Sunday, November 3, 2013

Kiwi Picking

 So I haven't posted in a while... I had been recovering after getting out of a toxic relationship, becoming better acquainted with myself again, and as a result, my schedule became busier and I always seemed to think of a topic to write for a blog post when I was out and about, away from a computer. Anyways, after half a year, everything finally seems to be falling back into place, and I am so much happier, and just more content with myself and my life, than I have been in a long time.

 So back to homesteading/homemaking/things-I-created-this-blog-to-write-about.....
My friend, Ellen, and I decided to spend a morning a couple weeks ago picking kiwis at a local u-pick kiwi farm. They grow two different types of kiwi there, Hayward (the fuzzy ones) and kiwi berries, or hardy kiwis. I had never eaten hardy kiwis before, but they are just delicious as the bigger ones, about the size of a large grape, and fuzz-less, so you can pop them in your mouth whole. I read somewhere that hardy kiwis are not techniquely kiwis, but I am unsure of the details there.
Hardy kiwis
Hayward kiwis

After picking a couple buckets worth of kiwis, we headed to a farm stand for some more local fruit (and honey), and then spent a couple of hours making our way through an antique mall.
Needless to say, we enjoyed ourselves.


Hardy kiwi freezer jam
 I was sure that I had overcommitted kiwi-wise, but after Ellen removed her share of them and I started mashing the hardy kiwis up for freezer jam, I realized that I probably could have gotten a few more, because three jars of jam isn't going to last very
Kiwis ready for ripening
 The Hayward kiwis were hard as rocks when we picked them... and two weeks later they still were. Luckily, on the back of the farm's business card there were directions on how to ripen them, so they are now sitting in a brown paper bag with an apple for a few days.


Saturday, May 11, 2013

Goings On

So I haven't posted in a few weeks, but it's because the weather has been so nice lately that I've been trying to spend some more time outside and the heat just seems to zap your energy. Anyways, updates...

This year, again, I am doing container gardening, as I don't have anywhere to plant in the ground. So far though, I have 9 small tomato plants, snow pod peas, kale and lettuce seedlings, and pickling cucumber and zucchini seedlings sprouting up. I also have planted beets, bush beans, 4 containers of potatoes, and I will probably be trying to get some more planting in soon. Of course, added to this I have herbs and flowers and kiwi vines, etc that weathered over from last year, which adds some color to my little container garden. I'll have to make sure that I take some pictures later of my seedlings and post them.

Lately I have also been trying to dehydrate as much as I can, and I have to say, I love the electric dehydrators! They work so fast and you can really fit a lot onto those trays! I'm planning on getting some of the sheets to use with fruit leathers, so that I can try making some for my kids, as I would much prefer them eating snacks that don't have a bunch of crap added and are 100% healthy.

What about everyone else? Any gardening updates or any other goings on in your lives that you'd like to share?

Saturday, April 27, 2013

A Long Day

It's amazing how much walking around in the heat can wear you out! I spent the day at the Oregon Ag Fest with family, and man am I tired. The twins conked out as soon as we got home and seem to be out for the night. The Ag Fest was great though, and I'm glad we went. Even though it's aimed at children there seems to be tons of information useful to adults and all of the free seedlings that the kids get to plant and take home are definitely a plus!

After getting back I was able to harvest the rest of the leeks that overwintered and try them out in my new dehydrator. I have a feeling this is going to be my new favorite tool and I'll be going dehydrator crazy as new produce starts coming into season. I can't wait to try making jerky though! Yummy!

Tomorrow I plan on spending lots of time planting and doing yard work and will post pictures of my tomato starts. I love this time of year!

Friday, April 19, 2013


I just love all of the blossoms in spring, don't you?

The Self-Sufficiency Road to Retirement

Just thought I would share a new blog with everyone and encourage you to visit. The Self-Sufficiency Road to Retirement is actually written by my Mama and, as the title says, it will be detailing the experiences that she and her husband will be having in their journey towards a more self-sufficient lifestyle, and eventual financial independance in retirement.


Monday, March 18, 2013

Strawberry Lemonade


Although slightly cold, the sunny weather and clear skies that we've been getting off and on lately is making me think of the warmer weather and days spent in the sun. Because of this, I thought I'd share a recipe for a hot weather drink: Strawberry Lemonade.
Really, it's extremely simple. The only tools you need are a lemon/lime squeezer (like the one pictured below), a knife, and a quart sized mason jar. Your ingredients will include 2 lemons, a handful of strawberries, sugar, water, and about a cupful of ice.
So first, you just need to prepare the fruit by cutting the lemons in half and rinsing the strawberries and removing their stems and leaves. Then you simply juice each lemon half into the mason jar with the lemon squeezer, followed by the strawberries. Yes, I actually juiced the strawberries this way, and it seemed to work really well. You can then drop the flattened strawberries into the jar with the juice, and it seems to add extra flavor. Next, add the ice to the jar, and then fill the jar with water, until there is about an inch and a half left room the top of the jar. After this, you add sugar to taste, and shake the sealed jar to mix everything up. You may end up using about a 1/4 cup of sugar, but some people like their lemonade a little sweeter, and it really just depends on your preference.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Just Around the Corner...

Although only mid February, there definitely seems to be a noticable change in the air. Tulips and daffodils are sprouting up everywhere, the weather is getting warmer, the sun has been peeking out more often, the frogs in the field are croaking at night... I'd say it's starting to feel a lot like Spring! This change in the weather is really getting me in the mood to start planting, and I've been trying to look through my seed catalogues to decide what to plant this year.

There's a problem though....there are too many choices to choose from!!!!

I never had any idea there could be so many varieties of beans or other vegetables, and it's making it extremely hard to really decide on anything! I know I want beans for both eating fresh and drying, and definitely some greens and tomatoes, and that I'll have to get seeds that do wel in containers or in small spaces, as I won't have much room to work with, but I am having the hardest time deciding what I want. Of course, I'm sure part of it is my own fault, as I did order several different seed catologues, which makes it that much harder, as each one makes it that much harder, and now I have to deal with the consequences. Oh darn. ;)

Oh well, I guess I'll just have to figure it out, and in the mean time, at least I've got some interesting reading to keep me busy. Do any of you have the same problem this time of year? If so, how do you narrow down your choices?

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Magazine Offer

Thought I would share this offer I found over at One Hundred Dollars a Month! Discount Mags is offering a year's subscription to Urban Farm Magazine for only $4.50, with the coupon code 2479, as opposed to it's listed price of $15! Hurry though! This offer expires tonight at 12:00am EST!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Online Courses

Just thought I'd share a new site I came across! It's called Coursera and offers free online courses from Universities all over the world! There are a few related to agricultural topics, as well as some in business planning, computer sciences, etc. I just signed up for a 5 week Equine Nutrition course that's taught through the University of Edinburgh, which will hopefully be helpful in the future when I eventually have horses again. Anyways, enjoy!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

A Good Start

Well I'd say that I have gotten a good start on my resolution to improve my crocheting skills. I finally learned how to crochet at the end of last year, and honestly I can't figure out why it took me so long to start! It's so gosh darn easy! So far I've made a scarf for each of my twins (although I still have to finish weaving the loose ends in), and I just taught myself how to make a popcorn stitch, and started to crochet an afghan. Unfortunately though, I've run out of yarn and both times I've gone to the fabric store since, they haven't had any in. Oh well, I'll get it soon enough!

Here are pictures of my projects so far!

Saturday, January 12, 2013


I recently got around to watching a few documentaries that I'd been meaning to watch, and I thought I would share reviews of them, in a series of posts. The documentary that I definitely had the biggest reaction to, was Farmageddon.

Farmageddon, delves into the corruption within the food industry, and the unjust way in which government officials have treated small farms and co-ops, many times without just cause, while hiding behind their claims to be working in the interest of public health. The events related in this documentary were definitely eye opening, and caused me at least to really become enraged with the way in which these people, and people like them are treated. No one, whether a government official or not, should have the right to go into a person's home or business and seize animals or products that make up their livelihood, without a dang good reason! And what makes me sick is the fact that the people who they attack are normal, hardworking people, who are trying to make an honest living, and end up having everything taken from them, without even a valid explanation. I am really amazed sometimes that people can be so heartless. It's almost as if the power that these officials have desensitizes them, and makes them able to separate themselves from the people whose lives they are destroying. What is the point of spending millions of dollars on building cases on innocent people, or removing and killing their healthy, disease-free animals? Small farms should not be punished just because the USDA doesn't do their job monitoring or inspecting foods from factory or industrial farms.

I would consider this documentary a must see, and would recommend it to anyone, whether they are interested in farming and food, or not. It is an excellent film and does a very good job of getting the point across.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

New Year "Resolutions"

Happy New Year Everyone!
Now, I realize that this is a couple days late, but I wanted to publish a post with New Years resolutions, and decided to think things over a few days. I don't often make resolutions at the beginning of each new year, but I've decided to start doing it, so that I have something specific to work on for the year and have a specific amount of time to complete goals in. New Years resolutions always seem to center around things like losing weight or getting rid of debt, and while I do have goals like this, they are on going and I'm not going to make resolutions like that. Sure, this year I definitely want to make sure that I stay healthy and definitely get rid of any debt I have (and more importantly not incur more), but these won't be my resolutions for the new year, they're ongoing.
Nope. This year, I am making goals that include skills to become more self-sufficient, knowledgable, and just to improve my overall quality of life. Some of them may seem small compared to others, but I find them all equally important, and I'm sure I'll end up adding more as I think of them, but here's a starting list:
Improve my sewing, knitting, and crocheting skills

Learn to use power tools (besides just a drill)
Expand my vegan cooking abilities

Learn to can

Expand my gardening knowledge

Build or buy a dehydrator

Grow and preserve as much of our food needs as possible for the year, and especially next winter

Shop local as much as possible

...and that's it so far...

Do any of you have resolutions for the new year that you'd like to share?