• The Waters of Grief

    The Waters of Grief

    It is May 2023. The sixth anniversary of my family’s tragedy. On May 11, 2017, a semi truck landed on top of my parents’ car. The story of the collision and the facts involved have never been very clear to me. I didn’t want them to be. Early on I learned the most important part: my parents were killed along with my three-year-old niece. I made a choice to not ask anything more because knowing all the other details would not change the tragic outcome. Every year I dread the arrival of May 11, and can feel a knot in my stomach as it gets closer and closer. Ironically, the actual day of the anniversary is not as bad as the dread of it. As the years pass and anniversaries come and go, I have come to realize that my self talk contributes greatly to my ability to cope. Let’s be honest, we all send messages to ourselves. My self-talk in particular runs along the lines of self criticism. I battle the idea that I am not doing well, that I am failing. For instance, I should be further along in my healing process and completely “over” my grief. The notion of being stuck occurs to me from time to time. Unfortunately, the messages of failing seep through into the other parts of my life too; Mom, wife, homesteader, and employee. Like in all battles, sometimes I win and sometimes I lose. When I lose it’s painful but the end result means I have to put my two feet back on the ground and keep walking. Honestly, my ability to keep walking comes only from the strength that my faith provides me. In other words, God holds me up and places my steps. Combating negative internal messages is a personal choice. I can reinforce God’s truth over my life or stoke the fears that Satan is fueling.The truth is that God will never leave me, whether I fail or not.

    Deuteronomy 31:8 

     It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.

    Recently it occurred to me that my grief is fluid. So even when I experience moments of sorrow and sadness, it is moving. In the early stages of grief and shock, I had a raw conversation with a friend that I will not forget. The dust had settled from the funeral and the heaviness of grief had settled on my life. A sweet friend approached me and wasn’t afraid to have a difficult conversation. She wasn’t concerned about giving me the right words of advice, and she didn’t seem to be worried about my level of vulnerability. I can remember her leaning in and asking me, “How are you?”. There was a depth of sincerity that I was not expecting, and I began to cry. In one of the sweetest acts of compassion she could give, she allowed me to weep. Weeping is a needed release of pain. So often we avoid it and say things to ourselves like,“If I start crying, I might not stop” or “If I cry it will show all my weakness”. In reality the thing we need to do is cry. In my vulnerability my friend decided to confide in me, she told me of her deepest fear: losing her parents. Very gingerly, my friend asked what it was like to survive such a tragedy of losing both parents suddenly. I was in a stage of trying to survive the outcomes of the accident, so my answers were very revealing about where I was in the process. I can remember telling her that grieving was like trying to survive a tsunami. At that point in time, that was an accurate description of where I was in my  grieving. I was treading water, not knowing when the next wave would hit and send me into the depths, water rushing over my head again. Sinking, struggling to breathe, and feeling like I was closer to the bottom than the top. 

    Isaiah 43:2 

    When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.

    Thankfully, I was never alone. God was always with me, especially when I was sinking to the bottom and the waves were crashing above my head. I can remember falling asleep crying and waking myself up because my body was shaking in my sleep – I was even weeping in my dreams.During that time of overwhelming heaviness I could feel God’s presence with me. He was comforting me, holding me, and sustaining me. He sent scriptures, songs, beloved friends, and of course my little family to help me along the way. Enduring was difficult. There were lots of times I really just wanted to quit, and then I would realize I had no other option but to put in the hard work of telling my parents goodbye. The heaviness of the grief followed me everywhere, even in moments of joy, because I would suddenly feel the absence of my parents, and then the guilt of feeling joy in the face of such sorrow would hit me. Kind people would tell me, “It gets better” and I would think, “What does?” I couldn’t imagine a place in time when I didn’t miss my mom and dad and long to see them again. Life without grief seemed like an impossibility. The thought of not grieving actually made me feel guilty. Would that mean I didn’t love them anymore, or miss them? If you have suffered the loss of a person close to you, these thoughts are probably very familiar. 

    As the days passed and the world went on, I found that my life was changing too. Seasons were passing and my boys were continuing to grow up. Everything was continuing to change around me and slowly, so was I. It wasn’t a sudden change but similar to that of physical training, one day you just notice you are in better shape. My head was above water and sometimes my feet were even on solid ground. Recently, I came to realize my tsunami is now a river. There has yet to be a day that I have not thought of my parents. There are days and times that are more difficult than others. There are times when I can tell a story or recall a sweet memory and smile.  Maybe the difference is that I know the tide will change and the waters will go down. The river keeps running and moving. It is not that the grief disappears and all things are perfect in my life, but it is an acknowledgement of progress. Life progresses and moves even when we want time to stop.

    Lamentations 3:22-23

    The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; Great is your faithfulness.

    God is faithful for every morning and in every part of my mourning, his mercies are made new for me and never ending. All parts of my life are affected by the river but it doesn’t overwhelm me. If the river gets high and the waters get out of control, I can make it though because it is moving and the water will go back down just as quickly as it rises. Some days I dread and I am angry and sad but the grief is moving. It will subside. There are moments I wish my parents didn’t miss, like graduations, sports games, awards, birthdays, and so much more. But my grief is in motion and there is joy still to be found in God’s never ending mercies. There is no changing their absence and the pain of missing their presence but even so there are good things in my life. So instead of treading water, where my feet feel like they will never touch solid ground again, I am rolling up my pants and wading through the river. My feet are once again on solid ground, as I walk through the waters I am not alone and through God’s great mercy I take the ultimate comfort in knowing that one day there will be no more pain. 

    Psalms 46:4

    There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High.

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  • Wordless Wednesday: Homestead Sunsets

  • Prodigal Daughter, My Daddy Welcomes Me Home


    At 18 years old I was headed for the magical world of Arkansas, college bound. It was an exciting time for me, but also a very scary time. It was going to be over eight hours away from home and I didn’t know anyone. As the date of my departure grew closer, my behavior and life choices went down the drain. My parents had spent many years taking me to church and teaching me by example and word to live an upright life. But being very immature, the world looked alluring to me and fun. I thought, “Why not live a little before I leave home?”  In hindsight I can now see that phase of my life was actually part of a process. My leaving home and deciding who I was going to be was a necessary step… in a way, I had to leave (rebel) in order to understand the road home.  However, God lovingly would only allow me to go so far until he made me accountable for my mistakes. 

    In those teen years, God’s accountability came in the form of my father. Just a week before I was to leave home, my dad overheard a vulgar conversation I was having on the phone with a young man. It’s funny to me that now I can’t remember who I was talking to on the phone, but I sure remember the disappointment on my dad’s face. After the incident, my dad said it was pointless to give me consequences because I was leaving home. To be truthful, his disappointment in me was the worst consequence I could have suffered. We soon packed up the truck and drove a hot eight hours in August to Arkansas. If you have never been to Arkansas in August, you don’t know what hot really is. It was a long trip. I was sandwiched between my parents in our red Dodge Ram headed down south. About two hours into the trip my dad began to spout parental wisdom. Maybe it was the long drive, the heat, the holy spirit or some combination of the three but he began to tell me how every decision I made was seen by God and known, and how my choices would shape my life. He talked about his desire for me to be a faithful person and a Godly woman. Nervous about all my upcoming changes, I was annoyed.  Honestly, I was annoyed with both my dad and with myself, I was wondering if my dad would ever be proud of me again. In that moment, the fear of failure was probably larger than it had ever been in my life. Here I was on the way to college, the same girl who almost failed the 6th grade. Most major mistakes that we make in our lives can usually be traced back to fear; fear of rejection or maybe a fear of failure. During this phase of my life I was facing both the fear of rejection and failure. 

    After arriving on campus, my parents unpacked my belongings, put a bookshelf together and quickly said goodbye. Their departure felt rushed to me, and I thought maybe it was because they were both disappointed in me. Little did I know, my parents had already made a plan for my college drop-off ahead of time, which included a brief goodbye. My mom later told me that she was sure my dad could not handle a long, drawn-out process and she was fearful he might not want to leave. She also thought if I had time to think about their departure I might get dramatic. I have always had a dramatic flair. There were several calls home, cards received, and even care packages. I soon adjusted to my new college life and began to experience what I would compare to four years of extended church camp. Turns out college was for the most part a wonderful experience for me. However, I still felt the lingering sense of my dad’s disappointment. My dad had talked to me several times on the phone and had not seemed mad but it had been months since I’d been able to see his face, or the twinkle in his tiny eyes when he smiled. Thanksgiving break finally came, and with it, my first chance to come home. My excitement to be there, sleep in my own bed, and eat at my parents’ table was overwhelming. 

    Finally pulling into my parents’ driveway after a long, eight hour drive through the flat lands of Arkansas, to Memphis, and ultimately my beautiful, rolling Kentucky bluegrass hills. The driveway of my childhood home led straight  to a slightly sloping, cracked sidewalk. The kitchen window looked out over the driveway, and was close to the back door of the large two story farmhouse. My dad was peering out the window, and truth be told, he had probably been peering out the window for a while. This was back in the day before cell phones, tracking apps, or even Mapquest, I am not sure how I made it home alive!  The minute we pulled in the driveway, I could see him looking out the window and quickly exiting the backdoor. My dad ran down the sidewalk, robustly swept me up in his arms, twirled me around! I was delighted to be hugged up in his burly embrace and he said, “I am so excited that you are home!” The months of my uncertainty were gone in an instant. My dad still loved me. He didn’t seem to remember the long road to Arkansas or my teenage indiscretion. 

    Recently I was sharing this story with a dear friend of mine, and she pointed out the similarities between my story and the parable of the prodigal son. It makes my story that much sweeter in my memory to put it in the scriptural context of the prodigal son.  

    Luke 15:20-24

    20) And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. 21) And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ 22) But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. 23) And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. 24) For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate.

    After the sudden passing of my parents in 2017, I began to have a lot of thoughts about what it would be like to go to heaven. The scriptures speak of the glory and presence of God and his son Jesus, the streets of gold, and say heaven is a place that God has prepared for us.  However, scripture does not speak about the details of our meeting Jesus.  Maybe because it will be too glorious for us to comprehend or even understand right now. One day as I was praying and struggling with the absence of my parents, and the lack of knowledge about my reunion in heaven with Jesus,  God brought this memory of my loving dad to my mind. The love my dad showed to me on that college freshman Thanksgiving break was a reflection of God’s love for me. When I do enter heaven my meeting with Jesus will be full of love. I feel sure I will feel the embrace of my heavenly father and hear him say, “I am so excited you are home!” I long to feel his embrace and see his face for the first time. And in an instant I will feel the full impact of  grace, extended to me, that covers my lifetime of mistakes. 

    2 Corinthians 5:2 

    For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling

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  • Wordless Wednesday: Hydrangeas

  • Sometimes My Life is a Mess and so is My Garden

    Honestly, I have been debating whether or not I should blog about my weeds. Weeds are much like a dirty house; you live in it but don’t want other people to see your mess. Everyone seems to have an opinion about your mess (weeds or dirty house), and how they would fix it or how their home/garden/life would never get that bad. 

    Over the years I have seen, read, and heard about methods that will supposedly leave you with no weeds. My experience has been that most methods are too good to be true. I remember in the nineties my mom bought yards and yards of landscaping fabric and lined several of her landscaping areas. Today this material is still present buried under layers of mulch and dirt, and guess what! There are weeds growing through the fabric. The fabric actually makes it harder to pull the weed once it has grown through, because it becomes twisted in the fabric and you lose access to the root of the weed. In Spite of all the gadgets, sprays, and methods there are still weeds in the world. 

    As I work in the garden, I think to myself, “Weeds are a part of life.” If you have any green space in your life, you will have weeds. Weeds remind me of the scripture, “In this world you will have trouble …” John 16:33.  So for the last five years I have spent several summer mornings and evenings weeding. This time of year my life has a certain routine. IT is “wake up, weed and repeat”.  If I turn my back and ignore my weeds for even a day or two,  they will over take the garden and destroy my harvest.  Yet no matter how hard I try to keep them out,  there are still weeds.  

    My weeds

    In the spring time we had a week of rain. Like every plant, weeds love rain.  But the school year was still in session, so I had very little time to weed. A portion of our garden quickly became so covered with weeds you could not see the lettuce, radishes, or spinach that were growing. I attacked them as soon as I could carve out time, but while I was getting that area under control, my sunflower and zinnia rows burst forth with their own variety of weeds. The weeds became so thick in my flower rows it looked like I was weed farming! Even though my excuses were legitimate, the weeds didn’t really care. Gardening is actually a spiritual thing. While sweating buckets under my sunscreen jacket, I often think about my life, scriptures, and my creator. God designed gardening. He created the first garden and gave man the joy of cultivating it. But because of the sin of man, I now pull weeds. One of the many spiritual thoughts I have while pulling weeds is about the parallels between weeds and sin in my life. How often do I neglect to acknowledge (even though I know they are there) the weeds in my life ? There are times when I am caught up in other distractions and I just don’t even attempt to pull the weeds. Sometimes, I might decide it is time to clean my garden (my life) up, and after a half- hearted attempt, the weed snaps off. The appearance to others in my life looks good, no weeds … Right ? Well, if you have ever weeded you know that unless you pull the root up, the weed will be back. It is interesting to me that most flowers and vegetables will shrivel and die without leaves and stems but my evil weeds only need a fraction of a root to grow a whole plant. 

    There are times here on the homestead and in my life that I look at my weeds and I think, “Well, I have let it go too far this time. I have lost to the weeds.”  The first year we moved to our homestead,  we moved in July and the weeds had gotten so out of control they were several weeds taller than me.  You might have mistaken them for trees or large shrubs, if you had driven by.  My harvest was non-existent that year with only a few stray squash. It was a painful year of loss and failure for me. I can remember trying to weed what I affectionately call the World’s Longest Flower Bed, and it was a losing battle.  My body was not responding well to the stress of my life and the personal pains I felt. One evening I was out digging up the weeds that had overwhelmed my mother’s beautiful lilies. I could feel my spirit just giving up. I was having thoughts of just mowing things down, naturalizing the area, or paving over the entire thing. Just about that time, up pulled a friend with her husband and three kids. She jumped out of her minivan and said, “Girl, what are you doing out here? And by yourself ?, You are never going to get done on your own !!” I was so happy to see her, I think I cried. She couldn’t tell though because I was sweating so much.  Soon her husband and boys were digging away in the garden with me. My friend brought me a cold drink and made me sit and watch them finish up. I was so blessed and just like that the World’s Longest Flower Bed had returned to its original glory. While we were sitting watching them weed, she began to tell me what a good job I was doing taking care of my mom’s flowers. What words of encouragement that I needed to hear! We followed up the weed party with a pizza party filled with laughter. I wish every time I weeded a car full of people would show up to help, but that is what makes that story so special.  There are times when God requires me to pull the weeds up without company, just me and Him. However, he is gracious and loving, and when it looks like I might just sacrifice the flowers, the fruit of His work in me,  and give up, he provides me with a car full of people to help me, giving me rest, love, and encouragement to keep going.  

    1 Thessalonians 5:11

    Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, 

    just as you are doing.

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  • Wordless Wednesday: Lillies

  • In my beautiful garden

  • I Got Stuck in the Mud

    I Got Stuck in the Mud

    As a young girl, I grew up on a horse farm. I did not usually help much in the barn, because my dad had fired me once for standing on hay bales, pretending I was on a good episode of Hee Haw. I’d been giving the animals a soulful Crystal Gayle, “Don’t It Turn My Brown Eyes Blue” concert. Unlike my brothers who were more invested in the horses and helping my dad, I found my place was usually helping my mom in the house, feeding the barn cats, and taking care of puppies. My mom didn’t care if I gave free concerts as long as I was working. However, one night, probably because my older brother had homework or an activity outside the home, I was drafted to help my dad lead in the horses. Every evening my Dad would lead our mares in and feed them. If the weather was bad or they were close to expecting foals, they would stay in for the night. It was not a task that I was unfamiliar with or incapable of completing. My dad always picked the most gentle mares that would basically just follow my footsteps into the barn. I remember this particular night very well, and recently the memories of it came clearly back to me while studying scripture. Just right outside the backdoors of our barn was a long sloping hill that went down into the pasture where the horses were usually kept.  That evening it was raining, and raining hard. Our little humble farm had deep, hard clay which my parents battled for years while gardening and farming. “Clay” is honestly not a nice word in my mind when I hear it, because I am reminded of the texture.  When it rained the ground would become almost like a mud suction vacuum that would quickly make barn boots very heavy, and required heaving the clay laden boots up the hill with each step. As a young girl, I had to keep up with the very gentle mare, though I am more than sure she was already slowing her normal pace. But still, I had to make every step that she did, and follow the number one rule, “never drop the shank”. A shank on the farm is a strap or a braided rope with a snap that is used to lead animals, and it attaches to their halters which guides their heads, and usually means they will follow you. Dropping the shank in the muddy clay was a mess, and it also meant you could lose control of your horse. Even an old gentle horse could become unreasonable and wild if the routine task of going in at night spooked her in some way. I don’t know if you have ever walked closely with a horse, but it is a powerful experience. You can feel the large muscles of the horse move with every rise and fall of their steps. It is always a reminder to me of how small I really am. So on this particular night, I was walking up the slippery, muddy hill in the rain beside this big, powerful but gentle mare with my black rubber boots on. Unfortunately, they now seemed to weigh fifty pounds each from the accumulated mire, and so proved to be too much for me. I stuck my booted foot in the miry clay and attempted to pull it out as I had done most of the way up the hill, but it would not come up. The sweet mare I was leading was unaware of my struggle, and she was moving on.  I knew I had to go with her.  I could see my Dad had already made it to the barn door with the lead horse, but his back was turned, trusting his gentle mare would just follow in. I had seconds to make a choice. I could drop the shank, stumble trying to pull the boot out, or simply pull my foot out of the boot and keep going. I chose the last option, or maybe my gentle mare did, I’m not really sure. But my clean white sock foot came out and my boot stayed in the muddy clay. I made it to the barn safely with the mare and the shank. As I entered the barn my Dad met me, and he was surprised to see I only had one boot on. He said, “what in the world happened, where is your boot ?” He couldn’t believe I had just abandoned my good barn boot in the mud. He was saying, “You really couldn’t pull your boot out ?!” He took the mare and secured her in the stall, and then marched back out in the rainy, muddy clay to retrieve my boot. I stood at the top of the hill between the barn doors and watched him stomp and slide down the hill. He quickly found my little boot. My dad was not just strong, he was farm strong. The kind of strength you get from slinging hay bales, milking cows, running tillers, and throwing feed sacks over your shoulder. I remember him leaning down and trying to pull my half submerged boot out of the clay. It wouldn’t budge, the mire had a firm grip on my boot. Knowing it was going to take a little more power he bent down and gave another tug, still no boot. I remember thinking, “Well, I may have to get new boots”.  And with a big farm strong grunt he bent down a third time, determined to pull the boot out, and with all his might he pulled. Up like a freed can of biscuits came my boot, and because of the sheer force which he was using and the new-found flying freedom of my boot, my dad went down. Going down in the muddy clay was no fun, but because of the circumstances, this time my dad found it funny.  I can remember his laugh as he struggled getting up and walking up the hill covered in dark red Kentucky clay. He entered the barn and with a twinkle in his eye he chuckled and said, “I got it!!” 

    “I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the Lord.”
    ‭‭ Psalm 40:1-3

    If you have never been stuck in miry clay, maybe this verse does not speak to you as deeply as it does me. However, I know you can relate to the feeling of being stuck in a pit. We have all been in a pit of destruction. Life is full of pits, whether it is a pit that we have created ourselves by our own destructive behavior or a pit that we are put in because of someone else’s sin. A pit is a hopeless place. On our own we have no way to escape a pit, we have to be pulled out of it. The miry clay is very much like this. I had no hope of pulling my boot out, the miry clay had all the power and would not let me go.  I could not create a rock to anchor myself on, I could not stop the horse, and I could not get my boot out.  It was the power of my father that pulled my boot out. It was my dad who cleaned my boot off and put it back on my foot, securing my steps.  Often we find ourselves caught by this world, in the rain on the miry clay hill trying to provide our own traction. But God is the only rock; the only solid ground. He is the only one capable of setting us on solid ground. Without God we are stuck in the pit, and mired in the clay without hope. The Lord is my rock, the only firm foundation. It puts me in mind of one of my old favorite hymns, I can almost hear my Mom singing it now, “On Christ the Solid Rock I Stand, All other Ground is Sinking Sand.”  When I focus on my circumstances around me, the stress of my daily life I can feel myself sinking into the miry clay, stuck. My heavenly Father is there for me, he is pulling me up and placing me on his rock where my feet are secure and my steps are safe.  Thank you God for pulling me out of the clay and placing me on your Rock which is a higher ground.

    The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. 

    Psalm 18:2


    Click on the link above and listen to one of my favorite songs.

    My Dad and I

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  • Chicken Paradise

  • I Finally Conquered Kraut!

    I Finally Conquered Kraut!

    Since I started blogging, several people have assumed I can do ALL things homesteading, which is far from the truth. The truth is, there are simple tasks that others seem to master more quickly and there are things that just don’t seem to be in my wheelhouse. Part of the homesteading adventure for me has been to figure out what things I can accomplish and things I should just walk away from. A few things that I do not enjoy or show the artistic ability to complete: crocheting, sewing, painting, and the list could go on. My Grandmother was excellent at crocheting and I still have some of her wonderful afghans and needle work. The homestead house is full of my Mom’s oil painting of flowers, birds, and trees. While these paintings and afghans are considered treasures, it is not something that I have been able to complete, maybe that is why I treasure them so. I do consider myself a good cook but there are things in the culinary homesteading world that I have not mastered, yet either. One of the things is homemade sauerkraut. I have fond memories from my childhood of my Mom’s homemade kraut. Memories of her pulling out a very large stone crock, in which she made large amounts of sauerkraut. My taste buds remember the cool crisp sour cabbage of my mom’s kraut. Hoping to replicate her success, I grew lots of cabbage here on the homestead. I watched youtube videos, read blogs and gave it a try. First there was an attempt at simple canned kraut. Sadly, my canned kraut turned out mushy and under-salted. Mushy kraut is not good. After discovering my favorite store-bought kraut went up to seven dollars for a pint, I was more determined than ever to conquer the kraut. I googled and tried a fermented old-fashioned kraut recipe, which resulted in a moldy, over salted, mushy mess. My guess is that I let it get too hot and didn’t submerge the kraut well enough, not to mention I am pretty sure I accidentally doubled the salt. Sometimes, it gets a little crazy in my kitchen. While looking on Amazon for possible homestead kitchen items, I stumbled across this fermenting kit. So I ordered it and gave it a try.

    I Found a kraut recipe that I thought I would like, and simply made the kraut, placed it in the jar, attached the Easy Fermenting lid, and turned the dial to the number of days the kraut needed to ferment. Patience is a virtue, 14 days of counting down my sauerkraut experiment was difficult. At last, after a long two weeks I could taste my experiment, I was pleasantly surprised to taste the results! It took me back to hot July days on the farm eating cold kraut out of the fridge. So I have experimented with the fermentation lids, and have done two types of kraut as well as fermented jalapeno peppers. I had invested a total of $24 plus the cost of a head of cabbage. Something that homesteading has taught me is that there are risks involved in every experiment, but they don’t have to be too costly. With inflation and the current state of my household budget, my financial risks will need to be small. 

    Who knows what I will ferment next ? 

    In case you’d like to try making your own sauerkraut, here is my simple slightly spicy kraut recipe:  

    One head of cabbage (about 8 cups finely chopped)

    Shredded carrots 2 cups

    Diced red radish 1 cup

    Himalayan Pink Sea Salt 2 teaspoons

    You may need to add filtered water 

    2 wide mouth quart jars

    Directions: Wash cabbage and take off any outer brown or loose leaves. Then chop or shred the cabbage, being careful to avoid the core and just get the leaves. You should get around 8 cups of cabbage from one average head of cabbage. Put the cabbage in a large bowl and add 2 teaspoons of the sea salt, then blend the cabbage and salt. Let the mixture stand for 15 minutes, because this will allow the cabbage to sweat and release needed moisture.  Take something and pound the cabbage mixture to release even more moisture, you will need liquid to ferment.  I usually use my Mom’s old potato masher for this part of the project.  I mash for about five minutes, I tell myself it is a good bicep workout.  After mashing add carrots and radish and blend them together with the cabbage mixture.  

    Briefly smash the blended kraut together, just to make sure it is ready for the jar.  Then pound it into the jar leaving plenty of space at the top of the jar for the fermentation process.  I can usually fill two jars ¾ way full with this recipe.  Then divide the remaining liquid and pour it over the packed jars.  Make sure you don’t have any stray pieces of cabbage that are not covered by liquid.  It does not have to appear like soup but it needs to look moist.  Place your handy fermentation lids on and set days to number 14, I usually count down but you could count up (you pick).  

    Finished Sauerkraut

    I use tinted dark yellow mason jars that I bought on clearance.  The pantry is a good place to store them while they ferment because it is cool and dark. When I did my kraut, I did not open the jars until day 14, so I did not need the pump which is included in the package. I have made several batches and not used a weight, but other people reviewing the product recommend adding a weight, reporting it kept all the kraut in the liquid for fermentation. I found that my cabbage mixture produced enough liquid that it was plenty moist enough to fully ferment all the cabbage.

    If you have not tried kraut before, give it a try. I find it yummy and it has natural probiotics which are great for your digestive system. This simple recipe for sauerkraut has also made a great quick and healthy addition to summer midweek family meals. Sauerkraut goes lovely with some slow cooked ribs or even smoked sausage, it is an easy way to add a healthy family side. We have also enjoyed adding fermented peppers on burgers, brauts, or the juice poured in homemade pimento cheese.  

    Link to order fermenting lids: https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B01DJVVORE/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&th=1

    What have you not conquered yet?  

    Leave me a comment, and let me know what you are going to try this summer.  

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  • Picturesque Peonies, On My Little Kentucky Homestead

    Picturesque Peonies, On My Little Kentucky Homestead

    My homestead has been full of beautiful Peony blooms. Peony’s are one of my favorite flowers, I enjoy the fluffy blooms along with their fragrance. The Peony symbolizes honor, happiness, and fortune (I like all those things too). The beautiful Peony is also the state flower of Indiana and is commonly given on the 12th year wedding anniversary. However, my anniversary is in December and we are way past 12 years, we are approaching precious metal territory at this point.

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