip to town.

On the garden updates:

- planted 16 new asparagus root starts, put short fencing in around to hold straw in place (for now)

-planted about 10 new rhubarb (temporarily in a grow bag)

We are to get 5-6 days of rain starting today.  I wanted to get these planted before the rain.  

What needs done in the garden:

-dig randomly growing red raspberry sprouts and re-home them, they are coming up in over in the vegetable garden where I have the original asparagus bed.

Gardening indoors:

-planted a basil and cilantro plant, because I have been terrible with seed starts with everything going on here lately.

Thursday, April 27, 2023

How to make the most tender shredded chicken. . .


I have noticed, when I make an all-in-one chicken dinner in the crock pot (with chicken breast), it is the most tender chicken.


I started to do this, for any baked casserole dinner that has shredded chicken as an ingredient - place organic chicken breasts (fat trimmed) into a crock pot (I salt and pepper it first) and cover with organic chicken broth (low sodium).  I cover the chicken completely with the broth.

I cook this on low all day.  I haven't really kept track of the hours, but maybe 6-7 hours.  I then turn off the crock pot, and shred the chicken, and add to whatever recipe I am baking in the oven.  I've even done this the day before, that way the chicken is already done.  It is the most tender chicken for our recipes.  

Note:  The chicken is so tender I use a slotted spoon to remove the chicken from the crock pot, or it simply falls apart in the crockpot.  It makes it easier to get to the cutting board to shred.

I don't know why I haven't even thought of this before, after making so many crock pot chicken dinners, but I've tried it twice, and my husband said to me, "whatever you did with the chicken, keep doing it!"  So much better than say boiling chicken to shred.  

Note:  I never buy canned shredded chicken unless we are taking a specific chip dip to a gathering.  However, I will be doing this instead next time.

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Garden Harvest Tip and other ramblings


I like to dice up jalapenos I freeze from the garden, but the tip below is an idea to keep fresh peppers fresh, after harvesting.  Anyway, this breakfast had a lot going on in it.  I had a red bell pepper, bacon, a few sweet potatoes, onion, leftover pesto, eggs, jalapeno, and fresh green onions from the herb garden.  Delicious.  No recipe.  I just tossed it together.

As we near garden season, here is another tip I learned (America's Test Kitchen):

(source:  America's Test Kitchen)

I did not know this.  Typically, we either eat, can or freeze as we harvest, but at the end of the season this could be useful.

My husband has not had a day off for 2 weeks now.  Not even weekends.  We cannot wait for that schedule to end.

I have switched gears, and started to go through all the crafting supplies that were moved out of the bedroom closet.  There is a lot to go through.  

Tough decisions on what stays and what goes.

There is nothing going on in the garden currently.  I'm waiting on my husband's crazy schedule to end, before we purchase solar electric fencing.

My front flower bed is full of purple dead nettle.  Part of me says harvest it, the other says look away.

Tuesday, April 25, 2023

Wild Violets ~ Wild Violet Jelly ~ Wild Violet Tincture

 I have wild violets on our property, and they only bloom for a short time.  One area is around my clothesline, so I have to keep on top of it, before someone mows it down.

In the past I have made wild violet jelly for gifting and enjoying ourselves.  I just don't have the time to can anything right now, so I decided to make a medicinal tincture this spring.

Here is how I canned the jelly:  Wild Violet Jelly

It's perfect for gift giving because it is a beautiful color, and it tastes delicious.  I can it in 4 oz. jars, to make the recipe more shareable.  I typically only get enough blossoms for one batch when I do can jelly.  I first made the jelly back in 2018.  I got the recipe from another blogger (go to my link and it will then have a link for her blogpost).

(I picked these, and made this Sunday, before the frost)

The tincture is new to us.  I am doing research on uses, but so far cough, throat issues are two.  Have you made this tincture?  I would love to know what other benefits is contains, or illnesses it can be used for.

Monday, April 24, 2023

Happy Homemaker Monday

 I've mentioned that we make Four Thieves Vinegar for the year, and especially for winter months, and now I am making a Four Thieves Spray to clean the house with.

You can get the instructions with Mountain Rose Herbs online (there is a video).

It's been rough lately, when it comes to daily chores.  In the process of going through every single box/tote/bag for the closet, there are daily chores to do first.  It's been a bit overwhelming, but I know it will all be worth the work.

I decided to mix up some herbal tea mix for my version of "calm the fluff" down tea.  There are so many recipes for this online.  I used what I had on hand.

Asparagus is up a few weeks early and we are expected to have a frost tonight.

If you were asking about the recent afghan pattern, for the granny/double crochet ripple with a straight edge, I posted it yesterday:  HERE


Forget The Pharmacy - Grow Your Own Medicine: The Homesteader's Ultimate Self-Sufficient Guide to Grow Herbs, Craft Natural Remedies, and Treat Common ... Proactively (The Homesteader Herbs Series)

Do any of you have this book?  I tried to get it from the library, and they do not have it.  I'm wondering if it is worth the purchase?

Today I am joining Sandra at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom.
I will link up after she posts this morning.   Grab some cuppa, as it's sort of a long post today ha ha!

The weather. . .

49°/30° today, heading up to the 60's later this week, but lots of rain.

As I look outside my window . . .

Calm, a bit sunny.

Right now I am . . .

Brewing coffee late.

Thinking and pondering .  . .

Wondering if there is a difference in using licorice root for tea making or licorice root slices?  Does anyone know?  I tried googling it and it just kept giving me uses etc.

So, I came across this in a tote from the closet.  I am told that my Grandmother on my Dad's side made one for me and my siblings.  I am also told Mom stored them in her cedar chest and we were never allowed to play with them.  So, now I'm a grown older adult, and have no idea what to do with it.  The leg is also falling apart.

Our historical museum is closed due to water damage last winter, and we have no idea when they will open (if they even re-open).  Also, the head on this doll is barely holding on.  What would you do?   Storing it seems impractical.  My kids would not want it either.

On my bedside table. . .

Water, two crochet hooks, clock, remote, and heater remote.

On my TV this week . . .

I'll be honest, I'm not finding anything interesting on Netflix.  I may look at our movie stash this week.

Listening to . . .

Rock, 70's.  A girl's gotta have something to motivate this extreme clean, take back the house, get it organized stuff.

On my lunch  plate . . .

I boiled eggs, so eggs or egg salad.  Or sliced egg on a cracker with a spread.

On my dinner plate . . .

Not sure yet.

On the menu this week . . .

-Leftover sheet pan dinner (chicken sausage/carrots/potatoes), leftover asparagus and broccoli

-Chicken Spaghetti, garden green beans

-not sure on the rest just yet


-Sweet potato hash with eggs
-Scrambled pesto eggs, bacon
-Chili Cheddar Egg Bake, sausage

On my reading pile . . .

I'm still reading Atomic Habits.  I am really enjoying this book, but not much time to read lately.

On the to-do list . . .

-clean roosts
-work more on the big purge

Plans for the week . . .

1. Start painting odor sealant on upstairs wood flooring

2. Get garden fencing up, or at least get it purchased

3. Gather all the donation items and deliver them (two places)

4. Gather all the trash (from the big purge) and get it out of the house (trash bin outside is FULL!)

What I am creating . . .

This is the afghan I mentioned at the top of this post.  I'm still working on it.

Also, a new tincture was made, and I will post tomorrow.

My simple pleasure . . .

Yogurt/peanut butter dip and apple slices.  I prefer organic greek plain yogurt mixed with just some organic peanut butter.  You can add honey for added flavor, but the peanut butter is enough for me.  

Looking around the house . . .

I have a lot to go through, before I move any craft supplies to the upstairs.  

From the Camera. . .

I inherited a knit pattern from one of my Grandmothers.  I found it in the box of beads.  However, she did not write down the size of knitting needle.  I have tucked this away for now.  It appears she used worsted weight yarn for it though.  Anyway, getting tucked away until I have more free time.  My focus is to get this house back in order.

Bible Verse, Devotional, Quote. . .

Prayers for Daughter E.  Her cat Tiger is in Kitty Heaven now.  He was 14 years old.  I will miss that turd.  He was a wonderful cat with a very lovely personality. 

Sunday, April 23, 2023

Gardens are Ready ~ Crochet Pattern ~ A Mix of Granny Ripple and Double Crochet/Single Ripple with Straight Edge Start

The compost has all been tilled into the gardens, and they are ready for planting next month.   We still need to build the new raised beds, but we are ahead of schedule thankfully.   We are still working on purchasing an electric solar fence.

The recent weather was perfect to catch up on laundry and dry it on the clothesline.  It's been a long week, and we got some rain too.

By the way, those Einkorn waffles I posted about the other day?  Well, they taste great re-heated.  They are not a crunchy waffle, and are soft, but so good!

A few of you mentioned you were interested in the pattern for the most recent, and newest, afghan I am crocheting.  I have to admit, this pattern is getting rave reviews, and a lot of inquiries. 

I had spent time searching for a new pattern to use up yarn colors I had in my stash, and this is the one I came up with.  As I said previously, the woman who wrote the pattern mentions to change your yarn color differently.   You basically can do what you want, and I love that she includes a graph at the end of the pattern, so you can customize your afghan by the size you want to make the afghan, and with what size yarn you are using.

I first found this pattern at:  The 6-Day Kid Blanket
At the very bottom of this pattern, the author and creator, shares the graph I was explaining about.  It is very helpful in deciding size of blanket and what yarn/hook you want to use.

I did more digging and found her pattern for:  How to start your 6-day kid blanket with a Straight Edge

I used the instructions for starting with a straight edge (this pattern is the second link I shared).  I have never crocheted a ripple pattern with a straight edge start, and I really like it so far.  I don't think I have ever crocheted a granny stitch ripple either, and I love this combination and look.  I will be playing around with the blanket and yarn sizes this year.

I've gotten a bit more done on it, as of today.

In appearance, the afghan with the blue and green in it, is an inch shorter in width than my last blanket, but I will end it with a edging.  The first  pattern link will also have information on edging designs for the blanket.

I plan on making some lap afghans and a few baby blankets down the road, using this pattern.  It would be great for a scrap lap afghan too.

Saturday, April 22, 2023

Tales of Grandma ~ I Learned Something New!


Years ago, my Dad gave me a container of "crafty" items from his mother (my Grandma).  She lived through the Great Depression, and was very creative on recycling "trash" into items to sell (above is a magnet she made).

She used to recycle egg cartons, but punching holes out using a single hole punch.  She would make many things with them, and in the container, along with several bags of punched circles, was a magnet she made with other styrofoam trays.  My biggest memory from these punched circles, was her necklaces she made with them, using dental floss to string it and other beads.  Several years ago, I wrote about it.  You can get directions on my S.C.R.A.P. blogspot.

She also made beautiful beaded jewelry.  I have completely emptied that container, sorted it and boxed most of it up.  It will be donated to a home where they house women recovering from mental/health and addiction/recovery issues.  They are very "crafty" and were asking for craft donations.  

The business also asked for beads as well, and that container had a lot of beads.  Some of them were such a beautiful color, I was hesitant to let go of them.  I mean the container has been stored (and not opened) for over 20 years now.  I probably would have made something with them, had I even remembered they were in there.

However....he he he

I learned something new this year!!  I try to learn something new ever year, but this was completely spontaneous.  I had the wire (the exact size wire oddly) in my own stash, and well....learned how to crochet with wire.

First, it used a lot of wire to learn this.  Second, go slow with wire (vs. yarn), and third, watch all the YouTube videos you can to get all the tips and tricks for beginners.  

I had the earring levers already, but I have learned in this process, that the tools I have in my own stash are not that great for this.  The wire cutter especially.  Don't buy the kits at the big box store.  Spend the extra for better tools.  I haven't used my tools in a long time, but I realize with this project, I need to upgrade if I want to make more of these types of projects.

Grandma's beads are so beautiful in color, that I could not help myself to make something with them (before I departed with them).  I only have 3 colors of beads in the size to make the hoop earrings.

Here is the link to the pattern that inspired the hoop wired earrings:  Beaded Crochet Wire Earrings.  Keep in mind she does not give instructions for beginners, and to do some video watching (search YouTube) first before attempting.

I still have a lampshade made with styrofoam egg cartons and plastic beads.  It still works to this day, but my husband will not let me give it away.

My Grandma (Dad's side), also grew a garden, canned, raised chickens (eggs and meat), and sewed all of her clothes.  I think it was my Grandpa that made homemade cherry wine, that my Dad got into and tasted it without Grandma and Grandpa knowing.  Dad said it tasted horrible, ha ha!

I am gathering my information to post about the newest afghan pattern I am currently crocheting.  I hope to post that tomorrow.

Friday, April 21, 2023

Einkorn Waffles ~ Purge/Extreme Clean Update ~ Spring Flowers


There is so much going on here right now.  Crazy busy with purging and re-organizing a lot of "stuff" in our closet.  I decided to take a slower morning, and tried Jovial's Einkorn (recipe is on their website) waffle recipe that uses yogurt in the recipe.  I had to use more dishes than I would like in the morning, but they were good.  They turned out nice and fluffy, but need cooked about 1 minute longer than traditional recipes (or they will be doughy in the center).  Delicious!

We are going through every single tote that was in the closet.  Together we emptied 5 totes (so far).  I am washing them out and putting them aside for now (I may be able to use some for yarn).  We will not get rid of them for sure.  They are too expensive to buy right now (like about everything else).

We are once again having wonderful weather, and the spring flowers are blooming on the homestead.

Update on the chickens and barley grass.  They don't seem interested in it.  They like the lentil sprouts the best, but all chickens are different.

Thursday, April 20, 2023

Barley Sprouts and Barley Grass ~ New to the Coop Fun for the Chickens

 I have been spoiling my chickens with lentil sprouts and they love them.  They are not only inexpensive to grow, but grow in about 4 days.  They are very easy to get out of the quart canning jar.

I have started to grow them barley sprouts.  They take longer, but I used the same method.   They are also harder to get out of the canning jar, so if you use this method, I suggest a wide mouth jar.  They all stick together vs. lentil sprouts, when grown in a quart canning jar.

I also grew barley grass for them, using my microgreen tray.  I'll admit, it was just as fun for me to grow, as it was for the chickens.

I used this barley, and soaked about a 3/4 cup of barley overnight.  The next morning, I spread the soaked seeds out onto my 9 x 13 microgreen tray.  I rinsed them every day, and made sure they had ventilation.

Wednesday, April 19, 2023

. . .from the gratitude journal


. . .I am thankful for the spring green onions coming up in the herb garden.  They are very delicious and healthy.

. . .I am thankful for the continuous eggs from the chickens.

. . .I am thankful for the friend and family member who came over to help re-wire the closet light switch to the new location (it was not even working where it was).  One more thing to do in the closet and I can move it all back in.

. . .I am thankful for recent bits of sunshine we have gotten.

. . .I am thankful for a recent visit and overnight stay with one of my kids.

. . .I am thankful for coffee in the morning.

Tuesday, April 18, 2023

Hook Size Matters and other ramblings. . .


The "clay pot" on the left was crocheted with an "H" hook and the one on the right was crocheted with an "I" hook.  I am not sure what I will do with the smaller one yet, but it was a mistake in the making.

During the process of the bedroom flooring/painting, I kept two hooks in a drawer in one of the end tables of the living room.  One night I grabbed the wrong hook for my blanket and had to frog quite a bit of it.

I had this yarn sitting at my bill paying station (aka the procrastination station computer area).  I decided to go ahead and use it up and see how many "clay pots" I could get out of a ball of cotton yarn.  I will most likely add this to my inventory, or gift them once I get the leaf coasters made for them.

Nothing exciting to share today ha ha!  Just a hook mishap.  I've also been pretty exhausted at the end of the day.  I probably should not be crocheting anything.

I am not getting much done, as we are in the midst of bad weather to work the compost into the garden (it's on just not tilled in).  The closet floor is close to being finished, and some donations have been delivered.

Monday, April 17, 2023

Happy Homemaker Monday

 The closet "extreme clean" is still going on.  I'm impressed if I pull at least a few items a day around here.  

My green onion is in full harvest due to the recent weather.  I could not let it be ignored with the twist of weather today.  I made a batch of fresh green onion/parsley pesto.  I plan to use some in our breakfast this morning.

Compost has now been added to the gardens.  I have yet to pull the bean fence, but we have a few days before tilling is done.   I think this year has been the earliest to get these jobs done, and I am thankful for that.  In May, it's typically hit or miss weather for getting planting done.  

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

I will link up when she posts.

The weather . . .

43/34°F and possible snow.

As I look outside my window . . .

Very cloudy and dark, and it's snowing.

Right now I am . . .

Brewing coffee.

Thinking and pondering . . .

Thinking about taking some donations to drop off, to get them out of the house.

On my bedside table . . .

Water, a crochet hook, phone charger

On my TV . . .

Netflix movies.

Listening to . . .


On the menu . . .

-fried eggs with homemade pesto, bacon and tomato slices

-Charro Beans to use up tomatoes in the freezer, and a side to go with leftover

-sheet pan chicken sausage/carrots and potatoes 

-Mexican Lasagna (no pasta), and  corn we froze off the cob last summer

On my reading pile . . .

Once a week I get this out to read up on things.  Last week I read about the Nettles.  I am learning new things from this book, and it's been on my shelf for years.

I am about 1/4 of the way through Atomic Habits.  I am very much enjoying this book.

On the to-do list . . .

-pay bills
-work on upstairs flooring
-make a breakfast
-run errands

Extreme Clean list:
-clean all of the blinds

Plans for the week . . .
To get the closet floor done, trim done and everything put back in it's place.

What I am creating . . . 

Hard to see, as the weather was rainy and dark and the lighting was bad, but I am using beads from my Grandma's stash and making a few sets of these earrings (using up supplies I have on hand for jewelry making).  It's a smaller crafting project for when it's hot out.  Most likely they will be gifted or sold down the road.  I'm thinking it would make a thoughtful Christmas present for our girls, considering the beads are from my Grandmother.

By the way, my readers were not much help with the tiny parts of the earrings.  If you use a crafter's magnifying lamp, I would love to hear your suggestions on purchasing one.

I'm still working on this blanket (old photo)

My simple pleasure . . .
On a dreary day like today, I will sometimes put something in my coffee like Bailey's or Rum Chata Peppermint Bark.  Most days it is just coffee.  I do miss the recent porch time I was getting.

Looking around the house . . .
It's still a hot mess.  I will be until the upstairs flooring is treated completely, and the bedroom closet is done. 

From the camera . . .
The ornamental apple trees are loaded with blossoms.  I took a photos just in case the snow damages things today.  

Bible Verse, Prayers. . .
Last Monday I mentioned Tina's husband.  He had cardiac arrest, followed by more complications, and unfortunately has passed away.  He name is Dane, if you wish to pray for the family.