Wednesday, April 23, 2014

We Had a Great Time Easter Sunday!

      Family times are to be treasured! We had such a fun time here this past Sunday! There were lots of food, desserts, and games! Not only did we celebrate Jesus' resurrection; we celebrated each other! The weather was absolutely perfect! Sunny and upper sixties with a slight breeze. The kids even took naps, two at a time! Of course there are lots of pictures showing how much fun we had! I hope ya'll enjoyed your family as well!

      I feel like today is a summer day! I just came in from laying cardboard and weed-eating, and I'm drenched! Therefore creating an opportunity for me to write this post! I'm too hot and sweaty, and dirty to do anything else. I will have to wait til at least 6:00 before I go out and work again since the sun is so bright. Now I guess I'll clean the house.  The house always needs to be done! At least tonight is a leftover night. I made  a delicious Italian casserole with homemade ground pork Italian sausage. The pork was purchased at the local grocery store, not home-grown like I would like and I ground it in my grinder. I don't buy beef anymore cause the price has gone up so fast over the past couple of months! Two weeks ago, ground chuck was on sale for $3.39 a pound. The next week it was $3.79 a pound. This week it is $3.49 a pound. That may not be that much where you live, but I was used to paying $2.48-$2.88 a pound. Now we use pork and chicken in our recipes. Sometimes the occasional venison. I did splurge and buy a pack of ground chuck, just less than a pound, for my baked beans. They don't taste the same without it. And we will have an occasional sirloin on the grill and hamburgers on the grill this summer. But no more on a weekly basis. Pork and chicken can still be purchased for less than two dollars a pound. I guess when they get to three dollars a pound, we'll eat mostly beans, unless the hubs gets a raise! I really don't want to have to acquire a job outside the home, just to buy groceries. But if it comes down to it, I guess I will. It would be so hard to do all the things I do and work outside the home! Something would have to go! Canning? Gardening? Wait, that feeds us too! I'm just not going to think about it right now! God will provide!

      My homemade laundry detergent experiment seems to be going well. The clothes look clean and smell good due to the scented fabric softener I'm using. I'll really know if it works well when I wash Randy's work clothes in it. I washed Skylar's work clothes with it today, so I wonder if he'll notice.
I'm actually looking forward to using the homemade softscrub cleaner again! It just smells so good! I use an alcohol based cleaner on the counter-tops and glass. It works well; and I love the smell of alcohol! I guess I'm weird.

      I've been planting more seeds. The squash, zucchini, and some of the cucumber seeds didn't germinate, so I replanted them today. I may have to plant pea seeds again. I'll watch them a couple more days then decide. I think it's safe for me to set out my tomato plants, so I'll probably do that tomorrow. I hope ya'll are having a nice warm Spring and getting out in those gardens! Have a great week! Blessings from Bama!

Winterlynn with her Easter dress.

Winterlynn and Riley.

Looking for Easter eggs!

Riley is so cute with her Daddy!

I wonder what she sees.

That's the way to get the basket out of the way while Nanny puts your shoes on!

Skylar and his boots!

Nanny went for a ride on the golf cart!

My Dad and Willie playing horseshoes!

My uncle watching Yasmine and Layla.

Amber and April playing horseshoes!

Amber and Skylar playing horseshoes! I like how the horseshoe was captured in this photo.

Randy and April playing whatever the name of this game is!

What is uncle Randy trying to do to you Layla?

Hillbilly see-saw!

The girls sure are having fun!

Mom and Dad having a little swing time!

Skylar took down the blue baby swing and put up another regular swing.

I'm so glad he didn't fall! But Yasmine did and sprained her ankle, there in the background. There was a hole and she stepped into it.

Time for a ride!

Look at those smiles!

Yasmine just rode the little car.

April went for a ride too!

Yasmine didn't let her hurt ankle stop her from playing!

We have roses!

Riley was so cute putting on my hat!

And one of my shoes with her baby!

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.