Howdy!

We are still getting used to the time change around here but really liking the longer daylight hours. Quentin had several days off in a row, so we enjoyed an early spring break.

We spent a whole day thrift shopping, went to an auction one day, and went to Gatlinburg. Now we are tuckered out. 🙂

My favorite thrift store find was this bean cookbook. There are a lot of good recipes I want to try. I will share them with you as I try them.

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I am also loving this kitty. She doesn’t beg for food, potty in the floor, or scratch up my furniture. Yes, she’s pretty perfect.

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Quentin’s favorite find, by far, was this Star Wars ship. He was happy it came with the pilot and especially happy that the pilot’s card was inside.

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It was 68º in Gatlinburg on Sunday. It was so nice to be outside and not freeze to death. We visited the aquarium and stayed close enough that we were able to walk and enjoy the weather.

Inside the aquarium. Madison got me this shirt when she was out shopping with Quentin last week. I have made everyone watch each of the Jurassic Park movies twice. They are good sports though. Gotta get ready for the new movie. :)

Inside the aquarium. Madison got me this shirt when she was out shopping with Quentin last week. I have made everyone watch each of the Jurassic Park movies twice. They are good sports though. Gotta get ready for the new movie. 🙂

We have tried some new recipes this week that are definitely keepers.

Baked Pancake Squares I made half with chocolate chips(they sank)

Baked Pancake Squares I made half with chocolate chips(they sank). Taste just like pancakes, but you don’t have to stand in front of the stove forever.

Made this cake with homemade icing. It is seriously good!

Madison made this cake with homemade icing. It is seriously good!

Baked Chicken Chimichangas. We topped ours with queso.

Baked Chicken Chimichangas. We topped ours with queso. We will be making these again and again and again.

 We did a little Easter decorating today.

We have had this Easter village since Madison was a baby!

We have had this Easter village since Madison was a baby!

Quentin wants to take extra special care of our fruit trees, blueberry bushes, and grapevines this year. They are all starting to produce a lot of fruit. Friday he sprayed everything with neem oil. The fruit tree spray is for when the trees leave out.

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My neighbor gave me two new(to me) houseplants. Houseplants make me happy. 🙂 I had fun repotting them and getting them ready for their new home.

A Christmas cactus(I have always wanted one) and a snake plant. I was happy to see the snake plant in this list for plants that improve indoor air quality.

A Christmas cactus(I have always wanted one) and a snake plant. I was happy to see the snake plant in this list for plants that improve indoor air quality.

My seeds are starting to sprout. I moved them outside yesterday.

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:)Vicki

I am linking up to:

Homestead Blog Hop

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What’s Up? An Update with Pictures

We got another load of snow dumped on us last week, and there is a threat of freezing rain almost daily. They’re even calling for 5-8 inches of snow and ice tomorrow. I have gotten a little weary waiting on spring with all this coldness lately, but, not to worry, we have had some sunshiny days in the 4o’s also.

I haven’t really been making a meal plan lately. Just loading up on fruits, veggies, and staples at the grocery. We have been eating lots of soups, stews, and casseroles. I have been keeping my grocery budget right around $80 every week including non-food and animal feed.

We have two more months of school left and down to just two subjects. We plan on taking off May, June, and July. We are taking off this Friday for homeschool bowling and Monday because we will be out of town.

Today, I got all my seeds started. I started tomatoes, peppers, broccoli, lettuce, spinach, and chives. I will keep them nice and warm inside until they start to sprout then put them out during the daylight hours until night time temps warm up. Everything else I will direct sow in the garden. I plan to plant my peas this Saturday but will probably be waiting on the snow to melt.

Get ready to garden. Spring is on its way.

:)Vicki

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Potato soup with onions, carrots, peas & herb biscuits

Potato soup with onions, carrots, peas, parsley & herb biscuits

Chicken Alfredo stuffed shells with carrots, cauliflower, & broccoli

Chicken Alfredo stuffed shells with carrots, cauliflower, & broccoli

A rainbow sunset :)

A rainbow sunset 🙂

zucchini pizza bites with Italian seasoning and garlic salt

zucchini pizza bites with Italian seasoning and garlic salt

Peach cobbler

Peach cobbler

hot fudge pudding cake

hot fudge pudding cake

I am linking up to:

Homestead Blog Hop

Wintertime Blues & Garden Prepping

Late winter blues are the worst! And to beat winter blues, I put together  this little greenhouse that Quentin bought me at the end of last gardening seasoning on clearance for 90% off. Seriously, it was only about two or three bucks!

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Seeds have started arriving in the mail. Thursday, I got super sugar snap pea, bull’s blood beet, national pickling cucumber, scarlet nantes carrot, hybrid jet star tomato, and premium crop broccoli seeds. The premium crop broccoli is supposed to resist button heads, so I am hoping for some huge heads of broccoli this spring.

006I plan to use the mini greenhouse to start broccoli, tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, chives, and parsley the first week in March. I will plant my sugar snap peas directly in the ground mid March.

It’s easy to make “free” seedling pots out of newspapers. I have made and used them before. The best part of all is you can pop the whole thing in the ground, plant and all!

My winter sowing experiment seems to be going well. The jugs look nice and moist but not frozen. I am anxious for warm weather to see how they grow.

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See there, I feel better already! It’s amazing what a little garden talk can do for a person.

If that didn’t work for you, grab a snuggle buddy. And a cat.

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:)Vicki

 I am linking up to:

Simple Saturdays Blog Hop

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sunday social 200

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A Few Warm Days

A picture post of the past few warm crazy days!

Burning the garden off. Getting ready for spring!

Burning the garden off. Getting ready for spring!

I mowed the orchard. In January! And Quentin gave each tree a fertilizer spike.

I mowed the orchard. In January! And Quentin gave each tree a fertilizer spike.

Always an audience!

Always an audience!

An epson salt soak for Rusty's hurt foot.

An epson salt soak for Rusty’s hurt foot.

Chicken hospital.

Chicken hospital.

Every chicken loves a clean nesting box.

Every chicken loves a clean nesting box.

I started my winter sowing. Broccoli, Kale, & Cilantro.

I started my winter sowing. Broccoli, Kale, & Cilantro.

Quentin's cat, Dirt, lounging around recovering from surgery.

Quentin’s cat, Dirt, lounging around recovering from surgery.

Bernard, the best guard dog ever.

Bernard, the best guard dog ever.

Brownie pie. Just top with ice cream :)

Brownie pie. Just top with ice cream 🙂

Double chocolate cookies. You can never have enough chocolate.

Double chocolate cookies. You can never have enough chocolate.

Hope you all are having a wonderful week!

:)Vicki

I am linking this post up to:

Homestead Blog Hop #14

How We Built a Cold Frame

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My goal was really to have a cold frame by next winter. We had all the supplies lying around, though, and there wasn’t anything else better to do. 🙂

We used some old landscape timbers and a couple of old windows that I picked up at a thrift store a few years ago.

After Quentin cut all the landscape timbers for me, I chose a sunny part of the yard and removed all the grass.

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A weed barrier was laid.

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First row of landscape timbers.

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Second

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And Third row of landscape timbers. Secure timbers with nails or screws as you go.

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Almost finished!

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I still need to fill it with dirt and put hinges and latches on the windows. A heat lamp will be added. That will, hopefully, produce enough heat to germinate spinach seeds. Winter temps are coming soon as in it’s supposed to get down to 3º tonight.

Wish me luck!

:)Vicki

I am linking this post up to:

Homestead Blog Hop

Winter Sowing

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Winter sowing is a really great concept. I have been reading up on it for a few weeks now.

Here are some sites that will give you a good understanding of what it’s all about:

http://www.agardenforthehouse.com/2012/01/what-to-winter-sow-and-when/

http://www.gardengatenotes.com/2012/01/03/sowing-seeds-in-milk-jugs/

&

http://getbusygardening.com/winter-sowing-seeds/

Basically, you plant your seeds in mini greenhouses in winter, and when spring rolls around you have plants that are ready to go. And my favorite part is there is no need in hardening off your plants.

I have been saving and preparing my containers and will give it a try in a couple of weeks.

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Parsley Harvest

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Our parsley grew really well this year! We dried a lot of it and froze a lot too. Not to mention the amount I used to make tea all summer.

We have been putting it in our omelets, garlic bread, biscuits, soups, bone broth, and stir fry.

What do you use parsley for?