New Recipes

Aha! I took time to read old email and found a super recipe from my best heart sibling (we adopted each other, a sister and brother combo, sibs from other mothers)  that we’re going to try. This one came from a web page called Cappers Farmer.  I love reading their recipes and posts. Here is is, sharing my favorite from them, to you.


Pear Cranberry Conserve

The combination of pear and cranberry is a delightful one for fall. The addition of ginger really makes the flavors sing, and the almonds provide a chewy crunch. For the best texture, use pears that are still quite firm so that the pear pieces remain intact when cooked. While  unsweetened dried fruit is generally preferable in conserves, it’s very difficult to find unsweetened dried cranberries, so feel free to use the sweetened version if that’s what you have available.

Before You Begin:

Prepare calcium water.  To do this, combine 1/2 teaspoon calcium powder (in the small packet in your box of Pomona’s pectin) with 1/2 cup water in a small, clear jar with a lid. Shake well.  Extra calcium water may be stored in the refrigerator for future use.

Yield: 4 to 5 half-pint (8-ounce, or 236 ml) jars


2 pounds (910 g) ripe, firm pears

1/2 cup (75 g) dried cranberries

2 tablespoons (28 g) finely chopped crystallized ginger

1/2 cup (63 g) sliced almonds

1 1/2 cups (355 ml) water

1/2 cup (120 ml) lemon juice

4 teaspoons (20 ml) calcium water

1 cup (200 g) sugar

3 teaspoons (9 g) Pomona’s pectin powder


  1. Wash your jars, lids, and bands. Place jars in canner, fill canner 2/3 full with water, bring canner to a rolling boil, and boil jars for 10 minutes to sterilize them. (Add 1 extra minute of sterilizing time for every 1000 feet above sea level.) Reduce heat and allow jars to remain in hot canner water until ready to use. Place lids in water in a small sauce pan, heat to a low simmer, and hold until ready to use.
  2. Peel, core, and dice pears.
  3. Combine diced pears in a saucepan with dried cranberries, crystallized ginger, sliced almonds, and the 11/2 cups (355 ml) water. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat, and simmer, covered, for 5 to 10 minutes or until fruit is soft, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Mix well.
  4. Measure 4 cups (946 ml) of the cooked mixture (saving any extra for another use), and return the measured quantity to the saucepan. Add lemon juice and calcium water, and mix well.
  5. In a separate bowl, combine sugar and pectin powder. Mix thoroughly and set aside.
  6. Bring pear mixture back to a full boil over high heat. Slowly add the pectin-sugar mixture, stirring constantly. Continue to stir vigorously for 1 to 2 minutes to dissolve pectin while the conserve comes back up to a boil. Once the conserve returns to a full boil, remove it from the heat.
  7. Can Your Conserve: Remove jars from canner and ladle jam into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch of headspace. Remove trapped air bubbles, wipe rims with a damp cloth, put on lids and screw bands, and tighten to fingertip tight. Lower filled jars into canner, ensuring jars are not touching each other and are covered with at least 1 to 2 inches of water. Place lid on canner, return to a rolling boil, and process for 10 minutes. (Add 1 extra minute of processing time for every 1000 feet above sea level). Turn off heat and allow canner to sit untouched for 5 minutes, then remove jars and allow to cool undisturbed for 12 to 24 hours. Confirm that jars have sealed, then store properly.





2015 in review

It’s way too obvious that my blogging didn’t turn out the way it was intended at the beginning of this journey. Health problems between my husband and myself (2 surgeries within 4 months last summer) took up a lot of effort and time to heal.  Blogging took a back seat to these issues and other life’s events.

BUT! It’s almost 2016!!! It’s time for New Year’s resolutions. We all make resolutions, most of them good for the first week, then it’s off to the recesses in the back of the cranial gray matter. Do you do that too? Resolution. The word sounds good. The intent behind it is good. Best of all, is the resolution kept!

My 2016 Resolutions are:

  1. Return to this blog with a fervor never seen before! Life is wonderful, the knowledge being gained on this end is incredible. Knowledge not shared is knowledge not gained. What good is it to hold it, and not make the time to share it with others.
  2.  Make more time for my husband and I. We are not spring chickens anymore. He is 66 and I am (sigh) 61. We’ve spent the last 5 years building this farm to a self-sufficient status. It’s been hard work, tiring, exasperating, and sometimes with tears. Now it’s time for us. Candlelight dinners, fishing on the lake, camping, hunting, whatever he likes, we are off to do.
  3. Get my wood shop together and functional. I love working with wood, all the way from the raw state, to refinishing old furniture. I love making things from pallets and want to try cabinet making. I’d also love to try turning wood on a lathe. My friend just started doing this and turns out some beautiful pieces. He’s passed the zeal to me also.
  4. Health…always on the list. Last year (2015) wasn’t good, health-wise. Two surgeries, new diagnosis of fibromyalgia for me, and an impending knee replacement for my husband (for 2016). These things slow one down. It’s time to get back on track, eat right, exercise and work on lowering the prescription medication list.
  5. Finish my certification as a Family Herbal Practitioner. I have two more classes to complete and then pay the fees for a national certification. It’s within reach now. Time to get ‘er done!
  6. Community.  We have a free health clinic in town for the indigent people around here. As a retired RN, there’s no reason why I can’t volunteer at least a couple days a week to help out there. And too, with the certification as a Family Herbal Practitioner on the near horizon, who knows? That might come in useful there as well.
  7. Learn to knit and crochet!!! I know. That’s been on the list for many years and goes to the deep gray cranial matter recesses. I bought two skeins of yarn, a huge, size K crochet hook, have a simple, single crochet stitch pattern to make a scarf, and it’s out on the end table in the living room. Since it bugs me so much to have it there, I am starting on it as soon as this blog post is done!
  8. Put together a tribal association for the Cherokee descendants (Cherokee Heritage tribe)  in our area. Most tribes, those that are government sanctioned such as the Eastern Band of Cherokee, The United Keetowah Band of Cherokee, and the Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma have a strict policy for admission to their nation. It requires either a blood quantum level or documented relationship from the Dawe’s Roll or other rolls taken during the Removal Act. Most people do not have a documented history of their heritage. They know by word of mouth or of association with other family members who have Cherokee lineage. I’ll write a post later about our intended tribe that’s in the making.

In the meantime, life is good. It’s busy as always. The farm is growing and is at a stage where we can sit back and enjoy it.

What are your New Year’s Resolutions? Please, share here. We may have a small community of readers who can read your posts, and encourage you as the year goes on. Let’s make a support group right here, help each other along the way, make new friendships and renew the old friendships. It’s a New Year (almost) and it’s time to live and thrive!

Happy New Year to you, and may all the blessings from our Creator be bestowed upon you and your family and friends. May health be good, may cheerfulness and happiness be yours, and may you prosper greatly this year! ~~~



The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,200 times in 2015. If it were a cable car, it would take about 37 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Educational Opportunity to Share

thIt’s the coldest day of the year, so I’ve literally spent hours online reading about gardening, building a new yahoo group entitled The Garden Spot and watching it grow exponentially in the last 24 hours. As I gazed through email from wonderful places like Johnny’s Seed, Winding River’s Herbs (someday, when we get back to UT to visit old workmates and browsing the countless Deseret Industry stores, I absolutely positively have to visit her) and many others, the following educational opportunity came across Johnny’s Seed site. I wanted to share it with you hoping you might benefit from it also.

Johnny's Selected Seeds

Interested in Starting a Hydroponics Business?

Interested in Starting a Hydroponics Business

Consider attending an upcoming 2-day short course on “Starting a Successful Hydroponics Business,” being offered twice next month.

The short course is designed for those considering the venture or who have recently started a hydroponic business. Attendees will enjoy hands-on learning at one of the premier facilities in the Southeast for teaching hydroponic growing in a working greenhouse setting: the UF/IFAS Suwannee Valley Agricultural Extension Center near Live Oak, Florida. An optional tour provides an exclusive visit inside one of the most successful, modern greenhouse hydroponic operations in Florida.

Sponsor: University of Florida/Institute of Food & Agricultural Sciences
Course Title: Starting a Successful Hydroponic Business
Dates: March 16-17 or March 20-21, 2015
Location: Suwannee Valley Agricultural Extension Center, Live Oak, FL
Johnny's Selected Seeds

Enroll by March 6th to receive the Early Bird tuition discount. For more information, call Dilcia Toro or Karen Hancock at (386) 362-1725.

Register Today »

A Canning We Will Go…

Hi ho, to the garden we go…a canning we will go! If I only knew how to add musical notes to the post… Oh yes, and thankfully and giving thanks to the Lord, our garden has been a magical menagerie of clover, weeds, tomatoes, peppers, pumpkins, green beans, squashes of all sorts, cucumbers, potatoes…and a host of other wonderful vegetables this year. Now that the garden is producing full swing, we’ve pulled out both canners, the boiling water bath cookers, jars, you name it. My counter tops are a delightful mess of jars and completed canning projects.

  Speed Star 1.0372487  00

I just finished canning 14 quarts of pickle relish, these, and there are more than likely double this amount of tomatoes waiting in the refrigerator to be made into salsa and tomato sauce.

There’s nothing better than growing and preserving your own food. There’s no greater sense of accomplishment and pride than seeing a pantry full of your home canned food. I follow the USDA site and receive notices of recalls and notices from multiple food processing companies to pass along to 2 yahoo groups I own. We are so thankful that we’ve chosen our self sufficient lifestyle, raising our own meat, growing and canning our own vegetables and fruit. We support our local farmers, our friends who have roadside stands, local farmer’s markets. We know that their standards of farming equal ours and, quite honestly, when we purchase fresh, we purchase from them. I know that our garden is raised organically, no chemicals, no GMO products, nothing but a lot of hard work, fresh compost from our own farm, and big, juicy produce in return.

I won’t say that canning is easy. In fact, at times, it’s far from it as you pick fresh food from your garden, prepare and package it for the canner. Sometimes it’s tedious, sometimes one’s back and fingers ache from the preparation process. But, I can think of at least a half dozen or more positive notes to canning one’s own bounty. Think of the benefits.

Benefits you say? Absolutely!! We advocate “grow your own” and “DIY”. Why?

1. You know what is in that home canned food. You process food safely. Do mass merchandisers do this? Most likely not, considering the number of recalls that are posted weekly.

2. You know how it’s been handled and processed. No one’s hands have touched the contents of the food other than yours.

3. Lower your food bills. Have you noticed the rising cost of fresh food and meat in the grocery stores? It’s outrageously high and will only increase in price as time goes on. We’ve not purchased meat in almost a year. I was shocked at the sticker price of simple, cheap 70/30 ground beef at being close to $4.00/lb. When did that happen? 98 cents for a can of asparagus? I think not!!

4. It provides a cushion against store outages, short paychecks or no paychecks, Create your own stockpile for “in case of” and sleep better knowing that your family will be fed if times are rough.

5. You can be assured of the food quality and taste. Canned properly, home canned is much healthier, maintains it’s fresh taste and nutritional value.

6. For many, canning and preserving one’s own food is a necessity. In remote areas, access to grocery stores is not always an easy task and at times, not do-able at all.

7. A sense of pride. You grew it, you processed it, you eat it! 

8. Gifting and sharing. Nothing says love more, than sharing a jar of homemade jam and a loaf of fresh baked bread from your oven.

9. It provides you with a link to the past. Our grandmothers and mothers most likely preserved their excess. I can remember playing store in my grandmother’s root cellar, picking and choosing mentally, which food I was going to buy for that day. Granted, I didn’t know what everything was, but the colors were certainly pretty lined up on her shelves. My mother didn’t can, other than to make our winter batch or three of jams or jellies, but she stored food in the freezer. I have reverted to my grandmother’s lifestyle on her farm, and every time I open the pressure canner and remove those hot, boiling mason jars, I wonder if she’s smiling down from heaven at me. Somehow, I think she is.

   Grandma and Grandpa New, me and dad 1957 this is my dad and I, Grandma and Grandpa



Apologies for such a long absence

Oh my! It seems like forever since I’ve written on my blog. For that, I need to apologize to all of you. It’s been a whirlwind of doctors’ visits for myself and for my husband, medical procedure after medical procedure, and when one feels like a living pincushion, there’s no energy or will to write much without sounding whiney and complaining. Rather than do that, I’d rather not write at all.

I’ve had so many issues with pain that couldn’t be resolved, couldn’t be pinpointed to a certain causative factor, not in one specific spot, that it made my physicians and consulting physicians wrinkle their foreheads in puzzlement. I finally decided that it HAD to be my spine. After all, I am a retired RN and I just knew it was from the bulges and herniations in my spine, all the way from my cervical spine down to the L-S spine (my tailbone). So, in my infinite wisdom, I visited a neurosurgeon with the admonition “please, just fix it”. He took such excellent care of my husband and I knew he would take just as good of care of me. I trusted him, liked his mannerisms, the way he treated his patients, the level of his skill. After running umpteen tests, he concluded that the pain might have some basis as thought to emanate from the spine, but that it was not the root cause of my problems. He, instead, sent me to a rheumatologist. My first thought was “why?”, and he told me that he thought it was torticollis or possibly fibromyalgia. Torticollis, I might understand because my shoulder muscles were tight as drum strings. But, fibromyalgia, no, I don’t think so. The rheumatologist spent close to an hour examining me, asking questions, had me fill out a questionnaire, and did indeed, come up with the definitive diagnosis of fibromyalgia. After her explanation of what fibro is, how it affects the body, my several year long history of certain ailments and what-have-you, it is indeed fibro. Crud!!! (and double crud to boot!)

I knew a little about this, having had worked with another nurse 14 years ago who also had fibro. I didn’t understand the logistics of it, empathized with her pain and lack of energy, did as much as I could to help her with her patients as well as mine, but I just didn’t understand what it truly was. This is going to mean a lifestyle change for me and as I learn more, I want to focus on teaching others too. it’s a little known about condition, experimental medication regimens to help with the pain and the root cause of the pain, and learning more about energy saving work habits and dietary needs. As much as I wish someone could and would wave a magic wand over my head, and those of others who deal with this on a day-to-day basis, it can’t be fixed, it can’t be cured. Live with it girl…and that I shall do, only in a positive way.

How Much to Plant

ImagewI always ask that question as I gaze into my overflowing 5 gallon bucket of seeds. This year, it’s actually about 1-1/2 bucketful’s of seed. And, every time I go to the store and look at the revolving rack of seed packets, I think I actually start to drool. Thankfully my husband is with me most of the time otherwise we’d literally go broke in seed packets. Then too, I sell seeds on eBay, so there are those bulk packages of seeds that need to be shared, planted, sold or bartered. This year, our garden plot soil was tested at the county extension office and it came back within the perfect pH range, and with the exact composition of nutrients, organic matter and inert matter that is needed for a vegetable garden plot. Considering what it was 3 years ago when we first moved here, (hardpan soil, acidic, sandy, almost no organic matter to hold nutrients), whoever at the University of MO tested it, scrawled a handwritten note on the bottom of the printout asking what we’d done to make it this good, this quick. I took that as a huge compliment considering we’ve worked our fannies off getting organic matter in it.
Everyone has their own needs, likes and dislikes when it comes to vegetables. And too, they have their issues with space limitation, physical limitation or even HSA or zoning limitations when it comes to raising gardens. And, taking into consideration what will be eaten fresh and what, if anything, will be preserved for the winter months, is also a factor. This year, I am hoping to have enough excess to sell at the local Farmer’s Markets. We’ll see how well that turns out.
I read this on a blog and wanted to share it with you. It’s not exact science, just a recommendation and I so appreciate the originator of this article for posting it.
What all are you planting this year and how much do you usually plant. Are your indoor seeds (tomatoes, peppers, brassicas, sweet potato slips and such started yet? It’s coming along time! Finally…..

How Much Should I Plant To Feed My Family For A Year?

Here are a few recommendations mostly found in the book Reader’s Digest Back to Basics. Some of these amounts may be way off for your family, but like I said it’s at least a good general idea.

Asparagus: about 10-15 plants per person
Beans (Bush): about 15 plants per person
Beans (Pole): 2-4 poles of beans per person (each pole with the four strongest seedlings growing)
Beets: about 36 plants per person.
Broccoli: 3-5 plants per person
Cabbage: 2-3 plants per person
Cantaloupe: figure on about 4 fruits per plant (estimate how much your family would eat)
Carrots: about 100 seeds per person (1/4 oz would be plenty for a family of six)
Cauliflower: 2-3 plants per person
Collards: about 5 plants per person
Corn: start out with 1/2 lb. seeds for the family and adjust as needed
Cucumbers: 3-6 plants per family
Eggplant: 3-6 plants per family
Lettuce: 4-5 plants per person
Okra: 3-4 plants per person
Onions: 12-15 plants per person
Parsnips: 12-15 plants per person
Peas: about 120 plants per person
Peppers: 3-5 plants per person
Spinach: about 15 plants per person
Squash (including Zucchini): about 10 per family
Sweet Potatoes: about 75 plants per family
Tomatoes: about 20 plants per family
Turnips: about 1/4 lb seeds per family
Watermelon: about 1/2 oz. seeds per family