Tuesday, June 16, 2009


I had a great conversation with my sister and Mom at lunch the other day--while we were discussing how, although diet change is beneficial, eating gluten free/organic/dairy free isn't always budget-friendly! As wonderful as "all organic" is, sometimes you have to make sacrifices to provide for the family :) We're not "dairy free" but we don't buy as much ice cream/cheese/milk products as we were before, and the same goes with other grocery items as well. I think this is why it's so important to grow our own food and raise farm animals--you'll get fresh vegetables, milk, and meats... learning agriculture without even trying :) "Stretching meals" (eating frugally) is a habit for us, so buying in bulk can come in handy! Just warning you though, I may post a recipe that is buttery-goodness-bad for you, but if we have the ingredients on hand, I'll make it! Everything in moderation.... :)

The Garden
This is our first year garden, so we just planted without high expectations...It gets SO hot though, and sandy soil doesn't help! So far we've reaped a few veggies (Squash, Zucchini, Cucumber)
We've planted a few varieties (Beefsteak, roma, cherry, yellow pear)
Hopefully they do well!

I found out from a friend that these berries aren't Blackberries...They're Dewberries! We get about 2 lbs a day, so I've been making desserts using them, especially Jelly! The taste is between blackberry and raspberry..we really like it!!
My sister picking berries
(how do you like the bonnet she bought?)

My brother likes to help us :)


Wild Dewberry Jelly
So far I've canned 12 jars!
I had forgotten about the blueberry bushes! So I harvested all the ripe berries, and I had a few strawberries ready to pick as well.
We have about 5 bunches of Concord grapes growing! My Dad pruned them back hard when he moved the vine to our little cottage.. I really didn't think it would produce this year!
A part of the backyard..how do you like the path? lol!
Secondhand Treasures
We went to a small town secondhand store, and I found this small vintage sewing box! It was only $3 and reads, " Its never too late to Mend". Inside, it came with antique scissors :)

My highlight purchase! I found this pitcher & basin stand at Goodwill for only $20! That was a little splurge for me, but I've been using it, and as you can tell, it's all set up! lol
The cream pitcher/basin set I already had, so it was nice to *finally* find a stand :) I don't know if you can see it, but it has two candle holders for candles on the side...oh my goodness, I love it!!!

The kittens are almost a month old..we're really enjoying them!!

My sister helps my brother with his schoolwork, and I help my sister with hers. It's been a great tool to be able to help "teach" our siblings.

Many of you had mentioned the herb "Mullein" as treatment for respiratory problems/asthma symptoms. Well, I found out that we have it growing in our front yard! We thought it was an odd plant, but now that I know what it is, it'll definetely be helpful!

Next...planning for my garden party this weekend!


Anonymous said...

Love your new stand and that you actually use it!

We are trying to eat better as well. It is expensive, although, in the long run, who knows how much money we may save in doctor and hospital visits!


HIS daughter said...

Wow! I absolutely LOVE the new stand! That is so neat that you were able to find one!

It is very hard to eat better. For a time I had to be on a completely gluten free diet and WOW was it expensive...thanks for the tips though and your garden looks wonderful :)

Capriel said...

I have missed you. Your post is so beautifully written and the photos add the right amount of spark. It is like stepping back in time.

Stacie, A Firefighter's Wife said...

I cannot believe you got that stand for $20! That was a steal. The Lord blessed you, indeed. It looks like you are having a wonderful June. God bless you!

Madison said...

Hello Mia!
Oh, I absolutely love your garden! I wish our yard allowed one to be that big. ;-) But yours is lovely! I love the pictures of the pear tomatoes! I am planning on growing some next year, as we will be doubling the size of our garden.
I absolutely love the pictures of the fruit you have been picking! We planted strawberries, blueberries, and grapes this year, so we're hoping to get some next year. And just a question, but generally how many years does it take for Concord grapes to start producing?
I love the vintage sewing box and the basin! Very pretty!
The kittens are absolutely adorable! =)
I really enjoyed this post! Beautiful pictures! Keep up the wonderful work!


Stone Bridge Farm said...

Wow. How wonderful of a find...and your beautiful pitcher and bowl fit so nicely. I just love it.

We too have that plant growing just about everywhere on our property...and I have asthma as well. I will have to look into it.

I have never had a dewberry. It sure does look yummy.

I cannot wait to read about the party.

Have a blessed day!

Faithful Servant said...

Hello sweet girl. I check your blog each day. It brightens my day and brings such joy to my heart. You are a true blessing from the Lord. All of your posts are so filled with love and beauty. May the Lord keep you by night and by day. He has opened the curtian of your heart to me and let me see your love.
Your sister in Christ. Sandra

The Road Less Traveled said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Road Less Traveled said...

Shalom Mia~

I so enjoy you blog!

You have inspired my younger daughters to wear prairie dresses
without feeling uncomfortable, thank you!

My 8 year old dd wants a bicylcle like the one you were riding in a pic you had posted about a month or so.

You have a way with the camera! such beautiful photo's, Yahweh has been good to you and your family.

Thank You for sharing

YahChna in TN

Kendra Logan said...

Wow! It looks like your garden is doing fabulously! Congratulations! I can't believe how successful it looks. Haha, we tried to grow cantaloupe one year, and the were about the size of apples :)

I've never heard of dewberries before. That's really neat! Wow, 2lbs a day!

Your kittens are *adorable*!! Aw, I just want to hold them!

I love the way you live, and sometimes I wish my family were more like yours. You all seem so happy and seem to love one another and work together so much. We could all take some lessons from you in being happy in the simple joys of life.

God bless you and your family!!

Miss Jen said...

Lovely, Mia!
All of those berries look
ever so scrumptious and those
kittens.... *sigh* are too sweet!!

Love Your Sister in Christ~ Jen

Anonymous said...

Your garden is looking great! It doesn't seem like that long ago when you first got the cottage. Its awesome that your family has made great use of it in such a short amount of time. Love the pictures of the kittens, they're adorable.
God Bless,

Deanna said...

Blessings to you!
Enjoy visiting your blog.
I've never had dewberry. Sounds good enough to eat.
The kittens are cuties.
Have a wonderful Summer and look forward to seeing pictures on your blog.


Julian said...

oh you lucky girl! Look at that basin and washstand! Soooooo pretty! And your garden, beautiful! Your jams, what talent! Blessed girl you are~
I am writing you a long letter for you to enjoy. Thanks for sharing the pics.
Love, Christina

The Henderson Family said...


What a lovely picture of your life. We too have dewberries growing wild behind our home. My youngest picks daily in the summer. She always wants me to make a pie or free-form tart but alas she usually eats up most of the berries before they ever make it into the kitchen!!!

I too love your stand. I have a pitcher and basin but no stand. I will try not to be envious as I continue to look for one. My daughters and I will be heading to the thrift stores in the next couple of weeks, perhaps I will find one.

Goose Hill Farm said...

What a lovely post, Mia. We are starting to harvest Dewberries here in our yard. I actually have one growing up my front porch. I had my husband weave it in and out of the railings so I could pick them while having my morning coffee!

Eating healthy can at times, cause even our wallets to become thinner. Unfortunately, it is so easy for people to have an unhealthy diet because it is so much cheaper!

I enjoy reading your posts and find myself checking often to see if you have written.

Blessings to you and your family~

Kelsey Anne Hoppman said...

I love to see all of the plants coming up! It's so satisfying to be able to grow your own food!
God Bless,

Mrs. R said...

As always, I love your posts Mia. I enjoy the privilege of keeping up with your family. The washstand was an incredible find, and all the fresh fruits and vegetables are such a gift! Mmmmm......Love the bonnet and dresses and the kitties!

As far as school lessons with your brother~ I enjoyed the posts you did on your schooling....what approach is taken with a young man's education? Would love to hear how your family schools boys!

Kate said...

If it hasn't been suggested already, I encourage your family to read Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon. You MIGHT be able to eat gluten if the grains are sprouted first. Also, soy isn't really a safe food to eat. Just google "dangers of soy."

That aside, I'd say the $20 splurge was well worth it! I love seeing pictures of your cottage. It looks so airy and refreshing.

May I suggest that instead of making jellies and jams, perhaps just simply canning the fruits in their own juices or a syrup for use in pies, cobblers or as fruit toppings or cake fillngs instead.

Also, I was cleaning out my sewing supplies and I found these books and was wondering if you'd like them:

"Victorian and Edwardian Fashion, A Photographic Survey with 235 Illustrations" by Alison Gernsheim

"Women's Fashions at the Time of the Civil War" Vols. 1, 2 and 3.

I'd be happy to give them to you because I know you'll treasure them and get great use out of them. So, if you'd like them, please e-mail me at scottlass at juno dot com.

Paulina said...

How wonderful it must be to live the way you do!

dukygurl said...

I love your homeschool posts. I am a beginning homeschool mom and I love doing work with my daughter at the table! I am so glad your sister is home doing better. My family had in mind to have a small farm supplying produce and such but it just doesn't seem to be God's timing for us. I love you posts and your photos.


Anonymous said...

I just stumbled across your lovely blog, and I'm enjoying reading it. And...I learned something...the berries growing in our yard are dewberries! :-) We live in SC so our climate is similar to yours! Take care!


Ella said...

Those dewberries look oh so good!

And those kittens look oh so precious!

McKenzie Elizabeth said...

Hi Mia!
I love your new treasures! They are indeed beautiful.

I like the picture of your sister helping you brother with his school work. I love teaching my younger brothers and sisters.


Anonymous said...

Oh, I love that pitcher stand, but I don't think I'd ever use it! It looks lovely though and adds to the livestyle you live. I love the recipes you share, keep it up!

~ Judy ~ said...

Oh Mia! Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!
We have raspberry bushes that we enjoy so much....but we have other berry bushes nearby, which we also enjoy but thought were blackberries...although the taste confused us a bit because they didn't taste like a blackberry....thanks to your post and photo....(and your friend)....we now know that they are DEWBERRIES!!!!!
Thanks so much!
Your photos of your garden party are LOVELY.
God bless you and your wonderful family!

Growing In Grace Magazine said...

What a pretty garden! We don't have room for one where we live now, but, luckily, our friends let me come over every few days to help them with theirs. I love it so much!

Oh, I am planning on making my own jam in a few weeks as well, how cool!

AWWWwww! Cute kitties! <3

~Lady Jess

Susannah (for Farmgirls) said...

I love your new pitcher and stand!

How do you tell the difference between lamb's ear and mullein? We have lamb's ear, or at least I always thought it was lamb's ear, around here. It would be nice to know exactly what it is though :)

My sisters and I really enjoy your blog!