Friday, December 31, 2010

Loooooong Winter...Already and What's New at NCH

Yes, I've been gone for a while. I got busy and time got away from me. Then we got hammered not long after Thanksgiving and the snow just didn't stop. (I'll post a few pictures later. ) Finally it least for now. 40's today and 50's tomorrow. Maybe some of this crap will thaw.

Anyway, seed catalogues are coming in and I'm putting together my wish list. Also trying to get things going for New Century Homesteader's Online Workshops, which will be starting in 2011. It will be busy and I hope I can get the advertisers and major sponsors necessary.

It is an international program and I hope to offer free and very moderately priced worshops and written pieces so all can access.

NCH will also be coming to online radio soon. It should be fun.

As for what is going on this absolute second? Well, I'm roasting a turkey carcus, given to me by a friend after Christmas, as they don't use it. I'm wanting to see what difference I get in flavour in soup by roasting the carcus first, before making the broth. Usually I just drop it in the pot.

Also, I'm trying my hand at ketchup making. Making up my own recipe, so we'll see. My Mom wants me to complie and publish my recipes, and I probably will when I develop more of them.

Hope everyone has a Happy New Year!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Brrrrrr.....'s getting colder and the leaves are turning. I guess I'm one of the few people who don't see the "beauty" of the leaves changing colour here in upstate, as all I can see is summer gone and winter on it's way. I just can't seem to get past that. The only GOOD thing about winter is no lawn mowing. But then there is the snow to deal with. If I HAD to choose, I guess I'd mow, but I don't like either.

Since the deer or rabbits ate my pumpkin plants, I'm going to have to go down the road to the farm market and get my pumpkin this year. I guess next year's garden will have to be fenced.

Marley is doing well and using the litter box already, and providing well for the compost and tea!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Welcome Marley....!

And the newest member of the family is..."Marley". Marley is a Lion Head rabbit, which is a new breed. They get their name due to the fact that they do have a mane around their head, just like the male lion.

I won't be raising rabbits here. Marley's main job will be providing manure for "tea" and compost use. Eventually there will probably be a few more (maybe 2 more) to help Marley, but for now he is the sole employee in the rabbit droppings department.

Marley is not full grown, although he won't get much bigger. About 4 lbs at full weight. Nice size, since he is living in my little game/movie room!
Oh, and yes, he IS sitting in a cat litter box. Marley is being trained to go in a litter box.

I'm Back

It has been most of the summer since the last post. But, it has been a busy summer...and short! The gardens were troublesome this year. With rain, cold, seemed like you couldn't keep track of the players without a program! Right now I have a wonderful Black Zucchini vine full of blossoms. But it came late so unfortunately I may not get any vegetables off of it.

Tomatoes are still coming. The cherries and 4th of July's did the best. Horseradish is flourishing, and I will probably did some up soon. The grapes I put in did take, so I hope the vines will winter well. I'm finding the wild grapes are sweet this year! Yum!

As per usual, my dill doesn't want to grow here. I'll have to look at the soil next year. There must be a problem, but nothing that can't be fixed.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

AWOL Plants.....

Hmm.....there's been a few problems with plants still disappearing. Could it still be the deer or do we now have new invaiders?

Although I'm not missing as many plants as I was earlier, there are still some gone......AGAIN! Guess I'll put up my scarecrow and see if he works.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Need to Build.....

My parents just gave me 2 used skylights from their house in Florida. Good sized too. About
1 1/2ft x 4ft. So, I'm going to try to build a couple projects. First, I'm going to try to build a solar oven, then a cold frame. It should be interesting and fun!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Who's There?????

I went out this morning to find a few of the seedlings in my straw bales MIA! I've seen a doe in the yard a few times. Could be her. But there are also rabbits, name it. So, I have to restart some seeds and go again!

Friday, June 4, 2010

What's Up With the Bales.....?

I decided to take some close up pictures of the straw bales happenings, since I put in another transplant this morning.

Bottom left are my Adirondack Blue potatoes. They have really begun to sprout already. If you remember from the last post, the potatoes were placed under flakes of straw, not in the bales themselves. I did not dig up the ground (as you can see). I also put in Yukon Golds. They are not sprouting as of yet, however the russets are. Neither are pictured, but done the same as the blues.

Bottom right is the opening in a straw bale that I made for today's transplant, which is a Big Max pumpkin. I started the seed indoors, and the seedling can be seen top right. Top left is the same little guy after it was placed in the straw bale. (This is the seedling I discussed in the last writing. It was started on May 27, and the picture above was how it looked 7 days later.)

In researching straw bale gardening, I found that some people actually cut sections out of the bale for planting. However the bales were loose enough to be able to just separate by hand. I had to put a little effort into it....not much, but I think it was still easier than cutting.

Oh, another fun thing for the day. I picked my first strawberries of the season. VERY sweet!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Rain, Seedlings and Vines

We had a decent rain last night, and dodged a hail bullet. The garden love the rain, and the straw bale seedlings came through fine.

I put in a second grape vine today. I have to do a bit of research, as these are the first grapes I've put in. Usually I just munch the wild grapes (which are yummy!). I'll be using the vines as a natural fence for the end of the garden.

I rigged up a small windowsill greenhouse for a giant pumpkin seed. I planted it on the 27th of May, and today, June 3rd, the seedling has sprouted and is about 1 1/2 - 2" tall. No fertilizer either. I don't think I've ever had something sprout so fast!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Straw Bale

I put some of my seedlings in straw this year. This will be the first time I have tried this, so we'll see how it goes. I wasn't able to season the bales as much as needed before I planted, so whether or not this will hinder success, I don't know.

I planted potatoes under straw flakes (top right). No burying necessary. Friends of mine swear by this method, so I'm giving it a shot.
Alongside the bales are my horseradish and strawberries. The 4th of July tomato plant shows signs of our lack of rain...until today!

House Guests

Sorry...this is a dark picture. But I have some visitors this week. "Mom" and "Dad" went away for a few days, and left the kids at my house, as they are having to be bottle fed.
Little cuties!

Garden Is....IN! For the most part......

Last week, with the assistance of a friend, the garden went in. Various types of tomato, including heirlooms, peas, limas, artichokes (first try), various squash, pumpkins, broccoli (if someone will stop nibbling on it), moon and stars melon, potatoes (including Yukon gold and Adarondack blue) and more.

The herb garden (not pictured) is a work in progress, and I will probably be adding to it for the next few years.

A few pictures of the garden in progress. Watch in the next day or so for more on the straw bales. Part of the garden is in them, as an experiment.
It doesn't look like much now, but hopefully it won't take long. The horseradish is huge, however, and the 4th of July tomato plants have little fruits already.

Friday, May 14, 2010

"Transplants" to the Farm

Mom had some strawberry plants that were in the way of a new porch at their camp. So, I went down yesterday..before the rain...dug them up, brought them back and replanted them here in my strawberry patch.

As you can see, our pouring rain last night was benefical to the transplants, and the bees have already found the plants!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


I received an email from Fort Lucas Farm in Colrain, Massachusetts, looking to both sell and purchase some critters.

They are looking for heritage turkey hens, preferably chocolate, palms and lilacs, but will consider others. As most of their hens were lost this winter, the "boys" are pretty frustrated, as you may guess, so I'm hoping posting here will help their dating scene a bit. Also, if someone is looking to trade, there is an extra royal tom available.

On the "sell" side, they have a polled Mooret Icelandic ram lamb available, as well as a white horned Icelandic ewe. For you llama lovers, there are llamas for fiber, breeding and guard stock.

Anyone interested can contact the farm direct @

413 624 3032 or

Ellen and Daniel Prosser
Fort Lucas Farm
Colrain, MA
Please contact the Prossers direct.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Oh No.....SNOW!!!

Clockwise (Left to Right) Tulips, Kitchen Garden (incl. garlic, herbs, edible flowers), tomato,

Lilac, Lily and Broccoli.

Woke up yesterday morning to..ugh...SNOW! The absolute worst of the "4 letter" words. Needless to say the poor plants and flowers that were out, were snow covered. This is exactly why any new plants I put in now are only those that are cold hearty.

Last night we had a frost watch. So, I was out coverng. I heard tonight will be the same, so everyone will stay covered. At least the winds are done. Now we just need some warmth.

Saturday, May 8, 2010


I am in the process of designing workshops, both on site and virtual. I hope to cover a variety of food and homesteading/small farm topics.

Keep watching here as well as on Twitter (@nchomesteader) for updates.

i hope

I have these little violets growing all over the yard and in my gardens. I started using them now for ground cover in the gardens. Works great! If I want to put something in, I just pull out some violets and plant what I want in that space. Otherwise, the violets are in there for fill.

I tried sugaring some of the violets, but I didn't use the right sugar (too coarse) and they pretty much collapsed...Ooops!.... I have to get the super-fine granulated sugar.
One thing to remember. African violets, the ones we all have in our houses and give as gifts, ARE NOT edible. Again, when wildcrafting, if you're not sure about something, either show it to an expert first or leave it alone.

New Livestock????

Nope! I'm not raising sushi now. It's just Shamu, my kitchen fish (because his tank is on the kitchen table). The little bugger will come over and beg for a hand out when I walk by. And now he has the one of the guppies doing the same. He also likes to eat out of your hand.

Ok 'Mu, there is the 15 seconds of fame you've been pestering me about.

Guess it's too nasty for outdoor work today. Winds are really blowing, and it has been pouring on and off. Cold too. I put some cold weather things in like broccoli and lettuce. I have eggplant, tomato and artichokes waiting to go in. I've started some other seeds.....little later than I wanted, but......

I did jump the gun a bit and put in 2 cherry tomato plants. But I put those up at the house (for quick munching), so if we do get a quick frost, hopefully they will be protected enough. We'll see!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Lost and Found in March

I should have posted this picture earlier last month, but this was a tiny tree frog that I found in the yard, on top of some snow, the morning after we had a very warm day and evening. I found him on my way to the compost pile.

This little guy looked like a tiny statue sitting on a pile of snow. I wasn't sure if he was still alive or frozen to death, but seconds after he was in my hand, I knew for sure. I could feel him coming back to life in my hand, and he was moving by the time I got in the house. (I never did get to the compost that day.)

I put him in an old plastic cup with an open hole cover, and let the frog sit on the counter for a few hours, until it warmed up more outdoors and he warmed up more indoors. Then I released him by my woodpile, away from any snow but near a nice big evergreen.

So cute! And just the reminder I needed that Spring was on the way.

Lilacs in Bloom

My lilacs are out. Not quite in full bloom, but close. I never realised, but they are edible. So, I am doing some research for recipes. I'll print links when I find some good ones!

I have to say, they always smell good.
You may be surprised as to what all is edible in your garden. It is fun to find out, but be VERY certain about what you are doing. Research WELL and if you're not absolutely sure, leave it alone!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

What's Up Now?

It has been a busy time. Cleaning out the gardens, putting in herbs and vegetables that could take a cold snap (which we can still get here). I'm also putting in flowers, but edibles.

I cleaned out the strawberry bed and the horseradish. The strawberries are really spreading out, and I have another patch to transplant.

The gardens around the house are pretty cleaned out right now. Some spots here and there, but not bad. Today I was up at the little barn starting in the small vegetable garden. I'm so tempted to really start planting as it has been so nice, but unfortunately I'm in an area that has pretty changeable weather yet this time of year so it is risky. What a waste of time..... (I wait for the time I can live in an area with weather I can actually enjoy all year, not just a couple months! )

I have pictures downloading. I will start publishing tomorrow. And the blog should become daily soon!!!!!

Monday, April 26, 2010

More Spring Work

Well, I've trimmed the berries and roses. The antique rose (it has to be at least 60 years old) that I moved over from the other house did very well over the winter and seems to be flourishing. In fact, it has 4 new stems growing up from the root, and so far it is looking better than it has in years. Its' new home seems to agree with it.

Garlic continues to grow and so do the Egyptian Walking Onions. I went back to the veggie garden, and it looks like I have some "volunteer" regular onions coming up, as I have not planted anything yet.

The little lettuce plant that survived the winter and deep snow in its' bucket is perking right up. And there are seedlings popping up as well.

The regular tulips are out, but I'm still waiting for my Parrots to open. I put them in last year so this is their first year and I'm excited to see them. The buds are there. So.....we wait.

I need to go out and harvest violets to dry for tea. I also need to start going after dandelion buds. Excellent in batter and dipped in powdered sugar while still hot.

Now I can't wait for the garlic chive blooms to come. Those little balls of purple are so good!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

In the Garden

I'm taking advantage of the early spring-like weather to start cleaning out gardens. It is still too early to plant anything (but I may try lettuce), but at least the clean out will be done...I hope...

Some lettuce that I planted in bucket last year just may have re-seeded itself. And, a small lettuce plant may have actually survived all that cold and snow as well.

Daffodils are up as are hyacinths. I'm waiting for the Parrot Tulips that I put in last year. Leaves are up, now for the flowers.......

The Egyptian Waking Onions are also up. Checking now for strawberries and horseradish. Garlic looks good, but I don't think it all came up. :(

Friday, April 9, 2010

More Seeds!

Picked up a few more seed packs today (Yeh!)

On the organic end I bought plain old peas and Kaleidoscope Carrot mix. I also bought Sugar Snap Peas and Kaleidoscope Bell Pepper mix (non organic).

I guess this week I'll try to start some up inside. When it warms a bit, I'll try putting in some cool crops, like lettuce. I'll have to put it in by the garlic however, as the other gardens are not cleaned out yet.

I'm going to be keeping an eye out for dandelion buds in my yard. Great battered and rolled in confectioner sugar.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Buying Seeds.....WOO HOO!!!

I bought seeds the other day. Some food, some for craft uses and a couple for fun.

Let's see..there is Moon and Stars Watermelon (an heirloom variety that I have wanted to try for a few years), Caribbean Red Habanero, Shungiku Edible Chrysanthemum, Black Beauty Zucchini and Dakota Black Popcorn.

For craft uses, I have Swan Gourd, Bird House Gourd and Caveman's Club Gourd.

For fun, I have seeds for Sensitive Plants.

Because money is tight, I will also be trying seeds that I did not use last year. Hopefully they will work. I've had good luck in the past.

Probably next week I will start planting indoors.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Trying Something New

I am trying to tap one of my maples. I have many more trees than the one, but since this is the first time I have tried it, I decided to do just one. I think I may not have drilled deep enough into the tree, however. But, we'll see.

I'll have some pics tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Potato Plant

The potato (more than one...actually) I planted in a pot in my kitchen is looking nice. My next planting will be a mango seed I saved.
New "kitchen 'tater" pics coming soon!

Snow..Snow...GO AWAY!!!!!

Yeah, we got hit with the last storm. Guess luck ran out as we dodged the others, but that doesn't make me feel any better. But, 40's by the end of the week, so may be this "white crap" will start to melt more. Friends say it is pretty, but I don't see it. I just want to spend time outdoors comfortably without having to go through 2 ft of snow!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

You Tube

I've just added a You Tube player at the bottom of the page. I am planning on releasing short videos in the near future, but as with the pod casts, it is taking time to get everything set up to begin.

If you are interested in following NCH on You Tube, you can do so at :

I am still working on the Home Page, so please excuse the sparseness.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Pod Page

Check out the new pod cast page at:

You'll also be able to access casts right from this blog. I have just installed the player near the bottom of the page. I'll let you know when they begin!

Bad Lids....?

Sadly, it looks like I may have gotten some bad jar lids this year. All of a sudden, a couple of my pumpkin jars popped. :( So I can now add 2 jars of pumpkin to the 6 jars of corn lost. This is the first time I have ever had this happen, and it is frustrating to see all that work having to go in the compost pile. Not to mention all that food!

The pumpkin just went within the last week, as I have a habit of checking lids weekly. And at the last check, all was fine.

Well, I'll wait to put it out until after the next snow on Wednesday. It will give the birds and possums something to pick at then.

New Addition On The Way...... additions to the household...of any kind. I am going to be adding podcasts and am installing the player today. I hope to have a few things up by the end of the month.

Thursday, January 7, 2010


Yesterday afternoon and today, the crappy weather stopped long enough for me to "escape" the 4 walls and get out to do some necessary running. A few groceries, cat food (they get testy if their food runs out), post office stop, etc.

The little local grocery I go to makes fresh country sausage. There was some on sale yesterday, and when I saw it, sausage gravy on biscuits sounded soooooo good. So, for supper last night, I whipped some up, making my own simple gravy from milk, flour, butter, seasoned pepper, some drippings from the sausage and of course, the sausage. I made enough for a few more meals as well, but I need to watch how much of it I eat (not what you would call a diet food). Some will probably go in the freezer.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Winter (UGH!) and Changes

As we get buried with snow (a four letter word), I am working to getting back to the blog. The last of the canning was done after Thanksgiving with doing up pumpkins for later use and making turkey soup (with fresh mushrooms and sweet potato cubes) from the remains of the Thanksgiving bird. It all now sits patiently downstairs on the shelves with the pickles, tomatoes, beans and other items.

I've been away from blogging for a while, but I am working on the growth of Local Seasons and The New Century Homesteader. I'm looking at doing bigger things, including workshops, books and pamphlets. Hopefully I will be back with a radio program in the spring or summer as well as other types of programming.

The Local Seasons books are being looked at by a publisher at this time, and so far they have shown quite a bit of interest. The passing of Greta has also made it a bit easier for me to look at the possibility of relocation to a little better, workable climate, as well as a more business friendly state. Hopefully that will work out soon. This has been something that I have been wanting to do for a few years, but had yet to work out. (It was also going to be a process to move Greta, but if I moved, so would she have.)

Anyone who is curious about what is next, I'll be posting as we go along. I am looking for "permanent advertisers" for the new venture, so if interested, please feel free to contact.

I'm a bit behind, so I guess today will consist of ordering new seed catalogues, working on writing of the new programs and projects and wishing this "white crap" away. Far...far away!