Drying and storing herbs at home

I have just finished storing my first dried herbs from my garden. What an accomplishment! I wasn’t sure how much to dry so I cut what I thought was a lot. There are some herbs I may do more of next time. But I think I have plenty to last until the outdoor growing season gets here. I used the leftovers and the scraps from all the mess I made to make nesting box herbs for the hens. No waste here. Since this was my first experience with this I used the advice of Mother Earth News. Here’s the link to the site I used.
http://www.motherearthnews.com/real-food/drying-herbs-zm0z13fmzmat.aspx

Naturally I had to add my own touches. I cut my herbs and hung them upside down using a clothes hanger, clothes pins and a rubber band to secure to bundles.
When they were completely brittle I took them down and began the storing process. I used my small wood block and wooden spoon to help crush the leaves since I didn’t have a mortar and pestle. It worked fine, but I will be ordering one for next time.
(Amazon has several choices)

Fresh herbs ready to dry
Fresh herbs ready to dry
Crushing herbs to store
Crushing herbs to store
Finished products!
Finished products!
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Homestead life and full time jobs

I’d like nothing better than to never have to set foot in a grocery store again! Of course there are some things a person has to buy but to become as self-sufficient as possible is our goal. Unfortunately now we both still work full-time jobs. Then upon coming home tending to the gardens and the chickens is another full-time job. It isn’t easy making all this work but it is well worth it. One day we will be able to leave the working world jobs behind and focus on our homestead. Right now we are weekend warriors and work until dark or dark-thirty everyday, but we love our little farm. 🙂 Here is my little poetic thoughts on that subject. I hope you enjoy.

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Gardening in the spring, summer and fall
Canning, freezing, preserving it all
Making pickles, jams and jellies
Growing enough to fill our bellies
Hens and roosters running everywhere
Providing plenty of fresh eggs to share
Milk goats are next in our master plan
Along with bees for honey, making pies and jam
One day we’ll leave the rush of the world behind
And live content here in our homestead life!

Dried Okra

We had a great harvest of okra this year. We’ve given some away, grilled some, fried some, oven roasted some, even pickled some. I hate to admit it we have also thrown some away that ruined. 😪 Finally it dawned on me. Use that dehydrator you have and dry some!

I washed my okra and then cut the ends off. I then sliced the okra in half. Once I had a nice bowl full I sprayed it with coconut oil and then added a variety of seasonings ; sea salt, pepper, and a garlic blend.

I placed the okra on the trays of the dehydrator seed side down. When all the trays were full I set it to high. After about 12 hours my okra was delicious and crispy! I think next time I may leave it whole because I did lose a lot of seeds. I will let you know how it goes when I try it again.

Okra seeds down on the  rack
Okra, seeds down on the rack

After about 12 hours the okra was nice and crispy and delicious. It had a great seasoned taste and makes a wonderful chip substitute. I bagged some up in my food saver for later and put the rest in a container for now. I have a feeling it won’t last long.

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I am looking forward to my next batch already!

*Just a few helpful hints: I use a Nessco Gardenmaster dehydrator and a Food Saver vacuüm sealer system. I love them both.

Ramblings

Labor Day has come and gone. I’ve spent my last days at the beach.

A little fun at the beach!
A little fun at the beach!

Farmer Cheese has begun a fall garden. Heaven help us, let’s hope it does better than the spring one did!
Last years squash! This is what we are hoping and praying for this fall!
Last years squash! This is what we are hoping and praying for this fall!

At any rate, all this is a sign of the approaching fall. So why is it still so dang hot? Weather, could you help us out here?
I’m ready to put out some pumpkins, and decorate with the beautiful glass gem corn we grew.

Our very first glass gem corn!
Our very first glass gem corn!

October, November hurry up and get here and let’s enjoy the cool weather for a long time.
South Georgia is just not a good place to live if you want to celebrate fall. But it’s where my heart is so I’ll head toward the mountains soon and enjoy some fall and then come on back to my hot ole south and keep hoping for a cool down!

Mountain streams
Mountain streams

How does your garden grow?

The Parable of the Sower
LUKE 8:5-8

“A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path; it was trampled on, and the birds of the air ate it up. 6 Some fell on rock, and when it came up, the plants withered because they had no moisture. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up with it and choked the plants. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up and yielded a crop, a hundred times more than was sown.”

We planted some vegetables in very sandy soil and have had a hard time keeping them moist enough. We put in drip irrigation and it has helped, but I think we will reserve that area from now on for a crop that needs less water.
My herbs are doing very well in their large box so I’m guessing the soil, moisture and sunlight they are getting is perfect. The corn is looking good, if we can keep the raccoons out it should be successful this year.
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The strawberries are delicious and the blackberries and blueberries are beginning to bloom.
Potatoes are doing great so far this year and we are getting ready to do more planting soon, of course matching each crop with the soil, moisture and sunlight it needs.
Judging by the looks of the gardens so far most of our seeds have fallen on good soil and are yielding a good outcome just as the farmers in verse 8 of this parable.

Jesus used many examples of gardening, growing crops etc in his parables. Just as we sow our seeds in hopes of a plentiful crop, He and the disciples sowed the word of God to the people in that day. Just as the seed fell on hard ground and wouldn’t grow, some people along the path heard, ignored, and Satan hardened their hearts so they wouldn’t believe. Some people heard, listened and believed, but felt no joy because they weren’t firmly rooted. They were influenced by the world and never matured spiritually, just as the seed lacked moisture and was choked out by weeds. However, some people heard, listened, applied the word, and retained it in their hearts and just as the seed they grew.

If you are like a seed that has fallen on hard ground, act quickly before your heart is too hard.

For those who are withering and being choked out there is still time to do some watering and weeding. Drench your soul deeply with God’s word and make sure you get those suckers by the roots when you pull them out. Just like the weeds in our gardens, the evil in our lives loves to return with a vengeance.

If you are growing are you continually sowing new seeds? Our gardens and God’s kingdom will not continue to grow unless we sow seed every season.
Every day that I wake up there is a plentiful amount of good soil out there in this world just waiting on me and others like me to sow seeds so they can grow and know The Lord. The question is, how does your garden grow? Sown any seeds lately?

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How to make the easiest “scare-person ever”!

We had a horrible problem with deer in the garden last year so we decided this year we needed to put noisy little people in the garden to keep them away. You would think with 3 dogs they would stay out but our dogs are so spoiled they think they are people. 🙂 And that is another story.

To make the scarecrow I started with a fence post that easily moves from one place to another. These are about 4′ tall and just stab into the ground.
I placed an old shirt on a wire clothes hanger and slid it over the top hook. No hook? Duct tape works wonders. I used a sharpie and drew a cute little face on pie tin and then used my handy pocket knife (every country girl has one) and cut a slit in it and tied it near the top. It will move around and rattle against the post in the breeze. Next I put an old hat on top and used duct tape to secure it to the post.

Easy Scare-Person
Easy Scare-Person
And there you have it a scare- person in about 5 minutes! It took me longer to find the old hats and shirts and talk Farmer Cheese out of them than it did to make my little people.

We have also hung up some human hair around the garden in stockings to help make the deer think people are out there! I may add some hair to Mrs. Cheese’s pie tin head lol!

I hope these ideas help you and I’d love to hear what’s been successful on your homesteads. Until next time,

Veletta

We have Spring Fever!

Warmer weather is here. Although the forecast calls for lows in the 40’s and highs in the upper 50’s later next week warmer weather means it’s time to start planting! Finally. This has been the coldest and longest winter. We are so ready to move on. We managed to get the ground ready and get some transplants and potatoes planted this weekend. I believe we now officially have Spring Fever. 🙂
Sara Lee had surgery on her tail Wednesday this week due to a huge gash she managed to rip in it somehow. She is on on antibiotics and wearing a cone. Poor baby. She enjoyed a little outside time today too, but it has been very hard to keep her calm and clean!

We trimmed the Rose  "trees"
We trimmed the Rose “trees”
This is the mess we trimmed off the roses!
This is the mess we trimmed off the roses!
A little lettuce, cabbage, sugar snap peas, broccoli
A little lettuce, cabbage, sugar snap peas, broccoli
Herb garden
Herb garden

Just chillin
Just chillin
Covering the taters!
Covering the taters!
A cone can't keep her down!
A cone can’t keep her down!
Hide and seek
Hide and seek
Poor ill cone head
Poor ill cone head
Gotta ride, even if injured!
Gotta ride, even if injured!