Friday, April 18, 2014

Happy Easter, 2014!

      Hope this post finds you all well and warm! Usually my thoughts wouldn't be about staying warm this time of year; however, snow is still falling in some areas and we are at a rainy, cool 55. Normally for this time of year the temps would be about 75. I am still wearing long sleeves and a jacket when I go outside! Except for a few days last week when it was in the 70's. I have managed to get some more seed in the ground along with some potato sets. It will be another year of experiments with the garden. If it wasn't raining at present, I'd be out there pulling weeds from the flower bed. I am hopefully going to get at least the front done before Sunday! 

      I have a lot to do in preparation for Easter Sunday! Tomorrow I will make deviled eggs, potato salad, broccoli salad, and carrot cake cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. The next day, I will bake the ham, baked beans, and mac and cheese. I think it's doable! I hope to get those weeds pulled in between 'fixin stuff'.

      I have been trying to find a way to clean the bathtub without scrubbing my hands until they're stiff or putting holes in the rags. Yes, holes in the rags! I finally found something that works and smells really nice! AND it's all natural! Baking soda, dish soap, lemon essential oil and hydrogen peroxide. If you want the recipe, go to and look for all natural softscrub. Barkeepers friend is the only thing that would get out those stubborn stains in the tub, but would eat my rags while doing so. Plus I had to scrub for a long time and use lots of it! I doubled the recipe which is only good for one use and it was plenty! I also used homemade detergent to wash clothes today and am pleasantly surprised! Grate one bar of Fell's Naptha soap or homemade soap, one and a half cups washing soda, and one and a half cups Borax, plus one cup of oxygen cleaner. I used my regular fabric softener and the laundry came out clean and nice smelling. I used a couple of scoops of the laundry detergent per load. If you haven't tried any of the natural cleaning recipes, give these two a try and let me know what you think.

      The girls haven't been here in a couple of weekends, and I'm looking forward to seeing them Sunday. They will probably spend the night, so I'll get to take lots of photos. They love to hunt Easter eggs! I can hardly wait to see their smiling faces when they show me their baskets! I hope you and your family have a happy Easter and don't forget the real reason for the season! Blessings from Bama!

Bringing the boys to their new home. 

Here comes Java!

Randy made them a new trough.

Chicken chili in the crockpot. It turned out delicious!

Too cloudy and rainy to bake bread in the Sun Oven so I used this.

Delicious crustless sausage egg bake!

Egg bake served with homemade bread and strawberry freezer jam, yum!

Bridal wreath bush. A piece of the forsythia is curled in the photo.

Clematis in full bloom. There's a tiny birdnest in the top. I think it belongs to a humingbird.

Yellow iris blooming.

Peony buds.

A nice full hosta.

These just bloom out everywhere! They seem to grow wild.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Spring on the Homestead!

      We've been experiencing beautiful weather these past two weeks! I was out of sink and missed out on several good days to work last week, but I've been making up for it this week! And boy, my body is letting me know! There is just no substitute for gardening! It's a workout of it's own. I've also been walking on my road again after not getting to for so long. There are a lot of dogwood trees blooming and wild violets. They are all so pretty! This time of Spring, purple is the major color. All of my purple irises are in bloom! As well as the purple wisteria! It smells heavenly!

      I transplanted tomato and pepper plants and put them in the greenhouse. Tonight will be their first night there. I hope it won't be too cold cause peppers and tomatoes are hot weather crops. I believe the addition of the greenhouse will be such an advantage to the homestead, as soon as I learn how to utilize it properly. I am thankful for the thermometer Randy bought for the greenhouse that I can read from the house. It lets me know the temp of the greenhouse. I hope the greenhouse holds up under our diverse weather. So far, it has held up under strong winds.

      We got our bees this week! I am so happy to have bees again! Third times a charm, since this will be our third time with bees. Hopefully, since they survived where others did not, they will make it through anything! They are a very strong hive, many in numbers! They may even produce extra honey this year! Time will tell.

      We tilled up a new area for a garden this year. It's the spot where the boy goats were. It seems to be very fertile. I planted the Chinese cabbage there and also squash, zuchinni, and okra. I hope to plant beans and peas there too. So much to do; so little time! How's your gardening coming along? Are you there yet or just planning? I learn so much every year and try to implement new things that will make gardening just a little bit easier. Such as weed barriers. We have a tremendous battle with weeds! Or should I say grass? Try Bermuda grass! The worst kind for a garden! I am putting down cardboard again this year, as it seems to help with that. I'm also trying leaves to see how they will do. Again, time will tell. I hope ya'll are well! Have a nice day and thanks for reading! Blessings from Bama!

These cookies were cooked in the Sun Oven. They tasted O.K. but were a little hard. The oven still has a little rubber-like smell that made the cookies taste weird. I hope to get rid of that odor soon.

This tom was on our property! How fortunate I was to capture him in photo! He was chasing his hen. He eventually flew across the fence onto the neighbor's property, after her.

Purple tulips.

These eggs were also cooked in the Sun Oven. They are a little more done than I care for but made some delicious deviled eggs. I will adjust the cooking time when I cook these again.

Wisteria, red tips, and white dogwood trees.

The beautiful Keria in full bloom!

Wisteria right up next to a volunteer nectarine tree.

Wisteria next to the hen-house. The wisteria smells like perfume!

Two volunteer nectarine trees that went home with Guy.

We purchased this bush at a trade day. I was told it was a snowball bush. It never has balls, though. What is it?

The morning the new hive arrived.

Randy is cautiously undoing the strap.

The first of the bees. They seem to have adjusted to their new home.

A nice fertile spot for the cabbage.

Skylar has been moving wood closer to the pool. We hope to get the deck built this summer.

The area where I placed cardboard. I had to dig out a lot of blackberry brambles and some kind of thick hay-like grass with a tuber-like root. It took me all day just to do a small area!

Filling up the old pond with the blackberry brambles and weeds.

A couple days later and the bees are still doing good.

I have lots of purple irises.

Can you tell I like the wisteria? That is the wood Skylar is moving.

My cardboard is on that trailer.

Randy had to work on the fence the goats are dragging down. Now he's just petting them.

It was windy when I was transplanting my tomato plants today. The peat pots fell on some of them and broke the plants, but not in two. I planted those tomato plants in hopes they will be alright.

The rest are in here until I know it's O.K. to put them in the ground. The ground still feel sort of cold, so I'm waiting til next week to put these in.

Monday, March 31, 2014

I Baked Bread in the Sun Oven Today!

      I just love trying new things! And today, I used my weekly bread machine recipe and cooked it in the Sun Oven! It took a little longer than anticipated but turned out delicious! I just miss the smell of fresh baked bread in the kitchen! Homestead cooking never tasted so good! You can even hard cook eggs in the Sun Oven! I haven't tried it yet, but whenever I want to make deviled eggs, I'll give it a go! I'm also going to bake cookies in there whenever I finish this. I need the cooker to get back to 350 so the cookies will bake. I hope they turn out good and I don't have to turn on the oven inside! It's 74 out and the sun is shining in the kitchen! We haven't turned on the a/c yet but we probably will this week as it's supposed to get up to 80! Wow! Last week cold and rainy, this week hot! Good ole Alabama weather for you!

      We did have a couple of nice weather days last week and I got to plant some blueberry bushes and some Concord grape vines. I think the way the blueberry bushes look, they will have berries this year. I bought these at Walmart, then I found a local who sells them from her home. I hope to get a couple of those soon. The kids love grapes so as soon as they produce, they will be gone! Speaking of kids, they were all here the weekend before last, and two were here this past weekend. I was exhausted before they left! I don't like to feel that way! Am I getting older? I try to take care of myself and stay active but I just can't seem to keep up with them! Guess that's why God wanted us to have children in our youth!

      I have been very fortunate that I haven't gotten sick all winter! That has changed as of today! Of all the pretty days! I need to be out there planting the Chinese cabbage I bought the other day, but no, I don't feel like bending over and letting all that sinus drain! I'm glad I could at least fool with the Solar Cooker! I got this from Skylar; he just got over it. It's sneezing, sore throat, low temp. kind of thing. Doesn't last too long however. Hope ya'll don't get it!

      There's a lot more I would like to say but I will have to save it for another day! Just remember: God's Not Dead! Have a great week! Blessings from Bama!

Cool day for a ride!

We have beautiful sunsets everyday here at our homestead!

Funny how babies need babies! Even when jumping!

Blowing bubbles in my 'jammies'!

They do lots of golf cart riding when they visit the homestead.

Don't you just love these looks?

Uh oh! Lulu got her hand stuck! Winterlynn to the rescue!

Lemon thyme, Chinese cabbage, two blueberry bushes.

Do you know what these are? Peonies!

Can you tell this is mint?

One last stand of beautiful daffodils.

Grapevines soaking in water for planting.

Wondering how the two will do.

The bees of our neighbor are doing a good job cleaning the old hives.

First grapevine planted.

Second grapevine planted.

The forsythia is still showing out!

Win loves her big wheel!

She is so fearless!

Pushing baby sister.

A goat will even try to eat swimming pool hose!

Just two girls this time.

She actually walked around with this big shoe on!

Bread rising nice and high. Made the dough in the Cuisinart.

Baking at 350.

I didn't know I was getting a selfie!

Perfectly baked!

And delicious!