Community Blessings...
Things around the homestead are growing nicely despite the torrential rains we have been enduring in middle Tennessee.  Fences have been mended and fruit trees propped back in the vertical position.  Half of the garden was washed away and the kindness of neighbors has been such an overwhelming blessing in the midst of it all.  We were given basketfuls of vegetables from a family down the lane.  Their garden was spared but the saturation of their soil has given them an urgency to harvest.Lately, they had to dig all their potatoes and onions out from the ground in order to save them from the mold they would develop under such wet conditions.  It was hard to receive such a gift from this family who has many more mouths to feed, but that is how the body of Christ works.  She faithfully ministered to her neighbor and believed that her duty was to give of the abundance that she has received from the hand of God and from his earth.  The wonderful lady also trusts that God will provide their every need.  What an example of the love of Christ.

Strawberry Picking...

In the last week or so, I organized another Keeper of the Home meeting with the young mothers in the community.  We went strawberry picking at a local home.  Their were little ones running around with red, strawberry faces, and basketfuls of strawberries, oh what a fun adventure!  My kids had fun picking basket after basket.  We ended up picking 30 quarts altogether.  This whole experience made me want to grow our own strawberries after I got the bill!!!  At $3.50 a quart, it adds up quick!

Growing Strawberries in your back yard- Cha Ching!...
Growing strawberries is a good way to make some extra money.  The owner of the small strawberry patch (80x80 foot bed) said it was their first year growing.  They used their front yard which was a pretty good use of space.  He paid his neighbor to pick and they were selling over 60 quarts each day and sometimes more.  That is a whopping $210 a day!  Per week = $1470.00.  For the 3 week season of strawberries = $4410.00!!!  Just think... you can do this, too.  There probably is an initial investment to get the ground ready and to buy the plants, but wow, that is more than you could make just mowing!  Food for thought, any how!  I figure this could be a future project for my kids to earn some money.

Working up the Berries...

We spent about an hour working up the berries, washing and removing the stems.  I call it Harrison Power!  When we get to the job, the job gets done-FAST!  Many hands make light work.  The girls stuck around to help crush berries and add ingredients for the jam making process.  My favorite jam is Strawberry freezer jam.  I guess I got hooked on it from Grandma and it just STUCK!  I know it is not the healthiest option, but it is a great once in a while treat for us.  Toast and jam never ceases to amaze me!  Or biscuits and jam - what bliss!  Here is my simple recipe.  Try going to a local bulk food store to find pectin in bulk.  If not, follow the simple instructions on a boxed brand of jam making pectin.  If you would like to watch me demonstrate making jams and other canned goods, you can buy our Homesteading for Beginners DVD volume 4.  It is all on the video.  I always run into people that I do not even know that tell me that their kids ask to watch our Homestead video almost every day.  I did not know we were that entertaining.  Here is my recipe...
Straw Bail Growing...
I visited my friend, Debi Pearl the other day.  She was up in her vegetable garden watering her straw bails.  I was curious.  She and her little granddaughter were watering a squash plant that was all the way up into their huge mulching straw bail.  Debi told me that it was a new thing.  She told me that even an urban family could have a good sized garden, grow all they need, without even having a yard.  Straw bails can fit in a row on a patio!  I think this is a marvelous idea.  I found this website that shows how to do it...


Debi and Penelope


Mike and Debi Pearl's Squash plants in the bale.


Mike and Debi's vegetable garden is looking nice!
Calling all Homesteaders Near and Far...
I am trying to put together (actually resurrecting) our Homestead Community Post Emagazine.  I need all of your help.  This magazine is not going to be just about us and our homesteading, I want it to have a community feel.  The voices of all homesteaders both in the country and in the city are needed to pull this together each month.  Please send your stories, your ideas, and experiences to and I will put this thing together for all to enjoy!  Many thanks to all of you who contribute.

Just for a reminder…

Tea Time Talk Show Tuesday Upcoming Schedule:

Tuesday, May 1, 2018  at 10 am CST will feature Co-Host Owen Newman

  • The following Tuesday will be featuring Owen Newman from the hills of TN talking about homesteading and the simple life.  He has a lot of wisdom and experience living with less and making the most of each and every resource they are given.  If you have any specific questions, please leave a comment below or send us an email or message on facebook from the keeper of the homestead page.  

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19 thoughts on “Community Blessings Abound

  1. We also like strawberry picking! I was given a recipe that you also might enjoy for freezer jam. It takes more strawberries but I believe less sugar and is so yummy.
    4 cups crushed strawberries
    1 1/2 cups sugar
    5 tbsp of instant pectin (Ball ?)
    Stir together sugar and pectin and set aside.
    Prepare strawberries, place in a larger bowl. Pour in sugar mixture, blend in and then stir for 3 minutes. Put into jars leaving 3/4 inch head space. Let stand for 30 minutes at room temperature. Store in freezer. It’s just like eating fresh strawberries! Hard to believe that you are harvesting… We just started planting, our strawberries won’t be ready for another month…. Can hardly wait 🙂

    • Wow, that sounds really good. And even easier. I will have to try this next time! Thanks for sharing:)

  2. Try strawberry- and rhubarb jam. Love it!
    I’m so fascinated about the community, wish everybody was like that. We are living in a self-centered society! So glad to hear about your strawberry picking.

    • You have that right, it truly is a self centered society. I just pray that I can bring people together with stories and homestead fun. Yes, strawberry and rhubarb jam is amazing and the pie! Yum.

  3. Hi Erin! Love your photos here, as always! You are inspiring how you keep writing, even after the flood and traveling! I have a question. For the emagazine, what exactly are you wanting? I’d love to contribute but my brain was stuck on, what could I share? I imagine it could be anything, but maybe (if you have time) you could inspire us a little? God bless and keep writing, photographing, videoing… your blessing us a lot!

    • I always have so much to say, I can hardly hold back. I feel if I wrote everything down, the world would tire of it. So I try to keep it short and sweet. Still long for some, but short for me. Yes, please, PLEASE, write something. It could be about family, homeschooling, women stuff, gardening, raising animals, milking goats, cows, chickens, recipes, canning, anything. Just pick something that you feel your family really enjoys doing on your farm. I know you have something;) I just had such a good time with your family, I can’t wait to see you all at the shindig coming up in September. Blessings to you Jeanne.

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