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Tomatoes growing like weeds!

I bought these 13 tomato plants last Saturday. There were seven of them (the paste tomatoes and cherry) that were only about 3 inches tall. I wasnt thrilled about buying them so small but with the weather we've been having, I figured if I waited, they would all be gone and I've been having problems finding the Amish Paste tomato the last couple of years.

Look at them now! Several already need to be re-potted!

This is the Amish Paste that I was excited to find. Hoping to make lots of tomato sauce for ketchup, spaghetti sauce, and salsa. There is nothing better when the snow is flying than homemade salsa and chips to warm you up!

Our apple trees are in full bloom. I don't remember a year that they looked so good. The weather men are saying we are in the clear for at least a week as far as frost is concerned. I'm hopeful we will have a great year for apples for more apple pie filling this year!

How is your gardening coming along?

A Blog Award

Annie from Haphazard Homestead bestowed upon me this award today:

Thanks Annie! That was very thoughtful of you. Now it's my turn to pass this on to 15 bloggers. Here are the rules according to Annie:

Rules for accepting the award:

1) Thank the person and link to their page
2) Select 15 bloggers who you follow regularly or have recently discovered & share the award
3) Share 7 things about yourself
4) In their posts of acceptance have them include this set of rules
5) Let each blogger know they have been nominated by leaving a comment on their blogs.

4 Hats and Frugal
A Pocket Full Of Buttons
Blessed With Grace The host of Tempt My Tummy Tuesdays!
Bubble Gum & Duct Tape
Country Mouse, City Mouse
Cutting Coupons in Kansas City
Homemade by Jill
Homestead Revival
Simple Garden Made Easy
Our Simple Farm
Living Without Money
Homemade Serenity
the chicken coop
The Prairie Homestead
Self Sustained Living

These are great blogs and I encourage you to become regular readers. At least visit them to say congrats and I sent ya!!

Now seven things about me...

1. I hate to shop for clothing, especially bras!
2. I've known my husband since I was 10 years old, our 21st anniversary is this year.
3. I have two sons and one grandson.
4. I love to play cards, dominoes and word games.
5. I do not drink coffee and rarely drink alcohol. I once (when I was much younger and dumber) got so drunk I couldnt find my way home driving the back roads. It wouldnt be so bad had I not lived in that small town all my life. Once I finally made it, I was so upset I vowed I would never get drunk again.
6. I have a problem throwing things away. I have to keep my hoarding tendencies in check or things could easily get out of control.
7. I love to watch football, baseball, hockey, cage fighting, bull riding, nascar racing but do not like basketball!

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Building Projects for Backyard Farmers and Home Gardeners: A Guide to 21 Handmade Structures for Homegrown Harvests Another great book by Chris Gleason!

There are easy to follow construction plans with step-by-step instructions for 21 projects including a green house, beehive (I want one!), rabbit hutch (very cool! and I didn't know how much they helped your garden!), raised beds, squash ramp (had never heard of such a thing!), bean leaner (another cool idea), trellises, and more.  I love that his projects don't call for hard to find-expensive supplies, and are simple enough my 14 year old son and I can build together.

There is lots of great information for anyone! He includes several profiles of farmers also with their hints, tips and advice; a vegetable plant per person chart; some square foot gardening tips and much more.  This one should be on everyone's bookshelf, order yours today!

If you missed my review on Art of the Chicken Coop, be sure to check it out.

Linked up to:

and Book Sharing Mondays


Growing my food storage-$5 a week

This weeks $5 food storage purchase was 5 containers of salt, 2 boxes of quick rice and a package of 5 face masks (not pictured) from Dollar General. The salt was 5 for $2, the masks were 5 for $1 and the rice was $1.65 each. Total was $6.30 this week.

Last week I forgot to post so it's included in pic above. I bought 1 bag of sugar for $1.99 and a package of toilet paper for $2.50, a total of $4.49.

I am over my $5 a week budget by .79 for the last two weeks not including tax.

My 14 year old boy just KNOWS we are going to run out of toilet paper one of these days! He is sooooo paranoid about it. It cracks me up. I'll ask him and hubby "Is there anything we need" before I go shopping and he always says "Do we have enough toilet paper?" hahahaha He would die if I was to put a stack of telephone book pages in there. One of these days I'm going to do it to him. He needs to learn to appreciate some things more that he takes for granted.

The food storage is slowly growing once again. I'll be posting about the face masks on another day.

Did any of you add to your food storage this last week?


Look what I bought...

There has been so many things I needed to weigh and the little plastic scales I had didn't seem to weigh correctly.

They weigh in grams! And you can tare the container which makes it alot more accurate. This will make soap making so much easier.

They will also be great when I make cheese.

I picked mine up at a local Wal-Mart. They were less than $20.

I've ordered a book on cheese making and can't wait til it gets here. Have any of you made cheese lately? What is your favorite to make?

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Garden Update

Monday Morning.... yuck. I have to go back to work after having four days off.

Thursday and Friday I put together a raised bed right off my deck for a kitchen garden.

I planted spinach, lettuce, chives, carrots and onions in it.

This weekend my wonderful hubby and son built 6 additional beds for our garden. Him and boy wonder even filled them for me!

We planted more asparagus (you can never have too much asparagus, right?) strawberries, garlic, and onions.

The last two years we planted okra in this over sized bed. It made it easy to pick. I was going to plant zucchini there this year but changed my mind.

I decided to plant yukon potatoes there using the square foot gardening method. The main reason is yukons do not grow potatoes in layers. They are an early variety. Wish I knew that last year. It would have saved me a lot of work.

I was too lazy to fight string in the wind and just laid these old boards out for a guide to get them planted.

The other 4 new beds will are for tomatoes.

Did any of you get any gardening done this weekend?

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Make Your Own Onion Soup Mix

One of my goals has been to quit buying all those packets of mixes and learn to make my own. It saves money and is better for my family and I.

Today I made a jar of Onion Soup Mix. I use onion soup mix when I cook my roasts, for dips and gravies.

1/3 cup plu 2 tsp. dry minced onion
8 beef bouillon cubes or 8 tsp.
2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. celery salt or crushed celery seed

This will make 18 tablespoons.
It fit perfectly in my empty bouillon cube jar.
5 Tablespoons of this mix = 1 pre-packaged mix

Mix 5 Tablespoons with 4 cups water for soup.
Mix 5 Tablespoons with 16 ounces of sour cream for dip.
Add 5 Tablespoons to your water when cooking a roast.
Add 5 Tablespoons to your beef stew!

TIP The best thing to remove onion odor from your hands is to rub a stainless steel spoon all over them. It works like magic! :D

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Homemade Blender Moisturizing Soap

I made another batch of soap last week. It's on the soap rack curing and I can't wait to try this one. It looks so creamy! Smells good too, even though there are no scents added.

Moisturizing Blender Soap

3 ounces Coconut Oil
5 ounces Olive Oil
7 ounces Soybean (Vegetable) Oil
1 ounce Castor Oil

2.23 oz lye
5.28 water (always use distilled)

2% Superfatted

The lye calculator I use can be found here: Bramble Berry Lye Calculator

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March is here...

"It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade." ~ Charles Dickens

                                                   PHOTO COURTESY OF BIRDS OF NORTH AMERICA

I seen a big fat Robin like this one in my yard today!

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Building your food storage on $5 a week

The question I get asked the most is "How much of what foods should I buy & store?"

After giving some suggestions I hear "I can't afford it".  I use to have the same mindset, but with the help of friends around the www I learned that I couldn't afford NOT too.

Here is what I bought with my $5 this week:

Wednesday I purchased 8 Knorr Rices.  They were on sale for .59 each for a total of $4.72. I count this as part of my rice.

Everyone has their reasons for stockpiling/prepping, but everyone's goal is the same.  After much research here is the two tools I use and recommend.

The first one is A Management Plan for Home Food Storage  by The Utah State University Extension.  The first thing it has you to do is print off a "Food Storage Planner" chart. List your 10-20 most served meals. After you are done filling out this planner you will know exactly how many cans of tomato sauce, chili beans, corn, green beans, etc. you will need in your pantry to prepare your meals for a year.

The other tool I use is this concept taught by the LDS. I've made some substitutions/additions to this list to fit my families needs. I substituted flour for the wheat, some of the tomatoe soups with other soups.  I added rice, coffee, saltines, beans, oatmeal, ramen noodles, popcorn, pancake/baking mixes, chocolate, yeast, potatoe flakes, etc. Store what you use, Use what you store.

Food Storage for $5.00 a Week
Week 1: 6 lbs. salt
Week 2: 5 cans cream of chicken soup
Week 3: 20 lbs. of sugar
Week 4: 8 cans tomato soup
Week 5: 50 lbs. wheat
Week 6: 6 lbs. macaroni
Week 7: 20 lbs. sugar
Week 8: 8 cans tuna
Week 9: 6 lbs. yeast
Week 10: 50 lbs. wheat
Week 11: 8 cans tomato soup
Week 12: 20 lbs. sugar
Week 13: 10 lbs. powdered milk
Week 14: 7 boxes macaroni and cheese
Week 15: 50 lbs. wheat
Week 16: 5 cans cream of chicken soup
Week 17: 1 bottle 500 multi-vitamins
Week 18: 10 lbs. powdered milk
Week 19: 5 cans cream mushroom soup
Week 20: 50 lbs. wheat
Week 21: 8 cans tomato soup
Week 22: 20 lbs. sugar
Week 23: 8 cans tuna
Week 24: 6 lbs. shortening
Week 25: 50 lbs. wheat
Week 26: 5 lbs. honey
Week 27: 10 lbs. powdered milk
Week 28: 20 lbs. sugar
Week 29: 5 lbs. peanut butter
Week 30: 50 lbs. wheat
Week 31: 7 boxes macaroni and cheese
Week 32: 10 lbs. powdered milk
Week 33: 1 bottle 500 aspirin
Week 34: 5 cans cream of mushroom soup
Week 35: 50 lbs. wheat
Week 36: 7 boxes macaroni and cheese
Week 37: 6 lbs. salt
Week 38: 20 lbs. sugar
Week 39: 8 cans tomato soup
Week 40: 50 lbs. wheat
Week 41: 5 cans cream chicken soup
Week 42: 20 lbs. sugar
Week 43: 1 bottle 500 multi-vitamins
Week 44: 8 cans tuna
Week 45: 50 lbs. wheat
Week 46: 6 lbs. macaroni
Week 47: 20 lbs. sugar
Week 48: 5 cans cream mushroom soup
Week 49: 5 lbs. honey
Week 50: 20 lbs. sugar
Week 51: 8 cans tomato soup
Week 52: 50 lbs. wheat
Some weeks you will have leftover change. Save the change each week to be used for the weeks you may exceed $5.00 (like wheat or milk).
You will end up with:
500 pounds of wheat 180 pounds of sugar
40 pounds of powdered milk 12 pounds of salt
10 pounds of honey 5 pounds peanut butter
40 cans of tomato soup 15 cans of cream of mushroom soup
15 cans of cream of chicken soup 24 cans of tuna
21 boxes of macaroni and cheese 500 aspirin
1000 multi-vitamins 6 pounds of yeast
6 pounds of shortening 12 pounds of macaroni

This should be enough to sustain two people for one year. For every two people in your family add $5.00 more and double or triple the amount of the item you are buying that week.

If you can not afford more than the $5.00 a week for the whole family at least do the $5.00, it's a start.

Remember to mark the date on each item when you buy them and use the oldest first.

I'm taking it slow, keeping myself from getting overwhelmed, and not breaking our bank while building our food storage.

I would love to hear your thoughts and suggestions. Do you have a stockpile of food? What methods do you use?

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