Monday, August 25, 2014

In a Pickle

One of the major reasons we want to move is to become more selfishness so we have been doing a lot of things to prepare ourselves for that new lifestyle. There is a lot of big changes that come with homesteading!
Yesterday we ventured into just a small part of what it’s like to create something of our own to provide for our family.

I had saved up a ton of cucumbers from our garden and picked up a few canning supplies. All in all, it DID end up costing more than if we had just bought the pickles but in hindsight, I'll never have to buy a pair of canning tongs, canning pot or jars again (we plane on re-sanitizing and reusing the jar and rings even though we still have to buy the lids) so all in all I say it was worth it.
I'm so excited we got to do this and look forward to putting all my future abundance of crops to good us (I'm think'n spaghetti sauce!). My house still smells of vinegar and it was a bit time consuming but all in all I think it was a labor of love and I can honestly say this won’t be my last canning experiment.

We made pickles! Bread and butter variety actually (which is my favorite but I'm not so sure now that I know how much sugar goes into making them!). 
As for how to make pickles and can them I used 'Simple Recipes' recipe/ guide. It turned out great. Our pickles are just a bit less crunchy than I would like but I know that that was my fault. The longer you keep the cucumbers in the hot vinegar bath the less crunchy they get. Let’s just say I didn't realize how long it actually takes jars to come to a boil (to sanitize them) and ended up having to let the pickles sit a bit while the jars boiled. -.- lesson learned. 
Sometimes when I think of being a homesteading wife I think 'Anne of Green Gables', living Amish, and using a butter churner. Save me! but when I step back and see what I can do and thank God for my washing machines several times a day and dishwasher, I realize it can be so much more than that. I think how accomplished I feel to provide something for my family and have made something of value out of my hands.
Yesterday we took a small step into the way we have always dreamed of living and you know what... it was a lot less scary and a lot more fun than I thought it would be. Now I'm going to have a pickle. 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Planning In the Rain

It has been pouring all morning here. It's so much needed for my growing garden though so I don't mind. This gives me more time to get some much needed "little" stuff done. You see, Darling and I are planning on moving soon! To Texas! We have always dreamed of owning a homestead somewhere to raise our children and teach them about hard labor and creating a home not just a house. So, today, I have been planning some stuff for our future homestead. Manly I have been researching ideas on how to be more self-sufficient and sustaining like making our own cheese, raising chickens and cow (not sure about that one for now), making soaps and cleaners, and canning goods. There's a lot to learn if I want to be a good homestead wife! Part of what we plan on doing is owning quite a bit of land and only supplementing our food with store-bought goods. This mean we need to grow, make, or raise most of what we will bring to the dinner table. So, I have been working hard to make a list of what we will need to grow, when they are to be planted, harvest, and how many to grow of each plant. To make things just a little easier I designed this simple spreadsheet to keep that that information easily accessible to find and use.
Here's what it looks like
You can download your own copy from the link above... you know... for all the other organize/ garden nerds out there ha. 
I know it’s simple but it's totally something I haven't seen around and thought would be useful for me... so I made one. I also used this site to assist with filling it in along with a few other random ones for the plants it didn't have (like blackberries and lavender). 
So who else is planning for next year’s adventures already? Any big vacations? weddings? A big move?