I’ve been embarrassed.   I’m not posting any cutesy garden pictures or photos of amazing garden bounty this summer. 

I can’t.  My small garden can barely be entered and my large garden feels like a jungle.  

This is my facebook status:

“So today I spent hours and hours out weeding my garden. Anybody driving by might wonder why someone would let their garden get that out of control. The truth is ~ anybody at anytime can let their spiritual life get that far out of control too, and you can see the weeds just the same!! Pride, Mockery, Sarcasm, Anger, Frustration.. all signs you are growing weeds.
The reality is we can see those weeds also in other people’s gardens and lives.
This is going to be random but have you ever driven by someone else’s garden and went “Wow, they have big weeds!” with a sense of relief, that you aren’t the only one. Talk about a plank of wood in our eyes.
Nothing like just hanging out with lots of really tall weeds to give you some thinking time. It’s therapeutic so if you want to have some therapy – call me – I can share my space.”

((HAHA do not google pictures of WEEDS when it’s after midnight and you are exhausted – you might leave off the s and then you might not get the picture you wanted. This post will be Weed FREE – oh my funny!))

The reality if that life is sometimes different then the way we plan it to be.  In my head, I can still do it all – the garden, the canning, the home-making, add in the mom-ing, the wife-ing,  the homeschooling.. oh Lord, fall is upon us!  Now the full-time (plus?) working…  I love every single aspect of all of my life (except toilets – with 4 little boys! Cleaning toilets I do not love anymore.) but I CANNOT.get.it ALL.done.

and some of it is so obvious, like the weeds.   (tall enough to lose small children in)  Don’t worry! We counted at bedtime.  I spent hours and hours today weeding, and I feel like I gained some control.   And other of it not so obvious,  spent an hour today hanging with a little guy who needed mom time.  

Harmony is still a work in progress.  What do you have to let go off?  (May I recommend it not be cleaning the bathrooms?)    

What about you?            Making any progress?  


Time for Spring… not quite yet, but be ready!

As the entire country was plummeted into cold and freezing wind temps and SNOW.. LOTS OF SNOW for some, I am turning my eyes towards spring. It’s time to take stock of your seeds!! Praise God that we can look ahead to the tiiny seeds that sprout.  For most of us in Zone 5,  it isn’t time to plant anything yet.  (don’t know what zone you are in?  check here…  http://planthardiness.ars.usda.gov/PHZMWeb/  it tells you by your zip code!) However ~ it could be time to take stock of your seeds!

Mine don’t photograph well, some are stored in ziploc bags ~ some in envelopes, others in glass jars.  I plan to in my next year, talk about seed saving… because year 1 was tiny, and this last year I did  WAY MORE (But I haven’t gotten to see them grow yet ~ so I don’t know if I was successful, yet..)   and this year, I anticipate doing even more.  That being said,

lay out your seeds,  figure out how many you will need.   I use this chart http://www.granny-miller.com/a-garden-planner-for-home-food-preservation/  as my starter.  Tweek it for your family ~ we eat a bowl like this at every meal in the summer!

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Figure what you are going to eat fresh, what you will can and what you can dehydrate.

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Compare what you will need to what you have on hand and create your order!

We do ours in Excel…  it isn’t pretty but it looks like this

garden planning pic


We mostly buy from Baker Creek Seeds and Seed Savers.  We appreciate their commitment to Non-GMO and Organic as well as their amazing customer service!


Hope you are ready for a great start to 2014 gardens!! I can’t wait for this day!!! 2013-07-28_12-32-25_915




Friend Friday

I’m sharing what I cross posted on my friend Heather’ s blog The Welcoming House 

1. What are the three most important things in your life, and tell me a little about them.

My favorite things ~ my faith in God is the most important thing in my life.  In times of peace and times of trouble, He has been my constant.

My 2nd favorite thing in my entire life is my family.  I’m a wife (to an amazing man who serves God daily as a pastor,) I have lots of children, biological, adopted, guardianship and fosters.  We have raised 8 adult children, now have 4 grandchildren and still have a full dining room table most days. J


My 3rd most important thing in my life is probably homesteading ~ to me that encompasses my almost full-time job of animal care, gardening, canningn and dehydrating and keeping my mini~farm running. 2013-07-28_12-32-25_915

(this is me and my new small garden ~ 50*80 that I started this year as I work to add dry beans, corn and squash, for our family and for our livestock… we’re a work in progress!)

2. Why did you choose Young Living and how long have you been at your business?

I talk about why I chose Young Living Essential oils in a blog post here https://familyplushomestead.wordpress.com/2013/05/02/why-i-decided/    but to summarize it for your readers ~ I chose Young Living Essential Oils because I felt I could trust them. They are leaders in the industry, have been around since 1993 and are of the highest quality.

I started with 9 simple oils that are available in the Everyday Living Collection

9 everyday oils

And found that using those oils I can solve many of life’s day to day health and wellness issues.  Being a one-income (homeschooling) family, I love that I can fix many things without running to the doctor and running up expensive medical bills or becoming dependent on prescription or OTC medicines.

3. Tell me about your top two favorite oils and how you use them.

My 2 favorite oils are 2 of the reasons that I share about Young Living Essential Oils with other people.  They have changed our lives!  The first is peppermint:


The next oil was also a life changer for me personally .  It is Lavender oil.

I’ve already stated how much homesteading plays a role in my life.

4. If you could communicate one important thing about essential oil use to our readers, what would it be?

I would communicate that it is important to purchase quality essential oils for using on your family or your person. I started by using cheaper oils in my soaps and know that when you put oils on your body, it is vital that you trust the source.

She’s hosting a giveaway from me on her blog. If you sign up for Young Living Essential Oils under me using my # 1380891 and order the Every Day Oil Essential Kit, I will send you a free reference book!  And if you sign up for Essential Rewards program I will send you one of these free oil clutches.  Awesome to have!! (I have brown and paisley ~ gorgeous!)

 Blessings! Momma

onions, onions, onions oh my!

I’d like to tell you a story about a beginner gardener.  Last year, an anonymous gardener *me*  planted 150 onion plants and to her embarrassment, 3 survived the weeds and the drought… 3 .. .out of 150 😦    mega frown face…

I really wanted 150 onions, better yet would be 200! So this year I planted 770 something.  Guess how many onions you get when you plant 770 something and want 200 🙂   Apparently ~ 770 something.

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1st picking of onions

his onion: 8.8b download 030 8.8b download 032

2nd picking of onions 8.8b download 0563rd picking…

And they continue to grow, we picked 2 more 5 gallon pails of onions tonight and we aren’t halfway done!  Crazy!!!

The dehydrators are going crazy 🙂



Sweet Potato Slips ~ 2013

This is my very first time growing Sweet Potato Slips.  
I bought 3 sweet potatoes from Azure Standard (Organic).  They were huge!  
You take a sweet potato and poke some tooth picks into the sides of it, place the bottom half into a mason pint jar of water and let it sprout. You pick the sprouts off and put them into another jar.  iphone download 348
Then, you wait for it to grow roots.  This is what you plant into the ground.  From those 3 sweet potatoes, I grew over 32 splits,  they just keep growing!!  
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I placed them into a warm window sill where the grew roots 🙂 
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 When it got warm enough, this is what I planted outside.  Stay tuned!!  

Garden Update 6/15/13

I am so far behind, not necessarily on gardening (but actually – yes behind on weeding!)  That being said ~ here is the new garden for this year.

New Garden!

New Garden!

We added a garden, it’s about 50*80.  My plan for it this year is dried goods.  I’m so interested in figuring out
1) how to grow dried goods that will last my family through this winter and
2) growing food that will help feed my animals into the winter.  *this is a definite learning curve for me*
I have planted 10 sweet potato plants.  (future link coming on growing from slips)  ~ 8 16 ft panels of dried beans and a 5 ft panel I’m trying from my soup mix,  corn ~~~  thinking dried corn.  Squash ~Pumpkins~ stuff for the chickens to eat through the winter.  Break one open and let them peck at them 🙂
I’ll keep you posted!

What are you doing to get ready for Spring?

Up here in Iowa, we have been surrounded by massive quantities of white fluffy stuff for so long, it’s hard to imagine that it will ever change! But this weekend our temp should be above freezing for multiple days in a row!

So for spring -> We’re taking a humongous paycut as my husband beomes the fulltime pastor at our church and is no longer supplementing our income with the field that pays lots better of Informational Technologies Consulting. We want to be producing half of our food from our farm.


We’ll be doubling the size of our garden. Our garden has had both productive years and non-productive years and because it’s always supplemented our eating, it hasn’t been a concern. This year we’ll be looking at ways to increase supply. We’re also adding another area to our garden that we hope won’t be impacted by flooding. Iowa’s flooding makes national news and it makes garden news here at our farm. We’re moving to another part of the acreage in an attempt to bring it to higher ground. Good news – no flooding, bad news – in that area, we’re starting from scratch!

This year, we will again by doing chickens. We do layers for eggs and meatbirds as well.

Layers: We are local to to the McMurray Hatchery and Welp’s is fairly close by as well. We also have ordered from Cackle Hatchery in Missouri. There is something extra fun for the kids about going to pick up the new chickens right from the hatchery and they certainly don’t suffer the trauma of being mailed for a couple of days.
As far as chickens go – our favorite layers are Buff Orpingtons.

We’ll see how it goes.

Why Heirloom Seeds are so important

From Mother Earth News:
Heirloom vegetables, fruits, flowers and herbs are varieties that have remained popular with home gardeners because they grow well and taste great. Loosely defined as plant varieties that have been grown for at least three generations (and sometimes for three or more centuries!), heirloom food plants are varieties that have been selected for their flavor, resistance to pests and diseases, and other traits important to home gardeners. Unlike modern hybrids, heirloom seeds are open-pollinated, which means they will breed true and can be saved by the gardener from year to year — an important consideration for food security and self-sufficiency. Also, heirloom seeds are never genetically engineered.