Sunday, July 14, 2019

Getting Off The Grid - Good And Bad

Its been a while since I have taken time to talk about the homestead. Busy with working and life has taken much of my online time, which can be a good thing or a bad thing.

The Bad  

I did not have the garden plowed this year. We have had a lot of rain, then none and now a lot again. 

I did plant a few tomatoes, bell peppers, corn, cucumbers,  squash and green beans.

I got one good batch of tomatoes but the rain grew the grass up and almost over the plants, allowing pests to attack the plants, they died.

The squash made a couple messes but they just did not make, the rain?

The corn is short but it does have corn, I am watching it.

The rabbits ate the green beans. Seems like the deer or rabbits are always feasting on the green beans! 

The bell pepper are doing okay, small but making.

The cucumbers bloom but I have yet to find one.

The Good

I had an awesome blackberry patch this year! I picked daily for a while then every other day, always a pint but up to a gallon a day.

I made several cases of no seed blackberry jelly so far, I froze the rest till I can make more jelly or just home can them for pies and such.

I did pretty good with the honeysuckle and roses, I made cases of jelly also.

The chamomile did okay and I got a quart jar dried.

I did get a case of poke salad home canned and I still have plenty to pick or just eat.

The Bad

The rain. Yes we need rain and I get that but I have so much grass! As soon as I mow it rains and then I have to do it over again.

Seems I am mowing to keep control of the fields more than anything else.

The bushes! not the ones you want to grow but the privet, those useless invaders. I have piled them to the road for pick up each moth and there are more and then they grow from the base, it seems to be an endless fight. 

The rain brings bugs, allows them to breed, so I have had more than one red bug this year.

The Good

Since I am not tending a garden I am learning more about what lives in my yard, what I can use for many different wild foods and how to make money with what I do have. 

I am also learning what I can grow in a flower pot and what I cant. How the herbs do better or not in this hot Alabama sun.

And while I do have some down time, due to the rain, I have went back to writing the book I have worked on for a while now. I can say that I have more than a couple chapters finished. 

Plus, I am making raised beds for the fall garden, not there yet but I am hoping it will help as far as the grass part goes. 

I am making new products for the online store as well as making progress with the physical store. To visit just click on : Sunshine`s Homestead Creations  


Life is never perfect and not every year all your plant thrives, its all trial and error, we learn from each season of each year about how the weather will allow the plants to thrive or not. If its Gods will to have a lush garden full of vegetables or you skip a year. 

This year its Gods will for me to skip the summer vegetables on my homestead and help some other homesteader out by buying from them.

How is your garden growing? 

By Andria Perry
Photos by Andria Perry

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Getting Off The Grid - Spring Picking and Hot Days

A May day

Its cloudy and damp, prediction of more rain, three of the four days, Sunday ending.

I went out for a walk with the dogs, gave them some love and spotted what I see growing and waiting on me.

I came inside and got a sack, me and the dogs went picking!

I picked more honeysuckle, I noticed how so many were ripe, meaning yellow.

The pretty daisy like flowers of chamomile were smiling all over the lawn, they grow wild here in the spring, Today was my first picking, I did not take to many.

The sage is small but I got a handful, it all adds up in the end.

Next was the mint by the deck steps, its nice size and a deep pretty green.

As I put the dogs back into their area of the backyard I took a sack with me back there as well, poke salad along the fence, I picked another mess, this one I might just have for supper instead of canning or freezing.

I was not finished. 

The new rose bush by the back steps has been in full bloom for a week, while I made rose jelly from the other bush I have not from this one. Its a different color red so I picked all the blooms that were a couple days old, leaving plenty to enjoy looking at and for another picking.

Once inside I have everything a good rinse in cold water, laid it out to dry on clean towels.

The rose and honeysuckle blooms get a cup boiling water over each to make the tea, I allow it to sit overnight.

The mint,sage and chamomile will dry on the dehydrator racks naturally.

The poke salad will be cooked properly and ate or stored for another day.

I also did a little, very little, work. I cut down a poison Ivy vine growing by the deck. That thing comes back every year and I  get a rash, second hand from the cat jumping up and over it.

What`s Going On

I moved the 2 x 6`s so that I can clean that area from grown up grass, this will be where I set up the rocket stove. The location is perfect for the mid day and evening shade of the hickory tree.

I finally bought a new umbrella for the deck, I will get back to making soap, the online store is getting low, plus I need to build up the stock for the store when I get it set up. What`s your favorite scented bath soap?

What`s Growing

As I mentioned before I have a tiny garden this year, not plowed but shoveled by me and me alone. I could have used the tiller, I could have hired someone with a tractor but I am trying something new. Something new for older women like me.

I have 17 tomato plants and 8 sweet bell pepper plants, I have planted  the "three sisters" of squash/zucchini with green beans and corn, Not many but enough for me. Cucumbers but not on a trellis as I would have liked. I already have baby green tomatoes!

I waited a couple weeks and planted gourds, more green beans and cucumbers on one side of the greenhouse skeleton. They have not sprouted, yet.

In pots I have new basil and parsley. I still have the green onions and they are about the size to began to pick and have with dinner.

What`s Stocked?

I have been busy picking and cleaning poke salad, I have managed a case of pints so far, Honeysuckle jelly and rose jelly for the store.

I am drying basil and sage, chamomile and mint. 


I have to say that I learn something new everyday. Whether word of mouth or reading.

I am interested in basket making, but we`ll see how far that goes.

How are you doing with your homestead? 

By Andria Perry
Photos by Andria Perry

NEW! All natural insect repellent and lotions with special oils to reduce sunburn, All at Sunshine`s Homestead Creations.

I am still making progress on this homestead, getting a store built. For now I am just selling online, so check out my online store for homemade lotions, soaps and more. All made as natural as possible. Sunshine`s Homestead Creations

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Getting Off The Grid - Life Happens As Gardens Flourish

Here we are nearly in the middle of May. The first week of May is always dedicated to full time work, the old getting paid job and not the homestead, which one day I plan to reverse and make the homestead a full time living, as in the money maker. Soon I keep telling myself but its all up to God when things will change around.

Since I last posted, in April, much has changed but lets get caught up. While I try to journal everyday that one week will get lost because of no time but working for the dollar.

The Homestead 

Monday - April 22nd.

After cleaning some inside I got outside and began to cut back more grown up bushes. I worked mainly around the hickory nut tree, so many random trees and old hedge bushes have came up and taken over. I got an entire truck full and hauled them down to the curb. I trimmed the over grown bushes away from the driveway on the way back home, I will load those up another day.

Before ending the day outside I gathered another quart jar of rose petals, once inside I rinsed them off and laid them to dry somewhat on a dish towel, next I packed then into the quart jar, I then added 2 cups of boiling water , stirred them and let them set till cooled. I pit them into the fridge for the night.

All the little things help, each hour shows improvement.

Friday April 26th.

After work I picked a mess of poke salad and more rose petals. I washed both, I stored the poke salad in the fridge over night but the rose petals I made the "rose tea" and left it in the fridge overnight as well.

Saturday April 27th.

I had wanted to skip work on the homestead and get the fish stocked up in the deep freezer but The caregiver job won out so I stayed on the homestead and mowed grass.

Of the two pickings of poke salad I managed to get five pints home canned and put away in the stock.

I also got five pints of rose jelly made.

Mowing! I mowed for a couple hours and I ran out of gas.

Sunday April 28th.

I got out to work on the homestead later in the day, I finished mowing and watered the little garden, I have zucchini up! 

Now Back to the homestead! May

The weatherman runs this place, or it would seem! When I seen that   four days of rain coming I got my butt in gear! 

Monday May 6th. & 8th.

I wanted to wait a few more days before mowing but I could not see one dry day so I got started, I mowed this place but I broke it down into a couple days since I also wanted to get one days mowing in at the old home place. So, with that being said I mowed half on Monday and half on Wednesday, giving my full attention on Tuesday to the old place that I am still working on.

The Garden 

Lets get back to what is happening on the homestead :

What Is Growing? 

I have so much wild and planted that is taking off!

As I mentioned in the last post, or two, I had sowed seeds for a few vegetables and they are doing awesome. I actually planted tomatoes, corn, yellow squash, zucchini and green beans in my ting garden, all of those are growing and doing fine. On Wednesday I set out another type of tomato, six plants, and tossed some cucumber seeds into a trench I dug.

I was trying a new method with straw but was disappointed because poison oak grew right through the middle, so that is out in that area of the homestead.

The sage is coming back strong and full.

The chamomile has began to bloom and I will be picking soon.

Honeysuckle?! Yes! I have been picking and making the tea for the jelly, that I have a case of 1/2 pints so far.

Roses and Rose! I also have eleven 1/2 pints of jelly make with another batch of rose tea waiting.

Poke salad, while some say this is poison its not, You just have to boil it a couple times to reduce how strong it is and its fine to eat, so far I have home canned 11 pints and ate a good mess fried with onions and eggs.

 Click this link to learn how to cook it properly " Poke salad " another way to prepare is after the boiling you can add water, season with bacon and have it like collard or turnip greens. 

The mint is, well mint! it grows and grows and spreads!

I have a parsley plant but I need to move it into the flower bed, the pot is not allowing it to grow as big as it should.

The blackberries are full and still green I expect those to be ripe in a month.

In pots still!

The sweet green bell pepper are still to small to put in my tiny garden so a couple more weeks for those.

Carrots, I have never grown carrots but I am not in huge pots, soon I will thin some into the garden area.

Green onions, I will keep them in the pot so not to mix with crow poison, looks just like green onions!

Tomatoes. I still have a few more mature tomato plants to set out and I will be done with tomatoes.

Egg plants, they are so pretty! I am hoping for a huge crop this year.

I also have a few flowers in pots that I had sowed seed for, lavender. 

The sunflowers did not come up so I will have to replant those.

The Learning :

I have to learn how to do things on a smaller scale, its hard but I am holding back. So, the garden can become more than a home for seasonal vegetables but also for fruit bushes And I need to set out nut trees. 

I also want to learn to grow in beds that can also be used as cold frames.

The Stockpile :

So far being busy with three job and working on the homestead I have only got to making honeysuckle jelly and Rose jelly for the up and coming store but I have managed to go out and pick the wild, poke salad that will be all mine and for the stockpile. 

There, I did manage to make time to sit down and look back on what is happening and what is to come.

How are you doing with your homestead? 

By Andria Perry
Photos by Andria Perry

I am still making progress on this homestead, getting a store built. For now I am just selling online, so check out my online store for homemade lotions, soaps and more. All made as natural as possible. Sunshine`s Homestead Creations.