This year we decided to try planting a pumpkin patch for pick your own pumpkins this fall, along with a zinnia patch, sunflower patch and sweet corn. We also planted a large number of heirloom tomatoes, cucumbers, herbs and perennials from seed that we hope to be able to sell later in the summer as well.
Dan invested in a few more tractor/farm implements, including a planter and a plow, and has prepared and planted the 5+ acres we had previously leased to a local farmer… we now have fields of timothy, clover, and switchgrass for cover crops/habitat, and we’re adding our garden fields of pumpkins, sunflowers, and raspberries. Its finally dry enough in the fields to be able to get out and do some planting! We’re hoping for a long fall to make the growing season long enough to make all farmers’ plantings worthwhile this year…
Here are some pictures from the homestead over the past couple of weeks (including today!). Many of the photos are courtesy of our daughter Eva.
grasses in the field
sunlight and field
zach and miriam in dad’s clover field
nibbling on clover
eva hanging out in the dirt
dan roto tiling the pumpkin row
team work getting the seeds planted
miriam putting in the seed
pumpkin seed – grow!
dad and zach getting the technique down
getting rocks out of field
checking out what is growing
raspberries – wild
snowy river the rooster
gretel who needs a hoof trim
heidi the goat
lane of grapes
dan’s planter coming home
our wild asparagus
wild asparagus – kids LOVE it
local second hand shop find – pottery bird feeder
jen harvesting nettle
basket of nettle
only half a jar to go
mr wolf “the bee guy” at his hives on our property
bee guy – putting up solar fence to keep the BEAR out
I got really attracted to these chalk painted mason jars I’ve seen around… Dan bought me a couple for my birthday a couple of years ago, and I really like how they look. We seem to have collected a large amount of canning jars recently so I thought this would be a perfect way to “declutter” … by making something out of them to give as gifts or sell as gifts.
Ideally, I would have had these ready for a little pre-Mother’s Day sale, but I wound up actually making 32 of them to use as table decorations for a conference I’m helping with, which is taking place the 2 days before Mother’s Day… I was happy to do it because it was fun and it was motivational to make a certain amount, by a certain time.
Here are some pics of my mason jar crafts which are adorning tables at Mystical Rose Gardens in Baldwin for a conference on Living in the Divine Will being held there this weekend. We plan to offer them for sale at the end of the conference, in case anyone needs a last minute Mother’s Day gift 🙂
Last year I ran across some really nice recipes for making lotion bars. Well, what I ran across first were some super cute lotion/soap bar molds that I fell in love with! So I ordered the molds, then decided to try making lotion bars. Someday I will try soap, but for now, I’m enjoying using beeswax from local honey bee keepers and experimenting with different combinations of essential oils.
I someday hope to have a little shop set up on our “homestead” where I can sell things like this and other crafts, but for now, I’m going to just spread the word and likely add these to my Etsy store.
If you are interested in purchasing one of these lotion bars and live locally, I’d be happy to prepare one for your wife, sister or mom for this upcoming Mother’s Day 🙂 I have them in the form of larger 4oz size flowers, which come with/on an antique (or antique-ish) saucer for $8 or in a smaller 2oz size in tin for $6.
Lotion bars are made with beeswax from local beekeeper, shea butter or mango butter, coconut oil and an essential oil. They have a very light fragrance – I have used a mixture of lavender and orange with some, and peppermint and orange for others. They work great for rubbing onto really dry spots on your skin, for travel, and for sitting next to your kitchen/bathroom sink or on a night stand… having it rest on the little saucer makes it handy to keep anywhere! And it looks cute! (if I do say so myself!)
Since the flowers are all in various designs and the saucers have been collected from second hand shops, there’s no guarantee that you will get exactly what you see online… please allow me to pick the right flower and saucer combo for you 🙂 Your purchase will come in a little bag with tissue paper and a tag, ready to give 🙂
Please fill out the contact form or send an email to jennifer at turningleafstudio.com if you would like to place an order 🙂 Thanks!
Two teenage daughters of a good friend of mine have started a business for themselves, hand pouring soy candles. Their business is called Forestville Candle Company and they have an Etsy store that I would like to share here: ForestvilleCandles.
I’ve been a “regular” candle buyer from them since they started selling their candles before Christmas because I LOVE the glow of candles, and the fact that these candles do not emit toxins in the air.
Their scents are delicious! Some smell so good, I could eat them! (but not quite…). In the winter, I really liked their Balsam scent, and Peppermint. This spring, they have a huge selection and a variety of sizes to choose from… I have been burning Lemon in the house recently and it has helped my mood immensely on the more dreary spring days. My other current favorites are Cucumber Melon and Lily of the Valley…. none of their scents are overpowering, but they fill the house with a warm, comforting aroma. I just love them!
If you need yet one more reason to purchase non-toxic candles from an entrepreneurial pair of teens, part of their proceeds go toward Feed My Starving Children, an organization that is dedicated to providing nutritious meals to children worldwide. So not only do you get beautiful aroma and wonderful ambiance, you also help support a couple of good kids in their efforts to build their savings accounts, & you also help other children around the world… !
Recently, I purchased some beeswax from friends of ours who used to have bees (Cindi and Pete from Rush River Fiber). I had intended to use it to make lotion, and when I was looking for recipes online, I ran across all kinds of interesting and fun looking lotion and lip balm recipes. I tried my hand at it and while I think overall it was a success, the beeswax had a very high honey content and it wound up quite soft for the little twist tubes I had purchased to put it in. BUT… it tastes DELICIOUS! 🙂
So when I ran across this post by Whole-Fed Homestead, I thought – hey, this is the route to go!!! I have not used their method/recipe yet, but the next time I make a batch, I’m going to follow their method. Thanks to Crystal from Whole-Fed Homestead for letting me repost her recipe here to share with you! (her recipe even made it into Mother Earth News Magazine!)
It got me. I’ve been skillfully avoiding it for the last few weeks, and lacking all subtlety the dreaded virus finally caught up with me. I am now under the weather. Strictly speaking, sick. Doesn’t this ill-timed disease understand I don’t have time for this? I’m a mom. I’m a homeschooling mom. I’m a mom with way too much on my plate to become even the slightest bit tired much less down for the count. I can’t take a sick day. Who has time for a sick day?
Dramatics aside, how does being sick affect our learning routine? It’s one thing for one of my children to be sick. Mom can attend to their needs while keeping the remainder of our household intact. But when I get sick almost everything stops. As we can’t afford to keep this up for too long, I need a plan of attack:
Tis the season… for a cold. Darn. Thankfully it’s just a little sniffle but I’m going to finally make the elderberry syrup that I’ve had the ingredients to make for a while now… I have a couple of recipes at my fingertips, but this is the one I’m going to work from today from Wellness Mama.
Another great article from Mountain Rose Herbs on how to make herb infused vinegar. I didn’t realize it but according to their article here, using vinegar instead of alcohol does also work for creating tinctures for health benefits!
Chop or grind your dried herb to a coarse powder. You can also find many powdered herbs available on our website. Fill 1/5 of your sterilized jar with the herb. Pour organic apple cider vinegar over the herb until the jar is filled to the top. Cover tightly and allow to extract for 14 days in a cool, dark place. Be sure to shake the jar daily.
After 2 weeks, strain the herb through cheesecloth. Set the strained liquid in a capped jar on a shelf and allow the sediment to settle overnight. Decant the clear liquid layer into another sterilized jar using a strainer. Cap tightly, label, and store for up to 6 months in a cool, dark place.
If you are infusing the vinegar with roots or barks, there is one more step you might want to take. Once the mixture has extracted for 2 weeks and the herbs have been strained out, heat the infusion just short of boiling and filter through cloth while hot. The heat will help congeal albumin in the solution that can then be removed when straining. Excess albumin can encourage your extract to spoil quickly.
As a general guide, take 1 tbsp of the vinegar extract up to 5 times a day when needed, unless you are working with potent low/drop dosage herbs. Due to the acid content in vinegar, be sure to avoid direct contact with your teeth. You may want to mix each dose of vinegar with water or tea to dilute the acidity.
Mountain Rose Herbs has a good post about how to make your own herbal infused oils. I’m harvesting the abundance of mint, lemon balm, basil, rosemary, thyme and oregano that we have growing here and am figuring out the best ways to preserve them right now… going to try making some infused vinegars and oils to be later used for cleaning, cooking or on our bodies as ointments. I am also referencing this great book called Alchemy of Herbs which has been very helpful for looking up all the herbs I have growing and how to use them. It’s exciting!!! (the photo above also includes a bowl of beans and lettuce from our garden today… those items are photo bombing and will be eaten later today…)
An easy way to make herb infused oils that I’m going to try. From their website post here.
Use the sun to naturally infuse oil with the goodness of herbs!
We always recommend using dried herbs. If you desire fresh herbs, wilt them first for 12 hours to remove the moisture (too much water will cause your oil to go rancid), cut into small pieces, and crush with a mortar and pestle before adding to the jar.
Place herbs in a clean, dry quart jar.
Fill remaining space in jar with oil of choice, making sure to cover herbs by at least 1 inch. If your herbs soak up all of the oil, then pour more oil on top to ensure the herbs are well covered.
Stir well and cap jar tightly.
Place jar in a sunny, warm windowsill and shake once or more per day. You can also cover the jar with a brown paper bag if you prefer that to direct sunlight.
After 2-3 weeks, strain the herbs out of the oil using cheesecloth or a mesh strainer. Make sure and squeeze out every precious drop of oil!
Pour into glass bottles and store in a cool dark place. The oil should keep for at least a year. Vitamin E Oil may also be added to prolong shelf life.