Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Happy Hopping Homesteads!

Barn Hop Link Up HERE
Hi everyone!  HAPPY HOPPING!  I hope you all had a safe weekend; and to those of you affected by Hurricane Irene, please know that you are in our prayers.  It's been very busy around the Gonzales Homestead for more than a month now.  Here's the weekly rundown of what's been going on around here.

Around the House-
My one and only son Jon will be getting married in eleven days.  I am hurrying to finish last minute decorations for the reception and I will be making a tier cake.  Nervous and excited at the same time...

Senior picture by DiRado & Sons Photography

I know I will experience that "Empty Nest" thing, so I'm planning LOTS of projects and activities for the next several months to keep busy.  

Back to School-
One of the things I will be keeping myself "busy" doing, is school.  Last week, Fall semester began.  I am a Plant Science student at the local junior college and I am almost done.  One more class and I get to walk across the stage next May.  The class I am taking is Vegetable Crop Production, and it requires a laboratory section that we perform at the school's small farm.  it might have been a good idea to take that class first, before the gardens, but I have gardened many times and they only give this class every third Fall. 

I am going to miss school when it's over.  I guess I'm going to have to get another hobby... 
or another major...  lol.

In the Garden-
Our garden has been amazing this summer.  My best ever!  I have been compiling an e-notebook about my garden that includes the name and location of every plant, my impressions about each plant's production and disease/pest problems and/or strengths.  I have also compiled my ideas about the efficacy of new techniques we tried and a few experiments ie: growing giant pumpkins off the ground, a frame trellises, cold frames, and using black plastic row covers.  

I have pulled out several plants that had lost their vigor due to age or hot temperatures.  I mulched and lightly tilled those beds for my Fall & Winter gardens and have continued planting new Fall plants.  I have also been collecting seed pods for next Spring's garden.
Scarlet Red Runner Bean pods and seeds
 In the Kitchen-
I have been trying to keep up with the garden, giving away alot more than I can, dehydrate, freeze or eat, I'm afraid.  Tonight I made my own tomato sauce for the first time using my home grown garlic, onion, tomatoes, celery, and bell pepper.  I just got it cooked down, thick enough to jar up for later.  It tastes great.  I am very excited about it.
picture from earlier when it was still pretty wet
I have also had some fun playing with my garden harvest.  I braided garlic.  I don't know whether or not there's a special way to do it, I just braided it as I would my hair, but I like it.  I think the thing I liked most was the fact that I harvested more than 50 heads and though they're not huge (because I planted them this Spring, not Last Fall so they've not had as much time to grow), they taste great and guarantee that I won't be paying the high prices in November and December that I usually pay. Yippee!

I dehydrated a small batch of zucchini, carrots, yellow squash, eggplant, apricot, and potato with mixed results.  Everything except the potato looks good, but the potato got kind of dark (after bathing in lemon juice).  I have decided that I like dehydrating because it keeps well in jars or bags in a cupboard, doesn't require electricity to store like frozen goods, and it weighs much less than canned goods.  I am going to try to learn how to dehydrate everything eventually.  It's an efficient form of storage.
I have really been enjoying making homemade yogurt too.  I use it for sour cream, cream cheese, salad dressings, and flavor it with fruits for breakfast.  Yum.  Next week, I am going to make cheese for the first time.

Odds n' Ends-
My husband and I are hopeless yard sale addicts.  Last weekend, he surprised me with a lovely homemade quilt constructed from feedsack fabric dresden plates.
It's so pretty.  

He also found me a book that I have wanted for a while now MaryJane's Outpost by MaryJane Butters of MaryJane's Farm.

Seeing is believing, and you can find so many goodies at yard sales.  If you haven't attended a yard sale, please give it a try.  We find so many practical, fun things for a fraction of their regular cost.

I have also been reading and enjoying the great links on the many homestead, homekeeping, and farmgirl hops when I have had free time.  I get so much inspiration from these generous communities.  I have learned so many new skills since stumbling upon my first homestead blog.  My thanks go out to all of you bloggers that share your skills and hobbies with the rest of us.  Have a great week.


  1. Wow, I'm dizzy just reading this. Gee woman you are amazing. You enjoy the wedding, try not to work too hard.

  2. Congrats on the up-coming wedding. Our son married his bride June 10 and I cried like a baby!!! So tender a time. Enjoy!

  3. Thanks Kathleen and Diane. I am very excited, it's little more than a week away now. My baby boy is all grown up. I am sure that by the time this is all said and done, my tear ducts will be dry. lol. I feel really good about the union. He picked and got picked by a nice young Christian woman with good values and judgment. She is a perfect match for my boy. Blessed. Have a great week.

  4. Thanks for posting about the Vegetable cookbook I am very interested in this! My youngest is starting high school this year and I know how you feel!


My email address is whitewolfsummitfarmgirl@gmail.com.