Monday, September 25, 2017

Getting Off The Grid - Hurry Up And Wait



September 25, 2017




Here I am in the last week of September, for some reason this is my least favorite month, maybe because its dry, off and on cold and then back hot. By no means has this been a Fall Like day.




The confederate roses are blooming, they always make the last big boom before cold sets in, I have a few blooms around the huge bush, I had to cut one down due to it growing over the house and into the flood lights, however, the lower limbs are still a beautiful show. Plus I get to root the limbs I cut off, to share or to make a summer fence row.


 The Learning :



While I am in the middle of waiting I am taking this opportunity to increase my knowledge. This month the books I ordered is on trees and wild mushrooms. The book about trees came in within days of ordering but the mushroom I got this past weekend. I must say its small but packed with what I wanted to know. I am still wary of picking mushrooms but maybe in time I will have the confidence to pick and eat the wild mushrooms without thinking I am poisoning myself.

The Veggie Garden:



The first bed of turnip greens, kale and collards are all up and I noticed something eating on my greens, I lightly sprinkled Sevins dust over that area after eating a few raw greens myself, not bitter at all. I am thinking about picking me a small mess of the greens soon!

As for the second bed that was planted last week, they are up, little babies everywhere. I made it to the Co-op and bought a couple scoops of curly mustard greens and another scoop of kale, since that is my favorite and it home cans well.

The okra is still giving me about a quart a week and I slice and freeze it as I gather it.

The bell peppers do not look that great but I have small ones all over.

Those pitiful tomato plants! I have no idea what to do to them. 

The cucumbers are gone, I mowed those down last week, I collected five and missed one but the mower found it and smashed it flat, so I left it for whatever wild animal may hop into my garden.

I am getting a few more jalapenos and sweet banana peppers.

So right now its a "hurry up and wait" time on the greens.

The Progress :

We got out back and cut down a few more bushes that had turned into trees and were taking over the entire back yard. I have a huge stack to load up and move, that will be the biggest job to get done.

The greenhouse is still not done but Tony found the small pipes we needed to make spikes, I hope they are still good. I have not looked at those yet. 

Although I do not have anything in the garden I can home can I did do a sweep at the grocery store, I got a nice price on ground beef at $1.99 a pound so I bought that an home canned seven pints it for later, I was also asked to make pickled sausages, so I did four pint jars of those, if they turn out delicious I will make more and have those in stock.

Another good deal is the man that gave us pears before also gave the tree filled with pears to us again this year, I intend to restock the  pear preserves as soon as I can get there and load them up.

I also made friends with this lady at a yard sale that told me she has a ton of canning jars, I will stop back by and see if she had time to look them up and give me a price for them. Getting canning jars under store prices would be awesome.

The Defeat : 

I do not know what it is but Tony said its snakes. I will walk the dogs and in one area I smell this harsh smell ( for 2 years now), its like the smell of pork cooking that came from an uncut hog, evil smelling. I have smelled it now in four areas of the property, and the one time I backed away was when I was cutting back the confederate rose, I was almost finished with the tall limbs when I smelled it, I slowly backed away out into the lawn. This is up against the house so this is very scary.

I really need to learn how to repel snakes from my small area, I do not have a rodent problem but I do know rats live in the wild and in bushes and the fields. 

Off the grid and in the woods is very different than calling the landlord and saying " hey come fix this" its real and wild out here, still heading off the grid!

How is life in your neck of the woods?

By Andria Perry
Photos By Andria Perry

Monday, September 18, 2017

Getting Off The Grid - A Wonderful Week

Area about to be plowed

September 18, 2017


Since the hurricane, Irma, the weather has been very nice with only one day of a little rain. I did work my regular job but I still got a few days I could get outside and do a little work, the weekend for the most part was a little here and there but on Monday I took half a day and worked outside.

The best mower ever!

I managed to get the push mowing around the house accomplished as well as around the apple, pear and plum trees. Next I went to the back yard to push mow, the grass was not that high back there but I mowed it anyways and then I cut down about a million privet bushes. I tossed more of what was already cut down last week over the fence to be taken down to the back edge of the property, maybe tomorrow. 

Learning :



I got my book in the mail, I was so excited when I began to read about the trees, I have to say that this is the book to have because it shows so many types of leaves and how to identify every tree. Its a medium size book but super thick and worth every penny I paid for it.


The bad news is that I thought the hedge row of trees were Maples and they are NOT! They are Sweet Gum tree`s but I am sure there is a use for them, I am still reading about them but I know they used the sap from the sweet gum as a flavoring so all hope it not lost. I may not get maple syrup from them but I can get something.

Sweet Gum Leaf


 I have not went into the back woods yet, but I will and I will mark the tree`s I want to tap in the Spring.


The Greenhouse :

What I am most proud of is getting more grass and brush cut down for where the greenhouse will be, I got to work on that late Sunday evening.

Sunday afternoon I went to Home Depot and bought the supplies to make the "hoop" style greenhouse.  What I have to do now is cut down one small pine and possibly one small oak, they will be to close or inside the area. 

One step closer!

Last,  I will offer the guy with the clear barrels $10 each and buy four, he was asking $20 but I think that is to much so when I made a face and said I will pass he told me if I bought two it would be $15 each, so maybe buying more he will go down more. Why do I need the barrels? They will heat the greenhouse this winter, very green using solar energy.

The Garden :

To the right is the row of  greens, the left will be the second planting.


Before I went to work in my area for the greenhouse I mowed down a nice patch in the garden, it was mowed a week ago but I went over it with the push mower and got it super low, after that Tony took over with the tiller, he turned over that area to be planted with MORE greens.

I did not know I had more collards and kale seed till I began to look for the beet seeds to see how many I had, Although I did not want to plant till Wednesday he tossed the seeds out on Monday.

Tuesday I plan to buy curly mustard seed to plant, I want a huge variety of greens, to eat, home can and share.

From The Garden :



Everything had slowed down, I am still getting a some okra but not so much, the cucumber vines are now spent. I got one cucumber in a week. The tomatoes are a few here and there but they are also small, yes the late ones that Tony planted. I am still getting a few jalapeno peppers and a few banana peppers, the bell peppers are blooming and bearing but none seems to get large. I have one small eggplant, the plant did not do so well alone, Next year I will plant two or more.

I plan to mow down what has already had its season to clean things up so its not so ragged looking.

The Dogs :

The two escape artist!


Today as part of the backyard cleaning was prepping for the electric fence, I cut down small bushes against the fence so that when I put the electric fence in I wont be fighting the bushes too.

So far I am getting this slowly but surely. 

The fall of the year is just about as busy on the homestead as Springtime. Don`t you think?

What is happening in your part of the world? 


By Andria Perry
Photos by Andria Perry

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Getting Off The Grid - After Mother Nature

New turnip greens


September 14, 2017

Home :

Life has been a hell of a ride since last week. The hurricane, Irma, decided it was going to come straight up to my place in Alabama, I do thank God that it weakened more than predicted. We did get rain for three days but that was okay because my greens needed a good watering from above.

The bad part about this storm was that the temperatures took nose dive from 80 ish degrees down to 50° for a couple days and nights. I will be glad for the recovery of 80 ish again this coming weekend. Those warmer temps and the sun are sure to make the green beds grow like crazy. 

Since I could not work on the back yard, cleaning, I could not close in the area for the dogs with the electric fence. I need that area open to toss over all the limbs.

Since I could not clear more for the greenhouse because of rain, that project is still waiting on me too.

In The Kitchen :

So what did I do? I home canned! I looked in the deep freezer to see what I had frozen, or rather put off, till I had time to home can and I came out with chicken and pork, and more blackberries. On the counter laid super ripe bananas. What was in the fridge? Eggs so I made those up into pickled eggs.

I got three pints of chicken, four pints of pork, four pints of blackberries in light syrup with three pints of blackberry juice and two half pints of banana jam. 

What I did not want to spoil if we lost power was the eggs I had in the fridge to make pickled eggs, that is what I did get made up before the storm hit our state, I got 12 more pints.

For more about canning eggs click here : how to pickle eggs 


The Yard :

The black spots are ant hills!


Another problem that came up this week is ants! But we have figured out something that had worked in the past and may work now, I will let your know if it does because its completely free and gets rid of the ants.


For Fun :



Last Sunday after canning I decided to take a little break from home and go fishing, although we did catch a mess of bream we did not keep them, at the end of the day we put them back into the lake. Why? I already have plenty of Bream in the freezer, I actually cooked a mess for dinner on Wednesday night with fries. We had caught those back in May. 

More about Bream/ Sunfish click here : how to clean and cook bream  

Learning : 


Other than just waiting for the weather to get back right I have been reading about the plants and trees I do have on this property and the uses for each of them. How to make teas and the like for different aliments. 

One tree I will confuse with the red maple is the sweet gum tree, the leaves look just alike. Since I want to tap the maples for a little syrup this coming Spring I need to get busy marking them, making sure they do not have those balls of thorns from hell attached to them. Plus while out marking the maples I would like to see how many, just a count, of other hardwood trees I have and their use, if any.

Maybe this weekend the bushes will be cut down or the greenhouse will go up, if its Gods will, I can get one or the other of these projects accomplished. 

How is life on your homestead, got anything growing?


By Andria Perry
Photos by Andria Perry

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Getting Off The Grid - Greens And The Greenhouse


September 7, 2017

The cold front pushed down yesterday and I took advantage of the cooler day to get to yard work, I mowed the backyard and around the garage and the side entrance. When I say cool I mean it was in the 70`s instead of the 90`s!


Finally the area for the greenhouse was decided, it is the easier place to clear off and will get almost 100% sunshine. I got out late in the day and I mowed what I could down with the push mower, most of it was knee deep with weeds towering 4 -5 feet. I have two massive ant beds that will have to be destroyed and I will have to cut down a few very small trees. I got a 14 x 14 area mowed but the greenhouse will be a little smaller, since its my first and I want it portable so if I move I will take it with me.



On Tuesday I stopped by the hardware store and I got prices for everything that I will need. Since I am going with the "hoop" greenhouse I looked at the plastic pipe and the thick mil plastic sheeting. I will have around $100 invested, to build one with wood and glass would be double, maybe triple for the same size. 

I am well on my way on this project. I know the cost and I have just about got the area cleared.

For The Pets :

While at the hardware store buying a heater for the business, I seen the small boxes for an electric fence, I do not like th idea but I also don`t want the dogs hit by a car or shot again, so I bought the lowest current I could just to keep them in the yard and I will be putting all that together this fall. First I want to cut down trees that are trying to take over in the back area and add more fencing. 

In The Garden :



Its been just over a week and I have noticed that the area is full of baby greens!

Read more click here : Fall Planting  

Yes we have had a nice day of rain and more to come so this year I hope to be blessed with an abundance of collards, kale and turnip greens. If possible I would like to have one more bed of greens and since the first field is cleared off the tiller can be ran over it and I can plant it.



I am not really getting anything more than a quart of okra a week now, a few cucumbers for the dinner table. The Spring garden has just about gave all it can, the second planting of tomatoes are not growing much, those are the plants Tony grew. I am still getting a few peppers here and there but not many.


The last quarter of the year is here and moving fast, I hope to try and keep up, If its Gods will get this place back under control.

How is life on your homestead? 


By Andria Perry
Photos By Andria Perry

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Getting Off The Grid - Home Canning Whats On Sale




September 3, 2017

Since planting the greens we have had a nice rain, several days of clouds and now two days of sunshine. I will look closely later today to see if any are sprouting, tomorrow marks seven days since they were sown. 

From The Garden :

In the mean time I have only gotten 2 quarts per week of okra so I wash, nip the ends and slice into circles and freeze as I get it. I will need to see how many I have put back for the Winter. Its slow because I only have a few small plants but I seem to be managing.

I have cucumbers to eat each week but I have not made anything with those since making the dill pickles. 

To read more about dill pickles click here :  How to make easy Dill Pickles  

Home Canning :

At the moment I have not asked anyone for the fruits I see laying on the ground at this one place, why? I just have not made time, its as simple as that.

But while out shopping I jumped on a couple of excellent deals. I feel that if I do not grow it but I enjoy eating it and I know not a single person that grows it, then I buy it when its dirt cheap. 

This week it was eggs! .39 per dozen and Grapes .79 per pound.

I bought 6 dozen of eggs for $2.34 ( that is 3 1/4 cents each egg!) and I bought 8 pounds of grapes for $6.32.

I have made one case (12 pints) of pickled eggs. You would not believe how many people love these eggs as a gift! 


Learn How to make pickles eggs click here : How to Pickle eggs  



I also home canned 6 half pints (so far) of grapes in light syrup. Yes I understand that you are thinking what?!?!? but if you have ever ate fruit cocktail you have ate those canned whole grapes. It takes about two pounds of grapes to make 6 half pints but at that price its worth it. Plus I already have home canned peaches and pears to make my own cocktail when I want to mix it up.

Blast From The Past :

Another from my journal September 3, 2015



Meat Grinder and Rosco kicks


This morning I worked for the most part doing paper work, gathering up all the recyclables to cash in at the plant  and getting me a coupon shopping trip together, then after lunch it was off to work .

  I was doing more landlady duties and paying a couple more bills . I had picked up my sister and she had to get some grocery money out of the bank as well when I was making a deposit .

   A few days ago, maybe last weekend, We stopped at Dick`s sporting goods for a gift for someone else and I seen a meat grinder that I have been wanting forever . Tony still eats Beef hamburgers and that meat is extremely expensive so I told him I wanted to invest in a grinder for home use and not just for beef but for his deer also . I stopped and bought it today ! 


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I got home late, around 6:30 pm but the dogs was still wanting to walk no matter what so I let slobber box ( Rosco ) and Harley walk me till dark . 

   While I was walking Tony picked food from the garden and put a little fertilizer on the new plants and a little lime dust .

  When it was time to put the dogs back into the fence Harley did not want to come in, I gave him a little pull with the leash and told him " come on Harley " He would not move . Rosco was bouncing around waiting inside for Harley . Then Rosco did something I did ever expect to see in my life . He goes out of the fence where I am standing and talking for Harley to come on in, walks over to Harley takes his front paw and kicks Harley in the butt ! And Harley came on in the fence  . :D I reckon Rosco was hungry and tired . 

  Watching animals interact with each other an be so funny to watch .

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Since I have to work tomorrow I will be canning me more pickled okra tonight . 
  But its all good .

By Andria Perry

Back To Now 

Since the calendar has turned over to a new month the weather is obeying with warm to hot days and down right cold nights. I am hoping for the cheaper power bill to come in next month.

A plus is to the cooler weather, I will try my best to get the surroundings cleaned up more, I need many bushes cut back.

How is life on your homestead?

By Andria Perry
Photos by Andria Perry

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Getting Off The Grid - Fall Planting and Saving Seed

Just chillin with the house plants - Photo By Andria Perry


August 28, 2017

Last week I got the ground prepared for fall planting, well the first of several plantings, and I took the tiller to be repaired. On Thursday I had help and the area as wide as a pick up truck and as long as fifty feet was turned over with the tiller. 

I allowed it to sit for a few days so that all the grass on top would die. Since it has been dry for a week and rain is in the forecast to get here in the next couple of days, And under the farmers almanac as a good time to sow seed, with all things lined up late Sunday evening Tony sowed the seed for turnip greens, collards and kale. If its God will I will have sprouting greens in a week and full grown leaves to start harvesting within three weeks.

I noticed I am low on cabbage in the deep freezer so I think I will sow seed for cabbage also, its been a couple years since we grew cabbage.

From The Garden : 



Sunday evening I also picked enough okra for another quart for the deep freezer. 

The Seeds :


As the seeds began in get ready in many of the flowers I have started collecting them, This year I planted Marigolds in the garden to repel pests and they were beautiful. Now as the blooms die I take the seeds for next year.

Collecting Marigold seed is one of the easiest seeds to pick, clean up and save. 

First make sure the flower bud has died and dried all the way up with no green left,  then just pinch the dead head off. You will still have a beautiful plant blooming so this is not ever done all at once.



Next clean them up. Take the bud in hand and gently open it and the seeds should fall out. 



This year I planted the orange and the yellow Marigolds, with the yellow being the last to bloom. I am also harvesting the seeds of the sunflowers for the first time.

Read more click here : Harvesting Sunflower Seeds 

I am not new to collecting seeds, that was our job as children, my mom always let us collect the seeds from all the plants.

The blast from the past : Two years ago what was happening? August 28, 2015 my jorunal.

Its in the Air - Lush Green Grass


  It is well known that I am not a fan of cold weather, I don`t like having cold feet at all nor a cold nose and ears.

   However, The past couple of nights the temps have been cooler, that means no a/c running, and its nice. Fall is in the air. But I think the weather man said Summer is coming back and with hurricanes.

   Staring out the kitchen window waiting for my coffee to get done making in the Mr. Coffee I noticed that everything has a thick dew and the grass is lush and green once again. This is odd for a central Alabama late August but I will take it over brown and dead any day  .

   I watered my kitchen Basil and the Rosemary, the oregano looks dead. The small Aloe and the Christmas Cactus for a drink too.

   I did not make any plans for the day because I do have to get a tooth filled but I do need to mow grass and clean up my house plants, they could use a good fresh re-potting and larger pots, I gave half of them away yesterday :). I might run by the CO-OP to see if they have any turnip green seeds in yet. Yes I did get those small packets of seed for .02 but if I am going to can greens I will need a field full, plus some to share with friends and family.

   I need to make more jelly and/ or jam with the blackberries from last years pickings that I have in the deep freezer. I did find one case of half pints left at the Dollar General store and bought those. 

   A couple nights ago I heard what all people hate to hear that can food, that pop of a seal being bad or the food has spoiled. I checked and it was a half pint of pears, the band had a spot of rust and I reckon it messed up that seal so I lost one :/

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


I always check on my dogs every morning and for days I have noticed they are playing and having fun. Wrestling. I think its funny because Harley is so little and Rosco is as big as a grown adult. I did not make it home before dark yesterday so they did not get a walk and that is why I wanted the fenced in area so badly, so they can run and play.

Today I take them for a walk / run. I know they love it and I need it, doctors orders. But I really do not need a doctor to tell me to walk and exercise. One day I would like to tell a doctor to live my life for a day just to see if he could do it. Its doubtful, he would probably cry when the blister burst while digging a ditch or a post hole and had to continue working.


By Andria Perry 


That is what is happening on the homestead, what is happening on your homestead?


By Andria Perry
Photos By Andria Perry

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Getting Off The Grid - Preparing The Fall Garden

Grown  over garden area
August 23, 2017

I planned today. I knew I would mow an acre of the grass an then I would start in the over grown garden area. I am preparing a spot to be tilled so that I will have a fall garden of greens.

Here in Central Alabama the weather usually does not get cold till around January with February being the coldest so I have four months to grow and reap the benefits of kale, collards and turnip greens. And as far as collards are concerned they sometimes will last until springtime. I am in hopes of home canning a few cases of kale for the coming year(s) as I am down to just 10 quarts from the last planting in 2015 / 2016 season, I did not have many to survive the 2016 fall planting due to the drought. 

2016 fall kale

This time it was harder to prepare since I have not had a mower for the whole summer, it just was not feasible to push mow that area, but today I took it slow and easy and mowed down a wide section of the four feet tall grass and weeds. I had left a rolled up older water hose in the garden, last year was the drought and I did try to save the plants and the grass had hidden it, I knew about where it as so me and Tony walked that area and he found it. 

It was impossible to pull up through all those weeds and grass by hand so Tony got his truck and drove to the garden up to the hose pipe and looped it around the towing ball and he pulled it out. It had already dry rotted and it was old and now out of the way. I was glad to see the truck had more than enough room to fit between the grow over grass and the okra plants, the area I took a lot of time to prepare.

It feels strange to mow grass in August, usually this is a dry and crispy month but this year its as green as Springtime. 

But before the tiller can be used it needs a simple repair and my uncle agreed to do it for me tomorrow and then that area will be ready to be tilled, raked and planted. 

I picked another pint of okra and four cucumbers, one red tomato. I seen plenty of bell peppers but I want them to get bigger so I left them for a couple more days.

Looking back two years ago at what I wanted was a shock to me. I still have not got that greenhouse but I do have many windows to make a wood and glass greenhouse, or I could go the cheap way with plastic everything and I would buy it all.

This is what I wrote in my journal :



Getting Off The Grid- Those Bushes And A Greenhouse


There are two things that I have been wanting since forever and thats a clothes line and a green house . 

   After thinking about it a very long time I know now exactly where I want the green house . No I have not said much about it to Tony or anyone  . I will just have to start buying a few building items here and there . I know how and I am sure I can do it but with a project this big I will need another pair of hands . I may do a single side slant roof so that I can add on later if I want a bigger place .

   I mentioned that I was going to begin to clear out a spot of bushes that are grown over into this yard by 10 to 12 feet but thats all I said and he replied " you will see how much room is taken over when they are gone " . . I would love to start my green house as a 10 x 12 room and grow food all Winter inside . 

   Clearing bushes is no problem for me as I used to own a landscaping company , I even cleared out the lot that my sister bought and now lives on , with her help . I have a spot we want to burn out so I can pile the brush there , its a wad of honeysuckle and poison ivy vines .

   Now the clothes line ! The last rental house that was repaired I had two posts left over , 4 x 4 x 8 and we had cement left over from these posts for the fence .  You guess right if you was thinking I am going to dig me a couple holes and make my own clothes line .

    Using solar to light the house , dry the clothes and heat water is my goal . A clothes line is considered a solar clothes dryer :) its as green as you can get ! Here in central Alabama we only have a couple months of super cold weather around January and February so it`ll be used a lot .

     It is the perfect time to put in a clothes line too because I am putting Rosco in the fenced area and he wont pull all my clothes off the drying line .

By Andria Perry

So much has happened since I wrote this but it shows that I am trying to get to where I want to be, even 2 years later. Well, Last year I did get one thing I wanted. 

Read more about that here : The benefits of hanging out laundry 

I am guessing that I did not get my clothesline till Spring of 2016 by the date on the article but that is how life is, things come at the right time. 

Do you plant a fall garden where you live? 


By Andria Perry
Photos By Andria Perry