Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Blueberry Bushes

We have had so much rain lately.  Our backyard looks more like a mud hole than a yard but that's ok.  It will eventually dry up and we'll be praying for rain in the summer.  Although I have to put on water boots if I want to hang clothes out to dry, some members of the backyard are reallllly enjoying the wet weather.  Like, the blueberry bushes, for example.

We have 3 bushes all in pots.  (We plan on moving and having land someday and we're taking these guys with us!)  They have grown sooo many leaves so fast because of this rain.  Before you know it, we'll be getting fresh blueberries!

One of my favorite things to do in the summer is get fresh blueberries right off the bush in the mornings when I take care of the chickens.  Ah...not too much longer!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Grain Mill

I was talking with a friend of ours one day and mentioned that I wanted to get a manual grain mill.  Unfortunately, they are a couple hundred dollars new and I just wasn't willing to pay that.  Well...she called me the next day and found one in the Good Will store in her town for $10!!!  Can you believe that?!  The Lord is good! 

So, we're going to start grinding our own grains.  Here is our first effort today...
Yes sir!  That's stone ground whole wheat flour!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Egg Production is UP!

This is a beautiful sight...
We are getting tons of eggs now!  I think the chicken mower has been really good for the girls. 

Breakfast anyone?

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Homemade "Clif" Bars

Mr. Right and I bought some Clif Bars the other day.  We were away from home and needed an emergency snack.  Well, those things aren't cheap!  So, I decided to come up with a homemade version.  Here it is:
1/2 cup dates
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup rolled oats
3 tablespoons cocoa
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup raisins
1 cup peanuts
3/4 cup peanut butter
4 tablespoons coconut oil
1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons blackstrap molasses
1/4 cup flax seeds

Process in food processor then press firmly into baking dish.  Refrigerate then cut into squares.

These are super good!  As you can tell, we started eating them before I could even get them cut into squares!

Monday, March 19, 2012

35 Weeks

Unbelievable.  I am now 35 weeks pregnant.  That means we'll be meeting our little girl soon!  We are so excited.  I can't believe my due date is just around the corner.  Here's something I've sure is harder to rake dirt into rows in the garden when you have a big belly!  :)

Soon, this picture frame I made....

will have a photo of her sweet face instead of an ultrasound photo. 

P.S. Pay no attention to the candy cane table cloth.  It's not Christmas...I just thought it was too cute to put away so soon!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Chicken Mower

We like to be as resourceful as possible and when the grass/weeds/clover started getting tall in the backyard, we started brainstorming ways to use it to our advantage. 

As a result, Mr. Right came up with this...

He used PVC pipe, chicken wire and zip ties to create a chicken mower!  Most afternoons, he loads the girls up in the mower then drags it to a new spot in the yard that needs mowing.  They have done a great job at keeping our yard looking good!

This also means that they eat less chicken feed which makes keeping them even cheaper.  Whoo! 

The mower has a laying box mounted in the corner in case someone forgot to lay their egg that morning.  We also give them shade by clothes pinning a towel on top when they are in the sun.

I don't know if this is a result of the mower and all the grass the girls are eating but we did get 6 eggs today.  That means everyone laid one! 

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Collecting Rain Water

We went for our usual walk and happened upon this barrel on the side of the road.  It's a 55 gallon barrel that has been cut in half.  We asked the lady whose house it was in front of if we could have it and she said yes.  So, Mr. Right carried the thing about half a mile back to our house. 

A container this big would normally cost a lot of money so we were happy to get it for free! 

We decided to use it to collect rain water.  We collected a whole barrel full in one day!  We look forward to learning more about collecting rain water and hopefully watering our garden this way as much as possible.

We haven't watered anything with it yet because the ground is still so wet from the rain.  However, Ranger loves it and thinks it's so much better than the tap water we fill his bowl with.  Smart dog!

Friday, March 9, 2012


It's always nice to learn something new and if it's about gardening...I really like to learn something new!  I have wondered for a year why I can't grow cilantro.  First, I learned that I planted it at the wrong time.  Second, I learned that when the weather warms up above 80 degrees for several days, mature plants like greens and such think their growing time is over so they grow a seed stalk.

That's exactly what my cilantro does.  It's a cool season crop so it hasn't done well when I plant it in the summer.  It grows a little then sends up that seed stalk.  That's called bolting. 

So, just a reminder to do a little research before you start putting seeds in the ground! 

80 degrees is your enemy with cool season plants!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Hanging Clothes out to Dry

I have decided that one of my favorite things to do is hang clothes out to dry.  Since the weather has been so nice, I decided it was time to string up the clothesline again. 

This is a great, natural, money saver.  Maybe my dryer has something wrong with it but when I timed it the other day, it took an hour for a load to dry.  An hour?!  What does that cost? 

I haven't used my dryer in days.  I wash clothes as soon as I get up then go hang them outside.  Usually by lunch, they are dry.  Of course, the more wind the better because it basically beats the wrinkles out of everything.  On calm days, the clothes just hang there and become stiff.  We don't mind though.  I just do a quick iron over our clothes and everything else stays stiff.  We call towels that were hung dry "exfoliating."  It sounds nicer than "stiff."  :)

I would encourage you to do this too.  Save the planet.  Plus, it's extremely fulfilling to hang your clothes out!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Lasagna Gardening

Have you ever heard of Lasagna Gardening? 

Gardening in layers is like making lasagna!

This is a neat method of gardening that Mr. Right and I heard about a year ago but we didn't look too far into it.  Well, since I have been reading Vegetable Gardening for Dummies, I have learned more about it.  We are going to give it a try this year.  Here's what it's a no-till method of gardening.  Which means that you save money by not having to buy/borrow a tiller and gas for it PLUS it makes you "greener" because you aren't burning fossil fuels just to till.  Here is what the book says about it...
"It's like making lasagna.  The season before planting, lay down a 3-4 sheet thick layer of black and white newspaper over the garden area.  Water the paper to keep it in place.  Cover the newspaper with a 6-inch-thick layer of hay or straw.  Top that with a 1- to 2-inch-thick layer of compost.  By the next planting season, the layers will have killed the grass and most of the annual and perennial weeds in your garden."  from Vegetable Gardening for Dummies
 Pretty neat, huh?  We decided to try it this year because we just paid about $30 in manure for the garden today.  That's heartbreaking for frugal people like us.  With lasagna gardening, you enrich the soil by compost...not purchased manure.  I don't ever want to purchase manure again!

We're going to divide our garden plot up into four beds.  That way, we can lasagna garden the beds and not the whole garden.  There is no need for our pathways to have expensive manure spread on them.

I'll keep you posted on how that goes!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

New York Times Veggie Burgers

15 oz of black or navy beans, drained
  (soak dry ones yourself to use)
1 can tomatoes
1 garlic clove, minced or pressed, or 1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
2 green onions, chopped
1 cup carrots, chopped
1 cup parsley or cilantro
2 cups quick rolled oats
8 homemade wheat hamburger buns
Fresh veggie toppings and healthy condiments

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Process the first seven ingredients using a food processor.   

Remove contents into a large bowl, and stir in oats. 

Form into patties, place on sprayed baking sheet. 


 Bake for 8 minutes.  Turn oven up to broil and cook for 2 more minutes, until the tops are nicely browned.


 Toast the buns and pile on favorite toppings.

Variation:  Saute the burgers on medium heat in a sprayed cast iron or stainless steel skillet for 5 minutes on each side, until both sides are browned.

*Recipe from Vibrant Life magazine.

They are a nice variation from a regular beef burger.  Give them a try!