Monday, September 25, 2017

Getting Off The Grid - Hurry Up And Wait

September 25, 2017

Here I am in the last week of September, for some reason this is my least favorite month, maybe because its dry, off and on cold and then back hot. By no means has this been a Fall Like day.

The confederate roses are blooming, they always make the last big boom before cold sets in, I have a few blooms around the huge bush, I had to cut one down due to it growing over the house and into the flood lights, however, the lower limbs are still a beautiful show. Plus I get to root the limbs I cut off, to share or to make a summer fence row.

 The Learning :

While I am in the middle of waiting I am taking this opportunity to increase my knowledge. This month the books I ordered is on trees and wild mushrooms. The book about trees came in within days of ordering but the mushroom I got this past weekend. I must say its small but packed with what I wanted to know. I am still wary of picking mushrooms but maybe in time I will have the confidence to pick and eat the wild mushrooms without thinking I am poisoning myself.

The Veggie Garden:

The first bed of turnip greens, kale and collards are all up and I noticed something eating on my greens, I lightly sprinkled Sevins dust over that area after eating a few raw greens myself, not bitter at all. I am thinking about picking me a small mess of the greens soon!

As for the second bed that was planted last week, they are up, little babies everywhere. I made it to the Co-op and bought a couple scoops of curly mustard greens and another scoop of kale, since that is my favorite and it home cans well.

The okra is still giving me about a quart a week and I slice and freeze it as I gather it.

The bell peppers do not look that great but I have small ones all over.

Those pitiful tomato plants! I have no idea what to do to them. 

The cucumbers are gone, I mowed those down last week, I collected five and missed one but the mower found it and smashed it flat, so I left it for whatever wild animal may hop into my garden.

I am getting a few more jalapenos and sweet banana peppers.

So right now its a "hurry up and wait" time on the greens.

The Progress :

We got out back and cut down a few more bushes that had turned into trees and were taking over the entire back yard. I have a huge stack to load up and move, that will be the biggest job to get done.

The greenhouse is still not done but Tony found the small pipes we needed to make spikes, I hope they are still good. I have not looked at those yet. 

Although I do not have anything in the garden I can home can I did do a sweep at the grocery store, I got a nice price on ground beef at $1.99 a pound so I bought that an home canned seven pints it for later, I was also asked to make pickled sausages, so I did four pint jars of those, if they turn out delicious I will make more and have those in stock.

Another good deal is the man that gave us pears before also gave the tree filled with pears to us again this year, I intend to restock the  pear preserves as soon as I can get there and load them up.

I also made friends with this lady at a yard sale that told me she has a ton of canning jars, I will stop back by and see if she had time to look them up and give me a price for them. Getting canning jars under store prices would be awesome.

The Defeat : 

I do not know what it is but Tony said its snakes. I will walk the dogs and in one area I smell this harsh smell ( for 2 years now), its like the smell of pork cooking that came from an uncut hog, evil smelling. I have smelled it now in four areas of the property, and the one time I backed away was when I was cutting back the confederate rose, I was almost finished with the tall limbs when I smelled it, I slowly backed away out into the lawn. This is up against the house so this is very scary.

I really need to learn how to repel snakes from my small area, I do not have a rodent problem but I do know rats live in the wild and in bushes and the fields. 

Off the grid and in the woods is very different than calling the landlord and saying " hey come fix this" its real and wild out here, still heading off the grid!

How is life in your neck of the woods?

By Andria Perry
Photos By Andria Perry

Monday, September 18, 2017

Getting Off The Grid - A Wonderful Week

Area about to be plowed

September 18, 2017

Since the hurricane, Irma, the weather has been very nice with only one day of a little rain. I did work my regular job but I still got a few days I could get outside and do a little work, the weekend for the most part was a little here and there but on Monday I took half a day and worked outside.

The best mower ever!

I managed to get the push mowing around the house accomplished as well as around the apple, pear and plum trees. Next I went to the back yard to push mow, the grass was not that high back there but I mowed it anyways and then I cut down about a million privet bushes. I tossed more of what was already cut down last week over the fence to be taken down to the back edge of the property, maybe tomorrow. 

Learning :

I got my book in the mail, I was so excited when I began to read about the trees, I have to say that this is the book to have because it shows so many types of leaves and how to identify every tree. Its a medium size book but super thick and worth every penny I paid for it.

The bad news is that I thought the hedge row of trees were Maples and they are NOT! They are Sweet Gum tree`s but I am sure there is a use for them, I am still reading about them but I know they used the sap from the sweet gum as a flavoring so all hope it not lost. I may not get maple syrup from them but I can get something.

Sweet Gum Leaf

 I have not went into the back woods yet, but I will and I will mark the tree`s I want to tap in the Spring.

The Greenhouse :

What I am most proud of is getting more grass and brush cut down for where the greenhouse will be, I got to work on that late Sunday evening.

Sunday afternoon I went to Home Depot and bought the supplies to make the "hoop" style greenhouse.  What I have to do now is cut down one small pine and possibly one small oak, they will be to close or inside the area. 

One step closer!

Last,  I will offer the guy with the clear barrels $10 each and buy four, he was asking $20 but I think that is to much so when I made a face and said I will pass he told me if I bought two it would be $15 each, so maybe buying more he will go down more. Why do I need the barrels? They will heat the greenhouse this winter, very green using solar energy.

The Garden :

To the right is the row of  greens, the left will be the second planting.

Before I went to work in my area for the greenhouse I mowed down a nice patch in the garden, it was mowed a week ago but I went over it with the push mower and got it super low, after that Tony took over with the tiller, he turned over that area to be planted with MORE greens.

I did not know I had more collards and kale seed till I began to look for the beet seeds to see how many I had, Although I did not want to plant till Wednesday he tossed the seeds out on Monday.

Tuesday I plan to buy curly mustard seed to plant, I want a huge variety of greens, to eat, home can and share.

From The Garden :

Everything had slowed down, I am still getting a some okra but not so much, the cucumber vines are now spent. I got one cucumber in a week. The tomatoes are a few here and there but they are also small, yes the late ones that Tony planted. I am still getting a few jalapeno peppers and a few banana peppers, the bell peppers are blooming and bearing but none seems to get large. I have one small eggplant, the plant did not do so well alone, Next year I will plant two or more.

I plan to mow down what has already had its season to clean things up so its not so ragged looking.

The Dogs :

The two escape artist!

Today as part of the backyard cleaning was prepping for the electric fence, I cut down small bushes against the fence so that when I put the electric fence in I wont be fighting the bushes too.

So far I am getting this slowly but surely. 

The fall of the year is just about as busy on the homestead as Springtime. Don`t you think?

What is happening in your part of the world? 

By Andria Perry
Photos by Andria Perry

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Getting Off The Grid - After Mother Nature

New turnip greens

September 14, 2017

Home :

Life has been a hell of a ride since last week. The hurricane, Irma, decided it was going to come straight up to my place in Alabama, I do thank God that it weakened more than predicted. We did get rain for three days but that was okay because my greens needed a good watering from above.

The bad part about this storm was that the temperatures took nose dive from 80 ish degrees down to 50° for a couple days and nights. I will be glad for the recovery of 80 ish again this coming weekend. Those warmer temps and the sun are sure to make the green beds grow like crazy. 

Since I could not work on the back yard, cleaning, I could not close in the area for the dogs with the electric fence. I need that area open to toss over all the limbs.

Since I could not clear more for the greenhouse because of rain, that project is still waiting on me too.

In The Kitchen :

So what did I do? I home canned! I looked in the deep freezer to see what I had frozen, or rather put off, till I had time to home can and I came out with chicken and pork, and more blackberries. On the counter laid super ripe bananas. What was in the fridge? Eggs so I made those up into pickled eggs.

I got three pints of chicken, four pints of pork, four pints of blackberries in light syrup with three pints of blackberry juice and two half pints of banana jam. 

What I did not want to spoil if we lost power was the eggs I had in the fridge to make pickled eggs, that is what I did get made up before the storm hit our state, I got 12 more pints.

For more about canning eggs click here : how to pickle eggs 

The Yard :

The black spots are ant hills!

Another problem that came up this week is ants! But we have figured out something that had worked in the past and may work now, I will let your know if it does because its completely free and gets rid of the ants.

For Fun :

Last Sunday after canning I decided to take a little break from home and go fishing, although we did catch a mess of bream we did not keep them, at the end of the day we put them back into the lake. Why? I already have plenty of Bream in the freezer, I actually cooked a mess for dinner on Wednesday night with fries. We had caught those back in May. 

More about Bream/ Sunfish click here : how to clean and cook bream  

Learning : 

Other than just waiting for the weather to get back right I have been reading about the plants and trees I do have on this property and the uses for each of them. How to make teas and the like for different aliments. 

One tree I will confuse with the red maple is the sweet gum tree, the leaves look just alike. Since I want to tap the maples for a little syrup this coming Spring I need to get busy marking them, making sure they do not have those balls of thorns from hell attached to them. Plus while out marking the maples I would like to see how many, just a count, of other hardwood trees I have and their use, if any.

Maybe this weekend the bushes will be cut down or the greenhouse will go up, if its Gods will, I can get one or the other of these projects accomplished. 

How is life on your homestead, got anything growing?

By Andria Perry
Photos by Andria Perry

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Getting Off The Grid - Greens And The Greenhouse

September 7, 2017

The cold front pushed down yesterday and I took advantage of the cooler day to get to yard work, I mowed the backyard and around the garage and the side entrance. When I say cool I mean it was in the 70`s instead of the 90`s!

Finally the area for the greenhouse was decided, it is the easier place to clear off and will get almost 100% sunshine. I got out late in the day and I mowed what I could down with the push mower, most of it was knee deep with weeds towering 4 -5 feet. I have two massive ant beds that will have to be destroyed and I will have to cut down a few very small trees. I got a 14 x 14 area mowed but the greenhouse will be a little smaller, since its my first and I want it portable so if I move I will take it with me.

On Tuesday I stopped by the hardware store and I got prices for everything that I will need. Since I am going with the "hoop" greenhouse I looked at the plastic pipe and the thick mil plastic sheeting. I will have around $100 invested, to build one with wood and glass would be double, maybe triple for the same size. 

I am well on my way on this project. I know the cost and I have just about got the area cleared.

For The Pets :

While at the hardware store buying a heater for the business, I seen the small boxes for an electric fence, I do not like th idea but I also don`t want the dogs hit by a car or shot again, so I bought the lowest current I could just to keep them in the yard and I will be putting all that together this fall. First I want to cut down trees that are trying to take over in the back area and add more fencing. 

In The Garden :

Its been just over a week and I have noticed that the area is full of baby greens!

Read more click here : Fall Planting  

Yes we have had a nice day of rain and more to come so this year I hope to be blessed with an abundance of collards, kale and turnip greens. If possible I would like to have one more bed of greens and since the first field is cleared off the tiller can be ran over it and I can plant it.

I am not really getting anything more than a quart of okra a week now, a few cucumbers for the dinner table. The Spring garden has just about gave all it can, the second planting of tomatoes are not growing much, those are the plants Tony grew. I am still getting a few peppers here and there but not many.

The last quarter of the year is here and moving fast, I hope to try and keep up, If its Gods will get this place back under control.

How is life on your homestead? 

By Andria Perry
Photos By Andria Perry

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Getting Off The Grid - Home Canning Whats On Sale

September 3, 2017

Since planting the greens we have had a nice rain, several days of clouds and now two days of sunshine. I will look closely later today to see if any are sprouting, tomorrow marks seven days since they were sown. 

From The Garden :

In the mean time I have only gotten 2 quarts per week of okra so I wash, nip the ends and slice into circles and freeze as I get it. I will need to see how many I have put back for the Winter. Its slow because I only have a few small plants but I seem to be managing.

I have cucumbers to eat each week but I have not made anything with those since making the dill pickles. 

To read more about dill pickles click here :  How to make easy Dill Pickles  

Home Canning :

At the moment I have not asked anyone for the fruits I see laying on the ground at this one place, why? I just have not made time, its as simple as that.

But while out shopping I jumped on a couple of excellent deals. I feel that if I do not grow it but I enjoy eating it and I know not a single person that grows it, then I buy it when its dirt cheap. 

This week it was eggs! .39 per dozen and Grapes .79 per pound.

I bought 6 dozen of eggs for $2.34 ( that is 3 1/4 cents each egg!) and I bought 8 pounds of grapes for $6.32.

I have made one case (12 pints) of pickled eggs. You would not believe how many people love these eggs as a gift! 

Learn How to make pickles eggs click here : How to Pickle eggs  

I also home canned 6 half pints (so far) of grapes in light syrup. Yes I understand that you are thinking what?!?!? but if you have ever ate fruit cocktail you have ate those canned whole grapes. It takes about two pounds of grapes to make 6 half pints but at that price its worth it. Plus I already have home canned peaches and pears to make my own cocktail when I want to mix it up.

Blast From The Past :

Another from my journal September 3, 2015

Meat Grinder and Rosco kicks

This morning I worked for the most part doing paper work, gathering up all the recyclables to cash in at the plant  and getting me a coupon shopping trip together, then after lunch it was off to work .

  I was doing more landlady duties and paying a couple more bills . I had picked up my sister and she had to get some grocery money out of the bank as well when I was making a deposit .

   A few days ago, maybe last weekend, We stopped at Dick`s sporting goods for a gift for someone else and I seen a meat grinder that I have been wanting forever . Tony still eats Beef hamburgers and that meat is extremely expensive so I told him I wanted to invest in a grinder for home use and not just for beef but for his deer also . I stopped and bought it today ! 


I got home late, around 6:30 pm but the dogs was still wanting to walk no matter what so I let slobber box ( Rosco ) and Harley walk me till dark . 

   While I was walking Tony picked food from the garden and put a little fertilizer on the new plants and a little lime dust .

  When it was time to put the dogs back into the fence Harley did not want to come in, I gave him a little pull with the leash and told him " come on Harley " He would not move . Rosco was bouncing around waiting inside for Harley . Then Rosco did something I did ever expect to see in my life . He goes out of the fence where I am standing and talking for Harley to come on in, walks over to Harley takes his front paw and kicks Harley in the butt ! And Harley came on in the fence  . :D I reckon Rosco was hungry and tired . 

  Watching animals interact with each other an be so funny to watch .


Since I have to work tomorrow I will be canning me more pickled okra tonight . 
  But its all good .

By Andria Perry

Back To Now 

Since the calendar has turned over to a new month the weather is obeying with warm to hot days and down right cold nights. I am hoping for the cheaper power bill to come in next month.

A plus is to the cooler weather, I will try my best to get the surroundings cleaned up more, I need many bushes cut back.

How is life on your homestead?

By Andria Perry
Photos by Andria Perry