Make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands, just as we instructed you before. Then people who are not Christians will respect the way you live, and you will not need to depend on others. First Thessalonians 4:11-12 (NLT)

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Failed Fudge

Ok, what happens when you make a batch of peanut butter fudge and it fails to set up? I really didn't want to throw it out because it tastes yummy. So I bottled it into cute little jars and created a label, tied it up with ribbon and will be giving Peanut Butter Fudge Topping as Christmas gifts!

The labels say:

Peanut Butter Fudge

Spread on toast
Use as a yummy pretzel dip
Warm in microwave and serve over ice cream
Great with celery
Scrumptious on apples
Add a dollop on pancakes
Eat straight out of the jar

I may have to make another batch and not cook as long as needed just to have more. This stuff is really good!

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

2011 Garden

Ok, I have avoided posting for a while, because there wasn't much to say. The dry summer caused an almost complete failure of the garden. We were able to get more turnips than we could eat, enough tomatoes to keep us in fresh tomatoes and make pasta sauce twice, and the cabbage was successful. Out of the 40 planted, we harvested 38. We ate several, gave away some, and attempted to make sauerkraut. A fly got into the crock and ruined the kraut. When I went to can it, there were maggots crawling all over. Next year I will make the kraut in individual canning jars.

So, this year was a bust. And even if the garden had produced, it wasn't large enough to provide for a year of food. We will be expanding for next year.

The plan: increase the size. Roto-till the area, rake smooth. Layer newspapers over entire area, then cover with thick layer of straw. Come spring, we will put in soaker hoses.

In the meantime, we are working on a way to keep the greenhouse above freezing, and will be planting more in there to grow through the winter.

The fruit trees we planted are doing well. I also discovered a crabapple tree at the back of our property.

I purchased 12 pounds of raw honey today. Most of it will be stored for future use.

With the help of family and friends we made and canned 74 pints of apple butter.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Goats and Chickens

Well, due to finances, we are holding off on the goats and chickens. The goal now is to get these in the early spring of next year. That will give us the rest of this year to get the goat fence installed, build a chicken coop, and remodel the barn with stalls for the goats.

I am using any free time I have to research and learn as much as I can about both of these animals.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

First Produce from the Garden

Turnip Greens! We had some for lunch today. Not too bad. I also noticed that we have small tomatoes coming on, and lots of tiny peas. They will probably be ready in a week or two.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Strawberry Jelly

Ok, I couldn't get to the jelly until today. I got about 6 cups of juice this time, but I didn't process 6 pounds. We ate some, and I gave some berries away, so I probably only started with about 4 1/2 pounds. I just refrigerated the juice until I was ready to process.

I got 5 - 8 oz jars of strawberry jelly! It jelled perfectly and looks so pretty and tastes great!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Strawberry Syrup

I got 8 cups of juice from the 6 pounds of berries I hung last night. I processed this into syrup and got:
  • 9 - 8 oz jars,
  • 2 - 6 oz jars, and
  • 2 - 4 oz jars
This is a slightly thickened syrup that can be used as is, or thickened by adding corn starch and heated. It's yummy!

I got the rest of the berries cleaned and hung to drain.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Strawberry Season

I picked 12 pounds of strawberries today at a local farm. They are beautiful. I will be making strawberry syrup and strawberry jelly.

I cleaned half of the berries and put them to drain overnight. I will make the syrup out of this batch.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Laundry Soap

I made a batch of laundry soap today. I decided to do a powdered batch this time. I grated 2 bars Ivory soap, mixed in 2 cups borax and 2 cups washing soda. The instructions say use 1 tablespoon for each full load. It went a whole lot facter than making the liquid soap, and I no longer need that large 5 gallon bucket sitting in my way in the laundry room. It will be interesting to see how well this works.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Can we bless God?

This question has been on my mind lately. I have seen things saying "Bless God". How do we do this? "Bless you" is something we casually say to others. What does it mean? Should we be saying it so lightly? I am going to have to do some studying up on this!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Another Apron

I made another apron today. This one is for Mom. I didn't have a pattern for what I wanted, so I just winged it. It turned out nice.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


I made myself a new apron today. It was fun to get back to sewing.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Sweet Potatoes

My sweet potato plants came today. They are mostly dead. I will baby them for a few weeks before transplanting outside.

Sunday, May 22, 2011


I planted pole beans today - only 12 hills. It won't be enough to can for the winter, but every little bit helps. Reseeded the corn where large patches haven't come up yet.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Planting Time

We got the garden planted yesterday - most of it anyway. I will wait another week or two before I put out my peppers and tomatoes.

Corn - 6 1/2 rows
Beans - Red Kidney - 6
             Jacob's Cattle Pinto - 9
             Great Northern - 9
             Coco Rubico - 9
             Derby Bush - 60
Peas - Sugar Snap 2 rows 8 ft long
           Karina - 2 rows 15 ft long
Cabbage - 40 (out of 72 seeds started)
Onions - Walla Walla
               Super Star
               Candy Apple Red
Potatoes - Kennebec - 5 hills with 3 in each
                 Yukon Gold - 4 hills with 3 in each
Garlic - (will check count when they come up more)

We got the Herb Garden area dug out and the box put in place. I need to find some compost to finish filling it up. I purchased a sweet basil, stevia, and sweet mint plant. I still need to find several additional herbs for this area.

It was a beautiful day for gardening, the first rain-free day in weeks. It strated raining late last night so the garden is now well watered.

Mrs. B

Thursday, April 21, 2011

I moved some plants to larger pots today. Out of 72 cabbbage seeds planted, 42 have been transferred. 6 brussel sprouts out of 9 survived. Some tomatoes are transplanted, but most are not ready. The lettuce and radishes are slowly growing. I need to order more lettuce seed for the remaining salad trays. I think I will also order some head lettuce and romaine seed. The rain doesn't seem to stop.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Spring is here!

I am grateful for Spring!

I am linking up with for:
Thanks Laura, for hosting us! Check out more great posts at here.

Signs of Spring from around the homestead:

Violets - my absolute favorite

Lilac buds - my second favorite

Baby helicopters - Maple tree seeds

My salad tray - radishes on the left, scattered leaf lettuce on the rest.

Red and Green Leaf Lettuce.
Thanks Laura, for hosting us!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Catch Up

We have been doing lots of yard work whenever the weather is clear. Transplanted some peony's, iris, and lilies from Mom's house to ours; mulched where needed; tilled the garden again; planted a few more peppers. They don't seem to be coming up too well, so I may end up buying plants.

The new trees are doing well. We put a protective barrier around each tree and then a layer of mulch to keep the weeds from growing up around them, and to keep us from running over them.

The apple trees are starting to bud, and a few blooms have opened. I hope we can get lots of apples this year. We are now out of apple butter, so we will plan a Saturday in October to have an Apple Fest. We will again use the large iron kettle and do this outdoors. I would also like to get a cider press so we can make apple cider.

Mr. B and PB built a salad tray for me, so it is planted with a variety of leaf lettuce and some radishes. They are coming up well. I am anxious to have my first salad!
This week's to-do list:
  • Decide on what herbs to put into raised bed
  • Transplant larger seedlings into pots to place in green house
  • Plant next round of brussel sprouts
  • Find and order seed corn to plant
  • Organize garage storage
  • Inventory jars for preserving
  • Refinish ottoman
  • Finish making napkins
  • Cut and put border on clean-up towels
  • Plan Easter dinner menu
  • Shop for Easter dinner
  • Make Easter dress
  • Remove sod and prepare for raised bed for herbs
  • Remove rocks from garden

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Long Day

Today has been a long, but successful day. We transplanted one tree on our property, planted 2 Hazelnut trees, 2 cherry trees, 3 peach trees, 4 apple trees, and 4 bartlett pear trees. Also spent time preparing for a party tomorrow. It will be a few years before we can harvest anything from our trees, but I am really looking forward to watching them grow.

My seeds are sprouting! Most of the cabbage have come up, and several of the tomatoes. I hope I didn't start the tomatoes too late. Since this is my first year to grow them from seed I had to go by what I read. We will see if they are ready to put in the ground by May 10th.

Mrs. B

Monday, March 28, 2011

More Seeds Planted

I got more seeds planted today.

Virginia Sweets Tomatoes - 6
Rutgers Tomatoes - 12
Rocky Paste Tomatoes - 6
Super Italian Paste 6
Orange Bell Peppers - 6
Red Bell Peppers - 6

About half of the cabbage seeds have come up, all the brussel sprouts and only three tomatoes from the first batch. That's why I planted so many more today.

Mrs. B

Friday, March 25, 2011

Women's Bible Study

If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. Romans 10:9 (NLT)

Why do we make it so complicated?

Mrs. B

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Strawberries - Day 2

More strawberry processing today. I now have 15 8oz jars of sugar-free jam, 10 16oz containers of sugar-free freezer jam, 5 16oz containers of sugared freezer jam, 10 packs of sliced strawberries with sugar - 3 cups each, 4 packs of sliced strawberries with Splenda - 2 cups each, and three trays of sliced strawberries in the dehydrator. I still have 4 pounds left. If the dehydrated slices turn out, I may do more of those. They will be good added to cold cereal, cream of wheat, oatmeal, yogurt and as a snack. I may also try making a fruit bread with other dried berries later this summer. I'll experiment and see what I can come up with, I am thinking of a zucchini bread with strawberries, raspberries and walnuts.

Supper tonight will be baked chicken breasts on spaghetti noodles covered with spaghetti sauce and topped with parmesan cheese, green beans, and fresh veggies.

I got the last of my seeds and some of my plants today. I need to pick up another light and build another seed starting station. I am not sure where I will put this one! Probably be this weekend before I can get that done.

We have started the 30 days of Prayer for Neighbors and Nation "Revolution on Our Knees" by David & Kim Butts along with our church. Today is Day 2. The song "He Reigns" by the Newsboys has been going through my head since I read todays devotion -
It’s the song of the redeemed
Rising from the African plain
It’s the song of the forgiven
Drowning out the Amazon rain
The song of Asian believers
Filled with God’s holy fire
It’s every tribe, every tongue, every nation
A love song born of a grateful choir
It’s all God’s children singing
Glory, glory, hallelujah
He reigns, He reigns
It’s all God’s children singing
Glory, glory, hallelujah
He reigns, He reigns
Let it rise about the four winds
Caught up in the heavenly sound
Let praises echo from the towers of cathedrals
To the faithful gathered underground
Of all the songs sung from the dawn of creation
Some were meant to persist
Of all the bells rung from a thousand steeples
None rings truer than this
And all the powers of darkness
Tremble at what they’ve just heard
‘Cause all the powers of darkness
Can’t drown out a single word
When all God’s children sing out
Glory, glory, hallelujah
He reigns, He reigns
All God’s people singing
Glory, glory, hallelujah
He reigns, He reigns
"Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth" Psalm 46:10

Mrs. B

Monday, March 21, 2011


They are on sale this week, $1 a pound, so I got 32 pounds. So far I have made 9 pints diabetic freezer jam, sliced and froze 8 pounds, and eaten another 2 pounds (with help from the family). I will finish the rest in the morning by making low-sugar strawberry preserves.

For supper tonight we grilled pork chops and fresh veggies (yellow squash, mushrooms, tomatoes, red and orange peppers, and onions) on the grill. Yumm!

Mrs. B

Saturday, March 19, 2011


My seeds have finally started arriving. I got 135 started. I am going to have to set up another grow station so I can get more started.

Brussel Sprouts - 9
Chile de Arbel - 5
California Wonder Green Peppers - 4
Sweet Banana Peppers - 9
Ancho Chili - 4
Sweet Pickle Peppers - 2 (These are a test, haven't had them before)
Matina Tomatoes - 3 (Small, early tomato)
Rocky Tomatoes - 9 (Paste tomato)
Super Italian Paste - 9
Virginia Sweets Tomatoes - 5
Rutgers Tomatoes - 4
Cabbage - 72 (I plan to make lots of saurkraut, or at least try)

Plans -
The chilis will be dried. The anchos are great when making tamales. The chiles will be ground and used for spicing up anything.
The brussel sprouts will be eaten fresh and if any are left they will be frozen. I plan to start more seeds in two weeks and again two weeks later. This will spread the harvest out. Our favorite way to eat them is fresh, placed on a cookie sheet and drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt and fresh ground paper. Place in oven on 350 until done. I think it's usually 15-20 minutes.
The green peppers will be dehydrated for storing and adding to soups and other dishes. If they reach a good size I will probably make porcupines for a meal or two.
The banana peppers are a great condiment. I will remove the seeds, slice them in rings and can them. These can be used on sandwiches, salads, and I also use them when I make Ham-fried rice, a family favorite.
Paste tomatoes - catsup, spaghetti sauce, pizza sauce.
Cherry tomatoes - fresh for salads and snacking, sun-dried for year round use.
Tomatoes - canned tomatoes for chili and other recipes.
Cabbage - sauerkraut, fresh and cooked with meals, cole slaw. I will do a later planting and store those for the winter.
Sweet Pickle Peppers - this plant has several colors of peppers that I will can for fun.

Mrs. B

Saturday, February 19, 2011


The last few days, we have had a warm up in temps. Most of the snow has melted! We took a walk around the property today and made some decisions on where to put the goat pen and chicken house. We found lots of deer tracks and saw the tail end of a herd of deer - counted 8 before they disappeared across the creek into the woods. It felt so good to get out into the sun.

My seeds should start arriving this week. I will have to control myself and not start them too soon!

Mrs. B

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Menu Plan for the Week

Monday:         Valentine's Day - eat out using a gift card from Christmas
Tuesday:        Homemade Veggie Beef Soup left over from Sunday with fresh bread
Wednesday:   Hamburgers on the grill with homemade buns, baked beans
Thursday:       BBQ chicken, baked potatoes, green beans
Friday:           Ham and Bean Soup, cornbread,
Saturday:       Beef Enchilada Casserole, tamales, salad
Sunday:         Breaded Baked Pork Chops, baked potatoes, salad

Saturday, February 12, 2011

and it begins . . .

We are off on our new journey - a journey to self-sufficiency. Our goal is to grow and preserve our own meat and food in an effort to become healthier and less reliant on the "normal" food chain. I have my seed order ready and will be starting some seeds by the end of the month. I have already started making our own bread and cooking from scratch to avoid chemical preservatives. We plan to purchase goats for milking and meat, and chickens for eggs and meat. Our very own backyard homestead!