Monthly Archives: September 2016

August & September 2016 Homestead Update

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August and September have been very busy months for us! A combination of social activities, errands and household & garden chores have consumed what seems like every spare second! Around the house it has mainly been a month of upkeep inside the house and out in the yard & garden! The garden really got taken over with weeds, so much so that I can barely seem to keep up with them. We have had really hot, humid temperatures throughout the month of August and into the first couple weeks of September. Since I’m pregnant, I’ve really found that I need to pace myself. I get tired a lot easier and I need to make sure that I’m not over-doing it. So, I’ve been going out early in the morning when it is still cool and working for 1-2 hours, just dependent on how much energy I have. With a full-time job during the week, I only have time to do this once or twice a week. Some weeks, I don’t even get the chance to do that. So, the weeds just seem to take over in between my weeding sessions. I’ve been slowly making progress though and things are starting to look a lot better, which is great!! I will talk more about “My 3 Worst Enemies in the Garden this Summer” in an upcoming post and I’m thinking you can guess what 1 of them is;)

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With the end of the summer growing near, we have also had the wonderful task of harvesting produce from our vegetable garden. We have been enjoying fresh, juicy tomatoes, crunchy bell peppers, sweet snap peas, crisp kale and lettuce. Our corn tassels turned brown, so we were able to pull back the husks and take a look at what has been developing over the past several months! This is the time of the year when you really see all of your hard work and efforts pay off, and it is very rewarding! It’s so exciting to watch your garden start from seedlings poking through the soil, through the growing season and finally seeing the fruits of your labors! Harvest time is such a wonderful time of year for a gardener!

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With all of the wonderful vegetables we have been harvesting, we did a lot of canning & preserving over the past 2 months. Tomatoes, jalapeno peppers, bell peppers, corn and potatoes. Stay tuned for a post all about our produce yields from the garden and what we were able to put up for the winter-coming soon to the blog!

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We have also been spending some time preparing for the upcoming addition to our family!! We purchased and built most of the nursery furniture. The crib and changing table/dresser are assembled and in place! We still need to purchase the rocking chair and end stand but we will be purchasing this once the baby shower is over. We also attended a consignment sale where we were able to buy a nice selection of gender neutral onesies, sleepers and socks. I’m sure we will get more clothes from the baby shower, however, we wanted to ensure that we at least had a few clothes to get started just in case. At the sale, we were also able to pick up a swing that will work nicely with our infant car seat. The car seat just snaps right down into the frame and becomes the swing! It’s really nice because it makes our car seat serve a second purpose and it is also more compact than traditional swings. Another way we have been preparing is by collecting lots of free samples! Many companies, especially formula companies, send very generous welcome packages including formula and coupons! I am still waiting to receive a few of my welcome packages, so I will be sharing the contents in an upcoming post!! I’m very excited for the upcoming months-October and November will be packed full of baby preparation!

With all of that being said, our thoughts are now shifting to the next season. We have several things that we would really like to get taken care of before winter comes.

Goals that we want to achieve before winter:

Finish plumbing in shed. My hubby already ran water out to the shed and then from the shed to the hose in the garden. He just needs to finish running the water lines and add the sink!
Installing new lighting in our garage-it currently only has 2 bare bulb fixtures and does not provide sufficient light when my hubby is working on the cars in the garage.
Adding insulation to the garage walls.
Run co-ax cable from our attic to our basement for a t.v. antennae. We are planning on eliminating the expense of cable t.v. in the near future.
Adding shelving to our shed for organization and to add more storage space.

We already have a pretty good jump-start on our list and we have been continuously making progress towards getting everything completed.

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So, that’s what we have been up to over the past couple of months. Next month will be packed full of wrapping up the herb garden & vegetable garden, prepping for the baby and getting things cleaned up in the yard for the winter season. We typically get everything outside completed during the month of October because you never know what kind of weather November will bring! I’m sure that October will be a very busy month for us, so stay tuned for next month’s homesteading update to see what we accomplish!!

What tasks have you been accomplishing around your homestead? Share in the comments below. I always love to hear from my readers!!

 

Homegrown Herbs: Basil Pesto

homegrown-herbs-basil-pestoMy herb garden has been doing exceptionally well this season. They are all growing so fast that it seems I can barely keep up with them. I have already cut them back multiple times this year and they just continue to grow! Which is a good thing, I’m not complaining! It seems like as soon as I get one batch dried and prepared for use, I’m out there cutting them back again. So far, I have 3 quarts of dried spearmint, 2 quarts of dried lemon balm and 1/2 quart of dried tarragon. And that is in addition to topping off my “working” supply of herbs in the kitchen. It definitely is exciting to be stocking up my pantry with lots of  dried herbs to use over the winter!

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With the abundance of fresh herbs that I have on my hands, I am always looking for recipes to get them used up. One of the herbs that I currently have an over-abundance of is basil. One of my favorite ways to use my fresh basil is making pesto! We like to mix it together with pasta and turkey sausage (chopped in slices). It is absolutely delicious! This year we discovered that we can make large batches of this in the summer (when we have more basil than we know what to do with) and freeze it to use later on. I’m very excited that we are stocking up our freezer with fresh herbs to enjoy all year long!

The recipe is really simple and it only takes a few minutes to throw together. The most time-consuming part is going to be washing and removing the leaves from the stem. So, give it a try. You are sure to love it!

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Basil Pesto

2 cups packed basil leaves
1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
4 minced garlic cloves or 2 tsp minced garlic

Place all ingredients in your food processor or blender.
Blend until basil is finely chopped and ingredients are combined.
Serve over your choice of pasta and enjoy!

Or…If you are making it to freeze, simply transfer the pesto to a quart freezer bag.
Seal the bag most of the way and gently tap on the counter to remove air bubbles.
Lay it down and then slowly flatten it out.
Once it is flat, squeeze out any remaining air and finish sealing.
Always make sure you label and date your freezer bags as well.

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If you have an herb garden, make sure you are preserving your harvest for the winter months and not letting it go to waste. Most of my herb plants can be harvested 3-4 times throughout the summer months. And I’m not talking a little harvest. I’m talking about a lot-Like my dining room table full of baking sheets of herbs drying.

If you have more herbs than you know what to do with, check out my post on how to dry & preserve your own herbs!

How do you like to use your fresh herbs? Share your ideas in the comments below! I always love to hear from my readers!!

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