Beach Rose Hips/Seeds

I think its a beach rose hip, it fits what I have been told.. So a friend of mine went to Nova Scotia this summer and he came home with wild harvested rose hips.. I have never seen rose’s have these size hips..  they are the size of small crab apples.

He used most of them to make a amazing jam/jelly with them. When he shared photos of them with his friends, I asked if there was any chance that I could snag some seed. We meet up on the past weekend and there are here..

He has been keeping the hips and seeds in the fridge, I will continue to do so for a certain length of time and then I will start some of the seeds. I have lots, I will offer a plant or two back to him but most of the ones I plan to grow will go into food hedges and or into one of the layers of my rain garden levels.

I hope that the scale with the standard tsp in the picture will give a idea of just how big these are. I have enough seed that I will start what I need and then prepare the rest of the seed so that in the spring, it will be ready to go out in small lots at our local seed exchange table 🙂

I understand that these row bushes are like most.. fast growing, hardy and tough.. they don’t mind getting their roots damp at times and they help hold sandy soil together. I used to buy rose hips to give the powder to my Brandy girl to help with her hooves.  I have been wanting to get a few hedge roses to add to the farm. These are said to grow 3 to 6 feet in height.

Given they were wild collected hips an seeds, what I will get from the seeds to point is unknown.. it will be fun to be surprised 🙂

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Rain Garden – Stage one

Ok, so this is a example of a small rain garden for a house in the city or town..  Mine is a massive rain or storm garden to be..  It will collect the water off my roof, as well as collect the overflow from the one side of the driveway to the other side.  This system is created to catch storm waters and recharge your ground water.

Given our big hard storms, in the past few years we seem to have a pattern of no rain.. HARD large volume’s of rain. Collecting that rain for storage is important but so it creating a system that helps keep that water on the property so that it can recharge our shallow house well.

We called in help on this one, It was not a do it by hand project, we had cleared the tree’s but the machine cleared the roots, and did the first digging.. The bottom is nicely created flat and we have already started adding in many loads of compost from our farm to the pit and it will be mixed with the native soil into the first layer

We will continue to clean our barn and use the fall prep to have the barn ready for winter use into this project, mixing the compost and the native soil till we get the level we want.. then we will have the gravel hauled in and hire the same person to come back and move the rest of the soil in at levels and to build the permaculture berms around the rain garden itself.. I also have a area that we need to have him pull another large amount of roots up.. he can do it in a hour that would take us much longer.

Then it comes back to us and we will need to start planting it.. Its a longer term project and of course we have to create the dry creak bed that will lead the water to the rain garden itself from the house.



Posted in gardens | 5 Comments

Lamb Veggie Soup Recipe for the canner

Good Morning Folks

I tracked my amounts this past weekend when I was canning a couple different recipes.

The perk of this recipe is that you can switch that lamb burger with beef or any other kind of dark meat (including wild.. would work with deer or moose).


Prep work is required.. Cook your meat and drain off extra fat, I do not rinse my meat but will drain off the extra fat.  Prepare your Veggies and mix them well.

Lamb Veggie Soup Recipe for canning up of 18 pints

3 pounds lamb at 1/3rd cup of cooked lamb per jar

80z of mushrooms

5 pounds of carrots

1 pound of onions

1 large bunch of celery/greens included

4 peppers

Heaping cup of veggie mix per jar, if a touch leftover.. just split between the jars

Beef or lamb broth to cover. Make sure your broth is very hot when it goes in the jars and that it matches the hot water being put in your Pressure Canner.

75 minutes at ten pounds for pints/ 90 for pints

I like the fact that I can split everything in amounts in the jars but you also have the choice of adding your cooked and cooled meat and putting it over top your veggies and then with very clean hands or spoon, you can gently mix it though and then use the pre-mixed meat bits and veggies.

For me.. they mix when they are moved out of the jar and heated so it makes a difference really only in the way the jar looks on the shelf.. not in the serving bowl 🙂

Posted in Canning, Life moves on daily | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Pears.. Pears and more Pears :)

Well local pears finally went on sale.. In the end, I put up 40 pints of pears, five pints of pear juice and feed out a good amount of cooked trimmings to the both the chicken flock and the pig..

There are more over on a different counter but you get the idea..  I thought.. hmm, how am I going to turn a day of pear making into a post of the blog..  I got it.. lets find out if I saved any money..

So these are all based on my local jars prices, how long I tend to keep jars for, the cost of lids that was bought by the case on sale, sugar was also bought on sale and I made sure I am doing as much canning as possible on the weekend to get the lowest power costs for the stove as I can get.

So each pear cost me 29 cents, and it took 3 pears approx. per jar for pear cost per jar to be 87 cents.

Cost breakdown.

  • Jar – .10 cents (one I buy jars on sale, two I look after my jars and they on average last me at least 10 years, I also try to find jars at second-hand store etc.)
  • New Lid- .11 cents ( I am dreading when I use up my large stock pile and have to replace it with today’s current lid prices, if I had bought new lids yesterday it would have cost 16 cents a lid instead of .11)
  • Power costs – .7 cents per jar
  • Sugar- 5 cents per jar (Only because we were able to get a good sale on sugar this fall. The sugar has been running about 1.50 higher per bag at full price)

So that brings my total costs to 1.20 per Pint.

Now I know that if you bought a pint jar of canned pears at the farmers market locally, you are looking at six dollars a jar.. so that would mean a savings of 4.80 cents per pint, or a total of 192.

But lets switch over to the store.. the large can of pears at the store that is Del Monte is current at 2.69 plus our tax for a total of 3.03

So my 1.20 a jar of pears now saves us 1.83 X 40 jars means that we saved 73.20

I would do it just to control how much sugar is used, knowing that its fresh local Ontario pears and so forth.. but the savings is nice as well.

Ps, yes I know that I am not paying myself for my time but then again, I am also not trying to figure out the difference in buying local pears, processing at home and in jars etc vs the costs of canning in a different country, not local fruit.. shipping the cans by road.. you get the idea at least I hope..

I know that the output to get all the canning gear costs but those are sunk costs for me at this point. I know that for someone just starting out that this would need to be included but I think they should still consider breaking it down over the years and over the jars life 🙂

Happy Sunday to you all..

Posted in Canning | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

Snakes on the homestead

There was a lovely garden snake that was heading towards my chicken yard this morning and as the chickens would have been hunting it hard and fast. It seemed like a good idea to catch this pretty babe and move it across the garden an release it in the front garden.

Garden snakes feed on the plentiful small creatures that abound in their habitats: grasshoppers, worms, small birds, mice, leeches, tadpoles, insects, toads, fish and frogs. They are called “opportunistic hunters” because they will attack prey if it travels within it’s striking distance. I like that our land is healthy enough to support Garter Snakes.

The garter snakes of Canada total six species, ranging from 45-97 cm long. They are olive brown to black, with yellow, orange or red stripes running horizontally down the body.   These small snakes are found from Vancouver Island to the Maritimes, north into the Northwest Territories, and are absent only from Newfoundland.

They live in a wide variety of habitats, but are generally found near water.These snakes have no venom, but many species vibrate their tail in dry vegetation to imitate the sound made by rattlesnakes.

All species have a common defence mechanism of releasing a foul smelling scent from their anal glands near the base of the tail. They may bite if handled, but are harmless. Garter snakes are active during the day, and may often be seen basking during the early morning hours.

We also have Red Belly Snakes, they are smaller but they are also wonderful little hunters in my gardens and wilder areas. We are lucky because both are harmless to both our livestock and ourselves.

Do you have snakes on your homestead, are they friend or foe?

Posted in homestead | Tagged | 5 Comments

Preparing for the what will come.

It used to be what we could honestly say.. Preparing for what might never happen..

But I am not sure where you can be living right now that you are not being effected at SOME point in the year by the weather patterns..  Be it Floods/Rain/Storm or Heat/Fires/Smoke.

Per the Hip Roof Barn Striving for Victory -Be Prepared Post.

In 2018, we face blizzards, power outages, and forest or grass fires. In September, we focus on preparing our homes and families for natural disasters.

For me, the summer of 2018 really brought home the need to be prepared for any disaster. It began in May with unprecedented flooding. The flooding was followed by raging forest fires and air almost too dangerous to breath.

We are pretty good at dealing with disasters, such as winter conditions, that require sheltering in place, but I know we need to work on our preparations for “bugging out” due to a natural disaster.

Here at the farm this year, we have had two massive ice storms, we have had multi day power outages. a rain storm that caused enough local flooding that my water berms were put to use in the critter field pastures.

Killing Heat (in a city a meer hour away from the farm, during our worst of three heat waves this summer 64 death’s happened that are considered directly related to the extended heat/humidity combo) Drought, and just a few weeks ago, we got to head down to the basement due to the sky turning green and the tornado warnings blaring on the radio.

Though we had a high wind storm that brought down a large section of our large tree’s that lead to power lines down and the need to bring down all our big older tree’s for safety sake.

It would be very fair to say that we have done well overall in the sense that while we lost some of our favorite tree’s and that we have some changes to our yards. We did not have to leave the farm and we were able to stay in place and make everything work.

Thanks to modern news, we were able to put extra water up for the livestock before losing power, we were able to get out our gear to deal with needing to cook with the ecozoom (above) and the Shuttle Chef (below) which is a very fancy Hay box..  I love being able to cook something or heat water and have it stay safely hot for up to 8 hours.

To be honest, I have a feeling that if you talked to anyone pretty much across Canada, you are going to hear something.. in the high arctic, the permafrost is melting, in the west I keep hearing about fires, smoke and drought, over here in the middle, ice storms, flooding, heat wave and drought, on the east coast, they had a killing frost this spring that put many small farmers and fruit growers under water that only time will show if they will recover or not.

Start looking outside our own country and it’s not better.. On my horse group, they talk about no hay in Sweden, on my twitter feed, great article on drought in france, on my sheep groups.. England, Scotland and more are being effected with both heat and drought.

It’s not just the weather effects that are effecting our homes/land, it’s the fact that the weather is effecting this years world-wide ability to produce food in many ways.

This will be felt small-scale (our own back gardens) to our local farmers to large-scale which is already effecting the price of food in the stores or markets.

So Hip Roof Barn listed a number of things she challenged us to work on this week and I will talk about some of them as I am hoping to do a couple of these being prepared.

Today however I am going to stay on the crops/food.. Now I am not saying this is the case at other places (in fact I would love to hear from my readers all over the world if possible!?)  Are you seeing food price increases?

In our case, everything that is real food is increasing and while there are some deals to be had as it is fall and if you shop carefully, you can still pick up loss leaders (however it’s becoming far more common to strongly limit the amounts on these to 2 or 4 per item)

What is more alarming is that we are seeing locally a stop to the sale cycles..  as most budget friendly folks know, the stores uses to be pretty faithful in that they would put things on cycles, sometimes every four to six weeks, sometimes every three or six months an a few things once a year tied to a certain holidays or events.

Most of us that have food pantries count on these sales to do bigger stocking events at a reduced cost. However at our local stores, the loss leader/sale areas of the store are now about 80% household items related and the remaining 20% which is food relate are all processed and typically one the cheapest end..

I saw a higher quality producer of canned veggies (with its reduced can size and weight size again from last year, the ever shrinking amount in order to try to keep the price the Samish was the game for the past two years) The sale.. .02 off per can.. I just blinked hard.. 2 cents off per can..hmmm

Now normally at that point I would direct you to local farmers, to local farmers markets but at least locally good luck on finding anything that would be considered reasonable. and I get it.. I do.. they have limited produce and there are folks out there that can and will pay the higher prices.  If you can afford it..  Go for it.. buy in bulk and process it for storage.

So where does that leave us..

  • instead of buying cases in bulk for stocking the pantry, go back to the old standby of planning and buying at least one extra per shopping trip per week or every two weeks.. It will slowly add up over time.. remember to buy what you will eat.. a sale that puts something in the pantry that never gets eaten does no good at all.
  • Adjust your food budget, sorry folks.. we are going to have pay more.. plan for it.
  • Buy the best quality you can afford and eat less. While calories are Calories, they are truly not all equal.
  • I used to be able to honestly say, move from higher priced meat to eggs but I don’t know what eggs are doing in your area but eggs are not the cheaper protein food of days gone by.. they are still an outstanding choice.
  • Go meatless on one meat per day (I know, I know.. I just heard every Keto person growl at me LOL)
  • Make more soups and stews, they have the ability to be made meat stretch!! and you can go meatless and still make them tasty and filling.
  • Hunt/Fish if you can-Wild game is a very good thing.. in certain area’s they can fill their freezer with wild pork, in other area’s they can take a number of deer per season and so forth.

How are you filling your pantry these days? Have you changed your meal plans? When it come to being prepared in your pantry, are you meeting your goals, do you have three months put away.. six months, a year? or are you on a truly farmer plan where we aim for 18 to 24 months ahead at a time.

Posted in Food Storage, frugal, Garden | Tagged , , , | 8 Comments

Early Frost -Weather/Food Productions

Well, this spring, we had a very late hard frost at the end of may, Thankfully I had kept all my really tenders in till the first week of june. Having said that, it cut the garden season short by 9 days from normal..

Not to big of a deal really, we have had flood springs that have set us back just as much but overall in the grand plan it was a bit odd, because on most of the “Heat/Drought” years we started our spring really early.. getting a spring crops and a very good fall garden season.

This is year was different, we had a late start to the spring garden season.. it was cold enough that we were a full four weeks behind on even the early cold plantings, its not that we didn’t plant, its the seeds just said NOPE in the main garden.. only in the compost heavy raised bed in the gate garden did even the early pea’s go strong.

Then suddenly in JUNE it went full summer with heat into the 40c and right pretty much into on again and off again drought! BANG.. the early cool crops either stuttered to a stop or just bolted at a few inches high.. so lets be honest.. 80 percent of the spring garden was a bust.. and it just kept on going that way.. it was so hot and dry that I could not plant in the hot dust for the normal fall garden cool crops.. Normally end of july/first week of Aug.. NOPE! Not when its high 40’s and not a drop of rain in over three weeks.

So I said to myself, its ok.. every other year we have bad hot drought, we have these long extended fall growing season, I will start things in the house and move them out when the fall rains come..

Problem.. no fall rains yet.. and HARD FROST on SEPT 9th..  We normally get hard frost in Med -Oct..  that cut the frost tenders down by a full five weeks of garden season!  Thankfully the few root crops I have gotten to start are unaffected by this so far and I have hopes for at least some fall crops to come in later.. perhaps I will still get that long growing fall weather till mid-oct

However when it comes to the frost tenders, the season is done! The garden season for the tenders was a full SEVEN WEEKS shorter then normal for my farm.. that is a lot of growing season missing!

Boy am I glad that I bought pre-grown peppers an tomato’s this year, because it means that I have been harvesting tomato’s since end of july and I have been able to put up lots of both, which if I had grown them at my normal rates, I know that I would not be able to say that. Instead I would be moving in buckets of green tomato, hoping that I would be able to get them to turn color to use them.

I am not sure where I am going on my fall crops yet. its totally up in the air, what will the fall weather bring. So how has the weather this year effected your gardens and overall food production.

Posted in farm | Tagged | 5 Comments

Farmgal Canning Tips

This is a oldie but good post on canning tips.. Ten in total and its a longer write up. Hope you will enjoy some of the idea’s that will save you time in your canning season.

Just another Day on the Farm

Just a few of my shelves with canning in my cellar, I have currently have eight sets of four shelves, each shelf can hold 200 pds evenly, each shelve fits four canning box’s for a total of 48 jars per shelve in box’s and up to sixty when not in box’s, In total right now I have room for about 1200 jars.

I have to chuckle when someone wrote, “Did you sleep last week?” when I listed what I had gotten canned in the week” Don’t get me wrong on this, I was very busy and it was very much full-time work, on the other hand, I thought I might give a few tips I have learned either from my grandma/Mom/Aunts or myself over the years when it comes to canning large amounts.

1) Pick/Prep the night before, if its berries to be made into juice, make it the night…

View original post 1,807 more words

Posted in Life moves on daily | 4 Comments

Introducing Henry

Henry is a seven year old fixed male farm raised barn boy kitty that was looking for a new home. He is used to other kitties, lived with two farm dogs, chickens and goats.  He is one of those lovely dog-cats that follow you around, talking to you and helping you by keeping a eye on you while you garden or do chores.

We had meet Henry a couple times over the years while visiting the farm he came from and when I got a private message asking if there was any chance we might have room for him on our farm, I talked to hubby and we both said yes.

Henry traveled home very well sharing time between his crate and my lap.. and once he got home to the farm, we are following a local farm cats rescue program on how to slowly and carefully introduce him to the current cats and farm. So for the next little while he is in a big pen with a chair (so we can visit and love on him) a bed, a litter box (that he uses) a nice window perch/sleeping area and while the bottom half of the pen is solid, the top half is wire so he can see out, smell and watch the other kitties come and go..  There is a thing on the other side, so they can sit and see each other.

They recommend a full week in the pen and then slowly open the door while you visit and let them explore and see how it goes, it can take up to another week of that before everyone is fully settled.

Henry is reported to be a very good hunter in the gardens of mice, moles and such, that is always a good thing around here. I personal adore that he has extra toes on the front.. seven toes on each front paw pad.

Its also a big bonus that he came already altered, up to date on his health needs and had been recently dewormed.

Well, I have had a touch of the flu over the past two days.. I am hoping that with the last 48 hours behind me that I will have turned the corner. I have things to do 🙂

Posted in Critters | Tagged , | 4 Comments

Grape Jelly

Got the last of the Grape Juice Canned and then made the years supply of Grape Jelly, it will be use a bit as jelly but mainly it will be used in sauces with meats or glazes.  Well, and in thumb print Christmas cookies 🙂

I love the foam off the jelly when you make it.. its sticky goodness and of course the jelly that sets up under it, is the first taste of the finished product as well.

Its the most basic recipe you can get, follow the Certo Box.. five cups of grape juice and seven cups of sugar and the Certo..  made me eight 80z jars of jelly plus a touch leftover.

Posted in Canning | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments