I Am Back From An Adventure

My husband and I are still living in Oklahoma, I’ve been doing all the things I love to do as well as spending time with my oldest daughter and her children. I’ll be posting more content WordPress and exploring a new site called Steemit .

I’m exploring urban gardening and still painting. Isn’t the world getting even more crazy since I left WordPress back in 2014?

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My 300 Happiness Jars

I only have a hundred more to go…

Packing my canning jars has filled me with nostalgia. Lots of memories, I spent almost five years figuring how to live off my gardens produce and chickens. This year I was able to fulfill my dream and totally live off of what I grew without having to go to the store! Now I have the skills to grow my food and I found my health along the way.  I am healthy after years of fibromyalgia symptoms, bad back, and sciatica. The best medicine is organic food, lots of hugs from good friends, clean air and water, and natures quiet equanimity that gives you room so you can find yourself. Time to go back out into the world and start another garden!

Thank You Nature

Nature has blessed us with a lovely garden, wonderful chickens, and warm, misty, rainy, mushrooming weather. Found some more yummy wild mushrooms to add to our chicken soup. Our winter garden is coming along fine. The slugs love this weather as well! We go through the garden and squish them. With nice neat rows it is pretty easy to spot the little buggers.

Fall & Back In The Garden

Working on the garden today as I did yesterday as well. Winter garden is almost finished. I still have to set the poles for row covers. I made really yummy chocolate lemon bars yesterday. My own recipe which I have produced consistent results 3 times. I post the recipe this week.

The Last Of Our Tomatoes

Rain is coming and  bringing  the cold weather with it here in the foothills of the Oregon Cascades near Eugene. I can feel it in my bones.  We, that is my husband and I, picked all our tomatoes, red, green, and in-between! After we picked our tomatoes we pulled half the bushes leaving the other half for the flea beetles. If I pulled everything the flea beetles would move into my green leafy veggies like collards and kale. I pull the rest of my tomato plants after the first frost. Next year I am growing a small garden at the other end of our property just for the flea beetles. They love radishes. If they have radishes to eat they leave everything else in my garden alone!

My husband doesn’t get involved in the canning process but he is a big help with the garden. He is doing pretty good being a city boy and all. He has learned a lot about gardening and caring for chickens these last four years. I bet next year I’ll get him in the kitchen as my prep-boy. He is so cute, I will have a hard time staying on task!  We have also grown closer working on our little garden projects together. Working as a quality engineer my husband has also helped refined some of my gardening and food preserving processes. I am very grateful for his help and his keen interests in all things healthy and organic. We both have become so healthy together, working out in our gardens and eating organic foods we look and feel like different people. We are so happy and man do we sleep good! Out like a light as soon as our heads hit our pillows.

As the tomatoes ripen I will be making tomato sauce and having ripe tomatoes to eat through the end of November. I check the green tomatoes every day for mold and fungus. Pulling the ones that are ripe for processing. If I keep the green tomatoes in a cool room they ripen very slowly. I wash them in vinegar to prohibit bacterial and fungus growth. I also will be drying the cherry tomatoes as they ripen. Dry Cherry Tomatoes make excellent toppings for pizza and ground to a powder a wonderful tasty addition to soups and stews. You can see my garlic braids hanging over the green tomatoes. We had a bumper crop of garlic, both braiding and hard neck varieties.

Some of Our Oregon Garden Harvest and Fall Is Here!

Hello everyone! Fall is here and my gardens are transitioning from late summer to fall. Today I am canning salsa. I will be pulling tomatoes for the compost pile and storing green tomatoes for ripening. I have a ton of pictures and recipes to share with you this fall. I also will be starting a separate page for my art. My family projects for winter and fall will include learning to read and play music on our piano and little Melody Lap harp, learning some Spanish, planting and tending our fall and winter garden, articulating a chicken skeleton, and of course painting! We have a huge reading list as well. This fall and winter will be filled with family, food, art, and laughter. So much fun can be found while working on things we love to do.

Update On The Garden

I’ve been super busy with the gardens and haven’t been inside much to post to WordPress. I am going to make a huge effort to post at least once a week during the height of garden, canning, and harvest season. Miss reading everyone’s post as well.

Update On Gardens June-27-2014

It’s raining out today. Took some pictures to update my garden blog. I used to hate rain in the summer since it rains all winter here in Oregon. Now I am so thankful for the rain! No need to water my gardens. I will be planting more herbs in my front herb garden. It’s cleaned and pruned ready for more seeds! The rest of my day will be full of finishing water-color painting projects. Hope you all have a great weekend.

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Cheap Healthy Homemade Juices.

Savory to sweet juices. Super easy to make and super cheap.

Oregano and Lemon Balm

Dryingherbs

Oregano and Lemon Balm Herbs almost dry ready to be stored in glass quart Mason jars. I strip the leaves off and stuff them in nice clean mason jar. I use the herbs for seasoning, teas, and make a mix for home-grown tobacco cigarettes. Yes I occasionally smoke herbs, but not marijuana. I can’t handle pot, makes me feel very sick. But I can smoke my home-grown tobacco and herb mix, which has no pesticides, herbicides or other chemicals that commercial products are laced with! Also I am making Oregano oil. Super easy to do, I will post the process once the oil has been filtered. People say it is really difficult to cure and dry tobacco for smoking. It’s not that difficult. I will post a blog this fall about curing tobacco.

Oregano Oil as antibiotic and anti-inflammatory agent.
http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/oregano-oil/

Lemon balm is most commonly used for digestive issues, insomnia, anxiety and immunity. It can be taken in the form of infused teas in the range of 1.5 to 4.5 grams of lemon balm taken two to four times daily. It can also be taken in a tincture of 2-3 mL (roughly 20 drops) three times daily. Many others choose to steep 2 to 4 tablespoons of the crushed leaf in a cup of boiling water.

Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/042942_lemon_balm_health_benefits_antioxidants.html#ixzz35mmTP4p6

Preparation of Herbs into Palatable Smoking Mixtures

A number of factors contribute to making a palatable smoking mixture. First and foremost is the way you cure the herbs. If you take fresh Tobacco and dry it like any medicinal herb, it becomes an unpalatable obnoxious smoke that the most hard-core smoker couldn’t stomach (or lung, as the case may be). Tobacco is semi-dried slowly, allowing for chemical changes, and is never dried to a crisp. It is packaged slightly moist in air tight containers. If it dries out, the smoker adds an apple slice or sprays it with water. Dried out Tobacco is harsh.
http://www.botanicalstudies.net/herbalism/smoking.php

Last Years Backyard Garden Dent Corn

I made corn tortillas from scratch. I mean really from scratch! I grew the corn myself. Dried the cobs, pulled the kernels from the cob. Now that’s really from scratch. Growing corn to feed a family of two is just too much work. I need a bigger corn bed and someplace to dry the corn. From start to finish corn takes a lot of work. Potatoes are much easier to grow and store here in the Oregon Cascades.

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I found out through research you need to do several things before you start grinding the corn. One, you need to soak the corn in quicklime. If you don’t you will get a horrible tasting flour that makes really brittle nasty baked goods. I found out the hard way. Secondly, the quicklime process releases important life saving nutrients and vitamins. If the majority of your calories comes from corn and you don’t use quicklime or another alkaline substance for Nixtamalization you will suffer from Pellagra. It’s a horrible condition in which one’s body slowly falls apart and one’s mind goes crazy. This condition can be brought on through other types of poor nutrition, genetic problems, and drinking too much booze.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pellagra

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nixtamalization

Produce Garden Done Onto The Herb Gardens!

Some pictures of finished garden projects and projects that have not been started. Most of the produce plants were started from seed indoors the end of April. Here in the foothills of the Cascades near Eugene Oregon nights stay very cool until the end of June. We can get a freeze up to the end of May. The poor herb gardens have been neglected, I usually jump into weeding early spring but I was in the middle of several paintings and didn’t have the time. It is a beautiful early June day here in the foothills of the Oregon Cascades. The gardens have kicked my ass, I am so tired. It’s a good kind of tired, happy-thrilled I have finished planting and I need a nap! All that needs to be done until harvest time is weeding, pruning, tying up, and watering. Lots of trellis and pruning work with the tomatoes.

Planted: tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, cucumbers, melons, pumpkins, squash, tobacco, tomatillos, basil, bush beans, (still need to plant pole beans),peas, leeks, onions, carrots, a few cabbage, collard, kale, bok choi, and chard. I will be planting the turnips, beets, collards, kale, bok choi, broccoli, and other cold weather crops in late August as well. Usually winter gardens do well here except this last year when we hit minus zero weather for a couple weeks. Totally wiped out my winter garden.

Almost Finished With Planting Produce Gardens!

Almost done with planting produce. I will be planting the last of my lettuce today. Bean beds are done and ready for planting. Once I finish this I will start weeding my poor neglected herb gardens. I love this kind of work. I’ve lost about 15lbs of fat but gained about 10lbs of muscles in my shoulders, arms, back and stomach. What a workout!

Spring Pepper and Basil Beds

I love to journal through taking photographs from the beginning to the end of a project. I love to sit and figure out the steps of a project, plot all the details and get up and do it! It’s the most amazing feeling in the world to see things grow, to feel that symbiotic connection to the food I eat. The plants and animals I raise for food need me to protect and continue their species and in trade they feed me and continue my species. This world is one big symbiotic relationship, growing my food I can truly experience this relationship first hand. I will be taking pictures as the summer advances. It’s amazing how fast these little plants will grow!

As I’ve been working on my garden’s this spring I dream of salsa and basil pesto. This is why I toil away in the blazing sun, super tasty food! Industrial grown food has lost all its taste in trade for shelf life.

From my labor I can eat what I grow and I know it’s organic. I feel a great sense of accomplishment going through the process from seed, sprout, transplanting, weeding and watering, harvest and canning. Gardening is addicting but it’s a good addiction.

What is even better, the earth, animals, my chickens, friends, community, and family also get to share from my work. It’s my choice to work hard all day and there is no one telling me what to do, how to do it, or taking a part of my labor as a tax. For my work in my garden I am not paid in debt laden fiat currency that destroys everything by sucking the life out of it… This food is truly free, it brings healthy, happiness, and peace!

Spring Gardens

I’ve been really busy with family and getting the gardens ready for my transplants. Sorry for not posting lately and I’ve slacked on my art projects. Everything is put aside whilst I prep gardens. I did all this work in my bare feet with a shovel, rake, and hoe. In my pictures you can see the 2ft edging around garden number one. I planted tomatoes in this space and will tie them to the fence. Why waste space? Last year I planted wild flowers, but you can’t eat wild flowers. All my gardens around the house are for herbs and food.

Peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, gourds, pumpkins, squash, potatoes, lettuce, spinach, celery, dill, tobacco, onions, garlic, chard, cabbage, kale, collards, basil, some herbs like savory and rosemary, plus a bunch of misc stuff I can’t remember right now.

My compost pile is full of weeds, it’s grown 3 feet tall! I should have taken a picture. I will when I finish weeding, it should be at least 5ft tall! I have 3 more gardens to weed before I am finished. My husband helped me weed the back garden bed for the pumpkins, squash, and cucumbers, but his chores are the lawn and tree care. I like digging, weeding, and planting and he helps when I ask. My husband is awesome because mostly he stays out of my way. Getting out in the sun and sweating, bending, pulling, squatting makes me feel like a new person. At first I feel awful and have to go to bed around 9:30pm because I’m exhausted and sore. Three days and I am up and running able to work all day with the shovel and hoe.

Backyard Potato Bed

I spent a couple hours a day these last 3 days working up our potato bed. I used just a shovel and a hoe and it’s a great workout. No gas spent driving or tilling, no gym fees and free organic food and washboard abs (just kidding) as an end product. I bought 70lbs of Fingerlings, Reds, Yukon Gold, and Russets from our organic grocery store last January. Bagged the spuds up in clean chicken feed bags and placed them in a cool dark closet until planting time. I usually put around 10lbs of potatoes per bag and check the bags once a month while in storage for any rotten potatoes. I didn’t get one rotten potato this year! I enlarged the potato bed this year and we should get around 300lbs of potatoes this year. I give a 1/4 of our harvest to our local community center. I did this bed all by myself and I am in average shape and in my mid-fifties.

Ready To Transplant!

All sorts of tomatoes, potatoes, tobacco, squash, and pumpkins ready to plant this coming week. It’s raining today and I think we’ve had our last frost this last week.  To be safe from frost I will be putting up plastic row covers over my new transplants. We could get a frost up till the end of May.  I’m so excited, this is my favorite time of year.

Most of my squash and pumpkins are long keepers that store well for chicken feed. I can some for pies and cookies at the end of October. My husband loathes fresh tomatoes but he will eat salsa, soups, and sauces made from tomatoes. He says fresh tomato texture is slimy, he gets the gag reflex and wants to puke.  Oh well, more fresh tomatoes for me and I give 1/4 of my harvest to our local community center. My potatoes are reds, Yukon gold, russet and fingerlings, all store very well and last through the winter until spring.

You know you can buy organic potatoes, story them in a bag in a cool room in the fall. By spring the next year your potatoes will have sprouted and you can plant them in bales of hay, a bucket, or small patch in your backyard. Growing your own spuds is super easy.  I usually grow around 300lbs of potatoes a year. One of the easiest crops to grow and process.

My peppers still haven’t gotten their true leaves, they need lots of time and warmth to get going. Sprouting peppers is always slow up here in the foothills of the Oregon Cascades. I also have cucumbers, melons, and bitter melons coming on, they just sprouted and I am in the process of transplanting sprouts into bigger pots.

It Is May!

I’ve been busy this month with the gardens and chicks. Getting my seedlings ready for transplanting. I have thousands of little seedlings growing like crazy. The garden’s are going to be bountiful this year. Here in Oregon the weather has been wonderful for working outside this month. It just started raining tonight after many days of warm dry weather. This has been a wonderful spring, it could be snowing now rather than 80 degree clear skies. It’s like that here in Oregon, some years cold and wet other years warm and dry. My Mustard Seed painting is sitting patiently waiting for me to get back in the painting groove and I need to say hello to my friends too.

Tomato and Pepper Sprouts

Transplanting soon! My tomato and pepper sprouts are coming on strong. As soon as their true leaves show I will pop them into the garden under warm row covers. Here in the Oregon Cascades you can get a freeze all the way up till the end of May. We have teaser weeks were the weather will be warm, nice 70 degree days, nights 50 degrees or warmer. Then the Northerly winds will come in and freeze anything tender.

My tomato and pepper crops are

Anaheim Chile Pepper, Poblano Pepper, Hungarian Sweet Wax, Aconcagua Pepper, Cayenne Sweet Pepper, Chile De Arlod, Bulgarian Carrot Pepper, Cayenne Hot Pepper, Sweet California Pepper. 

 

Roma Paste Tomato, Large Cherry Tomato, Marglobe Tomato, Pink Ponderosa Tomato, Black Japanese Tomato, Beef Steak Tomato, Amish Paste Tomato, Purple Tomatillo (they sprouted, I can’t wait, I’ve never grown Tomatillos, think salsa!), Long keeper, The Ssaloniki Tomato, Hungerian Paste tomato, Black Krim, Home Stead, and Tommy toe (cherry tomato).

Worked On The Gardens April 3rd 2014

I left 3 gardens out, my herb, pumpkin/squash,cucumber gardens. Didn’t want to overwhelm you all…ha! Seriously, I only do one patch at a time so I don’t get overwhelmed. I work a couple of hours a day and amazingly I grow enough food to feed at least 4 people most of the year.