A season of carrots

I harvested the last of the veggies this weekend, my carrots. Looking back, I had a few pictures hat showed their progress.

Planted bed on June 1st, carrots were on the right of the grape arbor.

June 1st Garden Panorama

Weeding and thinning on July 8th

Weeding happy rows of carrots and listening to an audiobook of Joel Salatin's book, Folks, This Ain't Normal

Filling in, July 22

One of my main beds full of green onions, carrots, bush beans, and cucumbers.

Checking on the fun new colored mix I was trying, August 9th

Peeking at the carrots.  I did a mix of orange and purple this year.

A few confused carrots going to seed, October 4th

I have a couple of confused carrots starting to bolt. I don't think they know what biennial means.

November 8th, the digging begins!

I think someone else should finish digging the second half of the carrots, I'm all out of oomph for the season.

And the chopping

This years carrot mix may well be my prettiest canning project yet.

November 9th, done! I got 40 pints plus what I used fresh out of that little 6’x5′ bed! Good job little carrots.

This years carrot harvest is finally preserved!

Pumpkin for breakfast

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast
Makes 4 servings

4 eggs
1/4 cup milk
2 TBSP sugar
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

8 ounces cream cheese
4 TBSP sugar
4 TBSP pumpkin puree
2 tsp pumpkin pie spices
8 slices cinnamon raisin bread

Combine egg mixture ingredients in one bowl and mix well. Combine filling ingredients in another bowl and mix well. Spread 1/4 of filling between two slices of bread and dip each side of this sandwich in egg mixture. Fry until golden brown on both sides and serve with maple syrup.

Real pumpkin spice latte

Real pumpkin spice latte

1/2 cup milk
1 Tablespoon pumpkin purée
1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 shot espresso

Combine milk, pumpkin, and spices. Froth, or heat in sauce pan for 4 to 5 minutes without boiling and then wisk until frothy. Prepare espresso and pour over milk mixture.

Light and Fluffy Pumpkin Pancakes

Light and Fluffy Pumpkin Pancakes

1 1/4 cups flour
2 TBSP sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup milk
6 TBSP pumpkin puree
2 TBSP melted butter
1 egg

Mix together dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, combine wet ingredients. Fold together and drop by 1/4 cup onto a skillet. Cook about 3 minutes per side until brown. Makes about 8 pancakes.

Second Annual Birthday Adenture

I started a new tradition recently of doing an outdoor adventure weekend for my birthday. This year I chose one of the remote backpacking sites at Rock Island State Park to head out to.

It was 200 miles, 2 ferry rides, and 1.75 miles of backpacking away :D This was while waiting for the second ferry, Rock Island is within view of Washington Island.

I thought it was a wonderful place to stay. All of the campers I talked to described their campsites as private and remote, even those on the West end close to the harbor.

Mine was on the East end of the island, but the hike is short enough even for pudgy beginner backpackers like me. Being on the edge of a cliff overlooking Lake Michigan, it was stunning too.

Down below there was a hidden rocky shore. The only way down I saw was from my campsite, but I’m guessing the other 2 remote spots nearby had access somehow.

You definitely want good hiking boots here. The paths are all rocks and roots and skirt along cliffs.

There’s a couple buildings you can tour to learn about the islands history. This was up in the lighthouse.

And a shot from the outside. This is actually the lighthouse and it’s modern less romantic replacement.


Autumn Air

It’s turned cool and rainy here, bringing the definite feel of autumn to the garden.  Although spring came late and summer was cooler than normal, most of  my plants are already done for the year.  The last 2 weeks have been a flurry of activity to harvest and preserve everything when it came in one big glut.

Rather than winding down, the garden just suddenly called it quits this year.  Half the plants were pulled this week and now what's normally my last chores are ready to be done.  Looks like I'll be harvesting my dry beans, carrots, and spaghetti squash th

What are normally late fall chores for me are already done.  The beans have already dried on the vines and were brought in.

Mochas idea of helping me shell the beans :)

And the spaghetti squash have died back and been harvested.  Most of the plants have been pulled and thrown on the curb for the city to compost.  A few stragglers remain:  the last few unharvested corn stalks, carrots, rainbow chard, kale, parsley, and surprisingly the eggplants and one last green pepper.

The spaghetti squash were harvested today. These represents my triumph over the last of the grass in the yard. I just weed whack their bed to the ground in spring and planted spaghetti squash seeds and they did the rest.

Making changes!

My house will officially be up for sale as of Monday!  I’m ready to move out a little further and think I’ll be able to find something in the 3-5 acre range so I can expand my homesteading operations a bit.  I’ve spent all week stressing and cleaning, but things are coming together.  It’s ready to show and I’m starting to spend some time each night detailing another small section…ripping it apart, scrubbing it down, freecycling/donating/throwing out whatever isn’t a necessity, and putting it all back together.  I started in the kitchen doing one cabinet at a time and will work my way through the house.

Downsizing will not only make the move easier, but one of the options I’m considering is building my own place once I find the land.  I’m planning on doing a tiny house building class next spring…and while I probably wouldn’t find “tiny” useful for a functional homestead…I can see working with something more along the lines of “small” with a small bed and bath, decent sized kitchen with a pantry, and a multi-purpose work room rather than a living room (that could accommodate the sewing, seed starting, etc that goes on as the seasons change).


Outside, things are still moving right along. Zucchini has started piling in. You should see peoples faces when they talk about their family zucchini woes from 1-2 plants and I mention I have 6 just for me :D


The first tomato will be ready annnnnnny day now.

First to blush!

And things have really filled in. This is my bed with all the “short” stuff. Carrots, green beans, and cucumbers.

One of my main beds full of green onions, carrots, bush beans, and cucumbers.

I’ve done a bit more canning….but from this point on I’ll focus on eating up what I can so it’s less to transport later. These are sloppy joes and unstuffed cabbage, both from SB Canning’s recipe site.

homecanned sloppy joes

Homecanned Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls

And beef stew with vegetables from the Ball Complete Book

Today's project was 16 pints of homecanned beef stew :)

Yesterdays bunny spa night. They didn’t appreciate their manicures as much as you’d expect :D

Bunnies don't appreciate manicures as much as you'd think

The winter was so severe, that a lot of plants which are at the edge of their hardiness zone up here didn’t make it. That included peach trees…so my fruit cocktail tree didn’t make it. One of my big projects this summer was cutting it down, digging out the stump, and finding a replacement tree (many nurseries were sold out or had lost their own stock)


And finally…got a little bit more done on my cross stitch. This was during a recent storm that knocked out the electricity. It made for a wonderfully peaceful night by lamp light.

enjoying a quiet evening by lamplight during a power outage

Catching up

Over the winter, I upgraded my rabbitry.  My sunroom now houses my new zealand does and silver fox buck, with room for growouts.  I plan on switching over to all silver foxes this year, as I’m really loving the breed.  I still have my angora couple living outdoors, but I plan to get out of fiber rabbits once they leave me.

Its sunroom cleaning day.  And I made Foxy his own bachelor pad so the large hutches can be used for the ladies and their litters.

Outdoors I finished digging the last little 30×3 strip of grass that was left in the yard, and now everything is planted.

June 1st Garden Panorama

I also found an updated google map of my place. It’s from a couple years back, but you can see it’s pretty small and stands out :D

updated google map...even the satellites can tell I'm the weird one in the neighborhood

Right now, most things are just sprouting. But asparagus is already done doing it’s thing, and strawberries are just starting to come in.

First strawberry :)

Weeding season is well under way, and you can see how much help I’m getting from my little garden buddies.  Right on top of the kale and snap peas is apparently the most comfortable spot in the yard.

Out weeding with my little garden helper, who's doing a good job of flattening out the kale and snap peas for me.

Spring has Sprung

Spring has finally made it to Wisconsin.  My tulips opened last week and the world is starting to green up as the trees leaf out.

About time, tulips!

I’ve got a few of the cold weather things in the ground, and this week I’ll finish digging the beds and get the rest planted.

Some starts followed me home :D. Kohlrabi, Swiss chard, broccoli, and cauliflower all got planted today.  I also found Jerusalem Artichoke bulbs at Menards and put them in the failed shiitake mushroom patch.

This year I’ve got a lot of other goals I’m juggling as well. I’m just finishing Hunters Safety and will take the test tomorrow. We already did the field day and I had a lot of fun shooting a shotgun for the first time…even hitting 2 of the 6 practice clays they let us have.

Hunters Safety field day. Finally got to shoot a shotgun for the first time and even hit 2 of the 6 practice clays.

I hope to get out hunting, and have friends willing to take me for duck and turkey. I’ll probably be doing deer as well, although that will be a lone excursion. Fishing has also begun…here I was showing my appreciation to the first catch of the season :D

Showing my appreciation to the first fish of the year . It was cold and windy but I was lovin it. Got a nice variety of white bass, small walleye, crappie, and a catfish that gave me a good fight


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