Weekend Homestead Happenings

Do you remember in this Fridays Frugal Five I told you about some free Panera bagels I got leftover from a work meeting.

Well, bagels freeze just lovely and take a look at what we enjoyed for one of our breakfasts this weekend.

I love the fact that I saved those bagels, and the egg is from our chickens, and the tomato is from our garden.

Really, how cool is that!

bagel 1

Now, who would turn their nose up at leftover free bagels if it looked this good?  Obviously not me.

I was inspired a couple weeks ago with a gallon of gifted grapes to make some grape jelly.

Well, I’m a bit embarrassed to admit that we have had grapes growing on our little homestead for years now, but I’ve never thought to turn them into jelly, I just always thought they were too sour.

But thanks to the Z Man for picking and cleaning me a gallon of them, and thanks to the inspiration of grape jelly last week, I canned another 17 jars of grape jelly and it turned out great.

grapes     jelly 6     jelly 5

You can read more about how I made my jelly here.

We didn’t grow corn this year, but I found some lovely corn at the farm stand just down the road.

I’ve never put up corn, but thought I’d give it a try this weekend.

corn 15   corn 17   corn 10

corn 8    corn 13    corn 6

Yes, that’s a cucumber in the middle of the corn in the top left picture.

The nice lady at the farm stand gave it to me for free, I didn’t have the heart to tell her I have about 2 dozen at home waiting on me to do something with.

The best way I found to cut corn off the cob is to use a bundt pan and a sharp knife.  The kernels fall right into the pan with very little mess.

It was by no means a difficult process.  It did take a bit of time because corn in a pint size jar needs to be pressure canned for 55 minutes.

I bought 8 dozen ears and that netted us 54 pints of canned corn, all sealed and just beautiful.

So, as usual we had a busy weekend on our little homestead, but we will be glad for it come this February and we have all this wonderful food to enjoy.

How was your weekend?  Did you put anything into jars this weekend?

Till next time,

Lori

 

Easy and Frugal Pesto Recipe

I love basil and I love pesto.  Well let me be more specific I love my pesto.  I’m not really all that crazy about store bought pesto.  The last time I bought pesto many years ago I think it was around $4 for a little jar.

I don’t think the Z Man paid $4 for all these basil plants.

Basil 1

And that’s just one of the two planters we had basil plants in.

That’s the thing about growing your own herbs, it can save you a ton of money.

And look at what these little basil plants turned in to, well once they grew up to be big basil plants.

Pesto 2

Pesto 3

But, even making pesto from scratch can get a bit expensive if you use pine nuts like the traditional pesto recipe calls for.

I do not use pine nuts in my pesto, instead I substitute them for cashews and it taste great.

And that’s the thing about making pesto, you can and should make it to your taste.  Make it the way you like it.

Maybe you like more garlic, or more lemon than I do, so adjust it to your taste.

This is what I do to make freezer pesto…

  • Wash and spin dry a huge bunch of basil and stuff it in your food processor with the rest of the ingredients
  • 1 or 2 whole peeled garlic cloves
  • the juice of one lemon
  • 1/3 cup of cashew nuts
  • 1/2 cup of grated parmesan cheese
  • a pinch of salt
  • a pinch of red pepper flakes
  • about a cup of good olive oil (while the food processor blade is running)

You will process the mixture while drizzling the olive oil in the processor until you get the consistency you like.  This is also where the tasting begins to determine if you need more salt, or more lemon, or more anything.

One of our favorite dinners is leftover roasted chicken with pesto and bow tie pasta or a chicken pesto panini sandwich. YUM!

I ended up with 2 full gallon bags of pesto cubes in the freezer from 8 or so basil plants, but that doesn’t count all the caprase salads we’ve had this summer, or the fresh pesto we’ve eaten.

I like to freeze the pesto in ice cube trays then pop them out and store them in freezer bags.  That way I can pull out what I need anytime.  Maybe just 1 cube for sandwiches or pizza or 4 cubes for the chicken pasta dish.  It’s just easier and less chance of waste.

Try growing your own basil and making your own pesto.  It really is worth it.

Till next time,

Lori

Homestead Happenings

July has been busier than a humming-bird on crack.  I can’t believe the month is about over already. We’ve been very busy on our little homestead with gardening, feeding, canning, cleaning, building, clearing and all the other ings it takes to have a homestead.

The gardens are coming in strong.  The cucumbers have been a good harvest too.  I’ve put up 24 pints of bread and butter pickles.

We finished up with the spring green beans and ended up with six gallons in the freezer.  The Z Man has planted more green beans for me to can, but we aren’t sure how well they are going to do.  Between the rabbits and the heat, they aren’t looking too great.

The sweet potatoes and the butternut squash are looking great!  Cant wait for those.

The pigs are growing and the chickens are doing fine, but none of us like this heat.

Chickens 1

Our tomatoes are finally coming in and I canned 8 quarts of tomato juice last weekend.  Perfect timing too as this week I opened my last jar from last years crop.

This weekend I’ll be canning salsa.

The Z Man’s pumpkins are really amazing this year!  Is it bad that I am ready for fall, football and pumpkin everything?

It’s The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown!!!

Pumpkin 2

We’ve had some really strong storms lately, but some don’t seem to mind….

Frog 1

 

It’s true, rain is a good thing…. it keeps everything growing and green.

Front Yard 1

We are so blessed… Thank you God for loving us.

And thank you to the Z Man for all of his beautiful photography.

I hope y’all are having a wonderful summer.

Till next time,

Lori

 

 

Homestead Happenings

It’s been a minute since I’ve last posted.  We’ve just been so busy with our jobs and with work around our little homestead.

Our two little pigs have adjusted well to their new lifestyle.  These two seem much more settled than the last generation of bacon and bar-b-q.

The gardens were slow getting started because we’ve had a bit of a cooler spring, but now they are starting to take off.  We are getting a steady supply of snow peas, green beans, zucchini and squash.  The cucumbers aren’t doing so great this year.

I told you about the little orchard the Z Man put in for us.  All the trees seem to be doing good and are showing small signs of new growth.

I’ve finally figured out how to make (good) yogurt with the right consistency from raw milk.  Usually raw milk yogurt produces a thinner consistency yogurt, but the trick is to strain 3/4 of the yogurt as you would to make a thick greek style yogurt then whisk the last 1/4 of the thinner yogurt in to the thick yogurt and it produces the perfect creamy yogurt texture.

The chickens are happy and blessing us with fresh eggs daily.

I made and bottled my first batch of kombucha.  I even got the Z Man to try it and he liked it, once he got past the fear of it maybe poisoning him.  But, I have a confession, as much as I want to get into the kombucha thing, I’m just not into it, and I’m ok with that decision.  It was fun to try it, but it’s not something I’ll continue to do.

I’ve been washing and organizing my mason jars getting ready for the canning season.  I expect I’ll be canning green beans next week.

I made my first meat purchase from Polyface Farms of a chicken larder (fifteen whole chickens).  The best way to describe the taste of these chickens is to say they just taste more chickeny.  They are so good, and lean, not bloated with all the salt water that store bought chickens are loaded with.  I’m fortunate that Polyface delivers to my area on a monthly basis.  The Z Man thought I was a bit crazy when I asked him to go with me to meet a van in an ally behind the co-op to buy chicken, but let’s face it it’s pretty common for him to think I’m crazy anyway, so… you know just another day in our life.  I will continue to buy from Polyface Farms, because the meat just taste so much better, it’s worth the little extra cost to us.

On a sad note, our old yellow lab “Charlie” passed away.  He lived a good life, but now he is in heaven chewing the arms off sofas and steeling food from the tables.  RIP Charlie.

Two days after Charlie passed, I found a little kitten in bushes outside my office window.  I called around, but no one in the area claimed her, so off to the vet we went.  She weighed only 1lb.  I had always said I would never get another cat because I would never find another one that was like my beloved Maggie who passed about 10 years ago.  Maggie was a wonderful cat that would greet you at the door with kisses then turn around and chase dogs out of the yard.  This little kitten is just like Maggie.  Loving and feisty.  Some people say it was a sign to find this kitten right after Charlie passed.  I don’t know about that, but I do know that she has given us lots of smiles since bringing her home.

Meet Roxy Y’all.

(The Z Man named her, and she has completely turned into daddy’s girl, she just L-O-V-E-S her daddy!  I mean I just saved her life and all, that’s all, no big deal)

 

I hope Y’all are having a wonderful start to your summer.

Till next time…

Lori