Thursday, June 25, 2009

Challenge #4

This week has been really screwed up. DH is on vacation so we are doing a ton of things we would normally not be doing. That is the main reason I haven't been here. So I am going to take a break for the rest of the week. I will have some pics of this weeks adventures for next week.

1. Garden work: I have been watering and weeding

1A. Harvest something: Radishes are all gone from the first planting and I have been bringing in lots of lettuces, spinach and swiss chard

2. Preserve something. I made 14 pints strawberry syrup, 7 pints strawberry sauce, 7 pints of peach ambrosia jam and still waiting to do the strawberry jelly.

3. Food storage. Nothing again this week other then the above.

4. Other preparedness tasks: Working on the compost again.

5. Try a new recipe: Adding spinach to everything I can

6. Financial preparedness: Still working on getting caught up. This really doesn't change week to week.

7. Work on local food systems. Really didn't do anything in this category this week.

8: Learn something. Found some new recipes from the library books .

9: Serve someone. Worked down at the Legion serving breakfast for all the Dad's that came in.

Gotta Run

Monday, June 22, 2009


I will be back here soon... I am in stawberry hell! They are almost done but I still can't get out of the kitchen for more then a couple hours.... So this is just a really quick post.

So far I have done 14 pints of syrup & 10 pints of sauce. Berries are juicing as I type. Hopefully, I will have jelly tonight or tomorrow.

That's all for right now!

Gotta Run

Friday, June 19, 2009


I didn't post anything yesterday, because I thought I had nothing to say. But that's ok, cause I have stuff to write about today.

We went (me, mom & monsters) berry picking. They were $1.46 a pound. I have gotten them cheaper in the store but this was a great experience for the monsters. Mouthy monster could be heard over the whole strawberry patch "Can they have some white on them or this one is squishy". Mind you that Mouthy is only 5 and this was her first time doing something like this. I was able to get 33 pounds. Not to bad of a haul. We were out there for about an hour. I didn't realize that the U-pick was open a week ago. If I would have we would have gone then. These plants were fairly picked over.

Dear brother came over bearing steaks. So that is what we had for dinner. Then while the fire was blazing I proceeded to clean the berries, as we sat around the table talking. Teenage monster was nice enough to take them in the house and rinse them for me. They went into the fridge to spend the night.

So today I am looking for a recipe for strawberry syrup. And whatever else catches my fancy. I also have to get a lemon today. I am going to make peach ambrosia jam. I got this recipe from one of the email groups I belong to.

Peach Ambrosia Jam
Makes about 10 Cups

12 large peaches, blanched, peeled, pitted and diced
2 medium size oranges
1 lemon
sugar equal to amount of measured fruit
1 cup maraschino cherries, drained and sliced

1. Put the oranges and lemon with skins on through the food processor.
2. Mix with the peaches.
3. Measure fruit mixture.
4. Match with an equal amount of sugar.
5. Put into a heavy saucepan.
6. Bring to a boil.
7. Reduce the heat.
8. Cook until thick, stirring frequently to prevent sticking.
9. Add the cherries during the last five minutes of cooking.
10. Skim off foam.
11. Ladle into hot, sterilized jars and seal.
Process 10 minutes water bath

Lots to do today!

Gotta Run

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Wordless Day! Almost

Mid June's Garden

Full Strawberry Patch

Garden From a different angle


Something ate my beet greens

Bug on the dill. Not sure what it is. Hopefully, I can find out what it is.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Tuesday Ramblings

Where I left off. The monster got most of their room done. So I decided that it was time to get out on the bicycles and pay DH's cell phone bill. What should have only taken about an hour took like 3. Mouthy monster started complaining right after we left the house. I should have turned around and taken her home. But I thought she would do better the farther we went. No such luck!

I did get some rhubarb, from a movie back lot. Long story, but suffice to say the monsters and I ended up on a movie set in town and I bought some stuff and talked to some people. Kewl... I guess they are going to be in town more often. We are the newest place to film. Didn't see anyone famous. Maybe next time.

After all that exercise we ate pizza for dinner. DH and I went for a walk. Then once we got home I cut up the rest of the strawberries and the rhubarb and made a fruit cobbler. Very good!

Today, cut the grass, planted radish & beet seeds. Also planted zucchini and acorn squash plants. Got a ton more strawberries in the patch. Now the patch is complete. They will fill in the rest of the way next year. DH already said he would build me a netting to save the berries from the birds. Got all of the tomatoes staked. That was a job. I got sunburned on my shoulders. Its not to bad but I need to be more careful.

We made chili dogs for dinner. It was fast as I was tired. All this exercise is kicking my butt. One day maybe I will be back to fighting

Gotta Run

Monday, June 15, 2009

Weekend Recap

Friday DH and I went out on the bike after taking the monsters to school. Went to breakfast. Then went and picked them up as it was a 1/2 day for the last day of school. We went to some yard sales. I got an oil lamp, 2 glass pie plates and a couple of canning jars. Then went to Dairy Queen, last day treat. Got home and went for a bicycle ride with all the monsters. Brought them home and went and got pork chops. Tried to get a tree that had been cut down. No luck though. Cooked and ate. Showered and napped. Then took the monsters to see Flicks on Bricks. It is kind of like the drive in but it is a grassy field and a portable movie screen. The monsters loved it. We saw Shrek. There are going to be 2 more before the summer is over and we are looking forward to them. After we took them home we went back out on the bike. Then hooked up with my Dear Brother and another date. Needless, to say we didn't get home until super late.

Saturday, my birthday! I got to sleep in.... Yeah! Then we went for a drive out in the country. We stopped at a road side stand, I got eggs and strawberries. Came home and had hamburgers and hot dogs for dinner. Cake was kindly provided by 2 sources. We had a fire, burned some paperwork and went to bed early... LOL!

Sunday got up fairly early. Went to the fabric store and found sheer material on clearance. I am going to make the produce bags that are featured in Mother Earth News June/July edition. Hopefully, I will be able to sell them. There are 2 farmers markets that I can set up at. So you never know. Then hit a couple more yard sales. I got an old meat grinder, a glass globe for one of the hurricane lamps, couple more canning jars and an orange hunting hat/face mask. We had meatloaf and mashed potatoes for dinner. Made the strawberry cordial. It will be ready for straining next Sunday. Then we went to the local outside track and the monsters walked around and I rode my bike around. We think the monsters did about a mile and I did 2 or better. WooHoo! Then came home and basically fell into bed.

Monday up with the sun. I have already been outside in the garden. Working on laundry as I type. The monsters are working on their rooms. About time! You would have thought I had real live pigs living in this house by the looks of the rooms. But today that all ends. We are tossing everything that is no longer good for man nor beasty. LOL! The rest will be donated.

Gotta Run,

Challenge #3

1. Garden work: I have been working on weeding the garden & I sprayed the tomato plants with water, dish soap, and oil to kill off the aphids. I will have to reapply but it is working.

1A. Harvest something: 3 Radishes out of the garden

2. Preserve something. I made strawberry cordial.

3. Food storage. 3lb beef roast in the freezer

4. Other preparedness tasks: Switched over my winter to summer clothes. Much cooler now. LOL! Have been burning paperwork instead of shredding.

5. Try a new recipe: Made BBQ Pork Chops.

6. Financial preparedness: Still working on getting caught up. This really doesn't change week to week.

7. Work on local food systems. Really didn't do anything in this category this week.

8: Learn something. This week I learned about Beets and how to kill aphids.

9: Serve someone. I have prayed for the recovery of a dear friend this week. And it seems to be working. ;o)

Thursday, June 11, 2009


I only have a few beets in the garden this year as it is the first year. But I have some in the freezer from last year. And I hope to get more for this year. Since I have only ever had the sweet beets, not really sure what to do with them so here are some links for everyone to share.

Beet Basics |

Easy Gardening....Beets

How to Cook Beets |

This place has a ton of recipes
Beet Recipes - LoveToKnow Recipes

Step by step Pickled Beets
How to can your own homemade canned pickled beets

Waste not want not
Beet Greens Recipe | Simply Recipes

Red Beet Chocolate Cake
Once the beets come in I will have to try this one

Organic Red Food Coloring

I also found that you can dehydrate the beets and then grind up and add the powder in soups and stew.

That's the Vegetable of the day!

Gotta Run

Rainy Thursday

It's raining here agian today. But I was lucky enough to get out in the garden for a bit before the rains came. I used my scissors to cut down some of the weeds that are growing around the potatoe tires. I got a great big blister that popped for my troubles. I used a vegetable oil, dish soap and water treatment on my tomatoe plants that are infested with those little pink bugs. It seems to have killed the larve ones. But the big ones are still holding on. So I will have to get one captured and take it to the garden center to see if they can help me to get rid of them. I don't want to use chemicals if I can avoid it.

My friend is still in critical condition. There has been no change. So I am taking that as a good sign. I keep praying for her and her family, as that is all I can do right now.

We only have 1 day left of school. I think I am happier then the kids about that. We have so many plans. Well at least I do. I think they just want to read, watch tv or play video games all summer. Not!!! We will be outside lots this summer. Even if it means a ton of moaning and crying.... I know I need to check myself with that. Its bad for the kids to see..... LOL! But I am sooooo looking forward to taking the knitting class. Plus I found a cheaper place to do yoga on Tuesday nights. And I found out that I can do aerobic at the city hall on Monday nights. I think I am just going to be a going concern soon. No point sitting still gathering moss.

We will be bottleing beer tonight. Woo Hoo! Then in 5 weeks we will have to have another get together. That seems to be the only time we get everyone over. But that is fine with me. I use to have a BFF, that was always here. The only reason she would go home was to shower & sleep. If her clothes were here I don't think she would have ever left... LOL! Ahhhhh, the good ole days. But alas, those days are over and I actually get stuff done now. Honestly, I didn't mind her being here. My DH works long and odd hours. He is on call. So I am alone alot. But now I have hobbies to occupy my time and am not quite as lonely when he isn't here.

I am cheating on dinner tonight. I am making hamberger helper tonight. We will have corn and bakery bought bread. I am hoping to get bread made on Sunday for next week. I should try and freeze a couple of loaves.

Oh, I have some links for Beets that I am going to share. But those will go into another post.

Gotta Run,

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Sad Day

I just found out that a very dear lady that I have known for about 2 years and has been a mentor to me is in the hospital. She had a major heart attack. She is on a ventilator. Her lungs are to weak to come off the vent and her heart is to weak to have surgery. They are saying she is a fighter a lesser person would not have made it this far.

Please if you would offer up a prayer for her to recover from this.


Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Not Much Today

With the rain we had yesterday it was too wet to really do much outside. I did get a few of the weeds pulled. Some laundry hung. But I feel as though I did more yesterday. I was able to get all of my winter clothes finally put away. My summer stuff is now out. I still have laundry to fold and put away. I did get rid of a garbage bag full of clothes that no longer fit. I have to be more careful where I put my stuff as is must have gotten really hot. All the stuff I got rid of shrunk..... :D

Teenage Monster has a year end party tonight at school. The whole family is invited. I am bringing mostacholli for the potluck. They are suppose to show a video of the kids from the year. Its only an hour long so it won't be too bad. Speaking of the monsters they only have 3 - 1/2 days left. I can't wait. I already have a plan of what needs to get done around here.

The first thing that is going to happen is the bedrooms are going to get cleaned. Then everything will come out of the rooms so that I can wash walls and clean the carpets. We might even paint. Then some of the stuff will go back and the rest will find new homes somewhere else. A little organization will go a long way. And since we are outside so much in the summer once it is cleaned it will stay that way with minimal up keep.

Did you know that pineapple doesn't come from Hawaii anymore? It comes from Indonesia and the Philippines. Dole and Del Monte don't have Hawaii pineapples anymore. So now that is another citrus that we won't be eating. We also no longer eat Mandarin Oranges because the come from China. I am hopeful that I will find a Hawaiian company that will ship to the mainland for us to buy. Keeping fingers crossed for that.

I went into the expensive yarn store in town last night. It was just my second time in there. My first visit wasn't nice. So the store has been open for like a year now. I decided that it was time to see if things had changed and boy o boy have they. I am so happy I went in. They are much nicer now and they even offer classes. So I will be taking the beginner class July 12, 19, 26. It is a 3 part class. She said that we will learn how to make a scarf but each section of the scarf will be a different stitch. Knit & purl, weave, wrap around and a couple other I don't remember. I am so excited to learn how to finally learn what to do properly.

Gotta Run,

Monday, June 8, 2009

Challenge #2

1. Garden work: I have been working on weeding the garden & growing sprouts

2. Preserve something. I helped in the making of 2 types of beer. It is put up so it counts. LOL!

3. Food storage. I went shopping: chili, canned milk, tuna, juices, refried beans, more canned corn, 5lb flour, 5lb sugar, cans of soup, cans of tomatoes (diced, sauce and paste), 3 cases of roman. I know there is more I just don't remember all of it.

4. Other preparedness tasks: cleaned out several plastic totes, straightened out store bought canned goods, found a couple more blogs with tons of information.

5. Try a new recipe: Made chocolate chip cookies.... Everything came out of storage except for the egg and water.

6. Financial preparedness: Still working on getting caught up. Soon some of the debt will be gone.

7. Work on local food systems. I don't know if this counts in this section or not. But I am going to put it here. I got talking one of the ladies at the butcher's. Somehow we got talking about pressure canning meat. She had never heard of such a thing. I explained quickly and told her that if she wanted to do it I would be more then willing to offer assistance.

8: Learn something. This week I learned about growing grains in the yard. I also learned how to sprout seeds.

9: Serve someone. I helped out with the installation ceremony. I helped my MIL, one of the sliding doors came off the track and I got it back on for her. Teenage monster helped out both grandmothers this weekend. Mouthy monster helped the neighbor carry in her groceries.

Monday's Musings

It is raining like crazy out there. No thunder and lightning but a steady rain. We need it. I didn't water the garden yesterday on purpose. Because I wasn't sure how much rain we would get and I didn't want to flood the area... LOL! Everything out there is flourishing except the watermelons. They don't seem to want to grow. Maybe I will put them in a different location next year. The pumpkin plants are getting really big already. This is the first time I have grown pumpkins so it is all new to me.

The sprouts that I have going are weird. I kept them in the water overnight like the directions said. Then I drained the water and left alone. I started rinsing the next day and they had already sprouted. Now the seed shells are coming off and I have all of these little while blobs with tails. If I didn't know any better I would be waiting for them to start swimming. ;o) But they still have a couple more days in the dark before I can take them out to green.

Since it is raining I should be doing chores in the house. But I don't feel like it today. It feels like a lazy day. I had thought to get started on a scarf. But I think that will have to wait. I did manage to get the living room straightened and the cats both combed out. I have laundry going as I type. I am going to make Rustic Cottage Pie I got the recipe from Mom's Cafe Home Cooking. Does it ever look good. And it will be a nice addition to this wet, dreary day.

I decided that I can't get anymore canning jars till I start using up the ones I have empty. I have a ton of jars in boxes cluttering up my living and dining rooms. And the first couple of tomatoes will be eaten not canned. LOL! But seriously it will be a couple more months till I can start preserving more stuff. I think we did pickles in August. I got them from the farmers market. Need more shelves too. DH has been waiting for me to come up with a design for the shelves that I like. He already has the wood. So I am the hold up. :o( Soon hopefully, I will make up my mind.

I was able to get 2 more totes empties that were in the basement. I am actually reclaiming the space. Then once we get the money to put the pull down ladder into the attic I will have a lot more room in the basement. I would like to make a study area for the kids. Instead of them doing homework on the dining room table. Will have to see what can be done about that.

Well, my lazy day abounds.

Gotta Run,

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Sunday Mutterings

Well, I didn't get be in the yard for long today. DH got home from work and out the door we went. We headed to eat, then to target. At Target we got a couple of movies that were on sale for $5 (Twister & Dodge Ball), also got the monsters a couple of yard games. Then we went to Walmart. Here I picked up some food stuffs and looked at the yarn. I am looking forward to the new afghans that I will be making the winter. Beautiful colors. One is pinks and the other is blues and greens. But that will wait till the snow flies. Still have a few more things to pick up but the eggs and the freezer bags can wait.

You might have noticed that I put an ad up in the sidebar. By having this ad when someone makes a purchase of Heirloom Seeds from the Heirloom Organics Seed Company, I receive 10%. And if anyone signs up using the link here, I get 2% of any sales made through there link. I figure it is worth a shot to try them out. As this urbanstead is still trying to be more self sustaining ( no outside job for me at least ).

One last week of school for the monsters. I am so looking forward to them being done. There are a few things that we will be doing. The summer reading program is at the top of the list every year. The older kids get to do an activity and then a lock in. That is the best for the kids. The little ones get a chance to win prizes. All thanks to the local library. Then also from the library are passes to go to different museums. Lots of fun. We also have a vacation / getaway that I need to start planning. We will be gone for 2 - 3 days near the end of the month.

My one heirloom tomato has some type of bug living on it. They are pink and look like a blob with legs and antenna's. Also there are little white fly looking things, tiny. I don't think my camera will get that nice of a close up. So hopefully, they don't do to much damage.

Gotta Run,

Saturday Musings

Today was an interesting day. I went to get groceries. Tons of groceries. LOL! But since I went to Aldi's I didn't spend a ton of cash. It was decided to buy 2 weeks of groceries this time. As it might work out better then the hit and miss that I have been doing. I still have some other things to pick up but that will have to wait till one day next week.

I played a part in the installation of officers for another Legion post tonight. I was so nervous. But I can actually say the lady that asked to help her was thanked quite a bit. It was a kewl experience. They were even nice enough to get us corsages and gifts for doing this. I got a blue wind spinner for the yard. I will get a picture at some point. ;o) They also had a potluck dinner. I was very impressed as we don't go for such formality at our post. Maybe we should?!?

It has been brought to my attention that we need to hold a few more fundraisers for the unit. We have a couple of ideas but something major has to happen. Last year I took as my learning year as I had never done this thing before. Now I have to make things work. This year is going to be so busy. But someone has to do it right?

I was able to get the weeding done and the plants watered. But nothing else. maybe tomorrow I will get some time out in the yard relaxing...... Ahhhh the dream of it. I doubt it will happen. My mom is on a major freak out right now. She is laid off. Like a ton of people but she hasn't taken time off of work other then the forced vacations.... (workaholic) And she doesn't have enough to do at her place so she is found here most days. Most days I don't mind. But some days I do.

Stumbled on a couple new recipes. Maybe they will get made this week. They are both goodies. And once they are made I will share the recipes and pics.

Gotta Run,

Friday, June 5, 2009

Growing Sprouts

I went to this health food store that is in the neighborhood today. I have been in there before and didn't think to highly of it. But I went in today in search of Kefir Grains. Unfortunately, they didn't have any. But they did have several types of seeds for sprouting. I had previously looked into doing this but didn't know where to get a small amount to see if we liked it. Sure enough they had the jars, seeds and directions. So I got mung seeds and the directions.

The directions say to have the correct temp (70-85), the free circulation of air (1/3 of the container must be empty), and minimal light. I should be able to do this.

The Six Rules of Sprouting
  1. Rinse often
  2. Keep them moist, not wet
  3. Keep them at room temperature
  4. Give them plenty of room to breath
  5. Don't put too many in any one container
  6. keep them covered - no light.
I should see sprouts in 6 - 10 days. Should be fun if nothing else. Oh, I only paid .88 cents for 2 ounces of the mung seeds. From my understanding the mung are like the ones from the Chinese restaurant.

Gotta Run,

Growing Wheat

I know I have been really all over the map with my topics as of late. That is how my mind works sometimes. I stumbled across a site on growing wheat in your back yard. Bread

So I thought that I would find out what I could about growing wheat in the yard. I have a great spot right behind the garage. It is about 4x20 feet. It should work out nicely for planting winter wheat.

Gallimaufree: Suburban Survival Has a great Blog on raising wheat in your yard. Now this blog states that I would need 400 square yards of space to get enough wheat for a family of 4. I don't have quite that much room. Well, maybe I do but I am not ready to rip out my front lawn for wheat just yet. But the way I see it that's ok. As long as I am getting something. It is better then nothing, and I am using an unusable space to grow food stuffs. No the less lots of great info on this blog. Offers more great info. If I am correct with my calculations I could grow 5 pounds of wheat in the space that I have. Not that it seems like a lot. It really isn't.

We are hoping to get the alley closed down. If we do then we will gain 9 more feet plus the width of the yard. With that added space it would be an additional 15 pounds of wheat. So I could fisably grow 20 to 25 pounds of wheat. But then again if my calculations are wrong I could end up with a whole lot more. And that is what I am hoping for. So this winter I think I will plant wheat. Even if it turns out to be a flop, I can still compost it.

Here is a video on Growing Wheat

Gotta Run

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Tonight was one of those nights. I had a meeting at the Legion. The kids only have a couple more days of school. Things are looking bright. Then I hear those words every mother hates to hear.... Mom...... Can you make 3 dozen........ um........ somehting really good for tomorrow. Luckily, once she finally spit it out I had all the ingredients to make Chocolate Chip Cookies that she was requesting. Since I had my meeting. I am now running really late. But it is all done and here are some pictures of it and the recipe. Enjoy!

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
2 Tbsp hot water
2 tsp vanilla
3 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
12 oz chocolate chips

Cream butter, shortening, brown sugar and white sugar together. Add eggs, water and vanilla; mix well. Mix in dry ingredients flour, salt and baking soda, stir in chocolate chips into sugar mixture.
Drop by tablespoon onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 for 10-12 minutes.
Makes approximately 3 1/2 dozen.

The Wet Ingredients

Creaming the sugars

The egg, vanilla and water

Blended smooth

Flour and Chocolate chips mixed in

Waiting on the tray

Cooling on the tray

Waiting to be packaged up

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Chocolate Mint Herb

Here is another herb that I planted and have no idea what to do with. So here are a few links to some very interesting things you can do with Chocolate Mint.

I figured I would start with a Yummy one!
Fresh Organic Chocolate Mint Ice Cream
Organic Authority

Here is a spot with recipes for things like:
Chocolate Mint Julep
Chocolate Mint essential oil
Garden Web

This recipe calls for just mint leaves but I am sure that substituting chocolate mint leaves would make for an even better tasting dessert.
Chocolate-Mint Pudding

Chocolate Mint Leaves
Martha Stewart

History of Mint
Cooking Vegetarian

Care and Feeding of Mint
Garden Action

Now to find some of the other flavors of mint. I think I'm hooked. The orange & pineapple mint sound really good.

Gotta Run

Lemon Balm

Since I planted it not really knowing what it is or what to do with it, it is research time.

Here is a great site that talks about the basic methods to store Lemon Balm and also how to cut it back.
Herbal Branch 24: Lemon Balm uses

Here is a recipe for Lemon Balm Popsicle. Great site. Step by step instructions as well as pictures.
Learning Herbs Blog

Lemon Balm Soda Recipe
Herb Gardens @

Everything you ever wanted to know and were afraid to ask
Sara's Superb Herbs

The care and feeding of your Lemon Balm

Department of HorticulturalScience
North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service

Lemon Balm Mojitos

Eau De Cologne

Lemon Balm seems to be a great addition to the herb garden. I can't wait till mine gets a little bigger so I harvest it. Since I just planted it this year I figure that I should harvest in the fall. Next year maybe two times.Since I have two other new additions (herbs) to the garden they will be the next couple of posts.

Gotta Run

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Showing off

Here are some pictures of the garden.



Chocolate Mint

Lemon Balm

Newly Fenced Garden

First Tomatoes

This Pepper should produce 11 peppers at least that's how many flowers it has right now!

Who knew green beans flowered not me. So this is very kewl

Monday, June 1, 2009


1. Garden work: I have been working on weeding the garden.

2. Preserve something. I tossed an extra steak in the freezer (hopefully, more soon)

3. Food storage. The steak... LOL!

4. Other preparedness tasks: I got some more canning jars, am working on a change purse (knitting) for teenage monster, cleaned out several plastic totes.

5. Try a new recipe: Made spaghetti sauce. Used some items from the freezer and some dehydrated mushrooms.

6. Financial preparedness: Made more payments to get caught back up on the bills.

7. Work on local food systems. Nothing this week

8: Learn something. Still working on the knitting thing. Doing good so far.

9: Serve someone. Helped out at the Legion this past week.

Challenge Rules

I finally have the information for the Challenge's that I see on other blogs. I got this information from one of the Yahoo groups I belong to.

1. Garden work: Planting, thinning, weeding, watering, harvesting,
hauling manure , working on the compost pile, planning next year's
garden, going through catalogs - it's all garden work.

2. Preserve something. Sometimes this will be a big project, but it
doesn't have to be. When you are in major food preservation mode, get
some friends and make a day - or a week, or a month - of it. But, it
doesn't take long to slice a couple of tomatoes and set them in the
dehydrator - or even a bag of frozen veggies from the store. Make
extra when you make soup and pressure can the left-overs. Buy ham on
sale at Easter time and pop it in the freezer - you get the idea. This
is one area where many small contributions can really add up - and
faster than you think.

3. Food storage. What have you added to food storage? Cereal for
$1/box? 100, 200 or 1000 pounds of wheat? Did inventory? Bought a cow
or a half a cow? What did you do this week for food storage?

4. Other preparedness tasks: Add to your overall preparedness - hit a
yard sale and pick up an extra blanket. Purchase some extra legumes
and oatmeal. Sort out and inventory your pantry or your freezer. Make
a list of tools you need. Find a way to give what you don't need to
someone who does. Fix your bike. Fill that old soda bottle with water
and a couple of drops of bleach. Plan for next year's edible
landscaping. Work on 72-hour kits. Have a fire drill. Replace
batteries in your smoke detectors. Check the squash on your pantry
shelves and feed the squishy ones to the chickens. Camp out in the
backyard and see what you need to repair/replace/acquire. You get the

5. Try a new recipe: Yup, once a week, try something new. Bonus points
if you use food storage!!

6. Financial preparedness: Balance your checkbook. Pay off a little
more debt - maybe just $5 more on the credit card you are trying to
pay off first, or an extra payment to the mortgage company or anything
in between. Buy on sale and in bulk to stretch your dollar. Sew a
quick skirt for a couple of bucks instead of heading off to the
department store. Do a fun, creative and inexpensive birthday party
for your little darlin' instead of renting a clown and ball pit. There
are lots of ways to stretch a dollar, a skill that is needed more and

7. Work on local food systems. This could be as simple as buying
something you don't grow or make from a local grower, or finding a new
local source. It could be as complex as starting a co-op or a farmer's
market. You might give seeds or plants or divisions to a neighbor, or
solicit donations for your food pantry. Maybe you'll be like a friend
of mine and start a community garden or help a homeschool co-op
incubate some chicks or buy a side of beef from someone up the road.
Try eating as "locally" as you can and see how that works for you!

8: Learn something. Learn a little more about gardening, canning,
sewing, birthin' babies, homesteading, car mechanics, cutting hair -
you name it. It can be a little thing, or practicing on a skill that's
still new to you. For a longer challenge, how about this one: Learn
one new skill each year. That can be a great new year's resolution and
look how much you'd know by the time you are 40, 50, 60 . . . it's
never too late to start!

9: Serve someone. There are a jillion ways to serve - bake cookies,
weed a garden, teach a class, do home repairs for someone else, reach
out to the neighbor you've never had a chance to get to know. Include
your family on this one and let them start learning the rewards of
serving others.

June & Freebies

June 1st already. Where has the first half of the year gone. It seems like yesterday there was a foot of snow on the ground. It doesn't help that they are calling for 3 days of rain. When I was driving home from dropping the last one off at school I was looking for cut down trees. I guess that the winter mode is starting to kick in again. I love summer but it seems like a whole lot of lets get ready for winter. Now please don't thingk that I am whining, cause I'm not really. Just stating a general fact. Winter will return and will I be ready?

Ok, on to some free stuff I stumbled on.

Paper Dolls

Yogi Tea Sample

And here is a recipe that I found for a Chocolate Triffle.... It sure looks yummy! I have been looking for new recipes. But nothing is really popping out at me. Ever get that way. You want something new and have no idea what it is you want. That is where I am right now. I am thinking that today I will look for some crockpot inspiration.

Since it is raining, I have to hang clothes in the house today. And I also am going to try this recipe for English Muffin Bread. If I'm lucky maybe even a nap... LOL!

Gotta Run,