Monday, July 22, 2019

Ice Box Pickles

Our garden has been producing a nice amount of cucumbers for it's size. I had quite a few in the fridge and wanted to make some pickles but didn't quite have enough to go through the whole canning process.  I decided to try my hand at making a batch of ice box pickles. Some people may call them refrigerator pickles. I looked online and found a simple recipe to try. I made a few variations to better suit me and oh my..they are good! My husband said they are the best pickles he's ever had and to not bother making anything else. With that,  I'd say they were a success! I've since made two batches of these pickles. The second time I made them I had a little pickle juice left in the jar (Yes, I drank quite a bit of the juice..) so I just added to what was already there, plus made a second jar.

This is a very simple recipe that is quick to throw together. It's easy to adjust if you want to make a smaller batch. This is also a great way to enjoy fresh cucumbers out of your garden if you aren't comfortable with canning yet.The pickles can be eaten right away but of course they are more flavorful after a day or two. They will keep well in the ice box for weeks but trust me, they won't last that long!

Ingredients needed:

10-12 pickling cucumbers
4 cups water
2 cups of white vinegar
2 tablespoons of pure salt (I use pink salt)
1 teaspoon of sugar
1 big bunch of fresh dill (Or dried dill. I've used both depending on availability in my garden)
3 crushed heads of garlic (or  to taste)
Course ground pepper (to taste)

This will make approx 2-3 quarts of pickles depending on the size of your cucumbers.


-Wash and slice your cucumbers. We prefer ours sliced somewhat thick. Set aside.

-Start your brine..combine water, vinegar, salt and sugar in a pot. Bring to a boil and stir to dissolve the salt and sugar. Remove from heat and set aside to cool to room temperature.

-Add your cucumbers to the jars. Be careful not to over pack so there's plenty of room for the brine and herbs. Divide your dill, garlic and  pepper into each jar. More pepper and garlic really creates a great flavor. I put 2 heads of garlic and two good pinches of pepper per jar. Pour the cooled brine into the jars, covering the cucumbers and herbs completely.

-Put your lids on your jars and pop them in the fridge.

That's it! Super simple and so good. You could also add jalapenos in with your cucumbers if you want a little heat. 

I hope you give them a try. Enjoy!!

"For He satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things."
                                                    Psalm 107:9

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

"...How does your garden grow?"

We've always kept a garden. My very first blog posts spoke of how I remember walking through the garden as a little girl. Growing up, I remember my mom and grandma canning and "putting up" the harvest from our gardens. That is something I continued as a keeper of my own home. My husband, kids and I have always enjoyed gardening and we're excited to have the opportunity to grow things once again.

Over the years we have had big gardens, multiple small gardens, raised bed gardens...we would grow things however and where-ever we could. Here, at our little rent house, we have wide massive views but don't have much yard space. We've still managed to put in a few beds for vegetables, herbs and some flowers. We have been enjoying fresh squash and cucumbers galore! There isn't much better than a fresh cucumber right off the vine. We are finally getting some tomatoes, so little cherry tomatoes have been a regular at lunch time.

It has been so nice to be able to end our day walking around our little yard, watering the garden, enjoying the breeze and taking in the beautiful views. Hearing nothing but the wind blowing and the crickets chirping. Simple pleasures..

"He who shares joy in what he's grown, spreads joy abroad and doubles his own."

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Learning how to keep house, again.

   It's funny how you forget to do things..baking a recipe you used to be able make in your sleep, keeping the house organized even with your kid's constant messes, stocking a fridge and pantry for more than a week's worth of meals.. But that's what I've done. I've forgotten how to do these things and am having to find my way again like a young newlywed just learning to keep house.

Where do I begin? How do I fill you in on the last few years in one blog post? The last time I made an entry we were beginning a new chapter in our lives at our new-old farm in Oklahoma. Now, here we are beginning anew for the third time in four years. I'm not complaining, just blown away. Let's catch up..We purchased our farm in the Spring of 2015 with plans to renovate the 19th century home and barns, turning the old place into the farm of our dreams. We parked our RV out front and started clearing out and cleaning up. Renovations were slow seeing that we were mostly doing the work ourselves, only contracting out some of the bigger projects, and we were working on things as money allowed. We worked, we made friends we enjoyed life. Fast forward to Fall of relocates us to Northeastern Kentucky! At this point we haven't finished the renovation or "moved in" but onward we must go. It was a bit exciting to go someplace new, see new places, experience mountain life..but, it was sad to leave friends and say goodbye to our dream. We got the husband settled in at a "temporary" one bedroom furnished apartment until we could find a little farm somewhere to make our home. The kids and I joined him a few months later. In the apartment. I had dreams of finding a little cabin in the hills with an old tobacco barn out back. We searched and searched but never found a place we felt comfortable buying. Living all the while in the little apartment in the heart of the historic arts district in town. What an adjustment for our family.. town life with our free range farm kids! We stayed there for a year until work relocated us again. Now here we are, renting a little farmhouse in West Texas. What an adventure these last few years have been. We've stretched ourselves and have grown in so many ways we never would have if we'd never stepped out and left our little nest in late 2014.

So, we are living in a house for the first time in years. We have experienced RV and tiny apartment living which was a completely new twist on homemaking for me. Where we used to buy and store food in bulk, grow/harvest/put up our own produce, butcher our own meat.. I found myself buying a tiny amount of groceries at a time, once or twice a week. "Cleaning house" took minutes in those small spaces. The kid's belongings were minimal in our tight quarters, which meant less to keep organized. I did little to no baking because camper and apartment ovens leave much to be desired. You know that saying, "If you don't use it, you lose it?" Well, I lost it. We've been in this house for a couple of weeks now and it seems that I have been running around in circles so much that I catch myself from behind. Laundry, sweeping, dishes, dusting, picking up.. then there's baking and cooking recipes that I haven't made in so long that I've forgotten how. Sometimes I just stop and ask myself "How did I do that?" It's really weird. But it's all slowly coming back to me. It's nice to have our "stuff" back that has been in storage for years. I have to admit that much of that "stuff" found its way to the dumpster. It's amazing how much you can actually live without. But it is really nice to end the day sitting in the living room with my husband on our comfy chairs and enjoy a cup of coffee. As I sink back into the life of a country homemaker, I'm finding joy in the simple things I once did. It's so nice and we are so blessed.

We look forward to seeing where this winding road we call life will lead us next and I hope to find more things to blog about in the future. Blessings to you and yours, from ours.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

The New Farm

   Something about installing a mailbox seems to make it official. We closed on our new/old farm almost two weeks ago. Although we have MUCH work to do, we are excited to have had the opportunity to buy this place.

This old homestead was built in the 1880s. It's been in the same family since it was built until now. Three generations were born in the house. I'm sure there were many moments of laughter and many of tears. It's full of history. The house was built with a crossway dogtrot to allow the air to move throughout the house. Although there was much more land originally, we purchased the place with 95 acres. Talk about enlarging your tents! There are numerous old barns, some salvageable and some not, 3 ponds and a creek. There's also an old windmill that we hope to be able to get back to working. It was the first in the county "back in the day." Much of the land is open and rolling but there are wooded areas throughout. On one end of the property there is a nice rocky hill that at one time hosted a bluegrass festival for many years. There are still the remains of some of the old booths and the stage. If you close your eyes you can almost hear the sound of the fiddles, banjos and mandolins drifting on the wind. We feel so blessed to be able to bring this place back to life!

Our internet service is not reliable but we hope to be able to post the restoration process here on the blog. We hope you follow along with us on this new journey.

And your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; you shall be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets to dwell in.
Isaiah 58:12

Monday, January 19, 2015

Cramped Quarters and the Wintertime Bug

   Usually in our family when one person gets sick it trickles down the line no matter how hard we try to isolate ourselves. In a camper, there is no isolation! Over the last week we have each had our turn with headaches, fever and coughing. No fun seeing that we actually had a beautiful week with warmer days that we couldn't even enjoy. Instead, we sat in bed sipping hot tea and snoozing.

I'm not sure what we've had but I treated it like the common cold or flu. Lots of Vitamin C tablets, Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar, Oregano essential oil and raw honey from our bees. I also made garlic oil and rubbed it on our feet before bedtime and rubbed RC and Raven essential oil blends on our chests throughout the day to help with coughing and congestion. This and lots of hot tea did the trick. And Jesus of course. Where would we be without Him?

So now besides a little coughing we are good to go and can enjoy the sunshine and beautiful days while they last. Except for dad. He's just starting to fill poorly. Hopefully we can nip it in the bud before it progresses. Curious of our treatment regimen? Here it is below...

Vitamin C tablets (500mg)
100% Pure Oregano essential oil (AKA Oil of Oregano, we use Young Living)
Organic apple cider vinegar (with the mother)
RC and Raven essential oil blends (available through Young Living Essential Oils)
Raw honey
Fresh garlic
Olive oil
And of course...a dose of prayer and a little pinch of faith

-Vitamin C every 2 hrs until reaching bowel tolerance then reduced to half doses.

-1 drop of oregano EO in a spoonful of honey every 2 hrs. (Elderberry syrup can also be used and is an excellent immune booster but we didn't have any.)

-1 TBSP honey each hr. (or Elderberry syrup, 1/2 TBSP for the kids)

- 1 TBSP ACV diluted in about 8 oz water every 3 hrs.

-Garlic oil rubbed heavily on the bottom of  the feet before bedtime and covered with socks. (mince fresh garlic, cover with olive oil and let sit for a few hrs then strain.)

-RC and Raven rubbed on the chest and back as needed.

Lots of brothy soup and water, water, water!

Why Vitamin C? It's an immune booster and is an important vitamin and antioxidant that the body uses to keep us strong and healthy. Our body doesn't make vitamin C so it must be obtained through our diet.

Oregano? The essential oil of oregano has been found to be a powerful anti-viral. Wait....viruses can't be treated and they have to "run their course." Not so! 

What does organic apple cider vinegar do? It alkalizes the body and helps to destroy any yeast in the body that can be feeding infection.

Honey? And why "raw" honey? Where do I start...when raw, it's full of great things and is a wonderful addition to our daily diet. Such as antioxidants, enzymes, minerals, and vitamins. It's also the best thing ever for soothing a sore throat and calming a cough. (Not recommended for children under 1 yr) When processed all these wonderful enzymes die and the honey loses its therapeutic benefits.

What does garlic do besides make me smell like Italian food? It's an immune booster and works as an antibiotic killing infecting bacteria. Why on the bottom of the feet? Anything applied to the soles of the feet absorbs into the bloodstream in 22 minutes. 

What is RC and Raven?? These are essential oil blends that include a variety of essential oils that are beneficial to respiratory infections. Such as 3 different types of Eucalyptus, Wintergreen, Myrtle, Lavender, Cypress, Peppermint, and Ravensara, just to  name a few. Also anti-viral. 

" Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health..."
3 John 1:2 NIV

 (Please keep in mind that this is how WE treated our sickness and I am by no means recommending treatment to anyone else.)

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Camper Living

   It's been a while since I've posted and there's much to update. Our home sold to a nice young family who we hope enjoys loving and living there as much as we did. We made the move to our new destination about a month ago. We're living in our RV right now at a quiet little campground while we wait. Wait on closing on our new place. We found an old farm that is just waiting for someone to bring it back to life. It chose us. We're in the process of purchasing it now and if all goes well we will be closing within the next week or so. Details to come.

Camper living...yes we're doing it. There are folks in our family that think we're crazy, think we'll freeze, and think I'll pull my hair out. There have been a couple of times that I've questioned myself but actually it's not that bad. We are keeping the bare minimal as far as clothes, dishes, books... Everything else is in storage and we'll rotate items as needed. Organization is a must. I hate clutter so we have to work hard at staying tidy and orderly. Schooling, bath time, cooking.. these can all be a challenge but we're working together and making it happen. I met a lady at church last Sunday who has eight children and one on the way and guess what? They are living in a camper! If they can do it we surely can! So, onward we go!

I've been asked if we're homesick. Yes and no. Up to now I personally have been doing ok. Yes, I've missed seeing my family who lived near us. We are used to seeing them on a regular basis so that is taking some getting used to. And we're much further from the rest of our family who we already had many miles between us and now there's even more. So this will all take some adjusting. But actually "homesick" I haven't been. Until this morning. I had a friendly reminder of what we left behind by my daughter's pet cockatiel who started the day with "whip-poor-will, whip-poor-will..." You see, on nice days Cocoa would spend time on the front porch enjoying the company of the many wild birds that made our place their home. He began mimicking many of them. His favorite? The Whip-poor-will. This morning while Cocoa was singing his borrowed song I got a little ache for home. I missed waking up to a quiet house and walking to my front door to greet the morning. I'd see the sun peaking through the leaves of my trees and hear the birds singing their morning songs. It was my favorite time of day. There it was...homesickness. It rose up and then it was gone. Then it came again, and then it was gone again. It was like little waves of sadness. But, I know that the Lord has great things for us. He's never led us astray and He won't start now. So when I feel these little aches for home I will pick my head up and look to the future that God has for us. I know it's filled with greatness or He wouldn't have brought us here.

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future."
Jeremiah 29:11

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Seasonal Changes

   Well, we're getting a little closer. We've done some touch ups on our house...some paint, new porch posts, new flooring... Our place is now on the market! We have packed up a lot of our personal items that we can temporarily live without and have them stored for the move. We have been keeping our eyes out for a new place but haven't purchased anything yet. When we do I'll be sure to share it with you here.

As the weather cools, I'm enjoying having the windows open so the breeze can move through the house. I love to see the lace curtains flowing and moving in and out as if the the house were breathing in the fresh cool air from outside. I'd usually be harvesting vegetables from our fall garden right now but I didn't plant one since we found out we were moving. Now I wish I would have because I miss it. So, the days are slower and quiet for the most part. We are back to doing our homeschool lessons full time and we've been enjoying some porch time. The leaves are falling, our property is changing and getting ready for a few months of restful sleep. Then it will spring back to life and be full of color again. I pray someone buys this place and enjoys it as we have. It's been a good home. A good place for growing things. And not just vegetables.