Thursday, February 16, 2017

Busy Week

     I've been away from home every day this week for family.  This can't happen once I'm in full homestead swing.  There's too many things to do here. I'm not sure what to do about that.
     Today I take my 84 year old mum to stores she wants to go to and a doctor appointment.  I won't be able to walk by the time I get home.  Arthritis in my knees really limits me and shortens my day.
     I'll stop by Walmart to pick up the 72 cell seed starter trays ($7.00 each) on my way down.  Soon I'll start lettuce and prepare a growing spot for it on the porch in window boxes. Also onion seed.  Yellow Globe and Walla Walla.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Planning more than seeds

     Starting seeds in the house is really a nuisance.  I love to do it, but we don't have much space for it.  Over the years we've set up lights in shelving units and set up an area in the basement, but nothing works better for me than natural light.  My seedlings get spindly under the lights even when I keep the lights lowered to just above the tops of the plants.  I also plan to start tomatoes earlier because they usually don't ripen early enough to enjoy throughout the summer.
     We have one south facing window that husband built a wide sill for.  I put a heat mat there and a 72 cell seed flat will fit nicely.  The first early spring veggies begin their days here in February.  Broccoli, kale, lettuce, cabbage, Swiss chard, and this year for the first time broad beans.  The time the "earlies" spend on the sill interferes with the seed starting times of my tomatoes, peppers and eggplant, and there isn't room for both groups.  So I've been daydreaming of building a greenhouse over a couple of the raised beds that could easily be assembled and then easily disassembled when those two beds need to be planted.
    

Garden/ Homestead Projects

     As I plan for the 2017 year of homesteading, I keep running into things that need to be accomplished before I can proceed with garden plans.  
     Our chickens have been free ranging for a few years.  This was my husband's choice. I've wanted to build a run and monitor them to see their habits and to get a better handle on the egg production.  In addition, they have made it difficult and more time consuming to manage the garden.  This is not a breed we would have chosen.  We were in between flocks when someone our son knew had this flock of Phoenix breed chickens they had to get rid of because there was an ordinance in their neighborhood that did not allow them. Our breed of choice is Barred Rock.
     These birds produce small white eggs and do not lay one egg per day.  The only good thing about the breed in my opinion is that there are a lot of broody hens.  The Barred Rocks never produced chicks.  They are also very noisy.  There are a lot of roosters being hatched and very few hens.
     Two projects that must be completed before planting are: 

  • Chicken run
  • Portable greenhouse. 
     TexasPrepper2 on youtube has a great design for a greenhouse that I plan to use for the chicken run and you can check it out here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-DKlXs8iov0
     I will run 1/2" hardware cloth around the bottom to prevent smaller chickens from getting out.
     The design I'm using for my portable greenhouse is shown here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YMAcs-uPTC4&t=331s
     Mine will be 4' x 4' and I will disassemble it after the danger of frost has passed.  I have most of the parts from constructing bed cages to keep the chickens out.
     It's still too early for me to start seeds so when I'm ready to do that I'll talk about my seed choices.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

A Lot Has Happened In A Year

     2016 was a year of health issues for me.  In March I spent 2 weeks in the hospital with blood staph infection.  Another month at home with a pic line for antibiotic IV and home health care nurse.  The infection settled in my disc and sciatica nerve causing extreme pain and inability to walk.  I was taking oxycodone for pain.  When I was able to get around a bit I went into physical therapy for a couple of months.
     I went back to work the second week of May and school ended the first week of June which gave me the summer to continue to heal.  I really had not been ready to go back to work but felt that if I didn't, I would not qualify for unemployment for the summer.  
     It was a difficult summer.  There was so much that I wanted to do but I had not regained strength to do it all.  I took care of the container garden on and around the deck but my raised beds went to weeds.
     I was scheduled to go back to work the end of August but clearly, I was not able to.  So, now I am home and we are living on a very tight budget with my husband's income.  It's been a challenge to say the least!
     Then a few weeks ago I was in the hospital again.  Sepsis, kidney infection, dehydration and the diagnosis of diabetes.
     I've had to look at my diet more closely.  I had no idea there was so much sugar in everything.  Even milk.  So aside from trying to eat organic, which is expensive, I've had to eliminate even some organics.  Fortunately, I'm at home and have the time to do so many of those things from scratch that I've longed to do for long!
     The old saying, "every dark cloud has a silver lining" comes to my mind at the moment and it is true.  I've never been through any difficult time that I didn't come out of it better off than when I went into it.  That's a fact.
     So now, my journey gets trickier ;) ...but learning continues and hopefully a healthier me will emerge.
     I had a Word from the Lord given to me recently from someone who barely knows me.  This is so awesome:

"I see restoration for you. A literal Eden 2017 (Lance's one teaching). Also got this Scripture for you: 
“And the Lord will continually guide you,
And satisfy your soul in scorched and dry places,
And give strength to your bones;
And you will be like a watered garden,
And like a spring of water whose waters do not fail.
12 
“And your people will rebuild the ancient ruins;
You will raise up and restore the age-old foundations [of buildings that have been laid waste];
You will be called Repairer of the Breach,
Restorer of Streets [b]with Dwellings. (Isaiah 58)

After a time of grief and sorrow, His joy comes with an outpouring, like a fountain. After a time of weeds growing, and "things falling apart," comes a new work of cleansing, uprooting the old, receiving the new. We call out growth in the Holy Spirit, in all areas of your lives. Both you and hubby. I pray for a new perspective of Eternity, that our time on earth is but a brief moment, and that our time with Him and our loved ones will stretch on and on, for ever. Your heart is for what is beautiful, peaceful, harmonious...and He will give you the desires of your heart. Just as the birds/toads etc came, so the ones who need Him will come to you. They will see His tenderness in you, and be drawn to you. And somehow I sense He will bring about something very fruitful from/through your garden, in the natural too. It is a place of treasures and togetherness with Jesus. <3".

     So, I have encouragement from the Lord that I'll have restoration and promise of my garden.  I feel like 2017 will be a great year.  I've ordered some seeds and done some planning.  
     Broad beans this year are new to me but I have a recipe to try with them. I've always loved watching the allotment videos on youtube.  The English have such green thumbs but their weather is different from my zone 5b.  Some of the seeds I would love to try are not available to us and those that are, are too expensive for my budget.  I'll be back with a post of my seed choices and a couple of links to my favorite allotment gardeners.
     I pray we all have a blessed 2017.

BIG CONGRATULATIONS TO TESSIE FOR HER YOUTUBE CHANNEL.  It is very well done with much necessary information.  I'll have a link for that as well on a side bar as soon as I can. 

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Changed my tea recipe

Well, after much more experimentation I've decided to drink the hawthorn by itself as my blood pressure medicine.  Morning and evening.
Then my final vitamin C tea is one part hibiscus, 1/2 as much rosehips and one part raspberry leaf, 1/4 part of stevia cut and sifted leaf.  You may want more raspberry leaf to taste.  That is what gives the blend more of a tea flavor.  Only these 4 ingredients and for me it's the perfect iced tea.
I want to post about 2016 plans but have to wait until I have more time.  We're in the middle of planning a baby shower.  Middle son and daughter-in-law expecting in April :)

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

The Herbal Tea I Make

Ever since I decided to quit taking blood pressure medicine I've been making hawthorn tea.  Hawthorn berries, flowers and leaves work together to balance blood pressure.
If you have low blood pressure it will raise it up and if it is high it will lower it.  It does work.
I have not taken blood pressure pills for 2 years now.
I quit drinking soda many years ago and usually would drink water or iced tea. I've looked for something to drink that would not be unhealthy with food dyes or additives but found nothing.
One day while at Big Lots I found a Celestial Seasonings tea called "Zinger Ice".  An herbal ice tea with no caffeine!  It has hibiscus, rosehips, roasted chicory, orange peel, verbena, stevia, blackberry and raspberry leaves.  
I've made my own blend incorporating the hawthorn I need with hibiscus, rosehip, stevia and orange peel.  No sugar and no caffeine.
I tried to send pictures by way of my phone and they've shown as loading for 2 days.  So I found pictures on the Internet.
I bought the drawstring type bags so I wouldn't have to seal them with an iron. They work really well.  Generally, one teaspoon of herb to one 8oz. cup of tea.  I fill the bag and make an infusion in a quart jar.

Hawthorn berries - 1/2 tsp.





 Hibiscus flowers -1/2 tsp.


 Dried orange peel - 1/2 tsp.



Dried Rose Hips - 1/2 tsp.
 Dried Stevia leaf - 1/2 tsp.











Dried hawthorn flower and leaf











An infusion stays steeping for at least 8 hours.  It will make a stronger tea with less herb.  I drink this twice a day for the benefits of the hawthorn.  It is a delicious tea.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Front Porch Garden

Eggplant:  This is 3 plants in an Earth Box.

I used 2 of these boxes and they are the best growing of the whole garden.  Self watering and mineral enriched soil.








I bought these 3qt buckets at the Dollar Tree to grow herbs in until I find a good place for them.  This is Spanish oregano that took FOREVER to germinate.  The thyme took a long time too though.


Lettuce leaf basil.  We love it on sandwiches and of course brushetta.  Huge mild flavor leaves.






I grew 4 different kinds of lettuce in window boxes.  This worked great.  I have been using rock dust (Azomite) which is similar to the Dolomite the Earth Boxes use.






My lemon balm has nearly disappeared from the garden.  I transplanted into a pot so I was able to relocate.  As fall temps approach I'll be more active out there making changes for the 2016 garden.  



That's all for now.  We have a lot to do today so Monday I will get more pics and give a few sneak peaks of what I plan to do during those extreme cold months ahead!