One thing you should know about me is that I am a list maker. I make lists for EVERYTHING! (I get it from my mother, she has lists to keep track of her lists)

Here is a list of our goals for 2011 (at least what’s left of it)

  1. Deposit enough money into savings to cover the portion of my maternity leave not paid for by my employer (we are on track to have this goal completed by the end of September)
  2. Build a small, stone patio in the backyard
  3. Cut down a few trees being overtaken by vines
  4. Plant a couple fruit trees – most likely some variety of apple
  5. Prepare the bedroom for the new baby!
  6. Learn how to bake bread
  7. Purchase a pressure canner (I already use a water bath canner)
  8. Can soups and low-acid veggies
  9. Prepare meals to freeze before the baby is born
  10. Make a new list  for 2012!

This is our fourth year gardening, every year we learn something new and make new mistakes.

Our first year we learned exactly how much zucchini two zucchini plants can produce (A LOT!).

The next year we learned that cool summers do not produce many tomatoes.

Last year we discovered how quickly Hornworms can destroy your tomato plants. In case you are wondering the answer is 24 hours!

Here is what we have planted this year:

  • Lettuce
  • Carrots
  • Zucchini
  • Banana Peppers
  • Tomatoes
  • Jalapeno Peppers
  • Bell Peppers
  • Cucumbers
  • Strawberries
  • Basil
  • Oregano

We also have a blueberry bush and a cold-hardy variety of kiwi. The blueberry bush is about 2 years old and is NOT thriving, I’m going to try to help it with some organic fertilizer. Our kiwi is new this year, we purchased it from www.raintreenursery.com. We hope it survives, it would be amazing to be able to eat kiwi that we grew ourselves!

This is one of my family’s favorite recipes. It is a great way to use up any overripe bananas. Whenever my bananas get too ripe I just throw them in the freezer until I am ready to make muffins!

You can also use this recipe to make banana bread, just pour the batter into two small bread pans and increase baking time to about an hour.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 very ripe bananas
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a medium bowl combine flour, baking soda and powder, salt.
  3. In a large bowl cream together eggs and sugar.
  4.  Stir in mashed bananas, vanilla, oil and cinnamon.
  5.  Stir in flour mixture, a third at a time, until just combined. I like to use my KitchenAid Mixer!
  6. Pour batter into muffin tins. Should make 12-18 muffins depending on size.
  7. Bake for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Here is what we harvested today from the cucumber vines, there are still at least 10 more cukes out there that will be ready by next weekend. I think it might be time to break out the canner and make homemade pickles!

I found this short article to be quite telling of where our nation’s food supply is headed.

By buying local and supporting heirloom varieties we may be able to stop the extinction of some amazing varieties of plants. Let’s hope it’s not too late!

National Geographic Magazine – NGM.com.

Britni isn’t always the optimist in our house.  But when it comes to our future as self sufficient homesteader types, she is clearly more positive than me.  I have some reservations, even fears, about our realization of this goal.

For one, we are lazy.  Not the kind of lazy where we sit on the couch and eat chips all day, but we do talk a lot about starting projects that never seem to materialize.  “Oh the time, the cost, the effort…let’s just go for a walk today.”

Two, we are busy.  You know the drill.  We both work full time.  Errands are run all weekend.  We are lucky to relax for more than an hour a day.  With one kid, our lives were turned completely upside down.  With another on the way, I’m not sure when we’ll find time to shower.

Finally, we can be a bit impatient (myself more than her).  She’s calling it “Our Eventual Homestead”, but let me be clear about this.  She’d
prefer to have it now. When working toward a goal over the course of several years, it is possible to become frustrated with slow progress.  Over time, the desire to be self sufficient could fade into the past.  After all, the couch and the chips will certainly be looking awfully attractive after chasing after those two kids all day.

Really, I’m not often this negative. I’m just pointing out a few real hurdles that threaten to pop up from time to time.  I really do think that we’ll eventually achieve our goals.  But it won’t be easy.  Not by a long shot.  Baby steps…as she keeps telling me.  By the way, I’m the husband.  And proud of it!

Michael Ross
Occasional Contributor

“I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.” -Thomas Jefferson

We are having a family gathering today to celebrate Independence Day. I decided to be daring and make a recipe I’ve never tried before. Luckily it turned out to be pretty tasty! (Had it not turned out we were also put in charge of bringing the brats, can’t go wrong with brats!)

Ingredients:

  • 1 can spinach – completely drained of liquid (you could also use frozen, just thaw and drain)
  • 1 package cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 small onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 tsp tabasco sauce – can be adjusted to taste
  • 2 tsp milk – can be adjusted as needed for consistency
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese (or try parmesan for a different flavor)

Directions:

  1. Blend all the ingredients except 1/2 cup of the cheddar cheese. Add milk slowly as needed until you get the desired consistency. Add the tabasco sauce slowly, tasting as you go.
  2. Once blended smooth put your dip in a serving bowl and top with the remaining 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese.
  3. Serve with tortilla chips, pita chips or crackers. Enjoy!

Sunday mornings are generally less harried around our home. This morning I used that time to make my family waffles. I don’t like to use pre-made mixes as I find them more expensive and don’t see how they save me much time. Here is the recipe I use:

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 3/4 cups milk
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs

Directions:

  1. Add dry ingredients to mixing bowl and stir to mix well.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and blend until smooth.
  3.  Let batter sit for a few minutes before using.
  4. Pour batter into your waffle iron using less than you think for your first waffle. The batter will rise and spread as it cooks.
  5. Cook until done–this will vary based on your waffle iron.
  6. Serve warm with maple syrup and butter, fresh fruit, jam or whatever you like!

Hello and welcome to “Our Eventual Homestead”. Pull up a seat and stay a while.

My intention for this blog is to  detail our journey as we attempt to turn our little piece of this world into our eventual homestead. It will include stories and photos, tips and tricks as we figure them out, yummy recipes and hopefully a little inspiration for all of you.

My name is Britni and I have been happily married to my husband, Mike, for almost 7 years. We have a daughter named Aeva who will turn 3 this fall. We just recently found out that we are expecting our second child in January! We also have 2 dogs, Stitch and Murphy.

My husband is self-employed as an antique dealer. I work outside the home full-time and spend most of my day in a cubicle. I dream of a day when I can stay at home and take care of our children, our home and our garden.

So that is just a little about us. Thanks for stopping by, be sure and visit again!

photo courtesy of Bella Valentina Photography

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