5 Easy Seeds Anyone Can Save.

Saving my own seeds was an infatuation that turned true love. I never thought I’d stick it out or find so many plants that have such easy seed saving processes. I truly thought it would be so much work, and it just wasn’t. So I’m now fully obsessed and moving forward, I will always harvest my own seeds. The way seeds form truly fascinates me and I love watching them develop just as much as I do a fruit on the vine. Nothing says sustainability like not having to buy certain seeds from the store ever again.

There are tons of easy to save seeds out there but here’s the ones I started with and continue to save every year. You’ll be wowed at how simple it is and maybe chose a few to start saving yourself.

1. Marigolds

A must have for any garden for the two simple reasons that they provide for pollinators and bring that glorious golden glow to the garden. When the blooms get dry on the plant simply pluck them off and set somewhere to dry.

You’ll get hundreds of seeds per head, trust me you’ll be giving them away you’ll have so many. And you’ll have seeds to plant for years to come. I’ve stored them in paper bags over winter and my germination is always very high.

Marigolds are a wonderful companion plant to just about any fruit/vegetable plant. Currently I have them in my three sisters gardens (corn, beans, pumpkins), with raspberries, chives, tomatoes, cucumber, celery, they grow well just about anywhere.

2. Bachelor Buttons

Another must have. If you’re planting a food garden, flowers are a must. These tall airy plants self seed fantastically and the beneficial bugs love them. Will basically pop up and grow by itself almost anywhere. The flower heads should be left on the plant until they look like the one below.

They get a sort of straw flower feel after they lose their petals when ready, you’ll see the seeds are jammed in under that fluffy center. Be sure to keep an eye out because once they are ready they’ll be dropping seed with any light breeze. So get them off and set aside to finish drying out.

Like marigolds I usually leave the seed heads intact over winter up but you can totally separate the seeds out and store them anyway you’d like. The point is all these seeds are simple to save and store.

3. Basil

This herb is a given. If you garden, you have basil. If you don’t you are missing out friend. From it’s medicinal to culinary uses basil can be used all across the board and the bees will thank you.

Canning tomato sauce? Don’t forget to plant basil with your tomatoes. They love the shade the tomatoes provide and bush out like crazy if you continually harvest. Another self seeder these seeds will pop up anywhere with ample moisture. Keep a close eye once the flowers on the plants dry up since the tiny black seeds scatter easily.

4. Dill

I’ve only recently started growing dill and I’m blown away by the ease of it all. If you’ve ever made homemade pickles you know home grown or at least local dill is the way to go. Plus its gorgeous, absolutely gorgeous.

The seeds will form once the flowers die and you’ll be able to pick a beautiful seed head. I remove the seeds and store in seed packets so they take up less space.

5. Chives

These whimsical plants belong in all gardens in my opinion. Their little clumps spread easily and come back every year. Once the purple flowers fade you’ll know they are ready. Inside you’ll find dozens of little black seeds. Simply snap off the heads to collect and save.

The girls and I eat most of our chives while in the garden. They’re a perfect snack with a little spice and pair wonderfully with fresh picked spinach. But let’s be honest, they are best in a salad!

So there you have it. Seed saving isn’t as daunting as it might seem. As a tip, avoid hybrid varieties for seed saving. Sometimes the seeds you harvest won’t be true to the parent plant, so stick to heirlooms to be safe. If you’re feeling extra inspired here’s a few other varieties just as easy to save:

– zinnia

– cilantro

– parsley

– radish

– kale

– mustard

Now get seed saving!

Peace & Love,

Q

What is Comfrey.. And Why I Bought it Off Amazon.

You guys this was crazy but it worked! I was very skeptical when another homesteader over on IG recommended a great source for comfrey.. from Amazon! It wasn’t even expensive like I’d assumed it would be. Ill leave the link to the roots I purchased at the bottom of this post.

When the roots showed up I was in awe. I wasn’t sure if I’d get live plants or cuttings, but root sections wrapped in damp paper towel is what I found. Of course I planted right away. The seller even gave me some sprouted crowns!

The package came with a nice typed up set of instructions which said it can take up to 60 days for the cuttings to sprout. The roots I planted in horizontally came up in about a month but the crowns I planted vertically and they came up within 10 about days! I’m just totally blown away at the quality of these plants. They are not picky about their soil and grow quickly. Two things me likey.

So at this point you might be wondering what comfrey even is and why this crazy lady is raving about it. So here’s what I know from my research.. Comfrey is a biodynamic accumulating perennial. Lots of big words huh? Let’s brake it down.

Biodynamic accumulator: Sends down tap roots deep into soil and pulls vitamins & minerals up from deep and stores them in their foliage.

Perennial: plants that come back every year. So you only have to plant once.

Basically its a permaculture and organic gardening powerhouse. A must have for any homestead. Because, it can be used in so many ways for all the goods things stored in its leaves and roots and is extremely sustainable. From teas and salves to compost tea, it can even be used a green mulch, just chop and drop it around any plants you think need an extra boost. The amazing wound healing properties promote cell division and healing. A comfrey compress on a sprained ankle or even a poultice to draw out infection can do wonders.

One last fun fact about comfrey; it attracts and feeds beneficial insects earthworms. A++

There is just nothing this plant cannot help with. I’ve seen many examples of comfrey being planted in fruit tree guilds to help feed the tree. In future I’d love to have fruit trees on our homestead and with such barren dry soil comfrey will be a must.

Comfrey spreads by root division as well as seed so it can multiply very rapidly. It can become a nuisance if left to spread somewhere unwanted. Luckily I purchased the “Bocking 14” Russian Comfrey which was developed to be sterile. Meaning this variety is unable to be spread by seed. Making the spreading easier to manage. But honestly I’d be ok if it went crazy. And I can still take my own root cuttings. Plus chickens love to eat it so at this point I can’t have too much.

I stuck some in both gardens to help balance the nutrients in the soil naturally with the help of worms and compost. I hoping to give some comfrey salve a try this winter I hear it’s great for cuts and scrapes.

Most of what I’ve learned about comfrey has come from Paul Wheaton. Check out his webpage and YouTube channel for tons more info. I also find that Justin Rhodes of Abundant Permaculture has tons of great into about comfrey on his YouTube Channel (go check it out!)

Reach out if you have any questions about my comfrey and I’ll keep you updated!

Peace & Love

Q

Buy Comfrey Here!

Sources:

“Wonderful Multi-Purpose Comfrey Plant” Permaculture Research Institute

Permies.com- Paul Wheaton

Essential Oil DIY Supply List

Hey guys! I get a lot of questions about this but Im going to keep it short and sweet! If you’re a veteran oil user or a first timer you’re bound to find a DIY recipe that you want to re-create for your home or family. So I’ve taken the time to compile a list of all the must-haves for my do-it-yourself cabinet. I keep these all on hand since they appear so commonly in the essential oil DIY world. For clarification I didn’t just chose random items, these are things my family and I actually use and trust after years of trial and error. We’ve tried tons of brands and these are the ones we’ve come to love.

Every item on the list has a link attached to it so you can click with ease and be re-directed to Amazon if you’d like to purchase. We don’t personally sell these items but if you click through and purchase through the links we do get compensated a small percentage. On a homestead every cent counts and we really appreciate all the support we get from our followers, you can consider it a way to help us grow our farm and our savings account (to buy our own homestead)! SO thank you all and enjoy!

Note: I added below each a few recipes/ways I use each item.

DIY Ingredients:

Shea butter

  • pomade
  • lotion
  • nursing balm

Sweet Almond oil

  • pomade
  • facewash
  • carrier oil

Argan oil

  • detangler
  • moisturizer
  • carrier oil

Aloe Vera

  • after sun spray
  • postpartum peri-spray

Witch Hazel

  • postpartum peri-spray
  • pillow/ air-freshener spray
  • toner
  • after sun spray

Soy wax

  • candles

Bees wax

  • pomade
  • candles
  • lip balm

Coconut oil

  • skin/hair DIYs
  • carrier oil
  • labor peri-rub

Arrowroot powder

  • pomade
  • dry shampoo

DIY containers:

2ml sample bottles

  • to have smaller oil quantities for travel

Dry Body Brush

  • google body brushing.. seriously do it.

2 Oz. glass spray bottle

16 Oz. glass spray bottle

4 Oz. Tins

2 Oz. Tins

  • for storing all that homemade goodness!

Keep in mind these are NOT all the products I use. I started you off with some of the basics and some of my most used ingredients. I’ll continue to add to this as I stock my DIY cabinet. Feel free to drop a comment and tell me what you use!

Peace & Love

Q

Homemade (chemical-free) Hair Detangler.

If you’ve ever met my daughters then you may well know they have some wild farm hair. Beautiful, beautifully wild. And instead of taking the easy way out and giving them manageable cuts, like say my mom did for me (by the way thanks for the bowl cut mom…lol), we chose to let our girls grow their hair out.

Taming their lovely blonde locks is easy if done daily, and a full on drama if not. In order to make the task a little easier I opted to make a homemade detangler. I’m sure there will still be days when short hair would be easier, but we’d rather struggle through the snarls than cut one hair of those beautiful yellow mops.

I’ll usually try to make whatever personal/beauty products I can from home to avoid chemical filled products or anything that could be toxic if ingested. I found several recipes which I already had ingredients for (score!) so I mixed and matched until I found a concoction that I was satisfied with. If you or your kids have longer or just hard to manage hair in general, would like something with less ingredients, a product that is actually beneficial to hair growth then give this spray a try.

I used only high quality organic ingredients and all the essential oils used are Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade. Interested in essential oils? Find out more here.

More than likely you’re curious about all these ingredients so I compiled some info on each and where to purchase them.

Argan Oil while being edible in pure form is also a powerful moisturizer and very high in Vitamins A and E. In the past it has been used for rash & wound treatment, as it is extremely nourishing for your skin & hair. Argan oil is high in oleic and linoleic fatty acids which means it is soothing to acne prone skin. I know it sounds counterintuitive to use oil as an acne treatment (..coming from someone who oil washes.. it’s amazing y’all) but Argan oil is non-comedogenic, meaning it does NOT clog pores! Boom. I’ve been using natural oils (jojoba, sweet almond, argan) to wash my face over 3 years and I’ll never go back to retail brand face wash. Seriously google it, buy some oil, slather your face, I promise your pores will thank you. It’s not hard to see why this oil has a place in my beauty cabinet. You can see in the photo below I like the Leven Rose brand which I bought on Amazon.

Vegetable Glycerin is commonly used by cosmetic and body care companies to boost the moisture retention in their products. Being water and alcohol soluble the at home uses are endless. It is widely used by herbalists to extract the botanical properties from plant matters. Glycerin is also edible with a sweet syrup-like flavor. Now Solutions has a great line of natural products of which I’ve bought several and been very pleased. I also buy this on Amazon.

It may seem odd but Apple Cider Vinegar is a great natural hair conditioner… if you can get past the smell that is. You can basically buy ACV anywhere, I always opt for organic or nonGMO brands. A while back I took a break from conventional shampoo & conditioner, washing solely with baking soda and conditioning with apple cider vinegar. My hair loved it, my family did not, so I opted only to deep condition with it every few months.

Rosemary, a protective herb, has cleansing and healing properties. It can reduce hair loss & dandruff, while providing a refreshing & balancing aroma.

Lavender which means “to wash” in Latin, is a healing herb, it can soothe so many things it is commonly referred to as the Swiss Army knife of essential oils. It is known to be antibacterial & regenerative, healing, calming & great for emotional balance.

Grapefruit is an astringent & detoxifier, it reduces stress, is very uplifting and can even be used to make homemade hair tonics and deep conditioners. Additionally grapefruit can be used on oily skin and to help alleviate acne. Plus it smells amazing!

Alternatively you could use any other citrus (lime, lemon, mandarin, etc.) or mint oil, like peppermint or spearmint. If you wanna get extra weird try patchouli, it’s amazing for hair/scalp health making it perfect to kick dandruff’s butt. Mix and match oils until you find a blend you love.

Avoid putting this spray in anything plastic as chemicals from the plastic will leach out contaminating the purity of the essential oils. I purchased amber glass spray bottles off amazon.

Homemade (chemical-free) Hair Detangler Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbs Argan Oil (or Vitamin E oil)
  • 2 Tbs Vegetable Glycerin
  • 1 Tbs Apple Cider Vinegar (optional)
  • 15-20 drops essential oil
  • Distilled or filtered water
  • 4 oz glass spray bottle
  • Small metal funnel
  • Directions:
    1. Using funnel combine argan oil, glycerin & vinegar in glass spray bottle.
      Chose your essential oils, I used grapefruit, rosemary, and lavendar; 5 drops of each for a total of 15 drops. (Don’t know where to buy essential oils? Become a wholesale member here.) Drop them into the glass bottle.
      Top off the glass bottle with distilled water. I’ve totally used my tap water before also, we have a well so I trust our water quality (there’s no added chemicals) and this spray gets used up quickly in or house. The water may be a bit hard but our hair is already used to that. We’re lucky to have such great and un-treated water, if you do in fact have treated water be sure to used distilled water for your spray.
      Replace spray cap and shake to mix. Shake before every application as ingredients may separate. Apply to wet or dry hair as needed. No need to rinse out and can be used as leave in conditioner.
  • Tip: Don’t be surprised if it seems different, it won’t smell or resemble store bought kids detangler. This is all natural folks so it won’t be full of fillers or fragrances. If you’re like my husband and you’re sensitive to smells, leave out the apple cider vinegar.
  • Pretty easy huh? It only takes about 5 minutes to whip up and works great. I even use it on my hair occasionally. Make sure to keep it in a cool dark place for the best longevity. Now go brush your hair!
  • Peace and Love,
  • Q
  • For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
  • Prepping the homestead for a road trip.

    As I sit here, sipping my coffee and avoiding the inevitable and lengthy list of to-dos that must be done before Wednesday, Im wondering why we agreed to this trip in the first place. I’m leaving my garden and my animals for two whole weeks. I’ve given my self a head cold from the stress of it, a talent I’ve had since I was an adolescent going on any family vacation. Like really Q, chill out. We. Will. All. Survive. Operation ‘Plant as much as I can before Wednesday’ is behind schedule. I’m not done packing.. for five people. And I’ve lost my favorite essential oil roller..

    but baby this vacation and I need each other! The chance to show my growing family the place I love so much. See the inside of my grandparents house one last time. To fish all day, swim and lay in the sun. To spend 16 days and 16 nights with Spencer, no work all play? Done and done. Buh-bye homestead I love, I’ll be back for you..

    Everyone needs a vacation right? To get away from their reality and live differently for a bit?

    For a homesteader, a vacation is a scary adventure with unpredictable outcomes. Will the garden die? Or get swarmed by bugs? Will my chickens get slaughtered by the resident coyotes? Or will my goose finally succeed and I come home to fresh goslings? There’s are so many unknowns.. lucky for us we have some great best friends who’ve been there and done that with us on all things homestead. Without them, this trip would not be possible. I don’t say that lightly, they are literally the only people I trust with my babies, both plant and animal. They’ll be watering my gardens with love and shepherding my feathered flock. And for that I say, thank you thank you thank you & amen!

    Because everyone needs a vacation guys, even a homebody homesteader mama like me.

    It’s not easy either. I feel a little crazy, dragging our little family halfway across the country. And I’m sure Spencer will be tearing me from the garden kicking and screaming come Wednesday morning. Maybe it’s not the best call to head out in the middle of June? Major planning and timely execution got us to this point. From installing drip irrigation in one garden, in ground irrigation repairs in the other, building a new chicken run & treating the flock for mites, planting hundreds of starts & thousands of seeds, and a whole lot of mulching everything in sight I think we’re going to be ok.

    Maybe the shelling peas will rippen before we leave, maybe it’ll be after. And it’s ok. That’s the best benny of house-sitting for a gardener, you get to reap the harvest while they’re gone. And of what plenty there will be. I might miss out on peas, spinach, and kale. When I get back the cucumbers, watermelons, and pumpkins will be vining around, maybe the raspberries will be ready, and I’m sure we will be rolling in salad greens and radishes. And all the while we’ll be teaching our kids to swim, eating fresh caught fish, soaking up family time, and recharging our souls for this life we love.

    Here I sit still sipping coffee, writing this when I really need to get back to it. But I’ll definitely finish my coffee first. Then I’ll be logging as many hours in my happy gardens as I can before departure.

    Peace and Love, Q

    Dalton “Roadhouse” James

    January 30th, 1990 – March 9th, 2017

    I’ve been writing this for over a year… every time I open it, I struggle to find the words. The right words to send you off with. You’ve been gone a lap around the sun and then some, and I still feel like I’m just beginning to let you go. The right words to describe who you were. The words that would undeniably resonate your memory to anyone reading this. And I’m writing this standing in the bathroom still wet from the shower… What random timing from inspiration eh? I guess when it hits ya, it just hits.

    As for the right words? Ill find none perfect. I really never thought I would be here.. And really, the perfect words would be yours. If anything I’m sure you’d have a whole lot to say about this whole ordeal. In truth I’d really like your opinion.. on just about everything really.. from my outfit choice (since you made me get spiffy just to go to our local watering hole) or what Im making for dinner tonight, even what we’ll name baby #4, the one Ill never get to call you up and tell you about. You always had an opinion, sometimes even an unwelcome or sarcastic opinion. From gmo debates in the kitchen to which restaurant we HAD to eat at on your most recent visit. As if I needed that when you were still alive. And now I desire it more than anything. One last pointless debate. One more strategic and sarcastic jab. It’s funny the things we miss or choose to specifically remember.

    Like the kitchen.. I have so many memories of you in our kitchens. And so many others honestly. So random! Eating, drinking, or just talking. From making a couples dinner on a Valentine’s Day in a tiny apartment when we were young and dumb to pouring shots of your favorite while I roasted a homegrown bird that you helped us butcher. My mothers sink full to the brim with empty beer cans from a long pong tourney, and those parties we were never supposed to throw, that first night I saw you play and heard you sing. Holding a month old baby or rocking another through a teething fit, you have been there with us. Intertwined into every piece of the fabric of our lives. You, our dearest friend, are part of us. A piece never again to be filled.

    Even after you left back to work. The first just as the third time. You were still everywhere. A bent up cowboy hat on the hook by the door, an empty bottle of pricey tequila from that one year of rodeo, a torn oilfield hoodie I found in the trunk of my Buick, a koozie hanging in line next to everyone else’s; you littered yourself all over and I could never be more grateful for that. Well now at least. I’d always give you guff for leaving your shit everywhere. And I am positive you’d give me shit for saying guff just now. I still laugh at things I know you’d think were funny. Or smile at a new song I know you’d love. You are everywhere. In a country song on the radio, air drumming like a mad man in the passenger seat. Singing every word to every song. I still have this lingering feeling that if I wanted to bad enough I could dial you up and I know you’d answer. Ever that reliable phone talker.

    You’ve shown me more about how to live this last year than ever. I’m sorry I didn’t listen more when you were alive. Im sorry I didn’t relax a little more and take things a little less serious when you were here. I envied your ability to maintain a positive outlook even on your worst of days. How you’d never let life get you down. That old soul and excitedly happy outlook have taught me so much. I’m laughing more now. Stressing less now. Jumping at opportunities and working harder for my dreams. I’m not afraid anymore, well not as scared at least. I can see more clearer now. Thank you friend.

    You buddy, were my best friend. I’m not saying that lightly or because I want to impress you.. or anyone. Lawd knows I wouldn’t dare make your head bigger than it already is. It’s just truth. But you brother were the Ted Mosby to our Marshall and Lilly (without all the whiny marital dream garb) and I know you’d laugh at that. But it’s so true. You love us so equally. I never felt like you weren’t my best friend just as much as Spencer’s. Never did we or will we have a friend like you. You’ve watched our relationship grow, blossom, wilt, and winter over to come back for a stronger season. And you never took sides, you never held anything against us, but were there so equally for us both. So encouraging and loving, so understanding and wise. I don’t know how you always did it. Too much info? Never. Nothing was ever TOO personal for you. You just loved us.

    I can’t believe you’re gone… what a time to get this out there huh? But Sisters Rodeo.. it was your holiday bro.. and it will never be the same. I know everyone keeps saying that, but it really won’t. There will always be an empty chair where you should be sitting. I might be the only one not excited to celebrate but I’m working on it. My reason to put my boots on and cowgirl up, was all you bro. And now I guess it has to be you again. You wouldn’t want me to sit and mope, I know you’d have drug me up those damn bleachers anyway. What fate that I’m pregnant for rodeo… again! Last year you kept me present in my grief so I could watch over everyone and this year it’s fate. This mama is not meant for a rodeo party quite yet. Last year I had such a vivid memory, one that I wish so hard for but would never come true. I can just hear you saying, “GET UP, WE’RE GOING! (Whistle, yaw!) Put your boots on… ok wait… LEXI!!! Put QBs boots on since she can’t reach her feet! Now get up and come on! We gotta get that baby outta you somehow!!” And Miss Dublin was born not even a week after your party. It breaks my heart that you’ll never meet her, see how much she looks like her sisters, hold her for me while I make dinner like you always did with Murph. And now here I am again, one year later, pregnant with a new baby. God willing you’ve put in a word up there and it’s a little boy.

    I miss you calling me from the road and talking for hours. I miss your loud voice. I miss your sweet singing voice. That shit eating grin. I miss how you always raced to ride shotgun like a kid. One thing I don’t miss is being shot in the toe by a BB gun, I’ll get you back one day! I miss being practically asphyxiated by your cologne before a night on the town or mostly the rodeo, sounds odd but you choked us with that smell bro. I miss your sometimes ridiculous music choices. Your laugh. I miss lessens on the oilfield, when you’d suddenly serious guy up and talk about your passion, you loved that roughneck life. I even miss your horrid sexist jokes.. and that’s saying something. That grin.

    Man you left too soon. Thank you for being you. Never trying to be something you weren’t. For taking what life threw at you and throwing it back harder. Never selling yourself short. For always being there, a constant in our lives. For unconditional friendship and love. A warm hug. A good joke. Help when we needed it. Acceptance. Fun. Encouragement. Your commitment. A laugh when I really needed it. Thank you for the people you loved that you brought into my life, and now I love them, your family away from home and anyone who touched your life or said you spoke of us often. Most of all, for being a force of nature. For teaching us something about ourselves and about life. I promise we’ll not forget it, none of us. And don’t worry about us, we got this buddy.

    To Dalton Ray James, a lighthearted soul and fiercely loyal friend. Forever a big deal, and truly always in our hearts. Now let’s do the damn thing!

    Elderberry Syrup

    This is straight up nature in a bottle guys. Only 5 super ingredients make up this immunity boosting syrup. Once a quite expensive remedy, elderberry syrup can now be made, by you, in your own home.

    This time of year it’s all we can do to keep our families protected from not only the elements but the dreaded flu season. Is it just me or is there something going on with this glorified “flu” vaccine? Call me crazy but it’s not working. Since my oldest daughter was 2 I’ve taken my family on a journey of natural solutions. From DoTERRA essential oils to this sickness kicking syrup.

    I source all my ingredients carefully making sure I find the best ingredients for my family. All of them can be found on Amazon and most can also be found at your local health food stores.

    It takes only a short time to throw together and the aroma it puts off is strong and beautiful. It can be taken once daily as an immune supplement or every 2-3 hours when you’re sick. If you do take it as a daily supplement I suggest taking the weekends off as to let your immune system regulate itself. Best part is you can literally put this on your waffles at breakfast, ooOo or maybe crepes?

    So here it is y’all enjoy!

    • 2/3 C dry whole elderberries
    • 3 1/2 C water
    • 2 TBS ginger root
    • 1 tsp cinnamon
    • 1/2 tsp cloves
    • 1 C raw honey
    1. Add berries, water, and spices to saucepan.
    2. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover.
    3. Simmer 45-90 minutes or until cooked down by almost half. Remove from heat.
    4. Strain berries from liquid squishing the juice out of the berries as you go.
    5. When cool enough to handle, but not yet cold, add honey and stir until dissolved.
    6. Pour into glass jar/bottle and store in refrigerator.
    7. Dosage: children 1-2 tsp, adults 1-2 TBS

    Pretty easy, eh? Let me know what you think about it. My kids love it, but some other don’t, even if it’s an acquired taste for you or your family, just know this stuff does only good for your body and works wonders on a stubborn cold. And it looks pretty dang cute in a jar like this in the fridge. I can’t tell you how many conversations have been started from this bottle of purple beauty.

    Gotta get back to seed inventorying. Happy garden dreaming y’all!

    Peace and Love,

    Q

    The National Ladies Homestead Gathering

    Hi all! I wanted to jump on here and express my absolute happiness for the most recent development for my homestead. I was recently watching a Justin Rhodes vlog, you know.. my chicken hero? If you don’t, look that man up on YouTube immediately and your mind will be blown! So back to watching one of his vlogs. They met up with an amazing woman back east named Cindi Ball, the National President and founder of the Ladies Homestead Gathering! How did I not know about this before???

    Long story short I found myself filling in the blanks of a questionnaire trying to learn more about the gathering and find my local chapter. Well surprise surprise there wasn’t one. Upon checking a box about the desire to start my own local chapter I didn’t think much of it. Until, I was contacted by the gathering and offered the opportunity to do just that! My own chapter? Really..? Could this be possible? The answer was yes. So after discussing this in length with my husband and with Cindi herself (by phone of course) I decided to take the leap!

    Last Tuesday I hosted the interest meeting for the Ladies Homestead Gathering of Deschutes County as its chapter president. Elated with excitement and nerves I had a bit of a struggle starting out. Tripping over tongue and talking wayyy to fast, but after the ice was broken my passion was able to spill out over the conference room, I had found my tribe. Women who don’t glaze over when I ramble about chickens for the millionth time? Could this be real? Very yes! My cup is so full from this small amount of women and I can already see our chapter growing into an amazing community of like minded ladies.

    For those of you unaware of ‘The Gathering’ here’s our mission statement:

    The National Ladies Homestead Gathering exists to provide a welcoming environment, where women can share new ideas, celebrate victories, address challenges and cultivate community with like-minded women. All women are welcome who have a dream, calling or desire to be more self-sufficient. In the planning phase of a veteran homesteader – every women has something to contribute or gain from coming together.

    Fantastic right? I never knew there could be so many women so near to me with the same mindset. For years I have found my camaraderie and mentorship through social media. Vlogs, tutorials, YouTube videos, and summits were always there for me, but I wanted more. I wanted something tangible. Something outside the social media world. I searched for an identity for myself in addition to wife and mother. I love my family life but mama needed something to pour myself into. How could I get so lucky to find this group I’ll never know. But I’m here now and so grateful for it.

    For any interested Ladies out there, come join us. We’re dying to meet you and pour out our hearts to help you succeed. Join our tribe, you won’t regret it! We will be meeting regularly at the Redmond OR library every third Tuesday of the month at 3:30 pm. And if you’re too far to travel find your own local chapter, or, start your own!

    Visit the Ladies Homestead Gathering website for more info. You can email me directly at quincy.burke91@gmail.com or find me on Facebook or Instagram for our local chapter info.

    I hope to see you at our November meeting.

    Peace and Love

    And happy Homesteading!

    Q

    Simply Delicious Homemade Pesto.

    Hi y’all! If you love pesto you’ll love this recipe, if you also love preserving your herb harvest this post is for you.

    Before this summer I never how simple and fun making homemade pesto was. Even better if you have your own right outside your back door, am I right?

    All you need is a food processor/blender and cute jar to stuff it in and you’re set.

    Ingredients:

    • 3 C fresh basil leaves (packed)
    • 1/4 C pine nuts
    • 1/2 C organic olive oil
    • 1 tsp lemon zest
    • 2 tsp lemon juice (fresh squeezed)
    • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
    • 1/3 C grated Parmesan (fresh if possible)

    Directions:

    1. Clean off any bugs or dirt from basil and rinse under water if needed (pat dry)
    2. Add basil leaves, pine nuts, lemon zest & juice, garlic, and Parmesan cheese to food processor and blend until well incorporated.
    3. Drizzle in oil and let emulsify and blend in well.
    4. Voila! Pack your yummy pesto into a jar and store in your fridge.

    Make this pesto with any and all varieties of basil you choose. So far I’ve done sweet, Thai, and cinnamon… lime and purple are next up. I even started more seeds and took a few cuttings for indoor winter basil. Add it pizza, pasta, toast or anything your heart desires.

    Cheers y’all!

    Peace and Love,

    Q

    Preserving Garden Herbs for Winter. 

    Winter is coming. Anyone out there a Game of Throne-ers like us…? Yes? No? Well anyway…. winter is literally just round the corner here in the PNW, we'll not really since it's fire season here and fires are raging not far off. But with all these fresh herbs filling my house and garden I can't bear the idea of not having some around to lift up my stews and season our meals. Oh those long cold days. How wonderful that sounds right about now. So heres just a few ways I'm preserving my herbs:

    1. Drying
    2. Freezing in olive oil
    3. Infusing in olive oil & vinegar
    4. Pesto!
    5. Extracts and tinctures.

    So most of you probably know how to dry herbs, but if not here's the short and sweet version. Bundle and tie herbs together and hang upside down, preferably somewhere away from dust and moisture. Once dry remove leaves from stems, crush or leave whole and store in an air tight container.

    • Currently hanging: Greek oregano, chives, lime and Thai basil. Today I plan to put up some pineapple sage to dry also.

    • Finished product: Greek oregano

    Note: With all of the following recipes be sure to pick of any bugs and shake off any dirt hanging on so they/it won't end up in your finished product. I also rinsed all my herbs in cold water and patted them dry.

    One of the best ways to preserve that fresh taste is to freeze an herb in olive oil. At the time I did this I had an over abundance of basil so that's what I did plus I love the flavor and olive oil is my chosen cooking oil other than the animals fats. So I simply cut up my basil with some herb shears, covered the bottom of my ice cube tray with the cut herbs and poured the oil over to cover.

    • After freezing overnight.

    When it comes to infusing oils and vinegars it's as simple as stuffing a jar full of dried or fresh herbs and pouring the liquid over the top. Make sure all the plant matter is covered in the case of olive oil so as to avoid mold. I infused olive oil (any other oils work also; avocado, canola, etc.) with all kinds of basils and oregano. I infused vinegar with the basil also. These will both be used for salad dressings and cooking in the winter. Put them in a dark place to infuse for a couple months. If using fresh herbs you may encounter some cloudiness in your oils due to the water in the leaves. If so just leave off the lid for a day or so (if it's warm out) and the water particles will quickly evaporate. Below are a few of the infusions.

    • Vinegar left and olive oil right.

    I don't know about you but I love pesto! And anyway I can get it cheaper than the store is right up my ally. Most of the ingredients are common stock for most kitchens, simply source yourself some pine nuts and you're on your way! I found a few great recipes on Pinterest.
    Hint: fresh basil from the garden works best!

    • If you want this to last I suggest doing a double batch in order to freeze some and eat some fresh. As you can see mine is halfway gone… Can you say yum?!

    Extracts and tinctures sound harder than they are and some recipes call for a little more measuring than I chose to do. I made it simple like Shaye from The Elliott Homestead with her echinacea tincture. I stuffed my jars full of these herbs and dumped vodka on them. My currents extractions and tinctures consist of echinacea tincture (recipe courtesy of The Elliott Homestead as I stated above) and chocolate mint extract. Very soon I'll be making my own homemade vanilla extract for which I might consult an actual recipe since it seems it needs to be a little more exact. As for the mint and echinacea I did as follows. Prepare clean jars. Clip fresh herbs. Leaves and stems (echinacea also the blossoms). Stuff in jars. Pour vodka completely over foliage so it is entirely submerged. Fasten with air tight lid. Boom.

    • Pow Wow Echinacea

    • Freshly stuffed jar of Echinacea.

    • After a few days the flowers will lose their bright color

    • Chocolate Mint extract

    • I highly suggest labeling everything you extract, tincturize, or infuse. Herbs lose their form and color slightly and it can be hard to tell what's what after a few days. Been there, done that. Labels are you friend!

    Well there you have it! Many ways to save those fresh herbs. From freezing over night, drying for a weekish, or waiting those few months to use your yummy garden goodies you'll be set for winter. It's well worth it folks. Make sure you prune your herbs regularly so they stay around longer and don't bolt. Once they do save those seeds folks! Aaaaand don't forget to start more herbs for your fall garden, if you treat them right you may be able to keep them inside for the long haul!

    Purple basil anyone?

    Peace and Love,
    Quincy