Monthly Archives: May 2016

Something I’ve Always Wanted to Do


There is just something about hand-forged iron.  I mean anything that’s made from it just makes me think of civil war era.  I absolutely love anything that’s been hand-forged.  Well, I have to tell you, I was so excited when I found this cute little store, Em’z Outdoor Store on one of my country rides going to St. Augustine.  It really is a cute store.  They sell gorgeous plants, offer amazing classes and have a barn that’s a store inside.  You have to check them out!

Ok, back to Blacksmithing.  I’m not sure if that’s a word, but that is what I was doing a few weeks ago.  I learned how to Blacksmith.  I’m still blown away that I made this cute hook.  I even twisted the iron all by myself, along with the help of the instructor LOL.  No, but seriously, I made this hook and learned so much.  I want to do it again!


They are supposed to be holding a class on how to make a knife and I am so there.  Now that my family saw what I made, they all want to come next time with me LOL.






Why We Didn’t Have a BBQ Today


This year is a little different.  I’m not trying to be unsociable, but I’m looking at things differently now.

You see, my father passed away at the end of January and he was retired from the US Army.  He also served in two tours in Vietnam.  He died from an Agent Orange related illness caused in Vietnam.

I guess I never really understood when I was younger why we “really” celebrate Memorial Day.  The real definition is this…..


Memorial Day, an American holiday observed on the last Monday of May, honors men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. Originally known as Decoration Day, it originated in the years following the Civil War and became an official federal holiday in 1971. Many Americans observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries or memorials, holding family gatherings and participating in parades. Unofficially, at least, it marks the beginning of summer.

Memorial Day, originally honored only those lost while fighting in the Civil War. But during World War I the United States found itself embroiled in another major conflict, and the holiday evolved to commemorate American military personnel who died in all wars.

In 1968, Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, which established Memorial Day as the last Monday in May in order to create a three-day weekend for federal employees; the change went into effect in 1971. The same law also declared Memorial Day a federal holiday.*


Gatherings and BBQ’s are nice, don’t get me wrong, but we decided to not do anything this year.  We went to the Florida National Cemetery where my father was buried.   I’m still in awe at how many graves are just at our state cemetery.  As I walked past row by row, I just thought to myself, how many families are hurting on a daily basis because of a loved one that didn’t come back from war or died later as a result of that war.

Each of these gravestone markers has a story and history.  They were all unique, brave and courageous and fought the good fight!

This Memorial Day, I salute you soldiers, both men and women, who died in any of the wars and who died later as a related illness from that war just like my dad did.  This is why we celebrate Memorial Day!

I miss him so much!  I am so glad he’s rejoicing with our Father in Heaven and no longer suffering.  He is healed.  This is my dad on the left and his brother on the right.  How cool would it be to be in Vietnam with your sibling?

I hope you enjoyed your holiday no matter how you celebrated it. J



What To Do With Fresh Picked Peaches

What do you do


So, have you heard of the best kept secret in Lake County?  I’ll give you a little hint…..

It’s orange and they grow on trees!  No, silly, it’s not oranges….it’s peaches!  Georgia peaches have got nothing on these peaches that are grown right here in Umatilla.  I went to Graham’s U-Pick Peaches located at 14803 Lake Yale Road in Umatilla. So, if you live in the south, you know a good peach when you taste one!

So, Saturday morning, my sister, mom and niece decided to head out and pick some peaches.  I ended up picking around 24 lbs.  These are the BEST tasting peaches ever!  I’m seriously saying that you pick them right off the tree and they are so juicy!

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They are nearing the end of the season…’s a very short season, like only the entire month of May.  Here’s how it works:  When you get there, go up to the tent where you will be greeted by some of the friendliest folk here in town.  They have a few different size baskets you can take and fill them with as many peaches as it will fit.  You might have some overflowing and the basket might get a little heavy, so they have some carts you can put your baskets in to make it easier for you.

They also sell local honey and blueberries.  Call or check their Facebook Page before heading out there just to make sure they have availability.  I guess word has gotten out and the peaches are almost picked!

Oh, and be sure and tell Mary I sent you.  Word on the street is that her husband is the “Peach Whisperer”.  I can vouch for that cause they are the sweetest and juiciest peaches I’ve ever had.  Their phone # is 352-636-3821.  They are open today, Memorial Day from 9am-4pm.

Now, what to do with them…….

I brought mine home and cut up 7 quart sized ziplock bags and stuck them in the freezer. They will make for good peach cobbler, smoothies, peach pecan ice cream, peach salsa, peach jam and oh my goodness, peach anything!  I even love grilled peaches!

You can even “can” them.  Click HERE for the recipe on how to can peaches. Watch this video on how to dehydrate them too.  And the last thing you can do with peaches, is just eat them LOL.  I saved about 20 peaches and put them in my crisper drawer in the fridge for us to snack on over the week.

P.S. Check out Graham’s U-Pick Facebook Page – they used my pretty filled basket of peaches in their flyer!



The Most Amazing Pickles


Who doesn’t like pickles?  I mean, really.  They have to be dill for me and of course, the more garlic, the merrier!

My good friend Annette over at Cassia Fresh Farm gave me a few pickling cucumbers as mine weren’t ready to pick just yet.  She also told me about an amazing recipe for fermented pickles.  We used to can our pickles several years ago and I remember the disappointment in both of our voices as we bit into one.  No crunch and very soggy.

These are really the most AMAZING pickles!  It’s kinda gross as you go along in this process, but don’t give up.  They are fermenting so at the end when they are all ready, you can always drain the pickles and then add fresh brine to your jars.

I ended up making two jars of whole, one of spears and one of chips.  We had the chips tonight with our burger and oh, my!!!

You can find this recipe HERE.  I can’t take credit for this one but it goes to Alton Brown.  I learned how to cook eggs from him many many years ago.  Now, I’m learning how to make fermented pickles.  Whoah!  How exciting!!!

Follow the recipe and don’t forget to check on your pickles every now and then!





Simple Meal Prepping


Do you ever feel rushed when it comes to deciding what to fix for a meal?  I mean, you’ve been out in the garden all day (just pretend that’s where you’ve been) and you haven’t really thought about supper too much then your hubby asks “what’s for dinner”? Uh Oh….

Fortunately, I have something quick and simple I can make.  I always keep meat, veggies and fruits on hand in the freezer at all times.  I also have a reserve of things I’ve canned unless we are getting low.

I shop at a local market to get my hormone free chicken and ground chuck.  I go once a week sometimes every other week and kinda stock up.  Besides, Venison and Pork, we eat a lot of chicken and a little bit of beef each week.

Everything is wrapped in butcher paper so I come home and basically process it.  The chicken is in these two connected breasts that are huge, so I trim off any fat and then butterfly them so I get four breasts.  I then put two in a ziplock bag.  It’s perfect if there’s just two of us or my son wants two breasts for lunch.  He’s a chicken hog like that.

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This week, I bought bison and ground chuck.  I made up patties and put some in my handy dandy tupperware burger holder and some in ziplock bags.  I wrote on the bags what was the contents and the expiration date.  These are perfect for go-to dinners or lunch.  They quickly thaw out as well.  I also take my ground chuck and put several pounds in a big pot and cook it up.  I then let it cool and fill each ziplock bag with it.  It equals out to like a pound.  These are perfect for those quick suppers like homemade sloppy joe’s, chili, spaghetti, etc.  Well, you get the picture…..


Another simple thing I do is cut up veggies and freeze them.  I bought these sweet peppers at another local market and brought them home and started dicing them.  I also diced up a yummy Vidalia onion that someone gave me.



These go in the freezer and are perfect for adding them to an omelette or meatloaf.  I usually spend an hour or so during the evening after supper and do all my prepping or a rainy day is a good day too!  This will literally shave off about two hours of meal preparation.  Well, not really two hours but more like 30 minutes and that adds up a lot.  It’s extra time you could be spending time with your family, playing with your dog or more time in the garden!

What extra prepping do you do?  I’d love to hear  how you save time in the kitchen!






A Little Faith

There is just something about biting into a fresh picked veggie, isn’t there?

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At first, when my friend Dara mentioned a new gardening method, I felt a little like “No way I can grow veggies without water”.  I watched the 2 hour video on the Back to Eden website and just absorbed all the info that I could.  Have you heard of it?  I decided to change my method to the BTE (Back to Eden) this Spring.  What better way to honor God than through the garden.  After all, that’s where it all started, right?

Just five days ago, this little cucumber was this size below.  Isn’t is amazing how we take a seed and it grows!


I’m so excited about my new garden this year.  I do not have irrigation installed.  In fact, we don’t even have a well installed yet at our new property.  I only use water on the really hot days which fortunately, hasn’t been too many so far.  When I do water, I take my 2 gallon sprayer container and go back to our shop ( about five acres away) and fill it up.


So, here is the new method I am using.  I have to say, there are not pests at all.  I NEVER use pest control as my garden is all heirloom seeds from Baker Creek Seeds.


The above photo is where it all starts.  I lay newspaper or cardboard down and then add a layer of manure on top of that.


I then add about 8-10 inches of wood chips.  The wood chips help retain all the moisture hence the no need for much watering.


Then, goes the rows filled with manure again.  Once the plants start growing, then I will spread the chips on top of the roots.


I truly am so amazed at how gorgeous all of my veggies are growing.  I had the faith that God would provide and he has indeed!  Above is Basil that I planted all from seed.  I will split the basil up here in just a little bit so it doesn’t get so top heavy.  A future goal of mine is to grow herbs in pots and sell them and maybe a possible veggie stand in the future . 🙂

Alrighty, stay tuned as I’ll be posting the progress of everything else too.  Have a great week!




Win $1,000 from Thrive Market

I so excited to announce a super giveaway from Thrive Market for all my readers!

Thrive Market is making healthy living easy and affordable for everyone. Have you heard of them?  Thrive Market members have access to the best healthy foods and wholesome products for 25 – 50% below retail prices delivered straight to your door. And for every membership sold, Thrive Market donates a free membership to a low-income American family so we can all thrive together.  This includes both Organic and Non-Gmo foods.

I strive to share with others on how eating real food is just so much better for us. All of this processed, boxed, canned, wrapped food is making us sick.  I stand behind this company and have teamed up with them as a partner.


To kick off my partnership, Thrive Market is offering a $1,000 giveaway! Yes, you heard that right.  I’m totally serious!  You can enter the giveaway by clicking here or clicking on the image below.



Good luck and let me know if you win!!!




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