Time to Garden

Our weather has had me questioning when to plant my cool weather crops. We had a colder then normal winter with many feet of snow.  Our winter has only been followed by a cooler than normal spring. Although we are expecting a nice warm weekend, we will be back to below normal temperatures again next week. However, my garden seems to be calling for me to come out and begin planting.


After all, the sun is shining, the grass is turning green and I’m seeing the tiniest of buds on the trees.  So I’m going to tackle some of the planting this weekend – broccoli, cabbage, peas, carrots, onions, spinach and lettuce.

Of course my fear is that I’ll get everything planted and then suddenly we’ll have a heat wave and they won’t do well, but that’s part of the challenge a gardener faces. We just can’t predict what mother nature may throw our way. Yet, we must move forward because we know the pure feeling of satisfaction when we have a success garden.

So I have been putting my cabbage plants out to harden for the last several days.


Today, I’ll pull out all my seeds and do some more clean-up in the garden.

My tomatoes and peppers await their turn into the garden.

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Although there is not enough space in my garden, thanks to a successful year of starting my own seedlings, I have many beautiful vegetable plants to choose from.  I will have no need to buy any vegetable plants.

My excitement grows with each passing day as I envision the bounty of my labors.

Now I raise my watering can to all the gardeners out there. May we all have wonderfully successful gardens this year!!!


I’m feeling overwhelmed. Overwhelmed by all the painting that still needs to happen in my house. Overwhelmed by the amount of “stuff” that we’ve accumulated over the years. Overwhelmed by the amount of yard work that needs to be done. Overwhelmed by the amount of spring cleaning I have to do.

So how does one handle all the overwhelming feelings when they surface?

They take on a challenge!

I stumbled across this blog post and immediately thought, “40 bags in 40 days is just what I need to do.”

The idea is to fill one garbage bag full of “stuff” and remove it from your house and your life.  As hubby pointed out to me the other day, we have gotten rid of a lot of stuff, but there is a lot more that needs to go.  There are constantly toys strewn all over the playroom floor and many are there because they don’t get played with.  Closets are packed full of clothes that don’t fit and are out of style.  We have a game closet full of games that haven’t been played in years and I’m quite sure many have missing pieces.  The list goes on and I have no doubt that if I spend the next 40 days de-cluttering, the overwhelming feelings will begin to fade away.

So I’m going to take on the challenge, except I’m not going to spend 40 days on this challenge.  Instead I’m going to make it 60 bags in 30 days.  That is one month!!!  Certainly I can fill 2 garbage bags a day for 30 days!!!  Plus 30 days seems more reasonable to me.  Since part of the challenge is to feel less overwhelmed, I don’t want to overwhelm myself more by subjecting myself to a challenge that is just too long.

Maybe I should take on a 50 walls in 50 days challenge as well.  Paint a wall each day for 50 days.  I think that would just about take care of all the painting.  I’ll think on that one a little longer.

Now that I’ve made my mind up, I’m feeling better.

Time to get this challenge started!!!



Back in Business

After a couple of days of some wonderful tinctures made by my friend Katie at The Garden Fairy Apothecary, I am feeling considerably better.  Last time I started using her tinctures at the first sign of getting sick and didn’t get sick at all.  This time I waited too long, but with hours of taking my first dose of Echinacea and her Cold and Flu tincture, I was starting to feel better.  I know not everyone is convinced herbal remedies work, but I am quite sure they worked for me.

Now that I’m back in business, it’s time to get caught up on some things.

Yesterday, we had a nice spring-like day, so I put on my jacket, grabbed my rake and headed outside.  Part of our yard is fenced off, primarily for the dogs and it was quite a mess from a winter of neglect.  I began raking and cleaning, then decided to spread some grass seed over some bare parts of the yard.  As I was throwing the grass seed, I realized that little to none of it may actually grow.  After all, dogs run and do their business in this yard, but not typically where it’s all dirt or in this case, mud.  It was worth a try and I’m hopeful that some pretty green grass will begin to change all the brown and black bare spots into a pretty green pasture of new grass.  If not, I’ll move on to plan B.

Last night we got a little rain, which I’m sure the grass seed loved.  Today we’ve had clouds and cool temperatures all day, so the girls and I headed to the basement and began tackling that mess.  The basement had become our rec, play and homeschool area, but I discovered that I really didn’t enjoy homeschooling the girls in the basement.  It was great space, but it’s not the bright and cheery area I wanted to create.  Eventually, I began homeschooling the girls in the kitchen and then we made our way to the dining room.  There is a sliding glass door that gives us tons of natural light and the table provides us ample space to do our work.  I have since brought the bookcases upstairs so their books and supplies can be put away instead of taking up space on the table or countertops.  Other bookshelves were put in each of the girls rooms and all their reading books are now at their fingertips.

I still have a lot of cleaning and organizing to do in the basement, but it will go back to being just a rec and playroom, with lots of room to run off energy on snowy, cold and/or rainy days.  It will also be a great place for me to spread out my mat for some yoga.

Apparently, being sick provided me time to focus on all the things I wasn’t getting done.  I have a better picture of what needs to be done and I’m motivated to get moving on things.  Guess something good came out of a couple of days of down time.



Springtime Cold

Last time my family was sick, I avoided getting sick by downing Echinacea tinctures. Unfortunately, I hadn’t restocked my supply of Echinacea, and on Sunday I began feeling a bit under the weather.  By yesterday, a springtime cold had grabbed hold of me and I was down for the count.

This morning I began looking thru my tinctures and discovered I had a little bit of Echinacea left.  If I weren’t feeling sick I would have done the Snoopy dance.  Instead, I mixed it in a glass of juice and drank it down.  I have just enough for one more dose later and I’m hoping that somehow it will be enough to put me on the road to a quicker recovery.  Being sick was certainly not on my agenda for this week and with all I have to do, I’m not very happy about the lack of productivity.

Hopefully, I’ll be back to health very soon and coming up with some interesting and creative blog posts.

We’re Expanding

We aren’t able to have much of what we want where we live.  No chickens, ducks, sheep, goats or pigs are allowed in our little farming community.  Seems strange, that a town of 1300 surrounded by corn and soybean fields, we aren’t allowed a few chickens.  Yet this is our realty, which makes it difficult to expand our homesteading skills.

But where there is a will, there is a way.

New Zealand Red

New Zealand White

American Blue

There is no ordinance saying we can’t raise rabbits.

We aren’t sure what breed(s) we’ll raise, but this year we’ll raise rabbits for food and of course we’ll plant our garden.  Another nice benefit of raising rabbits is they produce some great compost material for the garden.  Now, if we could just get rid of winter so we can get this party started, all would be well.

A Crazy Plan

A couple of weeks ago I wrote Planning a New Plan.  We had spent 1 1/2 years trying to come up with the perfect homestead plan, but weren’t making any measurable progress in getting there.  The time had come to re-evaluate and create a new plan and that’s what we have done.

Now, some may think this plan sounds crazy and that we’re delusional.  Maybe it is crazy and we won’t even discuss the delusional part right now.  Yet sometimes the best things in life come out of crazy delusions.

So what is this crazy plan you ask?

We have decided to buy property.  Actually, we plan to buy property when we find the perfect property to buy, but our plan is to make a purchase none-the-less.  It’s ambitious, but it’s an investment in our future.  It’s a step forward.  A chance to have property that is ours and begin working on that property – putting up fencing, planting an orchard, preparing our garden area, building a chicken coop, a shed, a barn, maybe even a house – while we wait for all the stars to align so we can move to our little homestead.

A nice benefit of the internet is the ability to shop on-line and I’ve been property shopping.  I found some property in the Missouri Ozarks that hubby and I are very interested in seeing, so we are going to look at it this weekend.

We like our new plan.  It’s probably a little bit crazy, but crazy makes sense to us, so we’re moving forward and hoping for the best.

There is Snow on the Ground

But it’s spring in our house.

I ordered and received our seeds a few weeks ago and we were ready to get our seedlings started.  Lili, hubby and I carefully planted tomato, tomatillo and pepper seeds in their little pots and under the lights they went.


Last year was our first attempt at starting our own seedlings and it wasn’t very successful.  About 1/2 of the seeds germinated and began growing, but then died.  It think it was a combination of a lot of different things.

– I made my own soil mixture, which I don’t think had the proper balance of nutrients.

– We had them in the basement where the temperature is probably 10-15 degrees cooler.   The soil temperature just didn’t get warm enough for many of them to germinate.

– I think I also over-watered many of them, which isn’t a good thing and many that did germinate I lost to damping off.

So this year changes were made and I’m trying some new techniques hoping for more success.

– No homemade seedling mix this year.  I bought the mix this year.

– The seedling stand has been moved to the dining room.  I had originally planned to keep it in the basement to protect them from kids and dogs, but had second thoughts.  The dogs are blocked from the dining room and it will be a good learning experience for the girls as they are able to more carefully watch the process.

– I am using seedling heat mats, which I knew would be necessary in the basement.  Since we keep our thermostat set low, I thought the heat mats would still come in handy.

– I’m going to be more careful about watering and will keep a fan running to keep air circulating.

Having everything on the main level of the house is much more convenient and I’m less likely to forget things like turning the lights off at night.

There are many more things I would like to try growing this year, with only a handful needing to be started indoors.  However, to grow it all would require that we expand our garden space and that just doesn’t make sense for us right now.  Instead, I’ll stick with those things I know we must have in the garden and experiment with some vegetables I’ve never tried growing before.  With lots of hope for a good harvest and a guarantee that I’ll be learning a lot along the way, I look forward to a new gardening season.

There are no gardening mistakes, only experiments.
Janet Kilburn Phillips

Planning A New Plan?

For the last 18 months, we have been in planning mode.  Planning a change of job for hubby; planning the sell of our house; planning the purchase of property; planning our move to the country; planning for animals;  planning for outbuildings;  planning . . . . planning . . . . planning . . . .

The problem with all of our planning is that it really isn’t moving us any closer to our goal.  While we have certainly been busy planning, we have not been busy living on our homestead.  We’re not busy planting the trees for our orchard.  We’re not putting in our raised beds for our garden.  We’re not building a chicken coop which means we’re not raising chickens.  We’re not putting up fencing.  We’re not putting up a barn.  We don’t have goats.  We don’t have sheep.  No ducks, pigs, horses, guinea fowl, or any other animals we’ve talked about having on our little homestead.  I’m frustrated!!!  Hubby is frustrated!!!

Planning isn’t a bad thing.  For a matter-of-fact, a life change as big as the one we are trying to make means planning is necessary .  But hubby and I had to begin asking ourselves if all our plans made sense.  Was it time to scrap all the plans we had made and start all over again?  Should we keep some of the plans and change others?  Should we keep things the way they are and just wait?  Would changing the order of our plan create forward movement?

Ultimately we decided that it was time to make changes.  It was time to start planning a new plan.  We had begun to define insanity – doing the same things over and over again expecting different results. We need a more workable plan that gets us on our homestead more quickly.  A plan that moves us toward our goal instead of walking in a circle.  A plan that allows me to sooner, rather than later, begin sharing stories of the joys and struggles on our property.  Pictures of our land, our orchard, our garden, our animals and our home.   A plan that creates positive momentum.

I wish I had wonderful details to share about our new plan, but there is still a lot of discussion taking place as we are planning our new plan.  What I can tell you is that it feels good to let go of the insanity.  It feels good to look at things from a different angle and to start over again.  While the plan may change, our goal won’t change.  We will one day be living our homesteading life.  Now we just need to figure out a faster and better way of getting there.