11 Things To Do With A Bumper Crop Of Onions

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Growing onions from bulbs is easy for a novice (or expert) gardener to do.  I regularly plant upwards of 600 a year myself.  Rarely, if ever, does a bulb decide not to grow into a large, juicy onion.

So what’s a gardener to do when an excited day in the spring garden leads to a bumper crop of onions in the fall?  I’ve got a few ideas for you…

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Nurturing Creativity: A Modern Twist On Vintage Toys

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When I was around five years old, I remember my mother telling me she vowed when she was younger that her children would be part of the solution to this broken world—not the problem.  It’s stuck with me my entire life.

I’d be lying if I said my husband and I haven’t vowed the same thing for our children.

Our children will be part of the solution.

And in order to be part of the solution, we’ve got to nurture their compassion, selflessness, and creativity.

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How To Freeze Blackberries So They Don’t Stick Together

I generally only get one morning to pick blackberries each year—two if I have a ton of time on my hands.  This means we eat fresh berries every day for about a week.  Since blackberries don’t stay fresh for long, I have to preserve the rest as fast as I can.  For me, this means I freeze blackberries until I can pull them back out either for canning jams and sauces, or baking with them.

One of the most frustrating things I hear others complain about when it comes to freezing blackberries is that they are a solid mass of berry once they get pulled back out of the freezer.

Good news:  Not only do I know how to freeze them so they come out of the freezer as individual berries, but I’m also going to share that with you.  Don’t worry, it’s easy.

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Growing Self Sufficiency: Start Your Journey Of Self Sufficiency

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Self sufficiency is a growing trend right now–and for good reason.  Once you get a taste of providing for yourself, you realize it’s one of the most rewarding adventures you could pursue.  From having a few potted plants or a beehive on your balcony, to having full-out acreage with larger animals, there is a level of self sufficiency we can all achieve when we’re willing to put in the time and sweat.

Knowing where and how to start is often what keeps us from taking that first step.  Once we map out our direction and choose a starting point, this new plan becomes our driving force.

If you are looking for that driving force, or just want a little bit more information before you further your journey, then this is one resource you’re going to find incredibly helpful.

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Homemade Pink Grapefruit Curd For Home Preservation

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Pink grapefruit curd for the freezer. These dutch babies look so good--and I think these would make good macaroons too.

One thing we can’t grow this far north in our short cold season is citrus.  I love citrus.  And although grapefruit isn’t my favorite, I don’t pass up a good slice of grapefruit pie.

Since we don’t really have the time to eat pie right now, I just made up a bunch of curd to freeze for future pies, tarts, and maybe as cookie filling in the future.

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Building A Root Cellar: A Homesteader’s Bank Account

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A couple years ago we knew we would have to build a new root cellar.  Not only was the current one letting the mice in, but we actually worried it would soon collapse in on itself.

We began drafting plans for the new root cellar, making a supply list, and pricing those items.  We knew we’d save on costs by building it ourselves, and we really liked that idea anyway–we’d get exactly what we wanted.

I’m not going to lie to you–it’s not as easy as you might think.  You’ve got to consider the water level, the frost line, drainage, and air flow, among other things.  It’s not quite as simple as it may first appear.

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Tips And Tricks For Small Farmers To Sell Their Produce

As farmers, we have a little bit of experience selling crops (just a tad).

We grow crops on a large scale (see Meet The Farmers).  However, I wanted to make good, organic produce available to locals who can’t grow their own food and the tourists that come through.  So we decided to set aside one acre to grow produce on a small scale.

My next move was to approach a grocery store.  There is one tiny Mom & Pop store nearby that I thought might possibly want to sell produce, but it was risky.

The owner was very kind.  I gave him enough free corn to feed his family dinner, and then he agreed to try our produce.

At first, I made posters and had those interested in corn make an order.  I contacted him every Monday morning and got the order.  We spent Monday preparing the order, and then into the root cellar it went for the night.  Tuesday morning we made our delivery.

As the corn did well, he asked me for a sample of beans.  I gave him three pounds, and before I knew it, I was taking orders for corn and beans Monday mornings.

Now, most Monday mornings I call, and he tells me, “Bring me all of everything you have.”  He’s never turned any of our produce down.

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Teaching Our Children To Become Good Stewards And Embrace The Simple Life

*This post is sponsored by Mason Jars Co. and contains affiliate links.  If you click on a link and make a purchase, I may make a small commission at no cost to you.  Thank you for supporting this site.  All opinions are my own.*

 

Teaching our children to be good stewards of our environment and embrace the simple life.

I’m busy today.

I was up twice in the middle of the night.  So I’m tired too.  But there will be no nap.

Because I’m busy.

Going on three hours of sleep, I have to beat the sun to my garden—my half acre garden.  I have to move the water row by row all day long, and weed at least one row of vegetables.

I have to open the greenhouse as the sun comes up.  There will be three rounds of watering to keep everything from drying out.

By 7:00, I’ll begin waking up children and bathing them.  I’ll sneak out to feed animals and check all their waters before heading in to plan and prepare three meals that will all need cleaned up when done.

I’ll have to teach various children various school lessons.  I’ll feed the baby several times.

There is laundry to be done, dishes, sweeping, mopping, and basic outdoor maintenance.

At some point, a crew of hungry cowboys will grace their way through and they will need a round of jam and rolls with coffee.

It’s also quite possible that I’ll have to spend some time in the tractor working the fields.

I’ll do all of this while dragging all my young children with me—teaching them how to be good stewards of this earth, give freely of ourselves to others, love people generously, and embrace responsibilities.

With my children in tow, I will teach them how to love and embrace this “simple” life.

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How We Dehydrate Raspberries And Use Them Later

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I was very fortunate this year to get two raspberry foraging trips.  I say fortunate because I really wasn’t planning either one.  With all the raspberries we scored, I knew I’d want to do more than just make up raspberry jam.  I made some raspberry sauce for treats, and I also had enough to dehydrate raspberries for later use.

When fall settles down into winter, I’ll start making granolas for winter breakfasts and one of our favorites is vanilla-raspberry.  There are also enough for snacks to take with us on our winter adventures.  And if any are left in the spring?  Well they make a good snack soaked in milk, or cooked into morning oatmeal.

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How To Get Rid Of Gophers: Lethal And Non-Lethal Methods

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Get rid of gophers in gardens and fields. Lists both lethal and non-lethal techniques.

Gophers are a pest known to many gardeners, and hated by most.  They live in all areas of North America except for the far north and east.

With their front claws and front teeth, gophers dig tunnels 6-12 inches below ground that can be up to 800 feet long.  These tunnels are concentrated in open fields, lawns, and the gardens we love.

While a mole will dig tunnels and eat mainly grubs and worms, gophers go right for our good stuff—our coveted produce and flowers.  They aren’t overly picky, and will eat buds, grass, nuts, roots, and vegetables.  Carrots, lettuce, and radishes are a favorite, although any vegetable that is juicy will do.  I have a particular problem keeping them away from my young pepper plants.

In our area, with it’s short growing season, gophers have one main breeding season, and that’s usually in June.  One minute we’ve got a few tunnels, and we’re planting our garden.  The next minute, we’re overrun with gophers.  I’ve learned over the years that if I can employ a variety of means to get rid of them in June, the rest of my season isn’t so bad.

If you live in a warmer climate, however, you could see 3-4 breeding cycles a year in your area.  How do you get rid of gophers?  It’s not easy to do, and it’s a task I have to tackle every single year.

Here are some ways you can try to rid yourself of these rodents from killing them to trying to convince them to leave on their own, and some other things you’ll need to think about as you consider your options.

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