Category Archives: garden

a change of address

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Much has happened since my last post. We sold our 1,000 sq ft home in the city and are now residing in a 500 sq ft rental in the country while we search for our homestead. Everything transpired quickly, to say the least, and we moved on my 29th birthday. I’m just beginning to recover from the whirlwind. We are still catching up with so many things, and have a toddler who is starting preschool at home as well as working on potty training. It’s a busy season.

debt free!

In selling our home we are now debt free! We have been striving towards this for some time, and paid off my student loans earlier this year. We bought our first home, our fixer, with cash and fixed it up without any debt, which is really something we want to repeat with our next place.

early harvest

My garden had to be harvested early due to the move, although we had an amazing tomato crop for several weeks before we had to go. I did pick the remaining tomatoes (a mix of ripe and green) and have been freezing and dehydrating those, along with drying kale chips and other herbs and vegetables. My little dehydrator has been going 24/7 the past few days! Our pumpkins were ready sooner than expected this year, turning orange a week before we left.  We had a tomato and peppers and some blueberries in pots, so we moved those with us, along with some strawberries I potted.

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plans

We are getting back into a routine and working on our goals for the future. I’m so thankful for this cooler autumn weather (it’s my favorite season). We are adjusting to this smaller space and learning how to make it work for our family. I know that most people would not understand why we chose this path, but we are so grateful for this opportunity to escape the trap of debt (aka a mortgage) and chase our dreams!

I have so much I would like to blog about here (our path to debt freedom, preserving the harvest, recipes, living with children in a tiny home, our search for land, etc) and would love your input on what you would prefer to read about the most. Please share the topics you would be interested in the comments below!

*Some of the links in this post may be affiliate links. I only recommend products I use myself. Thank you for helping support this blog and our goals for a self-sufficient homestead!

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preserving cherries : : raspberry-cherry freezer jam

cherryjam

I have been anticipating a sweet harvest after discovering a cherry tree in the backyard. We picked our first fruits in early June and I began figuring out how I was going to preserve the remaining cherries that we didn’t eat fresh. Our neighbors had more raspberries than they could eat, so we decided we could help them out. With all the red deliciousness sitting around my kitchen, I decided to dive in! I started out making some raspberry-cherry freezer jam, which turned out to be my absolute favorite jam recipe thus far! I used this recipe as a starting point, but modified it a bit:

raspberry-cherry freezer jam

  • 3 cups cherries (pitted)
  • 3 cups raspberries
  • 4 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 package Pomona’s Pectin*
  • 4 cups of cane sugar

Combine cherries and raspberries in a large pot and crush the fruit with with a potato masher while heating. Add the lemon juice and pectin. Stir until dissolved. Bring mixture to a boil and add all of the sugar. Boil hard while stirring for another 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and pour into your containers to freeze. This recipe makes about 7 eight-ounce jars. If you want to try canning traditionally, I’m sure you could use the instructions at the recipe link above.

I dehydrated the remaining cherries, figuring it would be a tasty ingredient to add to a granola recipe.

What are your favorite ways to use up and preserve cherries?

*Some of the links in this post may be affiliate links. I only recommend products I use myself. Thank you for helping support this blog and our goals for a self-sufficient homestead!

dryingcherries

in the garden : : june

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Things have been growing. After being away for two weeks I came home to find a garden I didn’t recognize. Seriously. There were even vegetables growing that I never planted (must have been not-quite-composted seeds in the compost?). The next morning I got to excitedly taste a small harvest of strawberries, cherries, salad greens, early potatoes, and peas. Since then we have also enjoyed onions, raspberries and kale.

This is one of my favorite parts of gardening…enjoying the results of all that work! Tonight I am planning to make and freeze some raspberry-cherry jam (thanks to the addition of raspberries from our neighbors).

I’ve been catching up and working on projects, so I am relying on Instagram for much of my garden photos lately. You can follow me @krystlereeves for more!

Have any of you been as excited as I am about eating things you’ve grown at home? Please share – I’d love to read about it in the comments below!

 

in the garden : : may

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I shared a post of some of the plants we have growing in the backyard for harvest a few weeks ago, so now it is time to move on to the front! We are starting small this year, so we won’t be relying on these efforts for our only produce for now. We are still keeping our eyes set on a country home, and hopefully one day I will be able to dream up many more garden plans.

I may have tried to squish too much into our two small starter garden beds, and I still have so many tomato starts (I was a bit ambitious at seed-starting back in March). Thanks to some energetic helpers rearranging my labels, I have no idea as to some of the varieties that actually got planted… It will be a bit of a surprise!

So far… the peas, strawberries, and potatoes have progressed the most. They love the weather here. I finally got some of our lettuce and kale seeds to sprout. We continue to add a bit here and there, so hopefully we will have a chance to enjoy some home-grown food this year!

Check out past garden posts here!

the simple things

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We are keeping it simple this year. Seeds and potatoes tucked into the landscaping. A few planters and pots. Two small garden beds. While I would like to dig up the whole yard and make it a garden paradise, because of time constraints and not knowing how long we will stay at our current property, it just isn’t practical. Still, I can’t live somewhere and not grow something. So I am working on keeping it small, focusing on our favorites. All the while dreaming big for the future. I really don’t know what I am doing… I just love it though.

I enjoy seeing how much my girls notice and pick up. They must know that this is an important piece of life. I often see them with their shovel, moving earth. Planting imaginary seeds. The play of true education. They beam with happiness as they show me their progress and ask if they can use the watering can. Both of them have grown up with this activity…whether on a friend’s property, or outside our door. Even these small, simple things. They know this is an important work.

If you would like to take a peek at our modest growing efforts this year, you can check out my post on what is going on in the backyard, or stop by soon for a tour of what is replacing some of our grass out front!