How To Freeze Fresh Broccoli

The addition of our mini greenhouse afforded me the opportunity to grow broccoli this year.  I couldn’t be more happy since it’s one of our favorite vegetables.  If I could change one thing about the growing process, it would be that I was able to grow it for a longer season.

Since I can’t however, my main goal this year was to grow a lot and preserve what we didn’t eat fresh.  So far, that has meant I must freeze broccoli from my greenhouse for later use.

It’s a really easy process, and I’m so excited to start filling my freezer.

To start, make sure you are harvesting strong and healthy stalks and florets from your garden.  There is definitely a difference between the taste of frozen broccoli from the store and that which you will freeze fresh from your garden. Broccoli tastes best when harvested while the flowers are still tight and closed.

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11 Things You Need To Do While You’re Waiting For Your Farm

Waiting for the finances and just the right piece of land for your farm can seem like it’s taking a lifetime.  Then all at once, you’ve got your land and things can’t happen soon enough.  Deadlines come no matter what your situation.

Question is, will you be ready?

Much of what happens on a farm may seem like common knowledge.

You plant.

You nurture.

You harvest.

You sell.

It’s that simple, right?  Not quite.

Many new farmers find themselves living the dream the first year, or even two, but then quickly realize they aren’t where they thought they would be.

Here are 11 things to do to make sure you are more prepared when you finally get your land.

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Making Rhubarb Candy

I’ll admit, I haven’t always been a fan of rhubarb.  Once I moved here however, I realized quickly that if I really wanted to live a life as self-sufficiently as possible and use what was available to me, I was going to have to figure out how to love it.

I have since learned how to make tasty treats with rhubarb, can it in the forms of jam and juice, and also freeze it for later use.  I couldn’t find many uses for dried rhubarb, so I gave up on that for awhile.  Then a neighbor asked me if I’d ever made candy with it.

Everything changed.

Although we don’t eat much of it this way, it’s always a novelty to take to social gatherings and give as gifts.

Here’s how we do it.

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Off-Grid Inspiration: Creating Your Off-Grid Homestead

*This post contains affiliate links.  If you click on one and make a purchase, I may make a small commission at no cost to you.  Thank you for supporting this site.*

 

My husband and I have often tossed around the thought of how hard it would be if we had to start our homestead from scratch all over again.  I mean, the thought of what our family went through over 150 years ago to settle this land is quite intimidating.

Could we ever do this from scratch?  How would we pay for everything that was needed to get started?  I can’t imagine not having my orchard, our animals, or even our house.  Our water comes passively from ponds built by our family before us with passive systems, or a well nearly 200 feet down.

If we had to build this all over from the ground up, where would we start?  How would we start?

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16 Herbs To Avoid When You’re Pregnant

*This post contains affiliate links.  If you click on one and make a purchase, I may make a small commission at no cost to you.  Thank you for supporting this site.*

 

Herbs are all the rage these days–especially with the growing trends of homesteading and sustainable living.  Indeed, they offer a variety of uses ranging from flavoring the food we eat to treating ailments.

With herbs being so widely available, and easy to grow, it can be easy to forget that they do not come with an FDA warning.  And due to the notion that if it’s grown in a garden, it must be good for you (not always true), the dangers of some herbs can be missed.

Pregnancy is an especially vulnerable time for the developing embryo as well as the mother, and warrants a review of herbs to avoid when you’re pregnant (and some to continue avoiding during breastfeeding).  Here is a list of just 16 common herbs to avoid in one form or another during pregnancy.  This is not an inclusive list.  Just because an herb is not on this list does not mean it is safe during pregnancy.

Always do your own research regarding herbs before using and/or ingesting them.  (See resources at the end.)

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How To Make Raspberry Sorbet

*This post contains affiliate links.  If you click on one and make a purchase, I may make a small commission at no cost to you.  Thank you for supporting this site.*

 

We’re getting low on our frozen cantaloupe stash that I’ve been using to make cantaloupe sorbet, but…there are raspberries now.  So I thought we’d try raspberry sorbet too.  (You’ll also notice that I’m doubling the size of my batch now that I know we like it.)  I think frozen raspberries would work just fine for this as well.

I don’t have an ice cream maker, so I turned once again to my treasured Vitamix instead. With a little mixing power, I was able to whip up a batch pretty quick.

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How To Keep Deer Out Of The Garden

Deer can destroy even a large garden in as little as one or two trips.  Although we love their beauty and they can be quite entertaining to watch, we are not often overly happy to share our food with them.  There are exceptions of course, but our family eats what we grow–so it’s really important to us that they stay out.

If you have deer in your area like we do, then take a look at these six techniques to keep them out of your garden, or at least from eating your produce.

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Hoss Wheel Hoe And Attachment Review (Plow, Sweeps, Hoe)

* I was provided the following garden tools from Hoss in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions are my own.  This post contains affiliate links.*

 

For a short and intense season each year, our family is immersed in our garden.  Yes, immersed.

By 5 a.m. most members are in one of the gardens or fields.  We are busy cultivating, dreaming, planting, laughing, watering, weeding, sharing, eating, living, harvesting.

This is an almost daily ritual that consumes our mornings, and eats our days until lunch time.  And as soon as the evening starts to cool, we are often back for more.

Nothing grows a family together like growing a family garden and running a family farm.  And you better believe, all my children have a work ethic.  Growing food brings us together, teaches us values, commitment, loyalty, and a love for the soil.

This year, we were generously supplied the Hoss Double Wheel Hoe with some attachments.  We have been using the cultivating teeth, oscillating hoe, plows, and sweeps in our garden growing rituals and they have been a real blessing.

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Starting A Farm Without Debt: Buying Equipment First

One of the most heartbreaking things a farmer has to go through is purchasing necessary items for his/her farm.  Land and equipment prices are often into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.  By the time you buy even a small piece of land, minimal equipment, and a small herd/flock, you could be in debt a million dollars.

Farming, however, isn’t like other businesses–you don’t necessarily make back what you put in monetarily.

Out of curiosity the Farmer and I looked into a small (couple hundred acre) farm loan and what it would take to pay it off.  After we did the math we learned two key things:

First, we would have to have a great crop each and every year in order to have a chance of paying it off.  If there was ever one year when a natural disaster happened, we couldn’t make it and all our work would have been in vein.

The second thing we learned was that even if we had excellent yields on a consistent basis, the odds were we would never live long enough to pay off our loans.  It was highly likely one (or more) of our children would inherit our debt.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’d love to think that one or more of my children will want to stay on the farm and finish paying it off.  But…what if they don’t?  What if the Farmer and I put our blood, sweat, and tears into a farm and upon our death our children just got rid of it.  In our eyes, that would mean we’d never own our farm.

These are sobering facts.  When you do the math, it becomes clear pretty quickly that taking a loan out to start a farm puts you in a position of being a slave to the payments–most likely for the rest of your life.

Sound depressing?  Maybe so–and that should be even more of a reason why if you want to start your own farm you should try to do everything you can to avoid debt.

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Evolution Of A Homestead Orchard: From The Beginning

We have 11 apple trees that our grandparents planted on our smaller portion of the larger family homestead.  I can’t even begin to count how many plum trees we have.  There’s a double line of russian olives that act as a wind break.  At the time that we began thinking about putting in an actual orchard, that’s all there was.

If we wanted serviceberries, chokecherries, elderberries, pears, or other produce, then we needed to forage for them.  Some fruits that we desired weren’t even available to forage and we had to purchase or barter for them if we wanted them.

We decided when the family started growing and our economic situation allowed us, that we would start growing an orchard.  We had to answer questions such as, How much do we plant?  What do we plant?  Where will we put it? and How will we water it?

After we figured this out, we realized we couldn’t plant an entire acre (the portion of land we chose) all at once.  We needed to add trees each year.  Two more questions that we now needed to answer came up.  Where do we start? and How do we keep the weeds away?

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