Coming Soon – The Little Homestead Orchard

The Z Man and I have been wanting to add fruit crops to our little homestead but couldn’t decide what we wanted.

I had dreams of a big strawberry patch and making strawberry jam and strawberry wine and strawberry shortcakes and strawberry pies and strawberry syrup and strawberry everything.

While the Z Man was having nightmares of more work for him and an aching back.  Admittedly most often my ideas do create more work for him, so I understand.

We decided on apples and pears and off to the nursery we went.  I called ahead to make sure they still had trees in stock and the man on the phone said, “yep we’ve got apple trees, come get what you want cause the wind is blowing them all over the parking lot and I’m tired of picking them up”

He wasn’t kidding either.  When we got there the trees were all laying down and scattered about.  And, I guess he was tired of picking them up because he marked the trees down from $24 to $7.00 each.

We got 13 trees!   3 Liberty Apple, 2 Golden Delicious Apple, 1 Red Delicious Apple, 1 Pink Lady Apple, 1 Macintosh Apple, 1 Winesap Apple and 4 Kieffer Pears.

Apple Trees Orchard 2  Orchard 1

It was a good decision to go with apples and pears instead of strawberries.

In about 3 or 4 years we’ll be enjoying the fruits of these trees for many years to come.

I can see apple butter, apple pie, apple cider, apple wine, apple crisp, apple everything.

I feel like our little homestead is complete now.   We have our vegetable and herb gardens, we have our chickens and pigs, we have goji berries and wild blackberries and now we have apples and pears.

Well, complete at least until I get my next crazy idea…. I can feel the Z Man just shaking his head at me now and wondering what’s next.

 

Herb Time

I use a lot of herbs in my cooking which makes it important for me to take tender care of my herb garden.   Ha, actually I mostly neglect them all year long except for early spring and late fall when I clean their beds and perhaps the Z Man gives them a fresh coat of mulch.  Herbs are very forgiving and are the easiest thing to grow.

Well, except for cilantro!  I have the hardest time growing cilantro which really stinks because I use a lot of it in cooking and when canning my salsa.

In the early spring I always have some pop up in the garden voluntarily but it doesn’t last long.

This year the Z Man transplanted some of it into pots for me and they are looking pretty good (for now).

Cilantro 1

All the other herbs (rosemary, thyme and mint) made it through the winter and are growing nicely.

I’ve already made the first round of cuts on the herbs and have hung them to dry.  I like to try to get 3 cuts dried for winter use.  Especially the sage, I use quite a bit when we grind our pork sausage in the fall.

My oregano is going crazy this year, the first cut didn’t even make a dent in it.  I’ll need to do another cut this weekend.

Oregano 1

The sage is a little slower growing, but I managed to get two good size bundles hung.

Sage 2

Here is a picture of the sage before I cut it.  This sage plant is probably 5 years old now.

Sage 1

To dry my herbs all I do is cut them, wrap a rubber band around the base and hang them in the kitchen for a few months.  Looking at them hanging during the summer months gives me this kind of old day medicine woman feeling.  Which reminds me I want to share my rose toner with y’all when the roses start blooming.

I once saw Jamie Oliver on a cooking show going nuts over finding some dried oregano that was still on the stems in a little specialty food store.  Look at me having that in my kitchen all summer long… 🙂

Herbs are good for you and add so much flavor to meals, you may even find yourself using less salt in place of fresh (or dried) herbs.

If you are new to gardening or perhaps have limited space, try growing herbs.  You can make your flower beds multipurpose by planting herbs in them.  And, think about all the money you’ll save by doing it yourself.

Have fun and have a great day!

Till Next Time,

Lori

 

 

 

It’s Garden Time

The tomato seedlings are doing good.  So far so good.  In the past we haven’t done well with seedlings and have had to use already established plants from our local nursery.  There isn’t anything wrong with that except it’s not as cost effective as starting your own.  In a mode of uncertainty I planted extra thinking that if some died off then we still had a chance.  Looking at them now, if all of these seedlings make it we are going to be up to our ears in tomatoes this year.

I ordered our seeds from Burpee this year and I got all organic and some heirloom varieties.  I got roma, san marzano, heirloom slicers, and black cherry tomato seeds. I’m especially excited about the black cherry tomatoes.

If I’m being honest, I have to admit that in years past I’ve been guilty of not enjoying our gardens.  I get so wrapped up in the process of canning and putting up the harvest that I forget to enjoy the seasons of fresh picked, sun kissed, sweet vegetables.  Not this year.  While I still intend to put up the harvest, more importantly I plan to enjoy all the fruits of the Z Man’s labors to the fullest all summer long, and I can’t wait!

This weekend we planned the layout of the garden and we’ll start putting stuff in the ground this week.

Oh, and on another exciting note we ordered our two piglets this weekend too.   They were just born 4 days ago so it’ll be a bit before we get them.  I love this time of year and just love our life. 🙂

Have a great day!

Till Next Time,

Lori

Friday’s Frugal Five

I liked doing the $20 grocery challenge last month so I’m going to keep it going for the rest of 2016.  The goal is $20 a week for groceries and allow a $50 a month for “good sale” allowance.  The $50 will help out for those times I run across a good buy on things like the maple syrup last month.   The budget will be for food items, not to include health, medical, work related, entertainment or travel expenses.  I like giving myself little challenges each month, they tend to keep me in line which is never a bad thing.

Friday’s Frugal Five:

  1. The Z Man found me a stash of seed starter trays that I purchased several years back, so I was able to use them for our seedlings.  Keep your fingers crossed for me that they will do well this year and that we won’t have to resort to buying already established plants.
  2. I transplanted most of my indoor plants into larger pots using pots I already had on hand.
  3. Returned my books on cd and books to the library on time, and checked out more.
  4. This weekend will be a lot of organizing and planning for the upcoming busy months.  I look forward to the OT income from working longer hours, but if I’m not prepared that extra income can get sucked up into little emergencies because of poor planning.
  5. Lunches were from leftovers, dinners from the freezer and pantry, clothes dried on the clothesline, bills paid, and money in the pickle jar.  Still breathing fresh air and loving it!

How about you, what frugal fun did you have this week?

Have a great weekend,

Till Next Time,

Lori