Thursday, August 7, 2014

Garden Pickins' and Board and Batten

Our garden as been productive this year. At least more so than last year. At the moment it is full of weeds but we are still picking and preserving our produce.

Behind the vegetables is a jar of soap slivers I have been saving to make liquid soap with. Once I get motivated, I will post instructions and pictures.

I have been busy canning; squash, green beans and pickles. Next up will be spaghetti sauce and anything else that becomes available. I have been freezing my spare peppers to use during the winter. There is nothing like a big 'ol pot of chili on a cold winters day.

I have been adding squash and zucchini to almost every meal. There are so many ways to prepare these veggies and not follow the same old recipes.

Mr. Farmer was able to sell all his available piglets for this season. That was such a blessing. I am pretty sure three of our sows have been breed for an early fall delivery. Never thought we would be pig farmers but I have been falling in love with raising pigs.

I recently brought home a new beautiful black rooster who is a very kind soul and also brought home a broody hen with him. I think the move has stressed out the hen, she is not setting. I hope over some time she will begin setting again.

Mr. Farmer and friend have been working hard at getting the siding up on the house this summer. There is still more batten to put on and there is a section near the electrical and gas lines that need to be completed.

Our front porch....

Back porch......  The window above the porch was going to originally be a balcony but since I am accident prone; Mr. Farmer decided to lean towards safety and put in a nice window. The green section is the only area left that needs both the board and batten put on. Both porch ares still need the batten. So all is going well and I am grateful for Mr. Farmer for all the work he has been doing, especially since he is not a construction person. He is learning as he goes.

Once the exterior construction is done, BOY, do we have a major mess to clean.

Well pot roast is cooking for dinner and I have some reading I want to complete before a job interview I have on Monday.

Blessings from Bountiful Homestead!


Monday, July 21, 2014

Food Preservation continues.....

Lets see, yesterday I only canned 4 pints of dill pickles. Doesn't sound like much but I am canning using our burpless cucumbers instead of the pickle cucumbers because they decided not to grow this year. So we will see how the burpless cucumber tastes as a pickle. I have a mess more of them to can later today. I also put up quite a few bags of zucchini in the freezer for breads, soups and stews.

Right now in the canner I am canning 20 pints of yellow squash. It is another "something new" for me to can. Our squash production is prolific this year, all varieties.

To take a little break from canning yesterday, I decided to package some of my Homesteaders soap. I made this soap unscented and it seems to be a slightly harder soap from the Lavendar Soap I usually make. I have been happy with my soap making this year. I only had one batch I had to discard because of a strange chemical reaction and I could not use it. Lesson learned: what pot not to use in soap making.

My next project later this week is Zucchini relish. I found a new recipe and informed Mr. Farmer he will be eating it on his hotdogs and hamburgers. He fully agreed but I also know he wants to eat every bit we grow.

On the menu for dinner tonight will be a turkey, squash, green bean stew with a side of cucumber and tomato salad. YUM! Mr. Farmer is outside working on the siding and it sounds like he is working on the left side where they did not complete yet. So maybe next time I will be able to post a photo of a finished left side of our home.

Blessings from Bountiful Homestead!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Homestead Happenings

It is raining here on the homestead today and it is a gloriously beautiful day! 

Rainy days I tend to get more accomplished inside, go figure. I have had a batch of squash, yellow and zucchini waiting on me to work with all week and few more had been added later in the week. Here is a photo of about 1/3 of them. I have cleaned and frozen some and this morning I made luscious Zucchini Bread. As my children were growing up I had to call it "Sweet Bread" and they loved it but if they saw zucchini going into it they would not eat it. So sometime it just rolls off of my tongue as Sweet Bread.

Zucchini Bread

3 eggs
2 cups sugar
2 cups shredded zucchini
1 cup oil
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/2 cup chopped nuts

Beat eggs until foamy. Stir in sugar, zucchini, oil and vanilla.
Gradually add dry ingredients and spices. Stir in nuts
Pour into 2 bread pans which have been greased only on the bottoms.
Bake at 325 for 60-80 minutes. Cool 10 minutes. Remove from pans and cool completely.  

Here are about 1/2 of the squash I have left to process today. Keeping me busy but I will sure enjoy it in future breads, soups and stews.

Yum, just decided to take a slice of bread mini break. Well worth it.

Mr. Farmer is busy picking up more wood for our siding today. When he gets home it will be quite interesting because he will have to back up the hill on the mud. Praying he stays calm and safe.

To me a lot has been accomplish this week, almost two sides of the house done and my door in the loft has been replace by a huge window. It had been decided that I won't have my balcony off the loft toward the back yard due to my history of self injury. I honestly don't mean to do stupid stuff but it always finds me. But I will have two beautiful porches on our home. One full front porch that is ten feet wide so I will be able to enjoy the storms as they go through the mountain and a back porch that is much bigger than I had planned to prepare vegetables for canning. I am truly blessed.

This is the right side of our home. When Mr. Farmer got all that wood up I had the urge to tell him he had to cut out a spot for a stained glass window I want there. But I did not have the heart to do it. I really would like one there. Thank goodness I didn't buy it. He still has some batten to go up on this side.

OK, this is the left side of out home but for some reason we are looking at it sideways. The roof is on the right here. The area that is not sided yet is the jut out that was made to enlarge our bathroom and utility room. Window is right over my antique cast iron double bowl farm sink. It is wonderful for canning. One side is so deep it fits my 14 quart sized canner in it easily. Meaning a canner that cans 14 quarts at a time. I bought that last year and love it. My old canner finally bit the dust but I used it for 31 years, it only canned 7 jars at a time. So I am very blessed to own a larger canner. This helps the process become a little quicker.

I froze some jalapeno peppers to use in chili during the winter. It looks like I should be picking a lot more.

Thank goodness tonight is leftover dinner night. I think every night this week I tried all kinds of squash recipes and we have some of everything, so it is clean out the refrigerator night and enjoy the recipes again. I will decide if they were keeper recipes are not but honestly, they were all good.

Blessings from Bountiful Homestead!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Summer Canning has begun!

Canning on the homestead has begun with a vengeance. Mr. Farmer picked green beans for me yesterday and I have been canning since. So far this season I have completed 55 quarts of green beans, 10 pints of strawberry jam and 6 pints of pineapple jam.

I have a 1/2 bushel of squash waiting on me. I plan on freezing both the yellow squash and zucchini. That is my next project to begin today but I needed a little breather.

Mr. Farmer has been extremely busy lately. Besides caring for the pigs, chickens and once in a while my goats. He has been gardening and putting up the siding on our home. Our home has been kindly named the chicken house by Mr.Farmer's friend/helper. I love the board and batten they are putting up.

That is the kitchen side window that overlooks my goat yard. My favorite view! Now Mr. Farmer and friend is working on the other side of the home. I actually may be closed in for winter this year. Such a blessing!

Well that is all the news from the homestead. I am going to pick some fresh basil and jalapeno peppers before I attack my squash.

Blessings from Bountiful Homestead!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Summertime on the Homestead in WV

Today is another very warm day on the homestead. Mr. Farmer and friend are working diligently on the exterior of our home. I have not been out being nosy to see what they have gotten accomplished yet today. When I go out for evening chores I will take a look and hopefully take a few pictures. The progress is slow but I have to remind myself that the two men, who I very much appreciate, are not carpenters. They are learning as they are going.

I do have a batch of Homesteader's soap curing. It is not very nice looking at the moment but will be trimmed up and be 4 oz. bars when completed. It takes about three weeks to cure. It has no scent and forms a nice hard bar of soap.

I actually made two batches of this soap and ended up throwing out the first batch. I think the first batch had a huge chemical reaction with the old pot I was using. It just did not look right. Better safe than sorry, so yesterday a new batch was made and turned out beautifully except for my first cut job. 

Zoey, my little dog and Emma my cat; both have the right idea in how to handle the heat by laying in the living room in front of the fan. They are such sweet little farm animals.

My goal tonight is to put my new young chickens in with the older chikens once it gets dark and they begin to roost. They are just about to begin laying soon or at least in the next month. What I have read is they are a little more accepting if you put them in there at night. So I am hoping all goes well. I have not had good luck previously introducing new hens into established flocks.

OK, off to begin supper. We are having hamburgers, cauliflower and broccholi from the garden.

Blessings from Bountiful Homestead!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Hot Homestead

We love summer but when it gets into the 90's and is humid, living with no air is a bummer. But our goal is to live as less dependent on others such as electric companies etc. as much as possible. So as I sit in front of the box fan typing the air actually feels slightly cooler than the last few days.

There is no board and batten up on our home yet but there had been some progress made of the exterior of our home. Mr. Farmer and friend put cross boards across the front porch roof which is now ready for the tin, as soon as it gets delivered and they also started putting up the soffiting. I am not completely sure if they made it around the entire home or not.

Here is the progress. Not a great picture but I was on the front porch looking up.

So you can see the porch roof framing and white soffiting. Making progress.

In the garden, I am so please with its progress so far. I hope to be able to put up enough vegetable for winter but boy are we enjoying the fresh produce every single day.

This is the mess of snow peas we had for dinner last night, We have another mess for this evening. Yesterday I sauteed them with broccoli, cauliflower, garlic, onions, and carrots. Tonight I think I may just steam them by themselves and add a little butter to them.

For dessert I had planned to make a blackberry cheesecake but i could not find enough blackberries so I had some frozen mixed berries in the freezer so I changed it to a Mixed Berry Cheesecake. I reduced the amount of sugar the recipe called for and it turned out just fine.

Mixed Berry Cheesecake

I used 2 premade graham cracker pie crusts but this recipe males a 9x13 pan cheesecake.

Crust. Crush 2 sleeves of graham crackers. Moisten crumbs with 1 stick of melted butter and about 1 teaspoon of vanilla. Press this mixture firmly into foil lined pan and set aside.

Cream together:
3 Packages of softened cream cheese. Add 1 1/2 cups of flour and 1 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla. Cream well together.
Add 4 eggs, one at a time.
Then add 1/2 cup sour cream and mix until smooth.
Pour into crust. 
Place a pan of water on bottom shelf of oven. This is to help prevent cheesecake from cracking. Even though mine cracked but did not affect the flavor.
I baked at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Turn off oven and do not open door. After 10 minutes open door half way and leave cake in oven another 110-15 minutes.
Take out of oven and cook. 

Make berry topping.
4 cups of berries
1 cup sugar 
1/4 cup water
Mix all together and cook on medium heat about 4 minutes.
Add 2 tablespoons of cornstarch to 4 tablespoons of water. Mix well and then add to berry mixture. Continue cooking until berries get to the thickness you desire.
Top cheesecake with berry  mix. Store in refrigerator and ENJOY!

Blessings from Bountiful Homestead!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Board and Batten days have begun on the Homestead!

Today the process of putting up the board and batten siding has begun. Mr. Farmer and hired hand/friend is outside attaching the studs that the boards will be attached to. It has taken 4 years for us to get to this step. Many of life's happenings have slowed us down but we are here. Below you will see a picture of what the outside of our home on the Homestead will look like.

We should be snug as a bug come this winter. If you can not already tell how excited I am, I am sooo excited, I never thought I would see this day. I have to add, I owe a son a tailgate for his truck now. He was helping Mr. Farmer pick up the wood over the weekend and coming up our steep drive, he lost the whole load of wood and at the same time it bent his tailgate to the point it will not close. It is such a pretty truck and we will have to have it repaired/new one put on for him. But we cannot do that yet, I understand they will be picking up more wood this coming weekend. My son down backs up the steep drive so the wood does not all fall out driving up. I sure could not back up the hill. Thank goodness for blessed sons, I have several very blessed and talented adult sons I appreciate so much. Here is a picture of our beginning stack of wood for the siding.

Gardening has come into full swing also. We have been living off of broccoli and cauliflower and now we have snap peas too. I forgot to take a picture of the peas but I will get it tonight. We are so blessed to be getting such a great bounty of fresh vegetables this year. That and all the hard work Mr. Farmer has been putting into the Homestead.

Right now we are picking per meal but I really should be preserving some for winter. I have added several batches of jam to my stockpile. So far I have made strawberry and pineapple jams. Now if I can keep Mr. Farmer from eating them all before winter would be wonderful.

I love jam in the wintertime. Especially Pineapple Jam, it tastes like sunshine.

Pineapple Jam

1 (20 oz.) can crushed pineapple in syrup. Or use equilivant of fresh pineapple that has been mashed.
3 cups sugar
1 box pectin

Add enough water to fruit to make 3 1/4 cups.
Place in large pot.
Measure sugar and set aside. 
Mix pectin into fruit.
Place over high heat & stir until it comes to a full boil. 
Add sugar. Boil hard for 1 minutes. Stirring constantly.
Remove from heat and skim off any foam.
Ladle into hot jars. Wipe rims and seal. 
Boil bath can for 15 minutes. Enjoy.

Blessings from Bountiful Homestead!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Homestead Progress

I have not written forever. I am so very sorry.

There has been slight progress on the homestead. Besides having piglets and raising them to sell and keep a few for butchering this fall, I have gotten a few new chickens for my flock, Rhode Island Reds. I have had them for years in a small town but when we moved to our homestead we switched breeds to Americana. I still have a few of those but I am back to my true love, Rhode Island Reds. I do not have a good picture of them as of this moment and the type of brooder they are in I am unable to get a decent picture. Soon I hope to have a good one to share. 

I also got 2 new youg goats to start breading this fall so I will have goats milk in the spring. I will be able to do so much with fresh raw milk. I cannot wait until then. 
This is Belle, she will be my main doe I want to breed when she is old enough. I am just dreaming of all the milk, cheese, ice cream, yogurt and soap I will be able to have because of this beautiful doe.
She is enjoying her goat pasture with her buddy, Sugar Bear which is a wether. There were no other females at the time and I knew she needed a buddy or she would be very lonely. Now I am working on finding a buck who I will be able to breed her with in the late fall.

Progress is also being made on our home, slow but sure. Here is an updated picture.

The porch has all the framing needed to be completed with my tin roof and all. The ramp is still two thirds finished which I asked Mr. Farmer to finish it soon. We will see what Mr. Farmers next step is, he has alot of projects on his list. Today and my one son went to pick up some of the board and batten we ordered from a local miller. So by winter we should be closed in externally. That will be a blessed day!

More projects include the gardens. I have a few pictures of them. We have already been enjoying broccoli, cauliflower and basil from our gardens. Such a beautiful abundance. We should be having jalapeno peppers and zucchini soon.

As we all work to provide for our families and increase the efficiency of our homesteads, I hope and pray we will be successful and abundant.