Sunday, September 23, 2012

Saving Lettuce seeds

As the season starts to wind down I have been letting my lettuce bolt and flower. To get seeds you have to let the flower mature and turn into what looks like a dandelion ball. You pull the pods free and separate the seeds.
The seeds are really small, but each seed pod will have 15 or more. I have saved a lot because I wanted to start some new plants to get baby greens now and for next year. When I plant next year, I plan on planting more successively. So every week or two I will start some new plants. Some plants won't sprout in weather above 80 degrees so you have to start very early in the spring.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Fall Already?

I can't believe the season is almost over boo-hoo! The mornings are starting to get really chilly and it's not getting very hot in the afternoon.This is one of my biggest heirloom tomatoes, it was delicious. I'll miss my tomatoes when the seasons done. They've been great in my V8 juice.
 After my apples were done for the season I aggressively pruned my tree. I want more apples next year not a bigger tree. I did the same thing to my peach tree last year and we got an enormous hall this year. When the leaves on my grape vines start to brown I will do the same with them. I'm already talking to my dear husband about ripping up the front yard for more room to grow veggies. He has never been open to it before, but now he is yea! We talked more about wanting to move,  but may decide to stay were we are planted a little longer. I told him I was going to make some big changes really soon.
At the end of this month I'm going to start looking for a cherry and a pear tree and maybe more fruiting bushes. I would like some raspberries and maybe choke cherries. When we have the money I'm going to start calling some nurseries and start the hunt. Fall is a great time to plant new trees and bushes. They tend to adapt better and have a nice growth spurt.
I'm also gonna call tree services and start having wood chips dumped in my R.V. parking. I watched the "Back to Eden" film recently and also saw a video of a woman that started using wood chips and I am convinced! She had the biggest kale leaves I have ever seen and is completely organic. They were even bigger than with compost. If you have the chance watch the film for free at off to the right is the button to watch it for free.
My kale was nice, but I want bigger leaves for juicing next year.

Homestead tip: If you don't have a garden but want to start one next year save the seeds from organic produce that you're buying and store it for next year. Seed Savers Exchange has tips on seed saving and storage.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Still Juicing My Days Away

I'm loving my juicer and using up a ton of my produce from the garden. I think I'll do this every year to help use up produce. In the past some things have gone bad before I could use them or I would get so much at once I would have to give some away. I've used up a ton on zucchinis and cucumbers juicing. The above picture is of my Armenian cucumbers. They get huge but stay nice and soft. When I juice these I slice them down the center and for the really large ones I scoop out the seeds. I can slice these in thirds and it equals about one large regular cucumber.

A great juice is lemon, cucumber, zucchini and pineapple. I thin it with water a little and add stevia to sweeten. It is so addicting.

Homesteading tip:

Pour fresh juices into popsicle trays for a sugar free, healthy alternative to store bought popsicles.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

New Juicer

I think I mentioned in a post that I was having a birthday.  Well,  it came and went this last weekend. I am (boohoo) forty one. Anyway without wallowing further, I decided to get myself a new juicer with all the cash I got for my birthday.

 I have an Omega 8002 masticating juicer that is over 10 years old. Yeah amazing huh, that anything last that long anymore. I really like it but it doesn't do great on some things. It does a great frozen fruit sorbet and of course greens. I've been doing a lot of research on new juicers and decided on the Omega Vrt 350 HD. This is a masticating juicer, which means it chews and extracts the juice. It leaves a pretty dry pulp and doesn't oxidize the juice the way centrifugal juicers can.
 I watched videos on you tube with all kinds of demos. I found it at Bed Bath and Beyond and with the 20% coupon got it cheaper than I've seen it anywhere. I've used it five or six times and am still a little undecided.
I like to do green juices and all of the greens need to really be cut up to stop it from backing up.  That is a little bit of a pain and the same goes for any herbs, celery etc. Even cutting them up to 1/4 inch they can still block the pulp port.  The other down side is that after about 25 ounces it starts to back up if you do any sort of softer fruits or veggies. The bonus is that if you want to make a lot of juice and keep it you can with this juicer. The RPM's are so low that the juice can stay fresh, the manufacturer states for 72hrs. I think that is too long and just about every time I juice I drink it immediately.
I like a couple different greens, cucumber, apple, a couple carrots and zucchini. All from the garden. I also add grapefruit sometimes to aid in fat loss. I have to add stevia to all of my drinks to sweeten the taste up, otherwise I can't tolerate the taste. This also will keep you from using too much fruit in the juices.  My  3 year old son will also drink these.
I always switch up the greens which is highly recommended due to oxalic acid in spinach and kale etc. This can cause kidney stones. So it's recommended to use a different green everyday. I grow, two different kinds of kale, Swiss chard, parsley, stevia, spinach and different kinds of lettuce, along with pac choy. You can also do the tops of carrots and beets.
 I always change up the juice but, the base is usually the same. Zucchini and cucumber give a lot of juice that can be flavored with other fruits and veggies. I did see a fruit juice on YouTube today that sounds so good. It was pineapple, lemon and apple. When I start juicing, I tend to start craving it. Never in a million years did I think I would love kale! Hello! But with some beet root, carrots and cucumber it is so good. I highly recommend juicing but, you will have to go to the bathroom more and you will get a little buzz from the juice!
Homestead tip:                                                                                     
When you have those huge zucchini and cucumbers in the garden juice them. The yield is really high and then compost the pulp.                    

Thursday, September 6, 2012


I've recently watched a webinar on Homeopathy. A webinar for those that don't know is a seminar on the web. I live in a town that doesn't get much in the way of DIY information and homesteading, being self reliant etc. So I do searches for the information and try to take webinars when I can or listen to pod casts. Most these are free to everyone. I was shocked at what I learned and inspired to take more of my health into my own hands. The webinar had a class and texts you could buy but they were way out of my range for now. The next best option was this book that many people rated pretty highly. I really like how the information and index is layed out and have been able to use it easily several times.

Its funny how much information you really don't know until you or a loved one becomes ill. I think doctors are excellent for trauma, but really lack nutritional and health education. Too much of Big Pharm funds the universities and there curriculum.
The side effects of antibiotics and pharmaceuticals is really scary and affects people in ways for years to come without them even knowing. Anyway, homeopathic treatments don't have any side effects, usually work faster and make future occurrences much more mild. They can also be used to prevent epidemics. High doses can cause provings which is from what I understand like detox sort of, still learning.
There are many hospitals in Europe etc. that use homeopathic treatments and have successfully for a very long time. There were many hospitals  here too until the pharmaceutical industry was created.  Homeopathy has a long history of proven treatments.

There are even homeopathic treatments for Septic infections, Small pox, Anthrax,  Cholera and Yellow fever. You can buy whole kits that have most of what you would ever need or buy individual treatments. By the way, these never expire and most treatments can be used for multiple problems because homeopathy is based on symptoms not just specific conditions. There are several remedies that can be used for the same problem, so if one doesn't work, you can try another. You don't have to know the specific name of the ailment just know the symptoms.

These remedies can also be applied to animals. This is something I experienced just a couple days ago. My dear sweet Shih Tzu had a very swollen face. I looked around on the Internet and deduced she was having an allergic reaction or had been bitten by something. I gave her a treatment of Apis Mel which is used for swelling, allergic reactions etc. It worked a little but after several treatments I wasn't satisfied. So I used Rhus Tox for redness, swelling and the swelling was down half within twenty minutes. Then after another treatment completely gone. Everything on the vet sites said it was and emergency condition and take the pet to the vet immediately and with treatment it would take days for the swelling to be gone. I love my dog dearly and would not have waited if I thought she was in jeopardy. As I learned from the professional homeopath that I took the webinar from a lot of scare tactics are used to pressure people into the direction the doctors want you to go. Most remedies work faster and better than antibiotics without them result in enormous side effects that can show up later in life.

 I think the last statistic was that over 100,000. people die a year do to just drug interactions. That is a travesty! We have a better option with homeopathy, that can solve a multitude of problems and relieve a lot of pain and suffering. If you're interested in taking some of your health issues into your own hands look up Joette Calabrese and her website www. She does do consultations and has a home course you can buy. She also has a wonderful and informative blog 

Monday, September 3, 2012

My Love of Cheese

Hello, did you know I'm Italian? So no figure I loooovvveee cheese. I spend a very limited time clothes shopping, but can spend a couple hours in a cheese shop.
Which is exactly what I did today. I'm still on a high and am probably now constipated TMI(to much information).
My husband called about ten minute's into my euphoria and asked what I was doing. I told him "well I decide to check out that new cheese shop that opened up.
" He paused and said "happy birthday then", I said "hey I won't spend more than a hundred" (in total jest). So I only spent $17.35 then the lady told me "today's curd day Thursday" which means I found out, that you get 1/2 pound of Wisconsin curds when you spend $20.00. Well you know I had to, so on the total went chocolate cheese fudge.
Totally for my husband,
 except that I already ate almost half of it.;) So you may have already guessed my whole lunch was cheese, well cheese and fudge.
Did I mention before I like to make my own cheese? But there are some hard rind cheeses I can't make, yet! Give me some property and I'll get a nice little cheese cave up and running.
 If you're like me you should check out the Cheese Nun video. I found it at the library and sat down to watch it one day with a nice raw goat cheddar. She ends up going abroad to learn about cheese caves etc. I loved it. It did take a little to get into it at first, but was so interesting once it got going.

I do love me some goat cheese, I have to say I grew up on it though. The semi-hard and the ricotta style. I'm trying to instill that love with my son. He seems to love it most of the time. If you've never had semi-hard goat cheese you should try it. Warning though, it's kinda like cheese curds because it squeaks on your teeth. I don't really notice it much but, a lot of other people do. It's great in scrambled eggs with mild Anaheim chile's. YUM!!!
This is ricotta cheese, homemade from Organic whole milk.

Homemade ricotta is so fabulous on homemade bread, made into garlic toast with fresh garden tomatoes and drizzled extra virgin olive oil.
Hungry Yet???