Category Archives: Homestead Happenings

Homestead Happenings for the week of September 5, 2016

If you recall from my last post my goal was to post what’s happening in our little corner of suburbia on a weekly basis.  Well, that plan was very quickly side tracked!  Dutch’s recovery demanded more of John’s and my time than I anticipated and, of course, he has been our priority for the past 3 weeks.  Thanks for understanding and I hope to get back on track with regular posts starting today.

As I mentioned, a great deal of our time has been spent caring for our boy, Dutch. He’s coming along nicely, by the way! We took him for his therapy consult just about 4 weeks ago.   He was very apprehensive at first but once Daddy showed (John met us at the vet’s office after work) up he calmed right down.  He allowed the physical therapist to do a laser treatment and passive range of motion exercises with no trouble. Although I will have to say that he was more than ready to go home after the appointment was finished.  The PT showed us how to do the passive range of motion at home and gave us a list of additional exercises that we can start adding gradually.  I call her every Friday to see which ones we can add in the next week.  John and I are both grateful that she is so willing to talk us through the PT therefore allowing us to do it at home.  He is more relaxed at home and lets us do what we need to do and it keeps the expenses down for us.   Of course there are always special, yummy, treats involved.  Besides the exercises we need to take him for 10 minute leash walks 3-5 times a day.

First day home from the hospital.
First day home from the hospital.

He goes back to the surgeon in about 4 weeks for his 8 week post-op x-rays.  If they see significant healing on the films then it is possible that he will be allowed off leash and back to regular activity.  We are praying for this to be the case.  Otherwise it might mean another 4 weeks on leash.  Poor boy, he’s doing really well but I know he’s getting a bit stir crazy.  He so wants to be out there chasing rabbits and he doesn’t understand why he can’t.  We have been able to get some homesteading jobs completed while caring for Dutch.  Here’s what we’ve done the past few weeks:

  • I started harvesting and processing tomatoes.  I only planted half the number of plants that I normally do and I turned out to be sorry for that decision.  We will get enough from our garden for spaghetti sauce, tomato sauce and salsa. But, I had to purchase a half bushel of Roma’s from the local farmer for our tomato soup and pizza sauce.                                     2016-09-06 18.54.44 Tomatoes
  • So far we’ve canned 4 & 1/2 quarts of soup, 10 jars (half-pint) of pizza sauce and 5 pints of salsa

.2016-09-06 18.52.02 Tomato Soup

2016-09-06 18.53.00 Pizza Sauce

  • In the last post I showed you the cucumbers that were sitting in the pickling brine in the crock.  We ended up with 5 quarts and I started another batch which gave us 3 more quarts.  I also made a jar of sweet brine, the gherkin pickle recipe brine from the Ball Blue Book.  I put the last of the small cucumbers in the brine and, since there were not enough to water bath can, I put the jar in the fridge to pickle.  They were fantastic and John’s already eaten them all!
  • I also saved hundreds of cucumber seeds to plant next year.
  • I made laundry soap powder. (YouTube video coming soon!)
  • I attempted to ferment our beets but that didn’t go so good. They never started to do that bubbling thing that fermented foods are supposed to do.  So I ended up rinsing them and putting them in freezer bags to pickle later.  Then, I read that beets don’t always have that bubbling action and it’s ok.  They will still be fine.  Should have read about that earlier I guess.  I may have been doing it right after all.   I’ll try again next year.
  • Started some garden clean up and preparing for some fall planting.  I’ve not gotten very far with that quite honestly.  It’s been so incredibly hot here that I can only do a little at a time after the sun sets.  It’s supposed to start cooling down next week so I hope to get more accomplished out there.  I need to get the lettuce and spinach planted at the very least.
  • John installed some new lights under the kitchen cabinets for me.  He did a great job and they make a big difference.

Here’s what I hope to accomplish this week:

  • can tomato and spaghetti sauce
  • make bagels and muffins to freeze for breakfasts
  • make a sour dough starter
  • start a ginger bug for ginger beer
  • clean up the herb garden
  • continue garden clean up and fall planting
  • finish a knitting project for a gift I’m making
  • continue to help John care for and rehab Dutch

I’ll check in next week to let you know what we’ve actually accomplished and what we hope to finish up the coming week.

Hope it’s a good one for you all and that you get a lot done!  Let me know by posting a comment below!

Homestead Happenings for the Week of August 7, 2016

Welcome to our new feature on the StoneHouse Homestead blog.  We will be posting a  weekly update of the “goings on” here and plans for the coming week.  Hopefully this will give you a better idea of what our daily life is like on our little homestead in suburbia.

The first part of the week started with digging the potatoes.  In previous years I had always purchased seed potatoes from the local Southern States Co-op.  Everything I had read about planting potatoes said to always use certified disease free seed potatoes.  The articles warned about the horrors of using potatoes left over from the previous year.  Those potatoes could harbor disease that had the potential of devastating the potato crop.  All the hard work of planting and caring for them would be for naught.  Well, I worked up the courage this year to try using left over from last year and you know what?  We had the best crop ever!  Both Red Pontiac and Kennebec varieties did beautifully with no signs of disease or insect damage!  So we got free potatoes this year!  Now, I can’t say that we will always have that kind of success, or never have issues with disease or insect damage, but I’m willing to take the chance and try it again next year.


Some other things we accomplished:

  • Pulled up the first planting of green beans and hung them to dry for seeds
    bean bushes drying on the garden fence
    bean bushes drying on the garden fence

    dry bean pods ready for seed harvest. These will be planted next year.
    dry bean pods ready for seed harvest. These will be planted next year.
  • John prepared 4 beds and I planted a second crop of broccoli (the spring crop didn’t do so well) in one bed and black beans in the other 3 beds

    One of the beds of black beans starting to sprout!
    One of the beds of black beans starting to sprout!
  • I harvested some corn for dinner-it was delicious!  It’s a white variety called Cloud Nine.  I got the seed from Gurney’s
  • started some cucumbers in a brine for dill pickles.  These are different from the fermented cucumbers that I made (YouTube video coming soon!).  I thought they were great but John thought those still tasted too much like cucumbers and he is not a fan.  So I used the Ball Blue Book recipe for Brined Dills.  I have the 3 gallon crock full at the moment.  They should be ready to can in 2-3 weeks.

    Cucumbers with garlic and pickling spices in the crock weighted down by a plate to keep them under the brine.

The second part of our week was consumed with Dutch’s surgery.  If you follow us on Facebook then you know he had surgery for a torn ligament on Wednesday.  It’s pretty complicated surgery with strict precautions for several weeks after so we were making some changes to get the house ready for him.  An area rug on our hard wood floors to make it easier for him to get up and down, more baby gates to keep him confined in a small space and re-arranging furniture to make for easier movement when he is allowed up just to name a few.   He came home on Thursday and for the next 2 weeks he is only allowed out for 5 minute bathroom breaks but no other activity.  It’s been a challenge keeping our 135lb, high energy boy quiet but thanks to the meds it’s not been too bad.

First day home from the hospital.
First day home from the hospital.

Here’s what we hope to accomplish this next week:

  • ferment the beets we grew this year
  • make laundry soap powder
  • harvest the last of the cucumbers and pull up the plants
  • harvest green beans
  • continue planting fall garden veggies-kale, spinach, lettuce and kidney beans
  • harvest the rest of the corn and pull up the plants
  • John is looking forward to trying out his new propane weed torch to take care of some of the more stubborn weeds he deals with this time of year
  • take Dutch to have his stitches out.  He also has a physical therapy consult as well

So there you have it.  What we’ve done and what we hope to do in the coming week.  What have you accomplished in the past week or hope to accomplish in the coming week?  Let us know!