Saturday, April 30, 2011

And the canning season has started!!!

Back in January one of my posts talked about my goal to put up 600 "somethings" this year: pints, quarts, gallons, WHATEVER!I have been canning and freezing stuff ever since I was little, first assisting with my mother, then for my own family and this is just something I feel strongly about. I have my 2 little girls help me now, so they can learn how to do it for themselves.

So here is an update for April. We have local strawberries. The strawberries we planted are a later variety, but are looking promising, but I bought the ones I used in the picture from about 15 minutes down the road from a local farmer who uses organic practices. We have been buying from his family for as long as I remember.
I put up 7 jars of strawberry jam ( I know that one in the back is pretty pitiful looking and only 1/4th full, but I don't waste anything and I'm pretty proud of it anyways. And then also to the right are 4 containers of strawberries that will be frozen. The frozen strawberries are delicious in smoothies and homeade ice cream, and there is also a strawberry cake I make that the frozen strawberries work great for. So I'm going to say that of the 600 "somethings" I'm at 11..... Wow what a ways to go, but I keep telling myself it's only April and 99.9% of the stuff I'll can hasn't even happened yet. I konw that the next few months will be very busy.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Just wanted to share a picture....

I haven't updated lately and I really am trying to be more consistant. I just wanted to share this picture, of my daughter and my father. It's priceless to me!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Our Easter Menu

We enjoyed a beautiful church service today and will have lunch with my parents, my 2 brothers, my uncle and my grandparents today after church. We'll have lunch outside under the big oak tree. Our menu:

- Fried Catfish ( caught yesterday of course)
- french fries ( from home grown potatoes)
- jalepeno hushpuppies
- coleslaw ( with cabbage from our garden)
- green onions ( from our garden)
- bread and butter pickles ( put up from last year)
- homeade tartar sauce
- grilled shrimp ( brought home from last time we were in the gulf)

For drinks we have strawberry lemonade
and for dessert stawberry shortcake with strawberries picked yesterday, homeade shortcake and homeade cream.

Wow, I love living in the county :)

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Looking forward to some home grown food....

The weather around here has been fairly nice lately. We have gotten to be outside a lot more than normal and everything has been quite mild. We do have the very beginnings of little crowns of brocolli and also tiny little cabbages are forming.

Our strawberries are blooming, and we have already been getting green onions fresh for dinner nightly.

My girls are little "florists" and love picking wildflowers and making bouquets in Mason jars, so this year, we tilled up a bit extra of the garden and made two full rows of nothing but wildflowers. Forget me nots, Zinnias, hollyhocks etc. They are all spouting very nicely and I hope to have a houseful of fresh flowers all summer long...... it helps with pollination also which is an added benefit.

I have 3 hens setting right now, on what looks to be about 5 eggs a peice, so in about 2 more weeks we should have close to 15 baby chicks. What a wonderful time for the girls when chicks are born.

Our 4 little ducks have lessened to only 3, which was quite traumatic to my older daughter ( she's 5) and felt that she didn't take good enough care of it, which is why it died. It's hard for a mother to watch her children hurt, but the amazing lessons that can be taught raising animals is tremendous. It does make my heart rejoice to see such a small child taking such an interest in caring for animals. I'm a pretty proud momma for sure.

Our homeade ice cream maker has bit the dust, which I'm pretty certain is well over 30 years old, as my mother gave it to me probably 10 years ago, thinking it would only last one more season.... So I am diligently searching for a new ice cream maker, as nothing is better in the summer than fresh cherry or strawberry ice cream. I also freeze the leftovers ( or make an extra batch) and we can enjoy it for the rest of the year.

That's about all for now. I have to catch up reading some of the blogs I follow. I really enjoy getting to know what's going on around other homesteads.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Know Your Food!!

I took this picture last summer in San Francisco when I was doing a farm tour of that area. There is some awesome stuff happening in California involving the local food movement. Today I just wanted to get you all thinking about what you can do to support local farmers and increase your nutrition and health by eating foods where you know the origination.

I live in the South and the majority of the crops around here are 1) soybeans, 2) cotton or 4 ) corn. The corn for the most part is that for livestock, but there are several corn fields around here that still grow the delicious sweet corn that most of us are used to.

There is also a growing movement of small farmers around my area. I stay out of the grocery store as much as possible and would love to rely even less on imported food, even if it is imported from across the country. There is something very patriotic and revitalizing for me to buy local, delicious products from someone just down the road from me. I love knowing the farmer, knowing their family, knowing their practices etc.
The first step to eating locally, at least for me and my family is to grow all that I can myself. We grow  large varieties of vegetables, have fruit trees, pecan trees, fruit bushes, herbs and have chickens for our eggs. I try to can, preserve, freeze, or dry any excess for the winter. The second thing I like to do is to buy from local farmers. There is a lovely family about 25 miles from my home  that provides delicious cheese, yogurt, and milk. And honestly, their prices are very comprable to the organic gallon jugs of milk at the grocery store. The cheese is outstanding and they offer several different flavors.
There are some things that we have not  mastered yet as a family such as asparagus, but their is a grower in the county next to us that has wonderful asparagus when they are in season- so we get it from him. There are other things too that we typically get from local farmers throughout the year. Last year we didn't have near enough blueberries so I bought several more gallons from a local grower. There is an older lady I know that has amazing wild blackberries which she offers for us to pick for free ( and of course I always pick plenty for her which she appreciates).
There is a grain mill about 40 minutes from out home which we buy local flour and other grains from. I'm really striving to buy as much locally as possible and eventually would love to buy EVERYTHING we eat from a local supplier.
There are things that although not necessities that I still buy from a local grocer such as almonds, coconut, sugar, baking powder, salt, cocoa, etc.

I guess the point of my rambling is that you CAN buy a lot more locally than you think. I obviously don't know where everyone lives, but I'm certain that with a little bit of trying that there are ways to really support your local farmers. A few posts ago I talked about ways you can find out what is offered in your area. Check out the post here.

How are you all supporting your local farmer?

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Updates from around our place

Sometimes I don't post because I want to include pictures. I follow so many beautiful blogs and I envy at their gorgeous photos. Well I have decided that I must still post pictures or not. I'm not good about grabbing the camera when I go outside, and it's a hassle to get them downloaded onto our computer then uploaded again to the site. Anyways, I do have some pictures I will be sharing with you soon I hope. And I apologize for my lack of photos!

So things around here have been pretty busy lately. Spring has certainly sprung here in the South where we live and color and beautiful smells are everywhere. Birds are coming to our bird feeders and it's been beautiful weather.

Our garden is really taking place. We are pretty old school and never put any of the warm weather crops ( like peppers or tomatoes) in until Good Friday, but the cabbages, lettuces, broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts and onions are doing great. I've also got out strawberries that look amazing and my corn is just starting to sprout through the ground.

I've added a few more blackberry bushes this year as well.

I planted 2 long rows of wildflowers in the gardens to 1) attract pollinators and 2) because there is nothing more precious than little girls picking bouquets of wildflowers for you.

Speaking of children.... I am about 3 and half months along with baby #3. It seems to be doing great and we are excited to be welcoming another little love into our world by the end of September. So Blessed!!

As far as animals go I'm getting about a dozen eggs a day and sharing with my parents and my in laws, then keep what we need and have been selling them for $2.50 a dozen to folks at work and although it's not much, it gives my oldest daughter something to look forward to doing since she is responsible ( most days) for collecting the eggs and feeding them. We have added 4 new ducklings to our brood of animals. They are tiny just a few days old and are staying in our house while they are so small.

Today will be a lazy day, I'll try to get some herbs out, hopefully hubby and I will relax in the swing outside while the girls fiddle around. The weather here has been perfect that last few days.

That's all for now, can't wait to catch up on everyone's blogs to see what they have been up to!