Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The Holiday's are a-coming!

Time is flying ... wasn't it just Labor Day?

And Thanksgiving went by in a blur. And...yep it seems Christmas will soon here before we know it!

I've been busy making our annual homemade gifts. I seem to be getting better at organizing it all every year(geez after 35 yrs of making homemade gifts.. you would think!)....Any hoo, I did start back in July by picking up craft paper, etc. And over the last several months I have bought a few more things. So my first idea came together quickly--a gift packaging kit to help friends and family create their own homemade goodness. I mass produced the kits and was done in no time. I actually think this may be something I decide to do on a yearly basis.

Side Note--->It bothers me though, to hear people say how busy they are and how they just can't seem to get everything done before the holiday. I think I've decided that these procrastinators have always operated their lives one day behind and are always trying to "catch" up. I can't stress being organized enough.

I once saw a Martha Stewart show where she had the whole month of Nov and Dec planned out....and I thought "Good Grief" who needs that kind of planning. Boy was I wrong. Good planning results in stress free holidays. I should have listened to her when I first started out crafting. But alas, an old dog can learn tricks and I am much happier to execute my projects in a timely manner now.

I make lists, google-search ideas, set limits on how much I can realistically complete and buy supplies on sale and ahead of the demand. If you have given up ever getting to a point where you can achieve a happy medium - don't despair. You can do it, start small and work up. There is time this season to depressurize your lists and come up with reasonably priced gifting. It does not have to be stressful or expensive. Thoughtful gifting is just as important. Don't overspend, set a budget and stay within your boundaries. Trust me the end of the season that alone will decrease the financial stress!

Good Luck this season, get organized and stay on budget!

Happy Holidays to You!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Catching Up

Oh, doesn't it seem like that once July comes and goes, it's a race to ready everything for fall?

I've been canning and sowing fall seed as the days just click on by. The Broccoli, Brussels and Cauliflower are looking good, save the 12 Broccoli plants that were devoured by an unknown bug. I have never had any issues with insects in the seedling stage so I suppose it was my turn. I don't like it one bit though!

On a side note, I tried making and canning peach butter this year. Oh my, it is so good. While it cooked down for 2 days our house smelled divine. I was ready to break out the Fall decorations, turn on the gas logs and don a sweatshirt. What is it about the smell of cinnamon that makes me think Fall?

I don't really need to be rushing Fall will be here soon enough.

On a second note, the husband is behind on my canning stove, getting my birdhouses put up and making my garden trug. I talked all big about finishing those three projects and that was as far as it got. Yes, talk was cheap. Maybe this winter he will get around to it.

Next up on the our agenda is to complete the cleanup of the front garden and move the bucket garden to the left side beds. It's time to rest those particular beds. We will plant in the right side garden beds for fall.

And on a third side note, I am close to half way on putting up at a minimum of 100 jars of pickled peppers. Yay..we eat the heck out of them. If truth be told I need at least 125.

We are anxiously awaiting egg laying to start with our new 8 hens. Counting down 8 weeks to go. Our others are pretty much free loading. We are going to have to address the "cull" word sooner or later. Maybe winter would be a good time to make it happen?

That catches me up to our current state of affairs. Another trip around the sun is approaching fast!

Saturday, May 10, 2014


We are racing against the clock to get everything planted for our first season crop. We are trying a new hybrid system of the rain gutter system this summer. The new system utilizes 4" PVC pipe instead of the rain gutter. I am hoping it will conserve even more water that the rain gutters.

And of course I still I have my Straw Bale system. I also have our self watering buckets placed strategically throughout the garden and yard. It pays to be diversified since we are prone to Hurricanes. I certainly do not want to lose an entire season of tomatoes if I can help it!

With the latest planted tomatoes I now have 49 plants....good grief! I see lots of salsa and canned tomato sauce in my future. But you know is a good thing. After all, what could be more healthy for us? Our own tomatoes, picked by us, canned by us and to be consumed by us! Plus, I will be able to gift a few jars to my out of town son for his pantry.

On the heels of the first season tomatoes, I have planted an additional 18 which will be ready to plant by June. These will be the plants that I will overwinter hopefully. If time permits I may try to squeeze a third season since we stay so warm into the fall.

It's also hard to believe I will also need to start thinking of what will need to be seeded in July...Broccoli, Cauliflower, Brussels, Kale, etc to name a few.

And while I dread canning season because it is a lot of work....I have the hugest respect for our Grandma's who canned in the 40's and 50's to feed their families. That said, once you can your own food it is hard to think about buying anything in a can from the store. A great feeling to pass right by them!

It's getting overcast here and perfect to go out and fill up the bird feeders, relax on the porch and enjoy the last of the spring breeze!

Happy Gardening!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Springtime Chores

The Farmstead is gearing up for spring and summer planning / planting. We've decided to make couple of changes to the front garden.

We decided in the fall to rest 2 of the raised beds. Thus, I planted a soil builder blend 35% Spring Oats, 33% Field Peas, and 32% Hairy Vetch which will generate biomass and add nitrogen. I have however been undecided on whether to till it under, mulch over it or the like. Then I found the following article and it makes sense to me to just mulch it and forget it.

On a side note...we have all been anxiously awaiting for Spring. I fear the days will be flying by and we will be scrambling to finish up everything by June 1st. I do however, feel pretty good about what we have accomplished so far:

1) Potatoes = Planted.
2) Bale Prep = Almost ready for April 15 plant date. Need 1 more application of blood meal.
3) Broccoli, Cauliflower and Brussels = planted, but very iffy if they will produce before we warm up. Dang it. NOTE to self--> start seedlings in Jan! and hoop the raised beds for early winter protection.
4) 2nd season tomato seedlings = Ready for transplanting.
5) Raised beds amended and ready for transplanting.

To Do's:
1) Flowers --> I didn't plant many last yr. This year I have a couple of small beds that I will be planting. The garden needs color!
2) Order more pepper seeds.
3) Build the 4 PVC gutter garden systems.
4) Prepare 24 buckets for the gutter garden.
5) Order net cups and float valves for gutter garden.