Thursday, February 19, 2015

A Hiking we will go ( with a few Elk sightings)

We are yearning for Spring Ya'll. Like BAD. Really wanting to get out and about and go hiking and camping more. We took a trip, and even though a wee bit cold, we had a great time. We had great views of the Elk. They were grazing in the pasture then retreated into the woodline.

 The hike was nice, about 3 miles total, with some great views. Man if it wasn't freezing here we could take a quick dip. But, it. was. cold.

 The hubs and the two older girls exploring.

See what I mean when I said it was cold? They made some beautiful ice formations though...

Get outside ya'll. Please. It'll do you and your family good. Yes, it's cold. Yes you may want to hunker down and watch Netflix, but I promise you, it's good for the soul. Making memories with the kiddos.
Happy Homesteading Ya'll!!!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Eco Tourism Vacation- Let's go to the Swamp

That's right- vacation to the swamp.
I have to say I've always been a bit intrigued by the swamp. I've always wanted to go on a swamp tour. So we loaded up the kids and went down to Cajun Country for a few days. The first thing that I want to mention is that this was really and Eco Tour. The guides were really focused on preserving the swamp. The birds. The plants. The alligators. They didn't "bait" the alligators so they would get closer to us. They didn't feed them marshmallows so they would come around the boat. That would create nuisance gators that are a danger to themselves and to people.

 We saw so many wonderful birds. Breathtaking really.

 All of the moss hanging down from the big trees, was almost romantic. I said almost.

  There were lilies and flowers.

 And again, remarkable birds.






A great time was had by all :). We also tried out local cuisine while we were there. Po'boys of all kinds. Roadside stands selling crawdads and spicy sausage. You know, all the good stuff.  It was a lovely trip, full of culture, nature and hopefully instilling a love of all things outdoors into the kiddos.
Happy Homesteading Ya'll!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Frugal Zucchini Sausage Soup

I'm trying to clean out the freezer and pantry a bit, keep my food budget low , and prepare some yummy stick to your ribs type meals during this ice storm. So what do you do?
Zucchini Sausage Soup. I kind of just made it up. I'm sure there are actual recipes for something similar, but here is what I used.
1 lb wild boar chorizo sausage
1 lb wild boar Andouille sausage
1/2 an onion
2 cloves garlic
3 zucchini
leftover brown rice ( about 1.5 cups)
2 pints of canned stewed tomatoes
1 pint tomato juice ( not pictured)
My husband and brother in law go boar hunting and you can make some great sausage out of it.

 So I browned up the sausage, then sliced the Andouille into bite sized chunks.

 I then added my 2 pints of canned stewed tomato sauce from last summer. Tomatoes are so versatile and easy to use in many recipes. I never can enough.

I ended up only slicing up 3 of the zucchini, I found that 4 would have been too many. I also ended up adding a pint of home canned tomato juice, as I needed more juice.
Throw all the goodies in the soup pot...

 Add a loaf of homemade bread from my trusty breadmaker....
 And we've got supper. I sprinkled a tiny bit of parmesan cheese I grated on top. The recipe made enough for plenty of leftovers as well.
Although there was initial cost in the jars, the hunting equipment to go boar hunting etc. Really this was a super frugal meal. The 4 zucchini were $2 total, so it would be about $1.50 for the zucchini, maybe .30 cents for the onion and garlic...The rice was left over from another meal, but even then I used about .20 cents worth. The bread is about .90 cents per loaf. So the ENTIRE meal including leftovers for tomorrow's lunch and maybe dinner would come to less that $3.00

Until next time..... Happy Homesteading

Monday, February 16, 2015

Back to why I started this blog...

A sort of a "back to the basics" type post.
 I think this header kind of tells it all... I started this blog to kind of chronicle my quest towards a life of homesteading... Canning, cooking, gardening, being frugal, learning to live on less.... It's all here folks. I've outlined a few popular posts below...
Teaching my kids about the life as we go ( my father and my eldest daughter)

Some recipes for some great local entrees :)

 Gardening posts are always popular here on the blog

And one of my most popular posts was about my canning party, I had with a friend that produced tons of delicious food ( not to mention fellowship)
I also have a few posts on just one small thing you can do to get you going in the direction you are wanting to end up, assuming you are wanting to homestead yourself. Please view those here:
Hopefully, these few posts will give you a few things to browse on this cold, wintry day ( at least it is here).
Until next time, Happy Homesteading

Monday, December 29, 2014

One Small thing- Ditch the Disposables

I challenge you to make a commitment this year to not purchase as many disposable products.

For one it really helps with your grocery budget. If on one shopping trip you didn't purchase the following items, how much would you save?
- pack of plastic cups
-plastic spoons and forks for lunches and such
- paper towels
-paper napkins
- paper plates
- facial tissues
-aluminum foil
-plastic wrap
-zip lock bags
-brown lunch bags
-water bottles
-Lysol type cleaning clothes or windex wipes
Other items some may buy :
-Feminine hygiene products

Just those few items and you probably are spending what $30 a week( more with the diapers)? That's $120 a month. $1440 a year!!!!And depending on what other items you purchase it could be much more for things you are just going to throw away.

Then think of the trash.... not only will you throw away each plastic spoon, but normally they come in a box with plastic wrap, more trash... You will really start to see a difference in your trash if you opt to use reusable products.

For plastic spoons for school and work lunches and picnics I simply send metal ones. My kids have yet to lose one. They also each have a reusable lunch bag they take daily, so that cuts down on the old school brown paper bags. My husband and I each have a lunch bag we take daily as well. We also have several water bottles that we refill and keep in the fridge so no more throwing away water bottles!
Here is a nice lunch set from please note I don't sale Tupperware, and if you know someone that does I'm sure they would appreciate your business. This also eliminates needs for ziplock type baggies daily.
For facial tissues we simply use hankies. Yes I know, so uncivilized. But I find them softer, and then I won't have the trash of used Kleenex and the boxes they come in. I simply wrote our initial on the bottom corner of the hankie so we would know whose was whose after the wash.
For ziplock baggies, plastic wrap and foil, just use reusable glass or plastic Tupperware like containers. My kids have little reusable snack bags as well, they use to take snacks in while hiking or to school.
For those of you that have children or may be thinking about more children, cloth diapering and wipes may be a good option for you. They have adorable prints and styles now and make it easy for moms. My youngest is finally out of diapers now, so I gifted all I had left to a friend that was very grateful.
For those of you that have a menstrual cycle you may want to look into these reusable pads. The picture is just a random one I found on etsy similar to the ones I have. With a house of three girls I'm sure these will come in handy. I would think if you have multiple daughters you would just have each one their own pattern or something if they were concerned about wearing someone else's. You wash them and wear them over and over. I've had a set of about 6 I've used for over 18 months now. That's a big saving monetarily and our bathroom trash is way down. It's not for everyone, but I would encourage you to try it. They have patterns to make your own, you can search for them on etsy, or other sites sell them.
For paper towels we just use kitchen towels or rags, and of course use them to clean my counters and windows replacing the need for Lysol and windex type wipes.
We use cloth napkins for paper napkins and I have several sets. I send them in our lunches, and use them at home for each meal as well as for picnicking and camping. I do have a nicer set that matches I use for company.
I realize many of you probably do this and more! What other ways are you finding to cut down your disposable costs and well as your trash?
Happy Homesteading!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Prepping for your 2015 Garden Part 2- What to plant

You can read my Part 1 about doing a good inventory of your pantry here.


Step 2- What to plant

Now that you know what your family likes and doesn't like you can figure out what to plant.

Think about this past year.
What did your family adore fresh that you just did not have enough of?
Were there items that just seemed to be too much work and your family isn't super fond of them?
Do you want to ramp up your production this year?
Scale it down?
Are there things you have been wanting to try?

It's important to realize that just because something grows well in your area, and may even be easy, if your family won't eat it, then don't waste your energy with you. Take an inventory of the time you spent tending, harvesting, and putting up your produce last year and decide if you can/want to devote more or less time this year?

For me, I have a new job at a university where I'm out for the summer beginning April 28th and won't be back until August 18th, so I have much more time I can devote to our home and garden than I did previously so that will make a difference in how much we plant this year. The possibilities are certainly exciting to me!

So as you start getting your seed catalogs in the mail, start making wishlists, start sketching out your land and what will be planted where. It's so much easier when you have a plan and a direction.

Until next time-
Happy Homesteading

Friday, December 26, 2014

Prepping for your Spring 2015 garden.... already???? Step 1

So it's winter and I'm already prepping for Spring? That's right. Here a few little helpful hints for getting ready for the season ahead of you.

 Step 1- See what you've got in your pantry

1. Take inventory or your pantry and freezer
Today I went through and counted all the items in my freezer and pantry to see what all I had used up this last year, what I had preserved way too much of and also tossed out a few things that were questionable. Items that we have run out of already or things that are getting close to being out, I'll need to try to put up more of next year. Those things that we are either already out of or getting close to being out of include:
-pasta sauce ( I had canned probably 20 pints of this, down to a few)
- pickled okra ( my kids tastes are changes and the little one especially has decided he likes pickled okra, so we are completely out)
-bread and butter pickles ( down to one jar and what's left in the fridge)
-frozen blueberries  ( I only had 4 quarts of these, but we ran out about a month ago, love these)
- pecans ( we really can't control this unless we buy them somewhere, we picked up all our trees produced, we have probably a 5 gallon bucket left to shell)

Things that we probably have way too much of:
-corn on the cob ( it's not that we really have too much, I just need to make sure to start using corn in our meals, as we do have a lot)
- jelly, ( between fig, peach, muscadine, grape, apple mint, strawberry and pepper, we are running over, really need to try to start eating more)

Things that I think are just right this year ( we'll be running out just about the time I do more)
- deer meat ( including summer sausage, sausage, ground and steaks)
- frozen fish ( although there isn't really a season, we normally just try to stock up as we begin to get low, our favorites are crappie and catfish)
- frozen strawberries ( great for smoothies and ice cream, as well as my strawberry cake)
- dill pickles
- pepper relish ( recipe here)
- salsa
- stewed tomatoes

So this gives me an idea of things I need to try to focus on really planting and/or putting up more of and the things that I might can be a little less zealous about this year. This is a great time of year to really take inventory of what you've got and organize things up a bit.

Please stayed tuned for
Part 2- What to plant and
Part 3- What to buy

Happy Homesteading Ya'll!