Live and Survive Within 25 Miles of Home


 

Please Shop Local

You  know, I spent the last couple days shopping within 25 milesof home. We have been only buying what we absolutely have to purchase and for sometime we have bought meat when it’s on sale and purchasing extra to freeze so that we don’t have to buy meat every week. I also have Vegetarian Meals also. We have friends that bring us things from time to time which helps a great deal. Our garden and the church garden has supplied much for our table. The local farms and farm markets supply the rest. I love giving my money to the local farmer and not to CA, WA, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and China or some other foreign country when it’s in season here. I see these states or countries constantly at the grocery store. It isn’t that I don’t want other countries to have my money.The reason I feel this strongly about this is the jobless rates here in the US. As a loyalty to my fellow countrymen, I want my money to benefit my local community. If things were better, I would have no thought about spending money for the benefit of any another country.

Soaker Hose for the Garden

During the summer months, there are so many things available to us locally. Fish from the lake is one thing that we are able to do to stretch our food budget. It provides a tasty choice for us and is restful, stress relieving, and enjoyable. I have not tried it yet but I have thought about frog legs and turtle as a food source that we could try in the meat area. As for vegetables and fruits, as different crops come to harvest, if I buy locally, it keeps our local economy going and provides food for us all year-long by freezing and canning. I bought corn on the cob and was able to put some in the freezer. The drought has been hard on our farming community. We were having trouble getting our garden to produce. My husband went to a yard sale and bought 2 soaker hoses for $4.10 and we laid them up and down the rows in the garden. Our beets and carrots went crazy and they grew to amazing sizes. I just love what comes from the garden. Very healthy and so good too.

Our grand-daughter went with us to the farm markets.

Watermelon with yellow flesh

Watermelon with yellow flesh (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

They had a melon cut open on display. it was a small size watermelon with a yellow insides. We gathered corn and a regular sugar baby watermelon. We were at the checkout when she came carrying the yellow watermelon that was cut in half up to the check out wanting to buy it. I said to her, “I don’t think they want to sell that one. That’s so people can see what it looks like inside.” Then I turned to the woman who was helping us with our purchase and said, “I think my grand-daughter wants this and a spoon!” She just laughed with us. We did bring home one of the yellow fleshed watermelons and it was delicious.

We went to another farm market and bought eggplant which we don’t have in either garden that we get our veggies from and blueberries along with a few other garden goodies. In the summer, I need two refrigerators to keep up with the vegetation that comes through our house. Again, I am so thankful.

There is a potato farmer that lives about 8 miles from us. We like to buy our potatoes and onions there. When fruit comes in season, Darnell will help me can some for the winter. Tomatoes are something we use a lot of all year-long, so we need to can some of them.

Food and Farmguide

I was looking on the internet, and saw that if you search for “food and farm guide” and put your zip code, town, state or county, almost always, you can find a guide to find local resources. I looked under my county name here in Michigan and found this site: http://vanburencd.org/farmguide. Here is the actual print download for this guide: http://vanburencd.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/FOOD-GUIDE-2012_1.pdf

I even found Food and Farm information available for the UK at this site: http://www.bigbarn.co.uk/ and I imagine many countries have those resources available online. Please support your local community by purchasing what is needed for your family from resources within 25 miles of your home.

I hope this is helpful to each of you.

Come and visit me again as I journey along the garden path.      Jan

 

What a Day!


Kalamazoo Airport

Kalamazoo Airport (Photo credit: Friscocali)

Today was a Day unexpected! Left the house at 8am to take my daughter to the airport after a stop at the bank. We were right on the mark. Busy, busy morning from the moment my feet hit the floor. It reminded me of days from my past when all six kids were exploding in 6 different directions. It was my job to clear the landing pads of each one so their days got off to a good start. I don’t remember how I did that. 🙂

Michigan's Adventure 010

Michigan’s Adventure (credit: Roller Coaster Philosophy)

 

 

 

 

Dropped off my grand-daughter with her Uncle to go to Michigan Adventure.

We arrived at the airport an hour and a half before her flight and was called back to pick her up because there was something wrong with the plane and they cancelled the flight. Her next boarding time was  four hours later. Left at 8am and really don’t have the strength for this. Lord, I will need you to shore me up and carry me through. I am amazed and thankful that He makes me equal to what is ahead. I never know humanly how I make it and know that it is God carrying me through.

English: Logo of TJ Maxx

TJ Maxx (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We went to one of my favorite stores, T.J. Maxx. I have a mobility chair. Thank Heavens! I don’t get out much and I don’t shop much either. We shopped and looked and the hours flowed by. I had needed to go to town and find a birthday present for one of my grand-children. Check! I needed to replace some tattered rugs in the bathroom. Check! My daughter doesn’t get much time to herself without her daughter so she was in shopping heaven. She looked with unrestricted abandon without any distractions. She is the typical mother and is usually taking care of her child’s needs. Her mind probably was in shock. She has only had one real vacation in probably 10 years so I am delighted that she will have a chance to recharge her batteries. I wish for her relief. Most and even this time has been mostly a working vacation just because she is in a different location but doing her work there.

My mobility chair started blinking and I knew I was in trouble so we headed to the front of the store. That is a first …using all the energy available, both me and the chair.  I am so thankful …I would not have made it through the day without it.

We checked out and brought the van to the front of the store and loaded it and our purchases up and had something to eat before she boarded the plane. It was a hard day but a treasure of spending time with a special child. Love her so much.

We went to a bakery and I had some chicken salad

A chicken salad made from chicken used for sou...

A chicken salad (Looks very much like the one I had)made from chicken used for soup stock, celery, cucumber, apples, fresh dill, mayonnaise, salt, and pepper. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

and a crispy roll and tea and she had a pasta salad with a roll and water. Then we headed to the airport once more. It is always hard to let them go. I prayed for her safety physically, emotionally, and spiritually and let her go once again.

I again waited for her plane to take off before leaving to go home since I live out-of-town. My children used to ask me why I lived out in the boon docks and I would say because that is where I want to be.   I’m happy and at peace out in the boon docks. 🙂

It was a long 7 hours that I had thought would only be maybe 3 hours. I arrived home exhausted and breathed in the quiet and laid down to rest. There was nothing left but it had been just enough. I was so glad to be home. Thank God for the strength He provided.

Waiting...

Well that is my saga! Come and visit and we will share our stories again. Love it when you visit!    Jan

Grammie is happy!


Yes…absolutely! Grammie is happy! My daughter and grand-daughter came to visit from out-of-state and I am so happy. I wish I had more strength… I feel rather exhausted but I am happy. Several other grand children have been here to visit so my cup is full and running over.

First Big Fish at Age Seven

Grampie is in the kitchen making Smore Cupcakes. There is more chocolate on their faces than in the bowl. Here is the recipe from Bakingdom (http://bakingdom.com/2011/08/smore-cupcakes.html). There is not long to wait. The smell is tantalizing. Yummy!

There has been lots of swimming, drawing, movies and playing angry birds. What a bunch. Love them all. Wish all  9 could be here all at once.

Bugs Bunny

Our grand-daughter went with Grampie and they picked beets, carrots, and swiss chard out of the garden. I got it all cooked and in the refrigerator this morning ready to eat.  One other grand-daughter looked just like Bugs Bunny with the carrot with all the greens still on it. She ate it all gone. I showed them how you cut the greens off the beets, boil them in salted water till they are tender. Set them off the stove to cool and then you can just squeeze it and the skin pops off and is ready to eat. I want all my grand-children to love veggies.

I hope you all are having good summers and if you have family any distance away, I hope you are able to get together for a visit.

The Pastor and his family brought us green beans out of the church garden. I fixed enough to go with supper. Thanks so much for that.

Our whole supper was free. Everything was out of the garden and the fish was out of the Lake. I love that.

Come visit when you can. I will always enjoy it.    Jan

French Onion Soup and Dish Soap?


I made French Onion Soup.

French Onion Soup

French Onion Soup (Photo credit: Sam Howzit)

Here is the recipe. It will serve 2 or 3 people. 1 large onion (larger than a baseball, smaller than a softball) 1 tsp. sugar 1 TBS. margarine or butter 1 TBS olive oil 1 TBS Garlic minced 1.5 TBS Italian Seasoning 1 quart beef broth or vegetable broth Mushrooms However many you want  I just put about 5 button or crimini mushrooms, sliced French or other tasty hardy bread, 1 slice for each bowl. 1 c. Parmigiano Cheese Shredded or whatever white cheese strikes your fancy Directions: In a 12 ” fry pan, heat butter and oil til medium hot . Add onion, chopped in larger chunks and stir it for a minute or two  Add sugar, stir, then turn down to low or 2 setting and cover with a lid. Check it periodically and stir. Your goal is to brown the onions which is carmelizing it. That is the reason I added 1 tsp of sugar, to aid in the carmelizing process. When you think the onions are just about ready, add garlic and mushrooms and Italian Seasoning. Stir and add broth. simmer with the lid on and set on as low a setting as you can keep it simmering very gently for 15-20 minutes While that is finishing, put the slices of bread under the broiler and toast on both sides. When the second side is done add the cheese and melt and slightly brown. Put each slice in a bowl when done. Soup should be done by then so ladle it over the toasted, cheesy bread and serve. It was extra yummy. We added a slice of meatloaf and a salad with blue cheese dressingto accompany the soup. It was enjoyed by everyone.

Lunaria annua www.illinoiswildflowers.info/weeds/plants/money_plant.htm

Guess what? I discovered what the plant in the one barrel is that I didn’t recognize. This is one of the plants that Darnell foraged from the side of the road. It’s a money plant! It bloomed several times with those awesome purple  flowers and they had faded.

Lunaria_annua_flowers
Ph credit: http://www.wikipedia.org

Yesterday we went out to walk and the plant had these disks on them and then we knew what it was. I love the way the creator designed it. Those green disks contain the seeds and they eventually will turn tan and look a little papery. It is an interesting looking plant.

Lunaria_annua_seeds 
Ph cred: http://www.wikipedia.org 

      The disks are green when you first see them and then turn a silvery with a double layer of papery shell. The plant is biannual. I will re-seed itself and you can collect some of them. When you handle them do it carefully. You will remove the top layer of paper and then the seeds are exposed. Make sure you are over a table where you can let the seeds drop and then collect them. They can be planted in the spring after threat of frost is past or in the fall after it’s cold.

The “silver dollars” are the seeds and they will plant themselves or you can collect part of the coins and harvest the seeds. They can be planted in the spring after the treat of frost is done. You can plant in the fall after it becomes cold also.  There are two layers of paper in the seed pod. The outside layer you have to remove in order to reach the seeds. Do this job over a table and remove the top layer of paper to expose the seeds and some will fall to the table. Dislodge the seeds that are still stuck and let them set on a plate or tray then package and date an envelope then put the seeds in it to store.

Well, necessity is the mother of invention!

Grated Bar Soap
Dove Tangerine Ginger

We have had a lot of medical bills which on occassions causes a pinch in the budget. I am very good at penny-pinching and looking ahead so we almost always have the supplies we need. Somehow I missed backing up my supply of dish soap. When I realized it was not going to make it to our next shopping event, I started mulling over how I would wash my dishes! This is usually when I say, “Well, there must be a way to make it myself!” I head to the computer with a determined look on my face ready to search “to the death”  till I find the answer. Well…the computer never fails to amaze me and at least to give me ideas. I had to find an answer that did not require me to spend any money.

Boiling Hot Water, Bar Soap Grated, and White Vinegar

Here is what I found:  There were  three recipes. Numbers 1 and 2 required purchasing castile soap  but number 3 I could do.

Here is the directions:

Recipe #3: Solid Soap Shavings You can save even more money by making dish soap from leftover pieces of bar soap! Just be sure to chop them into very fine pieces first. 1. Place 2 cups of soap shavings into a large bowl. 2. Add 2-3 cups of hot water and let it sit overnight to soften. 3. Stir the mixture until it becomes smooth. Add more water to reach the desired consistency. 4. Add 1/2 cup of lemon juice or white vinegar to help fight grease. 5. Shake well before using.

I made a few changes: I took a bar and used the grater to make the small pieces. I always change the recipe. I added the boiling hot water and stirred with a wooden spoon. When it was mostly smooth, I added white vinegar. I need to let is cool. It will thicken as it cools. I will let you know if this is something that I can live with. Now that I’ve started …I’m encouraged.    Just looked … it’s thickening!

http://www.diylife.com/2009/08/03/how-to-make-your-own-dish-soap/

My pictures and facts About the plant came from various resources:

http://www.wikipedia.com

http://www.illinoiswildflowers.info/weeds/plants/money_plant.

I took the pictures during the soap-making process.

The site from Illinois is awesome and lists too many to number of plants, insects, trees, and shrubs in this North Central area That includes Illinois and Michigan.I know you will enjoy this site full of information.

It’s time to close for today. I feel good about learning skills that will help me save money day to day and in an emergency. Tell me your tips for keeping on top of the things that are needed for everyday. I would love to hear about it.

Come visit again,   Jan

Shopping in the Wild


Hi, Darnell and I have been out at it again. Finding things of use that God created @ The Free Grocery Store. Darnell brought home a few wild onions and one wild carrot. Yes we progress slowly. It’s wise to do that. Haven’t done anything with the carrot but it’s in the crisper just waiting.It looks kind of gnarly, doesn’t it but I bet it will taste better than it looks.

Wild Carrot & Wild Onion

Then he went back and gathered a bunch of onions.

Bunch of Wild Onions

After they were washed, I  took the roots and outer skin off. The green parts that were tender, I chopped up, put on a baking sheet, and put in the convection oven @ 170 degrees F. and dried them for an hour. I can store them for use in cooking in the winter. The bulb part, I used to make a salad dressing.  It reminded me of Sweet Vidalia Onion Dressing which I really love. Here is the recipe for my onion dressing.

Jan’s Onion Dressing

1/2 cup wild onion bulbs

1 cup olive oil

1 heaping Tablespoon minced Garlic

1 Tablespoon Basil

1 Tablespoon Italian Seasoning Spice

1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice

2 Tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar

Salt and Pepper to taste

Put all ingredients into a blender. Pulse untill dressing is combined and the consistency is  finely minced.

Put in a jar and store in the refrigerator.

We had a salad for supper and it was so good!

The next harvested thing is the wild carrot and I am going to scrub till I remove the surface root hairs off it. I will sample a thin slice raw to see if it could be used in a salad then steam the rest sliced to see how it tastes cooked. I need to see if the center core of the root is woody. I think this is a young one so it may be tender. I will have to see.

The next found food we brought home, we found on the way home from a trip to town. We have a 55 gallon aquarium and we are going to give it to our oldest son for them to set up. I know the grand-children will enjoy it. We had about 20 fish and we had a pump crisis and lost all but 2 fish. A large Tin Foil Barb that was about 8″ long and a Spotted Plecostomus that was about 6″ long. My grand-children are going to  want to pick out the fish themselves so we took the two fish that were left to an Aquarium Store and they took them and will sell them to someone who wants that kind of fish. We have enjoyed them and I am going to miss them. The sounds from the Aquarium of water falling like a waterfall, I will miss also.  We are trying to simplify a bit and that’s good.

As we were coming home, Darnell spotted some Asparagus growing wild on the side of the road. He stopped and picked it. He didn’t find a lot but it was enough for us to add a nice vegetable to our supper and we could savor the treat. It was delicious. I washed it and put it on a cookie sheet and put it in the oven after I drizzled a little olive oil and sea salt on them and tossed them to coat it all over them. At 350 degrees F. they cooked for about 10-12 minutes. When I took them out, they were crispy tender and so fresh and good. I love it when you can cook something that has picked such a short time earlier.

Sunday is Mother’s Day! I miss my Mom but I have a wonderful Step-Mom. She is such a good Mom and I know I didn’t make it easy for her. My Mom died when I was 13 and I was pretty hurt, mad, and a few other things. I felt pretty ill prepared for her death and wasn’t ready for the changes that lay ahead. I think I gave everyone a hard time. I truly regret that. Especially when I became a Mom myself and understood what a hard job (layered with love and joy) it was. I was deeply thankful that I could turn to God for answers I didn’t have. I know He gave me wisdom many time and gave my children short memories when I made horrendous mistakes. …. and they lived through it all. They just don’t have enough training for the hardest job in the world.

I want to wish you a Happy Mother’s Day! I hope you have a wonderful life and I applaud your creativity. I feel honored to have met some of you. You are enriching my life. Thank you! Thanks for joining me as I journey along my garden path.  Come again soon.   Jan

Gratitude and Contentment and How Gardening Helps!


Gratitude is a good thing.

Knowing what is a need and what is just something you want is also a good thing.

I was thinking about the attitudes I experience from people who cross by my path and the people I rub elbows with everyday. Attitude and perspective makes a big difference. Some people have created an attitude of dystopianism no matter what benefits they enjoy in life.  What they have is never good enough and the value and joy of a day is wasted on wishing for something else and hating what they have. Contentment is a valuable commodity worth more than gold. That doesn’t mean that you never set goals for something else that you think is important but can you do that and be happy today while you reach for it? I imagine except for maybe a few, we are all in survival mode. The cost of living has gone up. The farther you have to fall maybe the harder it is. Attitude is paramount no matter what level you are experiencing. The richer a person is, the more they might have to give up. They are used to having certain luxuries and we are creatures of habit. Whether we are rich or poor, if we need to pull in the cinches, it is important that we do it the best we know how. Change is hard for everyone. One of the things we can do is look for information and make it an adventure of learning and experiences. We can find it in ourselves to focus on  the good and be grateful for it. Even the things that are bad, we can be thankful for the strength God gives us as we go through the challenge and be grateful. Seems like when I have a pity party day, I will find someone who has it so much worse. Now on to an adventure. Adventure is what I call all the little quirky tips I find that helps me provides for the family something that is needed in a less expensive way. Gardening is one way I can help our family. I also do things like make my own yogurt or cottage cheese or make cakes or pancakes from scratch. I got a tip the other day. A friend of mine directed me to a site and told me about something I could do that I had never thought of. This is kind of a silly thing but its something that kids or grandkids will enjoy doing. This way they learn to help. It’s good when they are involved.

Grow your own celery from your celery remains. Just chop off the base and plant. One week of growth shown in photo.

I buy celery all the time and I don’t remove one stalk at a time and chop it. I cut off whatever I need from the end of the stalks so that when I’m done I’m left with the piece at the end of the celery where the roots were when it was harvested. This is perfect because they said to take the root end of the celery and put it in the ground and it will produce more celery stalks. I’m going to replant my first celery at the end of this week. To me when you can do things like this, it’s an adventure and makes surviving more fun. Pretty soon it isn’t surviving but it is joyful living in the present. You can be happy while you accomplish it. I planted my cucumbers the other day in a hanging basket. I’ll let you know how that works. We don’t have room in our little garden for anything that spreads. One spreading plant and it would fill our whole garden. She had this link connected to this picture:

http://homesteadingsurvivalism.myshopify.com/blogs/news

This link will take you to a gardening guide with lists of plants. It’s very well presented and easy to refer to it for information. It tells you when to plant and other valuable information. I found several things on the site that might be of value. One was a cold frame set up made by setting bales of straw around a small section of your garden and start the plants there. Cover the area with clear plastic so that it rests on the bales. That way you get a head start and the plants are already where they are going to be planted so you don’t have to even move them. That is pretty awesome. This is the link to the original site that had the Straw Cold Frame:          http://ozarksalive.org/larrapin/?p=929

Straw Cold Frame

They used sliding glass doors but you could make frames and cover with plastic. That might be safer for kids and animals.

I am definitely going to try this next year. Love finding new ideas…new to me anyhow. 🙂 Hope you benefit from my travels on the internet. Love technology! How much do we all have in our lives that we can be grateful for?

I read an article in Wiki about gratitude. Here is one section out of that article:

“While many emotions and personality traits are important to well-being, there is evidence that gratitude may be uniquely important. First, a longitudinal study showed that people who were more grateful coped better with a life transition. Specifically, people who were more grateful before the transition were less stressed, less depressed, and more satisfied with their relationships three months later.”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gratitude

Gardening exposes you to the whole cycle of life. It is usually a quiet task that gives you time to think, meditate, calm your mind, and bring something wonderful to others.

It is a great time to contemplate the good things in your life. Make a list of those things and be grateful, and share with others.

Thanks for stopping by,

Jan

Sugar Free ~ Yea!


I had a delightful evening yesterday. I have been diabetic for 29 years. My oldest son turning 40 this

Yummm ~ Ice Cream!

year has signs that maybe he needs to watch what he eats so he can avoid the problems the disease brings with it.

We both love ice cream like life itself so that’s something we definitely wish to keep in our repertoire for happy days treats. I stumbled on a recipe for homemade ice cream that you can make without an ice cream maker. I have a rather small kitchen, I’d say about  the size of a postage stamp. My appliance garage is filled and besides, if I got one, it would be expensive!

I was delighted as I set out to try this challenge. I made chocolate chunk ice cream with pecans. Yummmmmm!!!  It was a definite success. One of my grand-daughter said. “It is better than any in the store!” Jeff, my son and I, were talking about the ice cream and it made him drool. It is wonderful but it’s not sugar free. I have a small cone of it which is roughly shy of 1/2 cup. It is acceptable to eat it occasionally. I do ok with that but he finds that his urges for ice cream are far more frequent than mine and of course he wants a mammoth-size serving to be satisfied.

We became foodie chemists looking for the perfect answers to our question. We started digging and found a recipe and altered it a bit but it’s texture was just not right. It was a bomb but will still work as

a base for milk shakes. We both were scratching our heads and looking for a solution. From the original recipe, the ingredient needing to be replaced was Sweetened Condensed Milk. There are recipes out there for sugar free replacements for that. Tweaking the recipe with the research finds. As we prepared it, holding our breaths, it looked very promising. Tomorrow is D-day and I will let you know how it turns out. The camera is going to get into the act and soon there will be pictures for you to see. I’m very encouraged. The calculations on the recipe drops the carbohydrates by two-thirds and the calories by one-third. We aren’t done tweaking yet!

Right now I am working on the blog content but the camera is definitely getting into the act very shortly. We will update you on the results of our experiment in a day or two. See you soon.

Thanks for stopping by,

Jan

Journey Along the Garden Path

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