Category Archives: Homesteading

Anything and everything that has to deal with living on the land – critters, 4 leggeds, flowers, gardens, canning, off-grid, solar, building our house, and making a home.

Kitchen 2020

When we moved full time to the land in 2006 there were so many systems that had to come together; water, heat, power, propane, to name a few — that they took precedent over all else. I had a sort of functioning kitchen space, but really as the years rolled by it became more and more un-user friendly and it was just plain ugly.
So sometime around the holidays 2019 I started thinking seriously about putting in a proper kitchen.

This was always to be temporary!

And then this happened: Tear Out – wall shelves

Tear Out – base shelves

All that was to show you how I got to here. Just re-doing a kitchen / kitchen remodel generally assumes that there were cabinets and counters. It’s a big deal to me to be able to function, cook, can and hopefully when Covid-19 let’s up, entertain and to have a clean – well lighted space to do it in.

I worked with locals, Brian Harper of Specialized Woodworks in Redway helped me design the cabinet layout. He and his son Zuma did the install, very quickly I must add. They were moving fast (they live 2 1/2 hours from here and only wanted to come one day, and I don’t blame them on that at all).

Brian took on getting the under cabinet lighting installed, after the uppers were up, so lots more work for him. We also switched out the cabinet over the stove for a shorter one, as I needed more room for my pressure canner and to be able to lift a quart jar out of it without knocking my hand on the vent fan.

Brian held my hand if I started freaking out about something and was really wonderful & fun to work with.

Alan Ivey, who built this house and every addition to it, hooked up the quartz aqua-divide sink & faucet and installed the vent fan. He also did the window trim and will be back again to do some more trim sometime. The best handy man in the south county.

The countertops were installed by Arcata Countertops – they are quartz and I love them.

New Cabinets Installed!
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The pantry unit to left of the fridge, Brian installed that 3 years ago. The cabinets are maple.

Now to get it personalized, some bright touches of color, a back splash of some sort for above the stove. I am still sorting stuff into drawers and cabinets.. so much of my kitchen stuff was almost inaccessible that I never used it. A lot of it is out now, and if in a year or so, it still isn’t in use, I will purge.

Working Kitchen


Spring time is Faun time

Every year we watch the pregnant does and wait patiently for her to feel safe enough to bring the fauns up to visit. Today was the first day I have seen them.

faun2 faun_doe

I don’t know if these 2 are both hers, or is she is baby sitting for the other doe who was pregnant. They were here together all fall & winter.

And did I mention that a week ago in the morning, we had a young fox hanging out by our living room slider door. I didn’t get a photo..but it was really beautiful.

The hills are full of wildlife right now.


Lemon Curd

A friend gifted me some Meyer Lemons. Today I made my first ever Lemon Curd. I used Ina Garten’s recipe. If I had it to do again, I would do it all in the food processor, and then strain the curd when done. The zest mars the smoothness just a bit. It is very good and not to sweet, for me at least.

What prompted this was, lemons that needed to be used and most importantly, it is mostly for a friend who has been in hospital for weeks and will be coming home to local hospital in a few days… and she loves lemon curd.

Hope she likes mine.



Garden in April – Poppies in May

Here’s the lettuce bed in April, it is now covered with a shade cloth tent over all of it.. we should have salads till October is all goes well..or even longer.


Blue Columbine in April, thank you Hand to Land for this columbine! I have several now, this is the biggest.


My red poppies usually don’t start opening (popping !) until June! And here they start on May 2!!!


I feel the ‘hurry up and get the rest of the garden in’ energy happening right now.


Tomato Tart

Tried my hand at another dough/crust recipe. This time a tomato tart. This was a french tart dough with lots of butter, again it was a bit hard to work with as it just became to soft, but all in all it tasted and baked up great.

I put a very thin layer of Dijon Mustard on the bottom of the tart then added a bit of grated swiss cheese to help keep the dough from getting soggy (it didn’t!). I also cut and put the tomatoes on paper towels for awhile to drain.

It was very good.. and a great first try.

Tomato Tart



We went up to the Arcata Farmers Market on Saturday, mainly for peaches. I got 2 lugs of Hunter Orchards peaches, Neukon Ranch were out 🙁
These are seconds but in excellent shape. My idea was to make peach chutney which I have purchased and loved. I read recipes and more recipes, for weeks, decided on one that got great reviews, and proceeded to do that, make the chutney on Sunday. Well after cooking down for 4 hours, and still only half way there, on top of adding too much vinegar (followed the recipe..but way too much), I ended up water bathing it any way.
They say that chutney will age for about 3-6 months and the vinegar will mellow. I hope so, I hate to think I wasted a whole lug of peaches on something I won’t enjoy eating.

So I also have been experimenting a bit lately with using my new food processor to make doughs. I made a great rustic dough a few weeks back for the raspberry tart. Yesterday I finally tried my hand at my first ever pie crust. Again read and read and followed the directions, but one thing is certain here, skill comes from practice and I need a lot of that!

Peach Pie with homemade pie crust

I did manage to get a pie crust rolled out and made a peach pie. Haven’t eaten it yet, so no verdict on the crust’s taste or tenderness.. will update when it has cooled enough.

I still have half a lug of peaches, maybe I will make some cobbler, crisp, or a rustic tart later in the week.


August swimming, weddings, canning

Well it finally warmed up and we finally went up to the Alderpoint swimming hole this week. Such a joy and blissful place. The swimming was excellent. I hope to make it there at least one more time this year, it is 1 /12 hours drive one way…

Alderpoint Swimming Hole - Original watercolor by Frank Cieciorka

Alderpoint Swimming Hole – Original watercolor by Frank Cieciorka

A friend on Facebook was talking about her Rattaouille recipe and how she cans this in a water bath with ascorbic acid. Now if you read anything online or in canning books, they all say to use a pressure canner, well I wanted to make this sauce, Rattaouille – zucchinni, tomatoes, onions, basil, garlic, and wanted to water bath it… so I did! The jars sealed nicely.. it was cooked on the stove for 1/2 hour and boiled, the jars were sterilized and then packed and water bathed for 25 minutes. There will be no problem with these!

Rattaouille - zucchinni, tomatoes, onions, basil, garlic - water bath canned

Did I mention I splurged and finally bought a Cuisinart 11cup Food Processor! I use it almost every day. Makes making the pesto sooo much faster, and it is a far finer finish product. Not to mention the 2mm slicer for cabbage (we have lots) for slaw, or for zucchini into thin slices sauteed with garlic, butter, and olive oil –yummm. I am also using it to make dough, for rustic crust tarts, and eventually I will attempt a real pie dough. Great tool.

And today I picked the first full flat of ripe tomatoes, will get another flat in the next day or two and then we will can up some whole and crushed tomatoes.

Tomatoes - first flat

It took a long time for summer to really be summer here, but we are in the thick of it now. And the abundance from the garden is worth it.

And last weekend we had the pleasure of being at Mary & Kevin’s wedding ceremony and reception. Another wonderful gathering of the tribe, such wonderful people, a great location (Beginnings) and great food. Thanks Mary and Kevin for sharing your day with us.

Mary and Kevin - 4 August 2012

Mary and Kevin – 4 August 2012 Wedding at Beginnings