Homestead Happenings

Some goings on from my last post:

My husband and son put up an antennae for their ham radio. We have started preparing the garden for next spring. I’ve got several crafting projects going, and am starting to plan a yarn and needle arts guild. Halloween happened, and our granddaughter got a nice surprise from her mother for her costume, and we are now signed up with a 4-H group in the area. We will be working with chickens in 4-H. Don’t have any yet, but she wants black or blue chickens. Lot’s going on around here!

Up Up and Away!

My husband and son have been busy putting up an antennae for the ham radio. First they pounded 8 feet of rebar into the ground for a ground for it. Then they used a manual auger to drill a hole to cement in the mast, the antennae was assembled, and up it went with the mast. The mast can bend like a lever so that it can come down when they want it too. His first contact with this antennae was on the east coast our fair country, from us on the west coast!

This is a manual auger my husband and son used to make a hole to cement the staff for the antennae.
Assembling the mast
The antennae to be assembled.
Up Up and Away!

Readying to Garden

One of the things we have been doing to ready the garden, is purchase a chipper shredder so we can shred the leaves to put on the garden. Here is a picture of us using the shredder. Unfortunately, it kept clogging very easy, and was taking a long time. So the next day we raked the leaves into rows, and ran over them with the lawn mower. There was a little difficulty, because someone had raked some wire into the leaves, and the mower had to be stopped, and cleared of the wire, which had wrapped around the blade of the mower. We still have a lot of brush and small trees to chip up, so we will find out how the chipper works with that.

Then, when it was shredded, we put some cardboard in the garden, and covered it up with leaves. There wasn’t enough cardboard or leaves for the whole garden. I will soon buy some compost to put over the grass, and cover it with landscape tarp to let it mellow. Hopefully, this will get a lot of worms busy!

Crafting Time

I’ve started several crafting projects. one is pajama’s for my husband. The first set had a pattern with frogs. I’m currently reworking the waistband of the bottoms, as I didn’t do a step of sewing the seams down in the waistband, so found it difficult to get the elastic bands to go in, as the fabric in the seams kept blocking the elastic as I was moving it through:(.

I’m also spinning some fiber into yarn. I’m pre-drafting the fiber, and winding it loosely onto a distaff (I’m using a wooden spoon for my distaff), then spinning from that. Here is a picture of it.

Ive been washing some yarn my daughter-in-law was going to throw away, because it smelled bad.

Lemon Verbena scented soap m-m-m-m.

I’ve decided to make another sweater for my husband to match the one I have. I ordered the yarn, and got the pattern from Love Crafts. The yarn came today in the mail!

This is my sweater.

I’m also planning to make placemats for Thanksgiving. I bought the pattern off of ETSY. Sorry the picture is sideways.

We had a good Halloween. My granddaughters mother knit her a Hogwarts scarf, and my granddaughter made a wand at the library during a crafting session. That completed her costume for Hermoine in the Harry Potter series books which she is “obsessed” with at this time.

Hermoine from Harry Potter

We also painted our pumpkins this year, instead of carving them. They all seem a goofy lot, just like us!

Let’s not rush over Thanksgiving, but let us fully enjoy the season where we give thanks to God for His presence in our lives.

The Lord bless you, and keep you. May he make his face shine upon you, and give you peace.

Grandma.

Will the Elk Let us Have a Garden?

October 19, 2021

Hello, I’m so happy to be back on the blog, and updating you finally on what has been going on with our move, and how we have been settling in.

We have been without high speed internet until last week, so that has been a big delay in the blog, and a common problem in the country. Finally, we have been able to get a hot-spot for our internet, until a fiber optic provider will be coming through in, hopefully, a few short months.

One of the major reasons for moving to our new home in the country, was to have a large vegetable garden to provide food for ourselves. What we didn’t account for was having elk use our land as their breeding grounds! This has been delaying me in preparing the land for growing next spring. Just this morning we were entertained by the sounds of antlers crashing together as two bull elks fought, while the cows contentedly ate grass nearby.

Here is one of the elk, a beautiful specimen of his kind.

I have already bought the seed for the garden, most of it. It’s important for me that I can save my own seed, so I don’t want hybrid seed that won’t come true on the next generation. I purchased heirloom seeds from Eden Brothers, and I am really excited about the crops that will come, depending on if we can figure out this elk problem. Two different ways to solve it, are deer fencing, and growing inside a hoop house tunnel. I’ll be blogging on that more later when we have more of idea of the cost.

Two of the larger crops I’ve been planning are for peas and beans. I got a fourth of a pound of ‘Little Marvel’ peas, and a fourth of a pound of ‘Kentucky Wonder’ beans. One of the more important aspects of growing a garden is to plant things that you already love to eat. I also got some broccoli, which I have not grown before, but we do like. I have a long list, so I won’t go into a long list, but, I’ve divided the crops into cool, and warm season crops. Peas are a cool season crop, and beans will be planted later when the soil warms up more. One other thing I bought was a black cherry tomato. I’m looking forward to that. Another purchase from the Eden Brothers was some seeds for flowers; Impatiens,Nastrutiums, China Aster, Zinnia’s, Mammoth Sunflowers, and African Marigods. It’s important to have those plants to attract the pollinators, and to beautify the property.

House Problems

Buying a house used has a few drawbacks, and unknown things to fix is one of them. Unfortunately, the RV bay, and the decking where it attaches to the house have some leaking issues, and a couple things in the RV bay have gotten water damaged. One of them is a Brio toy train set that my daughter-in-law has had since childhood. Hopefully, some of it can be saved, it was a very large set. So the leaks will take precedence getting fixed over installing some sort of central heating. For now we are heating with the oil filled plug in radiators, and the occasional use of the gas fireplace, which seems to be working to heat us OK for now. The people who built this home used it as a vacation home in the summer, so they didn’t put in central heating.

School Time

Our granddaughter is adjusting well to her new school. It has been live up till now, but with more Covid outbreaks, they are going to online beginning tomorrow for about a week, and will keep us in touch if they will start back up soon in person depending on how things go.

Her new school is more modern than her previous one, and has three play yards with a total of twelve swings. She is complaining to me of being “Too popular” like at her old school, I am glad she is doing well. Here is some pictures of her school grounds.

Big toy fun!
Physical fitness area
Eight swings here!

I joined the music group at church, and will participate in singing. I am also looking into joining a 4 H group with my granddaughter, and getting into chickens. My hours are changing at work, I will be going to three twelve hour shifts, and will have the weekend totally free, so I will have time to work on projects around the home.

A verse of the Bible comes to mind, as I finish up this blog.

‘Thy word I have gathered up in my heart, that I might not sin against thee’. Psalm 119 verse 11.I’m planning on reading my Bible more.

That’s all for now,

Grandma

Leaving and Going Home

August 31, 2021

Well, we are on countdown to moving on September 2nd. Technically, we don’t own our home we have lived in for the last 26 plus years we are in right now. We have 3 days to move in, and boy we have a lot of stuff! Thankfully, we have hired movers to help us on September 3rd.

House sold in two days!

I am looking forward to having an acre of land to have a large garden, and some chickens too. Where we are moving has no home owners association, and is not in the city limits, so we can have freedom from HOA rules, and have our homestead!

The previous owners of our new home told us of the elk that come to visit on our property, so we will have to take great measures to protect our garden from predation. My son Mark suggested starting out with a greenhouse, I like his way of thinking! I will probably start out with a polytunnel from Boot Strap Farmer, and screen in the ends.

My granddaughter will be able to be in 4H, and have the chickens as her project. She is thinking of having blue or black chickens, perhaps Blue Austrolorps. She can sell the eggs, and will learn about many things involved in having a business with them, as well as show them at fairs.

This is the new home we are moving to!

We are leaving our garden, and new owners will have some food to harvest left in it, but we have had some good harvest from it ourselves up till now. It started with lettuce, peas, then artichoke, 22 pints of beets, three grocery bags of carrots, a surprise potato harvest, a towering giant of a sunflower, tomatos, and lastly we have been harvesting from our bush beans.

Beets getting ready to pressure can.

Three grocery bags of carrots harvested.

We are leaving behind more bush beans to pick, a teepee of lima beans, more carrots, nasturstiums galore, tomatos, and for a house warming gift, a new hummingbird feeder with nectar in the refrigerator, and instructions for making more nectar.

Lima bean teepee!

Next time I write will be from our new home! We will miss our old home, but enjoy the extra bathroom, more storage, and being able to have our adult children, daughter-in-law, and grandchild all together.

Blessings to All,

Grandma

Big News for our Homestead

July 27th, 2021

It’s been a long time coming, but we are finally moving! We have been very busy looking on real estate websites, and preparing our home for the market, but now it has come to fruition, and God has blessed our move. Here is a picture of our future homestead!

This is the view of our home from the backyard.
This is the extra large front yard at our new homestead!

As you can see, the front yard is HUGE!, and will be the area we will practice our homesteading skills with a garden, some chickens, and in a few years some goats for fur and milk! Our son wants to have some fruit and nut trees, and I’m not going to stop him.

VEGETABLES

Speaking of homesteading skills, I recently canned up 22 pints of homegrown beets. Here are a few pictures, and some things of how I did it.

Best harvest ever of beets from my garden!
Striped beets!

To get the beets ready to can, first you boil them a few minutes to loosen the skin. Then you take the skin off, and cut into either rounds or cubes.

Pint jars of beets.

After cutting them, I put them into mason pint jars that had had boiling water in after cleaning the jars to keep them hot, empty the water, put the beets in, cover again with boiling water to within one inch, clean the rim, then seal them before using the canner.

Ready for canning.

The picture above shows them in my canner stacked two high. This is the first year my beets have really grown well, and I canned 22 pints!

Future food on the new homestead!

Here are a few pictures of the garden we are leaving to new owners.

Ah the garden!
Carrots, and a surprise potato.

Feelings, and musings

When we got the news of the offer on our present home, I was so overcome with both joy for the new place, and grief on leaving the old place. What a mixture of feelings that was!

Making an herb garden

Another thing I have recently done is to create an herb garden. I had a half whiskey barrel that had a rose that was always a lot of work from diseases, and pests, and also was over filled now with daffodil bulbs, and tulip bulbs. So I dug them out.

In digging them out, I discovered the ant hill in it that had the ants that were trying to invade our home. Good thing I was getting rid of them at the same time!

Digging out the old soil.
Replacing with good soil.

When filling up a pot, or large planter, it is important to put in a good potting soil, not soil from your garden. Soil from your garden would become too compacted, and ,unless you sterilize it, will have weed seeds, pests, and diseases.

Herbs to plant

I situated the herbs I wanted to plant, then planted them even with the soil level in the pots, watered them in, and that was my new herb garden that the next owners will also enjoy!

Me in front of my flower garden.

Good things to look forward to in the future, and good things to remember from the past. Thanks to God for all.

Blessings to all,

Grandma

Growing Surprise!

We planted an artichoke plant a couple of years ago, but it hadn’t grown any fruit. A professional gardener had told me it was an ornamental plant, so it was with complete surprise when I saw it had grown an artichoke on it! We cut it, and had it for dinner. I also saw some smaller ones below it, and was hoping to get a second crop.

To cook the artichoke, we boiled it in water for 25 minutes. The edible parts are at the bottom part of the leaves: the meaty part of the leaf where it attaches to the heart. Then after you have eaten that, the heart of the artichoke is left. We dipped the leaves and heart into melted butter, then ate them. You can also dip them in mayonnaise, ranch dressing, or anything your heart desires.

Surprise!

Boy! What a surprise when I cut it, the smaller ones below it, shot up fast and were quickly usable for another crop!

WOW! The replacements came on fast!

Other things needing to happen in the garden were thinning the carrots and beets so they have room to fill out. Here is a before and after thinning picture of the carrots.

BEFORE THINNING

After thinning

MORE BLUEBERRIES

We already had four blueberry plants, but when finding some plants for sale at the store, we just couldn’t resist getting two more. Finding a place to plant them was the difficult part, but we finally settled opposite from the vegetable garden.

First, we turned the soil over, inverting it. Then we centered two holes in it, digging about twice as big as the soil in the blueberry pots. Putting the soil level even, we put the plants in the holes, and filled in around them. I put landscape fabric over the area to prevent weeds. Last, I put same landscape fabric pins in, to keep it down. Soon, I will get some bark chips, and cover it up with that. The best fertilizer to use with blueberries is rhododendron fertilizer, as blueberries need an acidic soil, just like rhododendrons. Coffee grounds make a great addition for that reason too.

Beginnings of an Herb Garden

I had taken out the rose in the half whiskey barrel tub as it was diseased, and the bulbs in it were too crowded. So as I was wanting an herb garden, I cut down the leaves of the Tulips and Daffodils. I have a couple chive plants to start, but have not taken out the bulbs yet, as I want to give them time to dry up. Then I will dig them out, and plant them elsewhere in the yard. I will at that time, move the barrel into a different place in the yard, opening up that space, as it was in the way.

Rose and bulbs gone, making way for herbs.

Spinning it Up.

I’ve been having some fun with my Ashford Traditional spinning wheel. I have spun up two bobbins of some blueish sparkly yarn, and am in the process of plying them back on each other to make a two ply yarn.

This is a single ply yarn in progress on the regular sized flyer.
Here I have the Jumbo flyer and bobbin with a two ply yarn in progress.
This is the product. A beautiful two ply yarn!
This is my Ashford Traditional, pre-1973

Wildlife in our Yard

Let’s not forget the wildlife in our yard. We had to take down the feeders for two reasons. There was a salmonella warning that birds were dying from the disease passed to each other through feeders, also, we had a rat come into our yard. It was helping itself to the peanuts, corn cobs for the squirrels, and bird food we had out for the birds. Our neighbor caught the rat in a trap, but now it is recommended also not to feed them in this time as there is enough natural abundance for them.

We have also had more rabbits come to our yard. I’m a little nervous about that, as they are so cute, but I don’t want an over abundance of them helping themselves to our vegetables.

Got your picture

Bible Wisdom

I will sign out with some words of wisdom from 1st Corinthians chapter 3 starting at verse 5.

Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers through whom you believed, as the Lord gave to each one? I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God gives the increase.

Let’s remember that, and be thankful for what God gives us. Amen

Garden, Microgreens, and Knitting

A lot has happened since my last post.

You might remember that last summer we were in the process of moving to someplace where we could have a homestead, and provide more for ourselves to be less dependent on the grocery store.

We ultimately decided to delay looking until such a time where we could move to somewhere where the prices for housing are much lower. Which might mean waiting as long as until my husband is retired. I hope we don’t have to wait that long, although it could be as soon as three years. But we are still continuing to look into the possibility of moving at this time or purchase land to move to. Also, we are continuing to learn new skills for self-reliance, improve the home we have to make it more valuable, and build upon the current things we are doing to provide for ourselves.

Our family has been looking on the Zillow site at a couple areas of the country to move to. It’s fun, and frustrating at the same time. Kind of like looking forward to Christmas, and knowing you can’t have it now. When you think you have found the right place, and yet you can’t quite see how you can do it yet. I tell myself to remember, there will still be many right places in the future, trust God for His provision.

I started some microgreens a little while back. Here are some pictures to show you. It was called Spicy Micro mix. They have a little spice/zest in them more like a radish, so not too strong. (I’m a spice wimp).

I will give these out to people at work for a sample. If they like it, perhaps they will want to buy, or tell friends and family about it.

Apples for the future!

The grape plants to either side of the arbor into the vegetable garden weren’t doing well, and I wanted to replace the apple tree in our yard, because it was too big for me to prune and spray. We took out the grapes, and had an arborist take out the old apple tree.

I had ordered some apple trees from Rainier Nursery in Washington state, for one red, and one yellow type apple trees. Here is a picture of them planted. They will look good pruned into a tiered flat shape on either side into the garden. We put a wire cage around it to protect the bark from a rabbit that likes to hang out in our yard sometimes. As you can see, we put some cardboard down, and mulch on top to keep down the weeds.

Future apples protected from rabbit.

In the background of the picture, is the garden with a silage tarp on it to kill the cover crop, and when the seeds in the soil also sprout, the silage tarp will keep the light out, so that they will be killed also. Then the tarp will be taken off, and the vegetable seeds can be planted directly in the soil without tilling up the whole garden. This is one method of ‘No Till Gardening’. No expensive tiller, or hard work of shoveling it by hand.

Lavender and Wildflowers Galore

I had started some lavender seeds in my indoor greenhouse, and potted them up after they had grown some. I also had started Milkweed for the catapillars, and Wildflowers to attract pollinators to the garden. Here are some of the lavender plants potted up.

Wonderful Lavender!

Up-doing Our Home

In getting our home nicer for ourselves, as well as making more presentable for increased price when we sell, we hired a gardener to redo the garden bed under our front window.

Here is the front garden bed. The Mexican Orange smells wonderful!

NO DIG GARDEN

After taking off the tarp from the garden, all I had to do was plant the seeds, because the silage tarp had for one blocked the light and killed the plants under it, but it also created a warm spot for seeds to germinate, and being no light there, they didn’t live. That created a planting bed terrific to start seeds in, with a leap ahead on the weeds.

To create the garden, I bought two bales of hay, and spread them around where I wanted paths. We also got out our soaker hoses we bought from Harbor Freight last year, and positioned them to give out water for the new growing plants.

This row has edible pod peas growing in it.

At the end of the row is and Asparagus plant. There are three Asparagus starting on it!

KNITTING

I have finished the sweater I was working on. It was a pattern from Love Crafts called Novita. I had intended it for my husband, but it is a bit tight in the underarm area. So we decided that I would wear it, and make another one a bit larger for him.

Sweater for my sweets!

That’s all for now.

God’s blessings be upon you and yours.

Grandma

Soft Homemade Bread

I made some bread last week that I found was very popular with my family. It was so soft, and yet held up to being sliced well with our electric knife.

This recipe is from the all recipes website (www.allrecipes.com). It is called Amish White Bread. I made one difference in it, I used half white bread flour, and half wheat bread flour. Here is a picture, and the recipe.

Softest bread I ever made. Amish White Bread.

Amish White Bread Recipe

Ingredients:

2 Cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)

2/3 Cup white sugar (I used organic)

1 1/2 Tablespoons active dry yeast

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1/4 Cup vegetable oil

6 Cups bread flour (I used 3 cups white and 3 cups whole wheat)

Directions

Step 1

In a large bowl, sissolve the sugar in warm water, and then stir in yeat. Allow to proof until yeast resembles a creamy foam.

Step 2

Mis salt and oil into the yeast. Mix in flour one cup at a time. Knead dough on a lightly floured surface until smooth. Place in a will oiled boul, and turn dough to coat. cover with a damp cloth. Allow to rise unil doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

( To have a warm place for the bread to rise, I heat my oven for two minutes, then turn it off, and place dough to rise in it.)

Step 3

Punch dough down. Knead for a few minutes, and divide in half. Shape into loaves, and place into two well oiled 9×5 inch loaf pans. Allow to rise for 30 minutes, or until the dough has risen 1 inch above pans. (my rise time was 50 minutes to have rising 1 inch above pans. Your time may be different)

Step 4

Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 30 minutes.

Here is a picture of them risen in the loaf pans.

Risen before baking.

MORE WILDLIFE

Last spring some Scrub Jays decided our yard was a good place to come. I finally got a picture of one of them. It works hard at trying to pick up two peanuts at the same time, before it goes to wherever. The Scrub Jays are not native to the Pacific Northwest, they have migrated up from California. Global warming has them expanding their area.

We had a snow storm recently, And we made sure to have food out for our furry and featherd friends.

Scrub Jay from California
Loves the peanuts

I also made sure to put out lots of fresh nectar for the hummingbirds. You use four cups water to 1 cup sugar, I use organic sugar. Heat the water to a boil, turn off the pan, and disolve the sugar in the water. I put any left over in a covered jar in the refrigerator, and lable it with the date.

Valentines Day

My husband was sweet, and didn’t buy me sweets for valentines, as I am on a low carb, low sugar diet so I can loose a few pounds. So he brought home a vase of roses for me.

Beautiful Roses, and a new vase.

Yarn Crafts

Last writing I showed you a sweater I started on for my husband. Since then I have finished the trunk, and am starting on a sleeve. I am finding this pattern fairly easy to follow. My husband looked on Ravelry, but didn’t find something he liked. I found this pattern through Lovecrafts online.

Novita sweater for my husband.

I was signed up for Paradise Fibers fiber of the month club for spinning by my husband. This is from February’s box. This is the first time I have been able to spin a lace weight yarn consistently.

More about the snowstorm

We ended up having a snowstorm this month. I live about 45 minutes from my work, so they put me up in a nearby hotel, and I worked an extra night. Here is a picture of the hotel I stayed at. Didn’t go in the pool!

Snow man

My granddaughter and I took advantage of the time we had off, and made a snowman. She also loved to throw snowballs at me!

That’s all for now!

Blessings,

Grandma

Peanut Thief

Last time I wrote on this blog, I spoke of the wildlife we were feeding. This time I am following up on my intention of getting a picture of one of these little creatures. In this picture, this squirrel seems to be very determindly taking the peanut, saying, “No one gets this one but me”.

WEEKEND PROJECT

My husband and son worked hard to clear up a space in the garage to set up for a workbench. They installed a light over where they wanted to place it, and my husband and I put together a Harbor Freight workbench he had bought. We had some trouble with the drawers. The two on the right went in perfectly, but the two on the left the bearings went out of the sliders when we tried to put the drawers in. We are going to measure the sliders and replace them, then it will be done.

Christmas Yarn

My daughter-in-law gave me some yarn she had spun to me for Christmas, and I’ve finished up a hat I had been making with it, except for the pom-pom. Turns out to be Seahawk colors, but not on purpose. I’m pretty happy with it, and have gotten many compliments. I used the Fair-Isle method in knitting. I have been able to hold the yarn one color in each hand to knit while working it. One hand using the Continental method, and one hand using the English method. I think the time I learned to use my hands independently to play the piano helped me be able to learn to do this.

Home spun yarn

New Project

This is a sweater started that I am making for my husband. I found the free pattern on Lovecrafts online. He had been looking for a pattern, and this was the one he liked. I purchased the yarn to go with it.

This is a sweater my husband said he would like.

Homemade Sourdough

We went to make a sourdough starter, and discovered it would take a few weeks to get it going well. So we also bought a sourdough starter, which has really gone well. The one in the bowl on the left is the bought starter, and the one on the right is our own we are working at getting going.

The one we are starting ourselves, on the right,is taken care of about every 12 hours by getting rid of half, putting in 1/4th cup flour, to 1/3 cup water. What we read is that it can take three weeks to get you own going. The one on the left has gone through three increases in water and flour since we got the starter. All is going well as it is growing and getting quite bubbley. We got the starter from Breadtopia. They have complete instructions online, and make it quite easy to do.

Birthday Blast

Our daughter-in-laws birthday was this month. She had a thing for pink doughnuts, so my husband made her cake to look like a pink doughnut. He is getting to be quite the baker.

BOOKS

These are recent purchases in books. We want more meals for our family day that everyone will want to eat, and since two are vegetarians I thought we could try some vegan meals. We now have a seven and a half quart slow cooker, so some more ideas would be good.

Are garden space is not that large too, so I am interested in getting into this book on small garden spaces.

The cast iron book is something I have been meaning to get to. We have some cast iron skillets, and a dutch oven, and I am hoping this book will help me get into it.

FLAXSEED BREAD

I found a recipe in my issue of Grit magazine for flaxseed bread, and my husband made it twice so far. It has been a big hit. Even one of my coworkers paid him for a loaf of this bread saying it is the best bread she has tasted. I think the molasses in it is what made her like it so much. I’m also plannin on making the Flax Granola. I’ll let you know how that goes.

Summer in Winter

One brave Black-eyed Susan

Looking around in the yard, I discovered a lone Black-eyed Susan blooming in the flower bed. Botanical name Rudbeckia hirta, it is surprising to see this in late fall. Such rugged resilience makes my think of the resilience many people have, even when they had a not so good upbringing. It reminds me to keep on keeping on, even when times are hard.

Wildlife Entertainment

Feed we purchase for wildlife

We like to help the wildlife by giving them some food. In return, they give us great times of entertainment. For example, we put dried corn out for the squirrels. It is enjoyable to watch them race around with corn, looking for places to save it for later. Sometimes we also have larger birds pecking at it. The birds and squirrels havn’t always gotten along when they both want it at the same time, and will try to chase each other off. Another time the squirrel has climbed up the pole for the bird seed, and it has us in stiches laughing, while we watch the squirrel hang on for dear life with the feeder swinging back and forth. Here are some pictures of our feeders.

Corn for the squirrels, and the Stellar Jay birds too!
Bird feeders
Peanut hider.

I hide peanuts inside of this ceramic art. I enjoy watching the squirrels, and larger birds, poke their heads in to get the peanuts.

I’m hoping I can get some pictures of the wildlife to post them on my blog for you to enjoy.

Garden

Beets and carrots.

I have had some of the beets that were left to overwinter. They can take some frost, and hold up better in the ground, than if picked, and put in the refrigerator. I recently tried beet greens, and found them enjoyable with a little apple cider vinegar on after cooking. Here is an excerpt from a website on “10 incredible heath benefits of beet greens”.

“Kale, spinach, and chard have gained a lot of attention in the last few years; however, beet greens deserve love too. Beet greens are high in nutritional value and are packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants. There are so many amazing benefits to eating more beet greens. Plus – beet greens are so versatile, they can be eaten numerous ways, such as raw in smoothies, sautéed as a side dish, or steamed in soups”. https://www.justbeetit.com/beet-blog-index/10-incredible-health-benefits-of-beet-greens

I am still excited to try no till gardening this year. I have grown a cover crop of mixed plants, and when it is about five weeks before planting, I will put a silage tarp over the garden, and wait for decomposition to happen. Then when it is time, all I have to do is take the tarp off and plant! The sun will have also warmed the soil more under the tarp, which will have sprouted some of the weed seeds that won’t live, because the tarp is on top of them blocking the sunlight.

Cover Crop

I am ordering seeds from and heirloom seed catalog this year. That way, I can save some of my own seeds for the next year. Heirloom plants are also supposed to have more taste, and nutrition than hybrid plants. Look for a future posting in the spring for the planting.

Last year I planted way too much lettuce. We seemed to enjoy the spinich more than the lettuce, and spinich you can also save in the freezer for later. Try that with lettuce, and you will have mush.

Strawberry Plants

The strawberry plants are looking a little worse for wear. I have some left over beauty bark that I think I will top the soil in the container with. It will help insulate it from any freezing weather we get.

Artichoke

This artichoke will be coming on it’s third year in the garden, and it hasn’t fruited yet. I’m hoping this coming year to get some home grown artichoke. I’ll give it some extra care this spring, and see what happens.

Yarn Fun

I’ve got two projects going now. One; I’m finishing a sweater project I got from “We Are Knitters” a Hackney cardigan. All the pieces are finshed, and I’m working on puting them together. It used the Moss stitch to create the pattern on the sweater. The moss stitch is basically alternating purl and knit stitches in a row, and each row would be started with a knit or purl according the pattern.

Hackney Cardigan. Pattern and yarn from We Are Knitters.

I have also been workning on repairing a hat I made a few years ago. The hat itself was fine, it was missing a pom pom. I replaced both pom pom’s, and then noticed one of the I cords was breaking. So I have made two new I cord’s. I’m thinking of making new pom pom’s too again. My daughter-in-law gave me some of her handspun yarn to do this with. Looks like a good match.

Fair Isle hat I made a few years ago.

In this time of planning for the spring, let us work to be ready this spring to take off and grow.

Here is a warning of not being idle from Thessalonians 3:6-10

6. In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers and sisters, to keep away from every believer who is idle and disruptive and does not live according to the teaching you received from us. 7. For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example. We were not idle when we were with you, 8. nor did we eat anone’s food without paying for it. On the contrary, we worked night and day, laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you. 9. We did this, not because we do not have the right to such help, but in order to offer ourselves as a model for you to imitate. 10 For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.”

Next time I am tempted to be lazy, I will think on this.

Blessings,

Grandma

Christmas Tradition

Christmas traditions are important, and making lasting happy memories with your family, that you hope will continue to be shared throughout many generations of your family, fills one with happiness.

One of our traditions has been to go to the same tree farm, and cut down our own Christmas tree. Our youngest child has always been the one to do the deed. We will trudge around most of the field of trees to find just the right one. Afterward, the tradition has been to get the free hot cocoa, or apple cider, and stand around a warm fire. We got the drink, but did not go near the fire, due to another family being near the fire with no masks on. A little blip in tradition, but we made the best of it.

This year, even with COVID, we continued the tradition at the tree farm. Here are a few pictures.

On the hunt for the best Christmas tree.
Here is the tree, about to be sacrificed.

We decided not to get a very tall tree this year, as we put it in a different place in the living room, that is on the low side of the ceiling. Still plenty big enough. The one with the hat and red beard is the youngest son, who has by our tradition been the one to cut it down. We brought our own saw this year, brand new. It is the first time we have done that. What a difference it made, so easy to cut down. This will start a new part of the tradition I think, of bringing our own saw.

Afterward, enjoying our free hot drinks, and looking forward to having the tree set up at home.

Here we are afterward with the hot drink. Me, our daughter, our son, our daughter-in-law, and our granddaughter. My husband is taking the picture.

This year was slightly different, because of the pandemic. One of the farm workers pumped the hot water for everyone. We enjoyed the Christmas music, even though it sounds as if from a can; part of the tradition.

Here is our tree, and granddaughter. This year our daughter in law shared her many ornaments on it.

This year, our daughter-in-law shared her many ornaments on the tree. She had lots of memories of the special ornaments that she shared with us.

HOME CHRISTMAS DECORATING

We hadn’t been keeping up through the years on decorating the house with lights. This year we wanted to improve on that. We got out the lights we had from years past, and bought some new ones as well. Also, my husband bought an inflatable snow man to decorate the yard.

Our newest addition to decorating the outdoors of our home.

One unfortunate incident occurred when I was helping to decorate an outdoor tree. The ladder behind us in this picture is at our Japanese Snowbell tree. We bought this tree at a discount from the nursery, many years ago, because it had been drought stressed, and part of it had died. This tree that we had saved, and given a better life, had ungratefully poked me in the eye as I put some lights on it. I ended up going to the ER, because the walk in clinics near us were closed, and they diagnosed me with a scratched cornea. Very painful. Lesson learned, but thankfully eyes heal quickly. From now on I will wear safety glasses when putting the lights on the outdoor trees.

BAKING FUN

My husband had bought a sourdough starter some weeks ago which had been fermenting. The instructions said if it had “hootch” on top, that meant it was active, and was ready to use. I let it set with added flour and water on the counter overnight, as directed, but it still didn’t really look active with bubbles. We added more flour and water, and let it set for more time, it still didn’t look that active, so we decided to do an experiment. We would make two loaves of bread, one we would add yeast to, and the other we would just see if the starter worked.

Here is a picture of the result. The added yeast bread rose well, and then some, while the one with just starter didn’t rise, and became a brick.

Here is our brick.
With added yeast. Still tasted like sourdough.

We decided that even though we put a filter on our tap, it still must have had enough chlorine in the water to kill the sourdough starter, as we have city water. I will try again sometime, and use only distilled water.

FALL FUN

One of the fun things I did with my granddaughter this year, when we raked the leaves, was to make a big pile of them, and jump in the pile of leaves. We had a lot of fun doing that, then she and I raked the leaves into the flower bed where we grow flowers for the bees, butterflies, and humming birds. This will make a nice mulch to smother any weeds, and add some important organic matter. We also have some grape vines on either side of an arbor that I put cardboard down for a mulch to smother weeds, then I put leaves on top of that for more mulch, and to add organic matter.

Here is a picture of us jumping into the piled up leaves.

That’s all for now!

I would like to hear what others have for their Christmas traditions. Please leave a message in the reply below.

Many happy holiday blessings!

Grandma