How Does Your Garden Grow?

Trustead, Trustead, longing for Jesus
How does your garden grow?
Four boys, five girls, learning and playing
And ten acres of land to sow.

Helper on his laptop. (See GrandFarmer, he’s enjoying it! And note the bird book next to him.)

Poet studying up on sewing during her free time.

What mother doesn’t enjoy the sound of her kids playing well together?!

They are our indoor garden growing super fast and strong.

And here is our vegetable garden.

That is our reality. Trusting in Jesus. Longing for the Lover of our souls.

And nothing about it is easy but like trusting in Jesus is sweet, submitting to His Kingly rule in our lives, doing the hard things that He places in front of us, is a sweet reality.

It’s sweet because we see Him all the more.

Weeding to be done but… LIFE and FOOD!

We see how He is strengthening us, making our roots go deeper into Him, the best, most nourishing soil we could hope for.

And though there is weeding and pruning and hardening off we must endure, the finished product, we trust, will be far better than where we began.

Garden in front of the garage

Trustead, Trustead, do you see your Savior?
How does your garden grow?
Enjoy His gifts, what He has entrusted to you
And remember it is He who allows you to sow!

Without knowing how these plants will fair in the weeks to come, we smile expectantly, knowing He will give each of us just what we need!

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Homemaker Gets Countryfied!

Homemaker gets on the rider for the first time and is luvin’ it. Watch out! Kids follow close behind on their bikes while the wild one gets the grass cut. She’s officially gone country now!

Posted in Homesteading, The Country, Uncategorized, Video | Leave a comment

Random Pictures of Life Around the Farm

Well. It’s Sunday. We’re just enjoying our Lord’s Day so… here are some pictures of life around the Trustead. And, two thumbs up for our new photographers, J and S, also known as Helper and Poet! They are helping to share the burden of capturing life and are doing quite well!

Cows enjoying the land

Calfie up close.

Chickens being chickens.

Pullets housing.

And occasionally even I can get outside!

Expanding our growing area just beyond the pasture areas in Pine Tree land.

Working late to complete projects

Securing our piggies with recycled barbed wire

And here’s my man… being a cowboy. Does that make me a cowgirl?

Till tomorrow. Thanks for reading and taking interest in our adventure…

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Trustead Tries – Sprouting Lettuce and Celery

Celery

Romaine lettuce

Sprouting lettuce and celery 

It’s easy, it’s fun, and it can even save money! ~Helper

You need
~ A  plastic cup (could use glass) preferably shallow and wide mouth
~ Ends of Organic Romaine Lettuce Hearts or Celery
~ A way to eat the lettuce or Celery!
~ Toothpicks, only if you cannot find a shallow, wide mouth container

Actions
Step 1 – Take your Romaine lettuce hearts and cut off the leafy greens or Celery
Step 2 – Place the unwanted ends of the lettuce into the plastic container(s), uncut end facing down or Celery.
Step 3 – Add water to the plastic container(s) just so that the bottom of the lettuce or Celery it being reached.
Step 4 – Place container in sunny area and change water every 1-3 days.
Step 5 – Once roots are nice and health (long) you can plant in some soil!

For those who just don’t have any shallow containers, try this:

Actions
Step 1 – Take your Romaine lettuce Hearts and cut off the leafy greens or Celery
Step 2 – Place the unwanted ends of the lettuce or Celery into the plastic container(s), uncut end facing down.
Step 3- Place tooth picks in the romaine lettuce or Celery so the they can not fall down. You will see what I mean.
Step 4 – Add water to the plastic container(s) just so that the bottom of the lettuce or Celery it being reached
Steps 5 – Place container in sunny area and change water every 1-3 days.
Step 6 – Once roots are nice and health (long) you can plant in some soil!

Posted in Garden, In the Kitchen, Trustead Tries | Leave a comment

One Step Forward, Three Steps Backward

This past week we’ve experienced more of our typical wind tunnel blasts of prolonged 30 mph + winds.  Also a violent rainstorm.  Pretty cool stuff but the tomatoes we planted last weekend, well, a lot of them are toast.  I would guess at least 30% are dead, and that’s probably optimistic.  Very early this morning, or maybe it was very late last night – after a spider attacked me in bed! – I was thinking to myself while the wind was gusting away….what sort of plants can possibly live in this environment.

Obvious answer…corn and soybeans!  Especially GMO franken-stuff that stands strong even after a dowsing in round up.  Maybe that’s one reason agriculture has become what it is.  It’s depressing to put all the work into growing the tomato starts, caring for them, preparing the beds, planting, staking, etc…only to have the little dudes get fried less than a week after planting by hurricane force winds.

One step forward, three backward.  That’s farm life baby.

On the positive side, as I was tilling this morning – amidst the dark skies, drizzling rain and thunder (Homemaker did not like me tilling in the thunder), I was greatly encouraged by a new plot of garden I’m working on.

The section is right on the edge of the yard, at the beginning of the garden area.  Previously, it was partially sod and partially wild growth and I think the former owners had a small compost patch in a tiny plot along this row.  Either that or they dumped a lot of garden soil in a pile there.

Using my horse tiller (THX DAD), I experimented with the hilling attachment earlier in the week and was excited to see the effect it had.  Reversing the attachment to the furrowing side, it digs down along the middle of the row and cuts a bit more deeply into the soil.  At that level the soil remains hard and compacted.

I got to thinking, what would happen if I cut along the row in the furrow mode, slightly cutting into the hard soil while the sides are piled high; and then afterwards ran the tiller back along that section?  Would it till deeper than before?

“Thunder” at the Trustead by Comedian

Well this morning, in the midst of the thunder, I tried it out.  It seems to have actually cut deeper than just when tilling normally. This, coupled with the slightly better soil, is making for a good sized bed that looks more like what you’d expect a garden to look like.

The thunder and rain kept increasing, Homemaker yelled at me, so I hightailed it inside and will need to resume the work at a later date.

So despite my toasted tomatoes, we press on.  I’m sure it will all add up to one step forward and three backward, but we’ll keep trying.  Someone told me perfection isn’t our goal (that’s a good thing!), joyful obedience is.  Sounds like a plan to me.

Posted in Challenges, Daily Life, Garden, Homesteading | Leave a comment

Using our Kale and Basil – A Recipe

Trustead Sweet Potato Hash with Kale and Basil

We have kale growing in the garden and… not a lot of kale lovers in our midst. Solution? Add sweet potatoes! Everyone seems to enjoy this easy to prepare meal. ~Homemaker

Serves 10-12

Needs
4 cups Brown basmati rice
¼ cup Apple cider vinegar (or other acidic medium)
2 (or more!) pounds Grass-fed ground beef
Fat, to cook onions in, your choice
2 Onions, diced
1 entire bulb of Garlic, crushed
Sea salt and Black Pepper
¼ – ¾ cup Coconut flour, depending on thickness of sauce desired
2-3 pounds Sweet potatoes, diced
2-4 cups Coconut milk or coconut cream plus water, depending on preference
Fresh Kale, amount to your liking
Fresh Basil, at least a handful, chopped

Actions
Step 1 – Cook rice. (Note: We prefer to soak and then cook our rice. This is optional but see THIS  for more information.)
Step 2. In a large pan or pot, cook onion in fat with salt until nicely browned. Add garlic and cook a few minutes and then brown ground beef.
Step 3. Once meat is no longer pink, add salt and pepper to taste then add coconut flour on top of beef. Mix well.
Step 4. Stir in sweet potatoes and put lid on pot to allow steam to cook potatoes for about 5 minutes till tender.
Step 5. To make the sauce, pour in the coconut milk and heat through. Once hot, add kale and basil and put a lid on the lid to only wilt the greens.
Step 6. Taste and add additional salt or other spices as needed. Serve on top of rice and enjoy God’s provision!

Comedian holding his plate excited about his dinner!

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Perfection is not our Goal

Is that a bird?

NO!!! A spraying plane!!!!

As you may have guessed, we are all about au natural and organic. So when we see this…

Chemicals being sprayed right next to Calfie, our piggies in the A-frame and all our hens and pullets.

… we are tempted to be discouraged.

Same goes for slow growing plants or finding an animal dead or finding yet another broken item that needs fixing.

But, when the spraying of such dangerous chemicals happens just feet away from our animals and garden and even our house, depression turns to confusion.

What are we doing? Are we kidding ourselves? Are we doing the right thing????

Thanks be to God, our goal is NOT perfection. We are simply called to joyful obedience.

Who cares if our meat birds only weigh 3 and 1/2 pounds? What if our garden only yields a small amount? Does it mean we’ve failed if our dairy cow sucks all her milk and leaves none for us?

It matters not how it all turns out.

Why?

Because we are trusting His leading. This homestead journey cannot be measured by our thoughts of success.

Trusteading will be successful if we simply do our best, aiming to bring Him glory.

So, we turn on the air conditioner, pray for the safety for our animals and protection of our garden, and… we don’t venture out till the spraying has ceased.

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Seeing the Difference

My Farmer husband does the majority of our grocery shopping.  We figure he’s already out, follows my list to the ‘tee,’ and so it just makes sense.

Anyway, I haven’t put “eggs” on my Grocery List for a while. The thought of paying for what we have hens for is frustrating. Plus… our eggs just can’t be compared to those things you buy for 99 cents in the store.

Well, I’m wrong. Our eggs don’t even compare with the expensive eggs in the store!

Farmer picked up some eggs so we could enjoy some scrambled yumminess for breakfast the other day. (A rare moment of him deviating from my list.)

Check ’em out. The package makes them sound great, right?!

And opening up the carton, we are hopeful! Varying shades of brown and different sizes!

And then I cracked them along with eleven we had from our layers.

Our eggs are the ones with the plump, orange-like yolk.

What do you think? Do you see the difference?

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Sausage and Bacon

Our two pigs’ names are Sausage and Bacon. Sausage is longer and a bit bigger than young Bacon, who sticks close to Sausage. Both are castrated male Red Waddle pigs, and are reddish brown. They are unbelievably cute. I am in charge of filling their food, water, and making sure that they are alright.

 

Sausage and Bacon basking in the sunshine.

 

They often lay side by side in the warm sunshine, both of their bodies touching the other. The only other thing that they regularly do is gobble and sniff foods. Once one of them – Bacon, I think – tried to chew on the metal roof of their A-frame, but did not succeed!

They certainly are very funny to watch. Their hind legs and little comical bottoms are very funny to me. They wiggle their tails as they slurp up food. They have razor-sharp teeth, and CAN bite, so BE CAREFUL!!!!!

We give them food scraps like fruit peelings, stale bread, and leftover food that does not have any pork in it. However, they still like their usual feed (soaked organic grains) more than the scraps.

Often when I come to feed or give them fresh water, they grunt and quiver as they sleep. Sometimes they play around roughly, running into each other and rolling around. (!)

It is cute to see how eager Calfie is to play with them, as he circles around their fence, sniffing curiously, and staring amiably at Sausage and Bacon, who either don’t notice him, or ignore him. The chickens, too, are curious and watch me as I go to the pig pen. Shiny Red, eyes them suspiciously as if he’s saying, “Why are those messy creatures always getting that much feed?”

The two pigs are just big scaredy cats. Some of the things you can do to scare them or move them away from somewhere is to spray water on them or pat them. Even a simple touch gets them moving – and FAST!

Their names derives from their hairy waddles, which are 2 medium sized strips of, oh, I don’t know – pig, I guess! They are located just above their necks.

They love being in their 8 by 6 A-frame. The floor is matted with hay and is sufficient for them. The sides are of metal that Farmer and the boys found in the field. God always provides!!!

Overall, our two Red Waddle pigs are fun to watch, do not require too much work, and are being raised for meat. I think that ANYONE would like raising their own pigs. I love being in charge of them. We hope that Sausage and Bacon will provide enough sausage and bacon, pork chops and ham, for a long, long time.

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Out of Darkness, Light

When we moved into The Truststead last August, the place was trashed.  I’m referring primarily to the land though the house needed a lot of fixes also.

Here I am walking the “path” to the first shed. W-I-L-D land.

When I look around today and compare it to what it was ….wow!  Praise God for the transformation!

Here’s the same area now tamed

Our view behind the house looking out on the chicken area, garden, and then pastures.

The wild, super tall weeds and gnarly grasses are replaced by pastures, chicken runs and a massive garden in the works.  The barn that was filled with bags of trash and junk is housing cows.  The path to the sheds and back of the property that was impassable (except by machete) is mowed (at least halfway) and is used daily to pasture the cows.  Slowly us Trusteaders are taking dominion over the land.  Out of darkness, light!

Yesterday more light burst forth with the planting of our tomatoes.  It was a marathon planting session and I was already whooped by the time we started so the idea of actually finishing it seemed impossible.  Plus it was hot and I fatigue rather easily in the heat, especially at this early stage of the year.  I need to work up to heat.  Give me cold any day of the week!

Anyway, it was hard work and not very encouraging along the way.  I mean it was encouraging that several of the kids were seriously helping out and having a grand ole time, but the work itself….well, let’s just say I won’t be surprised if none of these plants bear fruit.  The holes we planted them in were basically like clay pots.  The soils is so hard and compacted.  We did our best to cultivate the holes, but I don’t think the roots have too much of a place to go too. We filled the holes with the tilled up manure/hay/soil mix that the horse tiller churned up. But even so, it’s like we need to blow up the entire area to get the land properly prepared.

BUT, late in the day after the planting was done and I was strolling along doing something else (it never ends!), I glanced over at the garden and did a double take.  Now sure, I was kind of far away and the sun was casting a blinding light, but what I saw was a garden.  It was organized, plants were thoughtfully planted, and I couldn’t see the shell of clay buried 6” under the soil, only the nicely tilled soil on top.

Purple cauliflower and kale rows

It was beautiful and though it is far from what I want it to be, it is the best we can do with our time, resources and energy.  It was awesome to see order out of this previously chaotic piece of land.

And it is a million, billion times better than the mess of monster weeds and untamed wildness that it was when we bought the place.

To see the usefulness of the land emerge out of the years of misuse, neglect and abuse is incredibly exciting.  It is so rewarding to see the land (and house) slowly be transformed into something that is productive and a blessing.

The Bible says that in the beginning the earth was without form and void and darkness hovered over the face of the deep.  God made us to take dominion over formless chaos and make it useful and productive, a blessing instead of a curse.  I’m thankful for our little patch of land that is slowly starting to shine and be a blessing.

Posted in Garden, Homesteading, Praises | Leave a comment