We had another sunny day, so I wandered the homestead checking where I needed to water (very few places).

While fertilizing the berry bushes, look what I discovered:

There are berries on the boysenberry bushes!

I planted these in Spring 2021 and Spring 2022. Last year they had flowers that didn’t become berries but this year there are BERRIES!

I will let the birds have them this year. Next year though, I will be getting netting to save them all for ME!

Actually, this fall I plan to move them to a different area (a benefit of container gardening). Currently, they are on the edge of my property. The neighbor’s ground has blackberry suckers that, while they don’t mind if we mow them down, have become a lot of work to keep under control. Boysenberries cannot have blackberries (or raspberries) nearby so we will just move the boysenberries until we can eradicate the blackberries.

That’s the plan.


After enduring several days of rain (yes, I’m grateful to have someone else water the garden), the sun came out today. I took advantage of the break in the weather and checked to see if the sunflower seeds had made any progress (not really but maybe two or three germinated?).

While there I noticed:


Despite all the challenges this garden bed has had this season, I have pea pods. How exciting! They are not filled with peas yet but they sure are welcome sight.

The garden is sure a good place to learn about faith and hope. It doesn’t matter how many times I plant a seed, I do so with faith, hope, and a bit of trepidation. Then, when a plant emerges, I’m surprised. It’s a miracle! I don’t know why it’s such a surprise, it’s happened before. When that plant produces flowers, vegetables, or fruit I feel amazed and grateful. The garden lets me experience, again and again, what can be accomplished with a little bit of faith, along with the effort to plant a seed and nurture the plant. What a blessing.

This morning I was able to visit with an old acquaintance:


Betsy is wondering what happened to the azaleas that used to be here

Betsy, an Eastern Box Turtle, has visited the homestead several times over the years. She stops in every two or three years. The years I don’t see her, I see Benny. His shell has more speckling.

Turtles have been a favorite of mine since I was a young child. It’s special to live in a place where they just wander through the yard.


As the gardening season is ramping up, we need to start now to get ready for the harvest. This week let’s TAKE STOCK of our Food Preservation skills and supplies.

If you are ready to expand your self-reliance skills, preserving your own food is a great next step.

There are many ways to preserve our own food: canning, dehydrating, freezing, fermenting, freeze drying, smoking/curing, and other methods.

There are many books to support your food preservation efforts but, if you are just getting started, begin by getting an all-around resource like The All New Ball Book of Canning and Preserving. This will help you learn the basics and get started in each type of preserving. On the other hand, if you are well on your way to mastering one food preservation method, maybe it’s time to learn another method.

Each method has its own list of necessary supplies and start-up costs vary. Some methods are easier to master, others are harder to master. The important thing is to step forward and launch yourself into the thoroughly satisfying world of preserving food for your family.

WATER BATH CANNING (for high acid foods) – water bath canner, canning jars, canning lids.

PRESSURE CANNING – pressure canner (not a pressure cooker or Instant Pot), canning jars, canning lids.

DEHYDRATING – dehydrator, plastic bags, glass jars, and to increase storage time add a vacuum sealer and oxygen absorbers.

FREEZING – (probably the easiest method to get started) you will need a freezer, plastic containers, freezer bags, and to increase storage time add a vacuum sealer.

FREEZE DRYING – (this has a very high up-front expense, but the food lasts longer than any other method – up to 20 years if properly packaged) – freeze dryer, mylar bags, oxygen absorbers.

FERMENTING – salt, vinegar, fermentation lids, jars / crocks, weights.

SMOKING / CURING – smoker, salt, seasoning, freezer bags.

One great way to get started in your Food Preservation journey is to find someone who already does it. It’s a guarantee that if you bring a helping pair of hands (to peel, cook, blanch, etc.) there is someone willing to let you help them preserve food. Learn by doing!


Last week, Chronicle Farm brought four goats to clear the underbrush from the tree line in front of my house.

You’ll be amazed at the transformation in just one week….

Click through these BEFORE pictures.

Now, check out what a difference the goats made!

I can see through to the road now and the whole view from the house is much lighter.

I sure am grateful I didn’t have to clear this out myself!

I plan to have Chronicle Farm bring them back in the fall to clear out the back of my property and prepare it for fencing.



I did it – I finally have goats.

Admittedly, I rented them but that doesn’t diminish the smile on my face every time I look out the window and see them.

Meet S’more (Alpine), Lucy (Boer), Oreo (Nigerian Dwarf), and Stacy (Alpine)

When I moved to North Carolina almost a dozen years ago, I was astonished (and disappointed) that no one here rented out goats to clear land. In Wyoming, it was a lucrative business that even the U.S. Government and the Cities and Counties contracted with to clear waterways and weedy fields.

With the invasive Kudzu and Wisteria that abounds in North Carolina, hiring goats to clear overgrown land sure is needed. I don’t know why it took so long to catch on here, but I jumped up and down with excitement when Chronicle Farm announced they would begin the service this Spring.

Chronicle Farm makes having goats like having grandchildren. They are the goat-parents. Not only do they do the hoof trimming and health maintenance, but they also transport the goats, put up the fencing, and provide them with shelter when they are contracted out. I’m like the grandma – I just get to enjoy them and watch them.

Once inside their new enclosure, “my” goats wasted no time acquainting themselves with the area — they immediately started munching.

Munching away!

Next week I’ll post before and after pictures of the area!


Last weekend my focus was on covering the in-ground garden where the weeds outpaced the corn to the point of no return.

While watering everything though, I noticed that it was time to add dirt to the potatoes.

Following the process for planting potatoes in pots, I put 3 inches of soil in the bottom of each pot, added the seed potatoes, and covered them with dirt. After the leaves sprout and grow to about 3-4 inches high, the foliage gets covered with more dirt, leaving about an inch of greenery. Let it grow again until the exposed plant is 3-4 inches high and add more dirt. Repeat, repeat, until the pot is full. Each addition of soil encourages more root growth, resulting at the end with more potatoes.

Well, Saturday, they had grown almost high enough, so I figured Tuesday would be about right for the next installment of dirt.

On Tuesday, it was stormy so that didn’t happen.

It didn’t get done Wednesday either.

I was determined to take care of it tonight (Thursday). I walked around the house to see:

I swear, 5 days ago the tops of the plant were 10″ shorter!

They have grown above the rim of the pots! So much for step-by-step: I ended up adding about 10 inches of dirt to each pot.

I filled each pot to within 3″ of the top

Somehow I continue to be surprised by how plants just “take off” growing here.


There are many ways to approach Food Storage. The old-time way was to get a year’s supply of four basics: wheat – salt – honey – milk.

That evolved into a more rounded program that looks something like this list which shows the pounds per person of each item you need for a year supply:

Wheat	       150
Flour	        25
Corn Meal	25
Oats	        25
Rice	        50
Pasta	        25
Total Grains   300

Shortening	 4
Vegetable Oil	 2
Mayonnaise	 2
Salad Dressing	 1
Peanut Butter	 4

Beans, dry	30
Lima Beans	 5
Soy Beans	10
Split Peas	 5
Lentils	         5
Dry Soup Mix	 5
Total Legumes	60

Honey	         3
Sugar	        40
Brown Sugar	 3
Molasses	 1
Corn Syrup	 3
Jams	         3
Powdered Fruit drink	6
Flavored Gelatin	1
Total Sugars	60

Dry Milk	60
Evaporated Milk	12
Powdered Eggs	 4

Baking Powder	1
Baking Soda	1
Yeast	      0.5
Salt	        5
Vinegar	      0.5

If this is the approach you have taken to your family’s Food Storage, it’s time to TAKE STOCK of what you are really able to do (make) with these commodities.

Also TAKE STOCK of if your family members will actually eat it.

Yes, you need to consider including these types of items in your food supply, but if you can’t live on them, you may not be as prepared as you think.

You know your family — Do you need to find a different path?


I’ve given up on the new corn “field.”

I had read that it can take more than one try to successfully grow corn. This was my second year, so I was hoping for more success this year.

We planted about 100 corn seeds in the new section of the in-ground garden April 15th. After four weeks, all that grew was 7 corn stalks ,,,and a whole lot of weeds.

7 whole corn plants sprouted

and a whole lot of weeds …

Weeds, weeds, and more weeds

The amount of leaf mulch we put on the bed should have been sufficient to control the weeds until the corn sprouted and grew enough to outpace them. Obviously that was a false concept.

I ran a cultivator in between the rows but that seemed to cause the weeds to explode and spread even more.

I’m declaring it a dismal failure.

Don’t worry, I didn’t do so without considering other options. I considered pulling the weeds out and re-planting but with the boundless amount of unwanted plant material there was, and my reduced mobility, I had to accept that was not a realistic course of action. I considered laying down cardboard and mound dirt to create rows, like I did last year, but, since we are still unable to use the truck to bring in bulk soil, I realized the amount of bagged soil I would have to purchase, and transport, would be preposterous.

So, now what?

I realized until I could get the weed pressure off the space, it was wasted effort to plant anything. So, I just covered it with cardboard and will let that sit in place to try to kill the weeds.

It’s a good thing I have a source for cardboard

If that’s successful, I may consider planting fall crops in the space, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.


This week, let’s TAKE STOCK of our garbage.

Provident Living includes using our resources wisely.  As prices continue to rise, this is becoming more than a platitude – it’s essential.  One way to see if we are using our money, food, and time wisely when it comes to feeding our families is to check the garbage can.

What is in your garbage? 

Are there a lot of take out containers? While there are times when eating out is a viable, sometimes necessary, option for feeding our families, fast food and restaurant food is more expensive and often less nutritious than food made at home.

Are there a bunch of expired leftovers (aka science projects) cleared out of the refrigerator after they were not eaten?  Think about how/why that happened.

Are there a lot of boxes and bags from convenience foods?  Convenience food from the grocery store, like take out, is more expensive and. again, often less nutritious.  

Everyone’s circumstances are different, so this is solely your call:  does your garbage show that your household is using your food resources as prudently as possible?  If not, call a family council to discuss what using your food dollars effectively looks like in your family and how / what to change so more of your food dollars are going into your family’s bellies – instead of the garbage can.

∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞

Provident living is “joyfully living within our means, being content with what we have, avoiding excessive debt, and diligently saving and preparing for rainy-day emergencies.  When we live providently, we can provide for ourselves and our families and also follow the Savior’s example to serve and bless others.” – Elder Robert D. Hales 


The past week has been a continuation of doing a little bit each night after work. The result of these small steps is that most things are planted, and my work area has been cleared up.

This weekend was for discoveries.

The potatoes have begun to make an appearance:

The peas are growing, and some have even learned to grab onto the trellis:

Quite a few of the nasturtiums have survived the incursions of the squirrels (digging holes in the bed) and chickens (scratching and pecking where they weren’t invited):

Things like this are little rewards for the hard work of the past couple of weeks!

In other news …

The mouse wars are continuing but the tides have turned, and us two-legged warriors are winning. Since the cleaning and peppermint incident, we have caught 5 mice in the trap!