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Preserving Purple Pole Beans

The time finally came.

We canned our beautiful purple pole beans y’all.

And they came out perfect.

Purple pole beans are so much fun to grow. They are these perfect little beans that are the most gorgeous shade of purple. Give them an upright fence to grow on and boom son, no huge planter space taken up. This year, we planted them along this old ladder we had just sitting on the side of the house. We plopped the ladder in the middle of the garden and planted seeds that we harvested last year and we couldn’t believe how happy these little plants were.

This whole gardening thing is pretty incredible. Especially when you have the pleasure of utilizing your very own harvest to replenish the garden over and over again.

My husband and I have a deal. He grows our food and I make sure it gets to our table in some form or another.

He grew us some beautiful purple pole beans. And so….

I canned those beautiful purple pole beans.

Here is how I did it.

Well first off, lets talk about a few important things. When canning foods that have little to no acidity, you need to use a pressure canner to can. This ensures that all bacteria that can cause severe illnesses are killed in the process and what you have left over is safe pure food.

Beans fall into the little to no acidity category. So, for this adventure we are using our All American Pressure Canner. Wanna take a side note with me?

Ahhh I knew you’d say yes….

Which canner to use.

I did a ton of research on pressure canners before I made this investment. I landed on the All American Canner  because of a few reasons.

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  • These canners do not require gaskets. So there is nothing you have to continuously purchase. Only requirement is that you lube the edge of the lid with coconut or olive oil before each canning session.
  • These canners are built in the USA and are made to LAST, your great grand-kids could benefit from this investment.
  • They offer multiple sizes for your canning needs. Making it incredibly efficient if canning is your main source of storing food or if you just want to occasionally can at times. I invested in the middle of the road canner, model number 921. On the website I states that it holds 19 pint size jars and 7 quart size jars. What I have found is that I am only able to can 12 pint size jars. Or 6 quarts. It does state under the specs that quantity of jars may vary depending on jar brand.

I gotta to say that this last batch of canning I did, I wanted to make it count so, I canned 12 quart size pinto beans and 6 pint size black beans and I was really wishing I have invested in the bigger size available.

BUT…. I made it work and I’m still in love with my canner. Every time I bring it out, I have this feeling of confidence. This feeling of self-sufficiency. This feeling of, F-yea!

Lastly, I also love the weight on this pressure canner as well. It is incredibly easy to use and it gives you full control over your pounds per pressure.

So if you have been going back and forth on what canner to how with, I highly suggest you research the All American Canner and take the plunge.

Small disclosure, I am not affiliated with Pleasant Hill Grain, the company who makes this canner. I just have experienced their superior product and don’t mind dancing on roof tops and yelling, “I LOVE THIS CANNER…….” Because I LOVE THIS CANNER! I am, however, affiliated with amazon and that is the link I provided you. So, if you decide to take the plunge, would you be so kind as to purchase through the link I provided. There is no additional cost to you and it helps us out tremendously.

Ok….

Back to canning beans? You got it!

Oh, if you are new to the whole canning food thing, head on over here to read about all the equipment you need to get started.

And, if you want to check out the quick reference list before you get started, head on over here.

Canning Pole Beans

What y’all want to do is:

First off, get all your equipment and utensils ready. Use your quick reference list I gave you. And then get a cutie to help you pick those beautiful beans from the garden.

Canning purple pole beans

  • Fill your pressure canner up with about 2-3 inches of hot water. Using hot water helps heat the water when on the stove.
  • While your canner is heating up, fill a big pot with filtered water, enough to fill all jars. ***Heat more water than you think, the last thing you want is to not have enough water in the middle of your session.
  • While both pots are reaching their boil. Rinse your pole beans. Break the ends off if necessary. Then break into half inch pieces. Place in a bowl.
  • If you used your quick reference list, you should already have a bowl set aside with your lids in it. If this is true, you just earned yourself a star, yo! If it’s not and you just had to scrabble around to get yourself a bowl, I say, USE YOUR LIST! It’s time to fill your bowl with some hot water from your pot. This step is important, it heats up the seal on the lid allowing it to properly seal onto the jars during the canning process.
  • Fill up desired size jars with your beans.

Canning Purple Pole Beans

  • Add 1/4 teaspoon of salt, this step is completely optional. It only adds to the taste.

Canning Purple Pole Beans

  • Using your funnel, fill jars up with boiling water. Leave about a 1/4 inch of head space at the top of your jar. Use your “knife” utensil and remove any air bubbles that may be present.
  • Use your paper towel dip it in some clean water, or vinegar and wipe the rim of each jar. This is also important because it removes any debris that may have gotten onto the lid. If debris is left on the rim and you put your lid on, there is a great chance that your lid won’t seal properly.
  • Using your magnetic lid lifter, place lids onto your jars. Place the rings on top of the lid and only tighten finger tight. Don’t over tighten. Air still needs to be able to escape.
  • Use your tongs and place jars into canner. *** I am not gonna lie homie, sometimes you’ll come across a jar that will break the moment you place inside your canner. Or even during the canning process. Sometimes you just have a faulty jar. So just be prepared.
  • Place your canner lid on and tighten knobs. Tighten knobs opposite of each other. This ensures that the lid is evenly tightened.
  • DON’T PUT YOUR WEIGHT ON YET. Allow the canner to reach the proper temperature. You will know it’s time to put the weight on when you hear steam releasing from the steam valve for a stead FULL 10 minutes.

Canning purple pole beans

  • Once you allowed steam to release for 10 minutes, place your weight with the correct pounds, usually 10 pounds. Unless your altitude is insane. Now allow the canner to build pressure to the amount of pounds you have on your weight. Once you hit your pounds, turn heat down just a tad. I mean, just a tad. And start your timer. 40 minutes for quart size jars. 20 minutes for pint size jars.
  • Once done, just turn off your canner and set an hour timer. This allows all the pressure to naturally release from the canner. Once the hour is up I usually take my weight off and the last bit of pressure will release. I then wait for about 10 more minutes before I attempt to open the lid. ***Always unscrew the knobs opposite of each other. And open the lid away from your face.
  • Using your tongs, take jars out of canner and place on your towel that you already had prepared because you used your quick reference list!
  • Leave jars alone for a full 24 hours.

Canning purple pole beans

  • I only hope you get to hear the sweet sound of the PING. That sound tells you,  spending all day in the kitchen like a 50’s house wife, was all worth it!

Canning purple pole beans

  • After 24 hours, remove rings from jars. I like to hold my jar by the lid, gently, just to make sure all my lids are actually sealed. ***You may notice some water spots, no biggy, just spray some vinegar on a paper towel and wipe clean. Don’t forget to label and date!

That is it my friends. It may seem like a lot but in reality it takes about 15 minutes to prep. The time consuming part is waiting for your canner to reach pressure and then decrease in pressure. The best part is that you get to fill your pantry with your own green beans that taste like heaven.

How to use your canned green beans

I love to heat up some oil in a cast iron pan. (We use bacon grease from high quality bacon to cook with.) 

Slice up some sweet onion and throw them in the pan. I like to caramelize the onions before throwing the green beans in. The green beans only need to be heated, not cooked so they take about 5 minutes in the pan. I usually make this side dish at the very end.

Add some salt and pepper.

And the best part, take a few pieces of cooked bacon and cut it up into pieces and sprinkle on top of your green beans.

Y’all, its heaven!

Happy canning! AND eating!

Questions? I wanna to hear ’em! Leave a comment or question down below! Oh and hey, wanna free eBook with some awesome recipes utilizing herbs? Subscribe to our email list yo!

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How to Harvest Lemongrass

 

Ahhh lemongrass, how you smell so fresh and lively.

If you have never experienced lemongrass, I highly suggest you run right out and find yourself some and take a big fat inhale.

You will immediately feel ten pounds lighter in energy. Lemongrass has this incredibly clean, bright uplifting smell that can change your mood from crappy to dancing on roof tops within seconds.

Seriously.

Let’s talk about growing and harvesting lemongrass shall we.

Growing Lemongrass

Lemongrass, Cymbopogon Citrates, is incredibly easy to grow. It is a sub tropical plant, so it thrives in full sun and in warmer climates. If you can’t find yourself some already established plants, you can head on over to the grocery store (usually specialty stores) buy yourself some lemongrass, put it in some water and let it root on its own. Once roots appear, you can transplant it and….

BOOM SON, lemongrass be growin’.

Lemongrass is a huge fan of well drained soil. It grows to be tall grass like bushes, so be sure to give it some room to spread out. We planted our lemongrass at the top of our herb spiral and it just loved every ounce of life. If you are wondering what the F an herb spiral is, head on over here my friends.

Harvesting Lemongrass

Harvesting lemongrass is super easy. You want to make sure you allow the plant to grow at least 12 inches high before you harvest. Try and harvest lemongrass before the leaves turn brown. But you know what, life gets busy and I am here to tell you, it is going to be alright yo, if you have a few brown leaves just throw them back into the compost.

The cycle continues, right.

Anyway, there are a couple ways to cut the leaves to harvest. One way, the way we did, is to cut right above the stalk part of the plant. You know right before it gets thick toward the bottom. This method allows you to wrap the leaves easily. The second method is to cut the leaves all the way, leaving about 2 inches of plant left above the soil. This gives you a large portion of the stalk, which you can use for cooking, (stews, stir fry….) and with this method it would be best to hang dry.

Shall we go over both drying methods? I think so too.

Lemongrass wraps

Now let’s talk wrapping these mofo’s. Wrapping is super convenient for making tea. We discovered this method from Big City Gardener. You simply just take a little wrap out, place it in a mug, pour hot water and BAM….

Delicious lemongrass tea.

Ok. Let’s do this. First you want to harvest your herbs in mid day when they have had time to dry up from the morning dew. Always give your lemongrass enough time to grow, so allowing it to at least reach 12 inches high is best.

Cut your leaves above the stalk. Remove all brown leaves.

Rinse and allow to air dry completely before wrapping them.

Now take a small handful maybe about 10-15 leaves….Oh, and gloves might be a wise choice. Lemongrass is a bit sharp.

Wrap the leaves around your hand and twist the leaves so they bind together.

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Make a fist and hold the beginning of the wrap in your hand and simply twist the leaves and thread them through the loop you made with your hand. Twisting the leaves just allows the leaves to stay together and thread a bit easier.

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Continue to twist and loop through until all your leaves tighten into a wrap.

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Don’t worry about the loose leaves that refuse to twist and wrap. Just consider them rebels and still appreciate what they are going to do for your soul!

Place these wraps on a screen and allow to air dry anywhere from 2-6 weeks.

Once dried place in an air tight jar or bag, label, date and enjoy!

Loose Leaf Lemongrass 

The second method is incredible easy as well. Simply cut your lemongrass down to the stalk. Make little bunches and tie the stalk end with twine. Hang in a cool dark place for 2-6 weeks.

When done drying, you can throw the bunches in a food processor or high power blender and grind just enough util it gives you a loose leaf tea consistency.

You can use by placing a spoonful or two in a tea steeper and enjoying.

That is it y’all. Incredibly easy to grow and harvest lemongrass.

How do you enjoy lemongrass?

Happy harvesting!

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DIY Bug and Gnat Spray

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We have a ton of house plants, they just make us happy. So we tend to do a lot of transplanting. And just like anyone else, where do we keep our soil…

Outside of course.

But do you know what happens to soil when it sits outside long enough?

Little tiny gnats like to lay their eggs in the soil.

You know, those damn little fruit fly things that will do anything in their little power to try and fly into your mouth. If you are thinking eww gross, then I guess you have never experienced one of these little bastards.

They multiply faster then you can say, “yoga with goats.” I mean, yoga with goats, I love goats but doing yoga with them….I don’t get it. Oh wait, I was talking about gnats, back to gnats. So, needless to say they can infest a house super fast.

So here is a little story; a while back I redid our bathroom. I was very proud, if I do say so myself. Well, in that little redo, I hung a plant, in an awesome purple pot that just fit the bathroom perfectly but what kind of soil did I use?

You guessed it y’all, soil from outside.

A few weeks later, we were infested. It was so bad that the walls had little tiny gnats everywhere. I was done. I had enough. These little F-ers had to go and they had to go now.

So I did a little research and came up with this gnat spray.

Let’s make some shall we.

Whatcha need is:

Glass spray bottle (plastic works too, whatever floats your boat yo)

White vinegar

Water

Essential oils:

Eucalyptus

Rosemary

Geranium

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Direction:

  • Fill spray bottle with 1 cup of vinegar and 1/4 cup water
  • Add 10 drops of each oil.

Boom Son you’re done!

I mean, how simple is that.

I literally sprayed my entire bathroom. I sprayed the walls, the gnats, the bottom of the pot the plant was in, the rim. I was careful not to actually get the plant, I didn’t want kill it.

But what I also did was I took the plant outside and sprayed it down with our neem oil spray that kills gnats, aphids, and all sorts of other nasty little plant critters. I sprayed this little plant probably about 4-5 times over two days.

We are living gnat free right now people, gnat free. All thanks to this little spray.

Got a Gnat problem? Leave a comment below let me know how it works for you. I’d love to hear from y’all.

Happy gnat killing!

 

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Deep Litter Method for Chicken Coop

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So you went ahead on got your some some fancy little ladies did ya?! There has been nothing better, in our homesteading journey, than our sweet little ladies. They provide us with food for our family and in return we provide them love and a wonderful life.

See y’all, the circle must go round and round or we lose the entire meaning of this whole thing. 

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When deciding to get yourself some chickens, there is so much valuable information out there to learn from. We did a crap ton of research from what to feed them, to how to keep them quite, to how to take care of their coop.

I’d like to share the method we chose to go with. A method that has worked beautifully for almost about a year now. And that is…..

The deep litter method.

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This method keeps it super simple. And super low maintenance. Because if y’all are anything like us, we have to keep things easy and to the point. Working 40 hours a week doesn’t leave us enough time to clean out a coop once a week. And really who the hell wants to clean out a coop once a week.

This method requires  crap ton of straw and………

That’s it.

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You spread a bunch of straw in your coop and just keep layering it on when you see it getting low and starting to smell like ammonia.

What is the benefit of this method?

Low maintenance, most importantly. But it is a proven way to help build your soil and helps to create beautifully rich compost. You see, your chickens will poop. A LOT. And your chickens will love to scratch through the straw and find little surprises to eat. These two things, poop and scratching, go hand in hand. The poop is what is going to give your compost nitrogen and the straw is your carbon. By your chickens scratching, they are essentially turning your “compost” for you.

Wait, isn’t that the two main ingredients to build compost? Yup! And my chickens are doing all the work for me? Yup! So I don’t have to go out and turn my compost as often as  I am? Nope!

Mind blown!

I know, right! Now about once a year you actually clear out all the straw and compost and either allow it to continue to break down in a pile or trash can or use it in your garden.

Homesteading is a laborious life style. An extremely fulfilling life style but laborious none the less. Finding ways to keep things as simple as possible and as low maintenance as possible is the key that we have found to be successful. Maybe you have time to clean out your coop once a week, why you would want to, is beyond me. But when you have a method that works and provides for you AND your chickens, I say that is two thumbs up yo!

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Happy deep little methoding!

 

 

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Our Front Yard Sprucing!

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Well it is time to start sprucing up the front yard. It has been about 5 years now and all our energy has gone to making a food forest in the back yard for our family to enjoy. But now everything is established and pretty much taking care of itself.

So on to the front!

When we first moved in to our home, we made a small little planter in front of the house and to be honest, we were quite proud of ourselves. I mean, it did make a difference in our eyes and that is all that matters, right?! But as we sat and thought about what we wanted for the front yard, we realized we barely made a dent.

We knew what we wanted, but had no idea how to get there. We knew that we were about to embark on a whole new project with fun new challenges but again, didn’t know how to exactly get there.

What we did know was…..

We wanted to create not a food forest like the back yard but a medicinal herb forest for the front.

We went to visit Diane’s herbs in Fallbrook ca, to get all of our herbs and plants and to gain a little inspiration because holy moly is she an incredible lady. I mean, when she talks you just get sucked into her. She is this amazing wealth of knowledge that you just want to absorb like none other. The first time we went we ended up staying two hours just talking with her and picking her brain. She showed us her little “shed” filled with dried herbs hanging from the ceiling, jars and jars of beautiful dried herbs, salves,  and honey sticks. I was in absolute heaven.

For this project she helped us lay out where all theses incredible plants need to live in order to be happy. She just knew exactly where to place every. single. one.

And let me tell ya, these plants are HAPPY!

We now have this beautiful medicinal herb forest filled with varieties of medicinal herbs that will continue to nurture our family, as well as, those around us. These herbs were placed on this earth for a purpose and by golly, we will use them as intended.

A little bit about the process we took to plant these beauties.

As you can see in some of the pictures we had this incredibly big bush as you walked up to our front door. We just got kind of tired of looking at it, so away it went. Not easily, let me tell ya, but it went alright! Then we and by we I mean, solely my husband, dug out the beautiful, thick, healthy grass that was just seeded And we created the new shape of the planter.

Then we, again just husband, laid compost over the whole area. Then we got to planting. The fun part!

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The mixture we used for the planting soil was perlite, sand, and a soil mixture. We mixed that up and placed in the hole where plants were going to go. BUT we also added…IMG_6418This to our mixture as well. Bone meal, garden tone, greensand and ground up egg shells, We used just a small amount of each of the plant foods and a palm size of egg shells in each hole before planting.

 

 

Then we planted all our new friends.

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In Progress!

 

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I mean how can your heart not just fall in love with all these colors. We cannot wait until they all grow in and bloom. Oh did you want to see more, here you go.

 

 

Oh wait and here is more…

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We, (husband), added drip line to all the plants to keep them extra happy and healthy with out us having to go water them by hand.

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When we first bought the house
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Our first planter
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Before our new project, look at that grass!
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After
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Isn’t it just beautiful

I just need to say that none of this would’ve come to life if it weren’t for my better half. He did every single part of this project and I couldn’t be more grateful. First he gave us our food forest in our back yard and now he gave us a medicinal herb forest in our front. Thank you my sweets, it came out absolutely beautiful.

Happy planting!

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