Sunday, March 12, 2017

Mason Jar Storage

Can you believe it? I'm still here! 

The other week we worked really hard to organize our garage. It felt so good getting rid of the trash and finding a place for everything. One of my main projects was to get all of my empty mason jars in order. Admittedly, I am not yet done, however I'm off to a great start. I still have a few more boxes of jars in another location, and there might be some hiding in the barn. 

I bought Bankers Boxes at Sam's Club; 18 quart jars per box ... 12 upright on the bottom, and 6 horizontal on top. The box lid bumps up a little, but I figured it would be ok since it will just be sitting there. Here are a few photos.

The first 12 fit so perfectly.

The next 6 on their sides.

Stored off the ground on top of crates.
That's what I have so far. I'll probably have to put the canners on top of the shelf instead of down below so I can fit more boxes. Or maybe not since I plan on canning a bunch of meat these upcoming weeks.

I love the way this project turned out and believe it was well worth the money spent on the boxes. There's just something about uniformity that makes things look all the more tidy.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Update ... why not?

It's been a while, but then y'all probably are used to it by now.

Things are really busy here, and my health has not been cooperating very well! I keep meaning to do an update video but maybe some day. If I do, I'll link it here. OK here it is: April Update

The gardens.
Gardening season is in full swing. We have a LOT of plants ready to plant. Some need planted right away ... or at least stuck into bigger pots. Tylor has been giving me bags and bags of kale and spinach :) :) :) that he's been growing at his place. I've been harvesting lettuce at our place. So thankful!! I just planted more lettuce seeds yesterday. Soon I'll have chard and beets to harvest too. Pak Choy seeds just got planted. Dino kale ... maybe the first harvest in a few weeks? Broccoli and cabbage are looking good!! I've actually never grown them before so I hope they do well enough to harvest something. Also in the ground already are calendula, marigolds, parsley, potatoes, green beans ... and more. The strawberries are really looking good. The asparagus, not so much. Corban unknowingly plowed out about half the patch! Thankfully I saved some seeds last year and started them in February - they are looking good and I hope to transplant them soon. Blueberry bushes seem to be doing well too. Lots of berries and other fruit at Tylor's place :) :) :)
Me and Tylor transplanting tomatoes about a month ago.

The seed bed.
Kale, spinach, carrots and beets. It looks like we'll be harvesting seeds in May. Here is a link to a post I did years ago about kale going to seed. My dad and I were talking the other day about how this kind of stuff used to be common knowledge but now most folks are totally clueless (and I used to be!). It's a blessing to know how to do these things, and I believe it's very important. I save as many of my own seeds as possible - year by year I find more of what I like and don't like. We STILL have a pile of kale seeds from 4 or 5 years ago!! And beets and spinach. All are still viable, but I wanted to get fresh seeds. I'll use the old seed for micro greens :)

The chickens.
Oh the chickens! We have 26 layers right now (2 buff orpingtons, 5 barred rocks, 6 Rhode Island reds, 3 French Black Copper Marans, 6 Easter Eggers, 4 Welsummers), and one rooster (French Black Copper Marans). He's penned up by himself until we "need" him. He kind of started getting an attitude once in a while and I do not have the balance/coordination to ward him off, so he has a bachelor pad now.
In effort to have a sustainable flock and good egg production for our faithful customers, we hatched out 51 chicks a month or two ago (pathetic that I don't know how old they are) and sold all but 19 of them. We're hoping we have mostly pullets but we'll see. We then separated out the BR and FBCM hens so we would only have eggs from them ... and they are set to hatch tomorrow, Lord willing. The FBCM are sex linked and the combination of a FBCM rooster with a BR hen produces sex linked chicks. We'll probably sell the boys for fryers and raise the pullets with the ones that are 1.5 months old to replace our current laying flock. There are 28 fertile eggs ... so assuming half of those are boys, we'll only have about 14 more new chicks. We were hoping for 30-40 hens total, so we might have made it? Even if we didn't, I'm done hatching for the year unless it's for someone else.
And we have a broody hen :) Brianna built a "broody house" for her so she can have privacy. We tried just setting fertile eggs under her while she sat in the regular hen house, but she'd get up every once in a while to get a quick drink and a bite to eat and by the time she came back there was another occupant in her box so she'd go into another one! Just the other day the broody house was completed, so we put her in there with 5 of the fertile eggs that are set to hatch tomorrow. She's been sitting on them consistently so we assume they'll hatch out. And once they do (or even if they don't!) we'll give her a few more newly hatched chicks to care for so we won't have as many to care for ourselves. Actually, if we only have about 14 maybe she'll be able to handle them all???? I'll have to look in to that and see if it's possible.
I'm too lazy to look for pictures of the chickens. They look like chickens ;)

The turkeys.
Yes, we are giving Bourbon Reds another try. Last year we got 3 poults in July that were about 2 weeks old. We put them outside way too soon and the caught pneumonia and died :( We tried so hard to save them!!! Well, we now have 2 new poults that I think are about 3 weeks old (again, I'm pathetic, I cannot remember when we got them). They are inside and doing well. They will stay inside for as long as possible, and then maybe move to the garage in a makeshift pen. We'll see.

The goats.
They're so cute! But WOW they sure are a lot more work than what I was thinking they'd be. My city-girl upbringing really shined through. I foolishly (or maybe I should say ignorantly?) thought I'd be able to take care of them, but no. My coordination is so bad and my hands are weak ... I can't even milk the thing! So Brianna has been the main goat caretaker. I told her if she ever gets married she's getting the goats as a dowry, but I still get the milk ;) She's a good girl. She did a lot of the work on fixing up the barn, built a house for the two boys, and so much more. I'm thankful. Just yesterday she said, 'You know this whole idea about "girls jobs" and "boys jobs"? I'm really liking the thought right now' ... while she was push mowing through a very difficult area. Even still, she does it all with a good attitude and is usually singing.

The puppies.
Sadie had 6 puppies last January 16th - 5 boys and one girl. We sold 5 and kept one for David. Everyone has been keeping in touch and it's been so nice to see how they are doing!! 3 of the 5 are working as herd dogs in training and doing very well. One is a companion but he is kept super busy. And the girl, Little Ann (or Freckles Ann if she's being naughty!) is also a companion but I think he might train her on cattle too? She's the only one that was sold to someone we know so we'll get to see her once in a while. Here are photos of the 4 we have recent pictures for. Puppies #4 and #6 I do not have updated photos yet.

Roy or Roy Boy - Puppy #1

Beau - Puppy #5

Ruairì - Puppy #2

Rusty - Puppy #3
And then there's Rainier, our Great Pyrenees LGD. She's one week older than Sadie's puppies but she's HUGE! She's so happy all the time, and if a dog could be thankful I'd say she's the most thankful dog I've ever met. So sweet!! But she is still a puppy ... she needs a lot more training and training her does not come nearly as easy as it does with the Border Collies! Roy Boy (David's dog) knows several commands already, but Rainier is like a big dope! She tries so hard though, so she definitely gets an A for effort! She does not jump up on me - I was really sure to train her in that right away before she got bigger. I can tell she WANTS to jump on me so badly but she doesn't. She'll sit if you tell her to. She does not really "come" yet, which is difficult for Brianna at times.

The worms.
The mealworms are thriving. I've had them now for about 8 months and have been able to feed them to the chickens for the last month or so. New pupa have just begun to form, so that's the second generation going through metamorphosis. I even have enough to put outside for the bluebirds, though they have not discovered them yet. (we have a bluebird house that's occupied again)
The European Nightcrawlers are doing well too. I just filtered out all the worms and as many cocoons as I could and put them all in new bedding. Their old bedding was all nice and black and not bedding anymore :) Black gold? It's so beautiful! I put the nightcrawler castings and the mealworm frass together and we plan on putting a scoop into each hole we did when putting the plants in the garden.
The nightcrawlers have mites ... which is normal I guess ... but I hope the majority of the mites stayed with the castings!
I'm not sure how long I'll be able to keep this worm thing going, but it has been something I've been able to do by myself so that's good. I think I gross Brianna out every time I clean the mealworm bins!!!

The childrens.
I've talked about Tylor a little already - he's been living with the single brothers and seems to be doing very well. He's been working consistently with a brother from our church learning how to be an electrician.
I've talked about Brianna a little too - besides filling her days with work around the homestead, she also still helps several elderly people and whoever else needs help.
Corban is still working hard every day. Right now he's mainly working with fence (including welding), planting, and doing tractor maintenance.
Malachi came to visit recently as well. We sure do miss him around here but are thankful he's able to visit and keep in touch regularly.

The church building.
We've been in our new church building since the beginning of this year. It's not finished on the inside but it's functional enough! Tylor will have his own tiny house out there too - he's super excited! His is on the right.

Well, what can I say? I'm hanging in there! God is good.

My dad came to visit :) it was a nice time for all of us. You never know what you are going to get in to when you come 'down here' ... we had him nursing a sick goat kid and hanging a very large picture on the wall of a private school wall. Of all things! He also took us out to eat at the Mexican Villa in Springfield and then we went to the Fantastic Caverns.

I've spent enough time on this already and am tired of looking at the computer ... so that's all for now!

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Organizing Seeds and Garden Planning

We've had a garden each year for several years – ever since my youngest was 8 I believe, or was it six? I cannot remember. Until recent years, he's been in charge of gardening, however now that he is older and working out of the home most of the time, someone else (ME!) had to take over and be the brains of the operation. I understand that we all work a little differently, but today I'm going to share with you the system I developed that has helped me the MOST BY FAR.

One of the key factors in having a successful garden is: BE PREPARED! I prefer to begin initial planning in november or december the previous year that way it is relaxing and peaceful, however for most folks january planning is not too late.
Gather all of your seeds and make a list of what you have. Now make a list of what you want/need. Sometimes I write the list by hand, however sometimes I will use a spreadsheet program like Excel (Open Office has a free office program much like Microsoft Word). Using a spreadsheet program allows you to alphabetize in a few simple steps … which is nice if you like things alphabetized! Look through the seed catalog, email a few friends for seed exchanging, etc., and place your order(s).
Next, make a spreadsheet (on the computer or on paper) of what you are going to plant. The produce names go down the left side of the page. On the top are columns, one for each month that requires action with the seeds and plants. I use numbers for each month, 1 is january, 2 is february, etc.
Now fill in the spreadsheet with DATES – a star in front of the date means “start inside”. No star means “start outside”. For this step you will need to know a few basic things … like when is the last expected frost date for your area, what needs to be started inside, what can be directly sown outside, when can your inside starts be transplanted, and so on. (here is a nifty zone map - just click on your state - but ask the local 'old timers' too - the know more than the USDA does!) For example, in my area broccoli can be started inside at the end of january and a little in to february, so in my “#1” column in the “broccoli” row I have “*1/28 – 2/11”. And then a few months later, in the “#3” column I have “3/10-3/30”.

Since I like to also do fall plantings of some vegetables, you'll see in “#6” column in the “broccoli” row “*6/20-7/4” and in “#8” “8/1-8/15”. Now I know when I look at my spreadsheet I'll need to start broccoli seeds inside at the end of jan or the beginning of feb, plant the starts outside some time during the last half of march, start the seeds again inside towards the end of june or beginning of july, and plant those starts outside some time at the beginning of august for a fall crop. Make sense? I hope so!!! See my photo for clarification.

One final thing that I do … I organize my seeds by date in ziplock bags and keep them in order in a plastic shoe box, that way they are ready to go and fool-proof (or should I say, busy-life proof?). Anything that needs to be done the same day is grouped into the same ziplock bag. So, for example, asparagus and celery both need to be started inside on 1/12, so they are in a ziplock bag together with a label that reads: INSIDE 1/12.

Some crops need a spring and fall planting – like broccoli for example as mentioned above. Everything that needs started inside on 1/26 is in a ziplock bag together that is labeled: INSIDE 1/26. HOWEVER, the seeds that need started again in the fall are in ANOTHER ziplock bag inside the 1/26 bag (see photo). This bag is labeled: INSIDE 6/20. Now I know that when I am done starting seeds inside for those vegetables, I put the seeds packs back into the INSIDE 6/20 bag and put the bag in the proper date order in the shoe box. Now the seeds are ready for me when it's time to start them in june. I don't have to remember; it does the remembering for me.
Notice on INSIDE 2/2 I have a note: *Also start sweet potatoes.
This helps me remember that it's time to hide a few sweet potatoes in a paper sack (or box or sand … but I use a sack) so it can sprout me some slips.
Sometimes only a card is used for a date – no bag needed. See “OUTSIDE 3/10 – 3/30” or “OUTSIDE 8/1” for examples.

Everything on these cards are either already started inside and ready to be planted outside, or can be direct sown. (Even though I usually start a few rows of lettuce, kale and spinach each week beginning in the middle of february, I know that they are considered 'safe' to plant outside after 3/10.)
Here's one more just because ...
My go-to book is The Vegetable Gardener's Bible by Edward C. Smith. My uncle told me about it several years ago and I am so thankful for it!

I hope this was helpful to someone!! If you have video capabilities, here is a quick video I did explaining this whole process. Have a great day!


Tuesday, November 10, 2015

My Youtube Channel

I have been really going back and forth with what is easier for me ... this blog or my youtube channel. Right now without the internet it seems so hard to keep this blog updated but I can make and edit videos at home and then have them ready to upload whenever internet is available. I upload as many as I have available all at once and then publish them at different days so they are not all published at the same time. Anyway, youtube has been a lot more practical for me at this point in my life ... so here is a link to my youtube channel ... subscribe for updates!! I will continue to update this blog as often as I can, which includes updating the ever-growing "recipe" section. Thank you!!

Frugal Home and Health (HERITAGE HOMESTEAD) on YOUTUBE

Saturday, October 17, 2015

A Funny Chicken Video and an update

We were going through old videos today and yesterday and ran across this one from 3 or 4 years ago. I forgot all about it!!! It gave us all a good laugh more than once over the years :)

Besides that, life goes on as usual. I might have a post for this blog soon!! Until then, go check out youtube channel FRUGAL HOME AND HEALTH ... I am still keeping that up-to-date. Have a great night!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

THE BEST (really) Grain Free Gluten Free Brownies

(video at the bottom)
I've always liked brownies but never liked the fact that sugar was the main ingredient. I've tried many 'healthier' brownie recipes over the years, tweaked them a little, and still have not come up with anything close to the 'real deal' ... until now. In fact, I like these brownies BETTER than the 'real deal' and they are much better for you.

With almond butter or some other kind of nut or seed butter as the base and honey to sweeten, these brownies can be enjoyed instead of feared.

Grain Free Brownies
FIRST (optional but really good!)
Soak about 10 prunes for a few hours, a day or over night. Blend the prunes and 1 1/2t instant coffee granules (optional) WITH the soaking water until smooth. Add only as much water as needed to help it blend (you may need to add more water).

Preheat over to 325* and grease a bar pan (15" x 10 1/2")

Place 2 cups (512g) of nut or seed butter in a mixer bowl.
Add the prune/coffee puree and 3 eggs.
Mix well, stopping to scrape down the sides at least once.

Add 1T vanilla and sweetener. If your nut/seed butter is sweet already, only use 1/2c to 3/4c sweetener. If it is not sweet, add 1c sweetener. I prefer honey.
Mix well, stopping to scrape down the sides at least once.

In a separate bowl combine 1/2c dark cocoa/cacao powder, 1t baking soda and 1/2t salt. If you did not use the prunes, now is the time to add the 1 1/2t instant coffee granules (optional).
Stir to mix well.

Spoon the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients while blending. Mix well. Scrape at least once.
Optional: Stir in 1/2c to 3/4c dark chocolate chips (I do this for any nut or seed butter except the chocolate hazelnut butter). You may melt this if you'd like to.

Pour onto the greased bar pan, spread out evenly and bake at 325* for about 30-35 minutes, or until the center is done.

Cool on a wire rack. Cut. Store in an airtight container ... on the counter for short term or in the fridge for about a week.

Friday, September 18, 2015

THE BEST Gluten Free Grain Free Almond Flour Muffins

I've been spending a lot more time recently doing videos instead of posting on here and I think I've come to the conclusion that I like to post blogs better than make videos ... so I'm going to shift back into that and still do some videos as time allows. [10-17-15 videos are easier for me right now because we do not have the internet!! I'll do my best.] But for now, here is a video I just did the other day: Gluten Free Grain Free Blueberry Muffins (or whatever berry or other fruit you prefer). I'll post the recipe and instructions here but you may watch the video too if you'd like :) I'll put it at the bottom of this post.

I order the blanched almond flour from Azure Standard, however if there is not an Azure Standard drop point in your area you can find blanched almond flour on Amazon, Vitacost, or other such place.
Another starch may be substituted for the Tapioca Starch, however the texture might be a little different (Arrowroot starch, potato starch, etc.).

Blueberry Muffins
Gluten-Free, Grain-Free
Preheat oven to 350*
Have ready 12 paper-lined muffin cups.

Combine well in blender...
3 large eggs or 4 small eggs
1/2c plain non-dairy or dairy milk
1/3c sweetener (I like honey)
1/4c melted butter (or other oil such as coconut)
1 1/2t vanilla
1/2t other extract to suit your choice of fruit (see below)

Mix first and then blend with above until just combined. Do not overmix...
2c blanched almond flour
1/2c tapioca starch
1/2t baking soda
1/4t salt

Pour in to 12 paper-lined muffin cups.
Top each with one heaping tablespoon of berries or other fruit.
Bake at 350* for 30-35 minutes or until done. Check around 25 minutes.
Cool on rack for about 10 minutes before removing muffins.

Allow muffins to cool completely on wire rack before storing in an air-tight container. Store on the counter if using quickly, the fridge if using within a week or so, or the freezer for long-term storage and a quick breakfast or snack.

Blueberry with lemon extract or 1t lemon zest
Raspberry with almond or orange extract and/or orange zest
Cranberry with orange extract or zest (may also add chopped nuts)
Peach with almond extract (add a teaspoon of cinnamon and 1/4t nutmeg for spiced peach)
Dehydrated strawberries with no extra extract (fresh strawberries are too runny)
Chopped, canned pineapple chunks with no extra extract
Chopped apples with almond extract (add 1t cinnamon and 1/4t nutmeg if desired)

For more videos please see our playlists: