Get Pickin’! How to Make the Most of a U-Pick Harvest

upick farm tips
A big welcome to Renee from Raising Generation Nourished to the blog today! She ‘s writing about a topic that honestly, makes me a bit green with envy… I grew up around U-Pick farms and absolutely love them. Unfortunately, they are pretty much non-existent where we currently live, so I did drool a bit at Renee’s buckets of blueberries! ;)
Years ago when I first made the switch to eating more whole foods, I wanted to “do it all.” I am definitely one of those jump in with both feet kind of a person.

I would walk into a health food store and walk out completely broke. After a few months of this my husband and I decided there was going to have to be a different approach to this whole foods thing. Four bucks for a little quart of organic berries to put in my oatmeal was not cutting it!

We slowly learned how to stretch our dollar here, make our pennies buy more there. I figured out how to use a slow cooker for whole chickens so I could make bone broth and then stretch the meat in soups and stir fries. I learned that not everything that says “organic” on the box means that it is healthy for you.

And the biggest thing I have learned in making my dollar stretch is taking advantage of in season produce. The first time I went blueberry picking, it was on a whim just because I happened to see a sign for it on the road one day. I almost fell over when I saw that the price to pick was $1.50 per pound and I had just bought a little pint of blueberries in the store that week for almost triple that!

Tending To Your U-Pick Harvest :: Simple tips to find U-Picks in your area, how to keep your haul fresh long, & how to preserve the rest!
I dove into a search on how I could take advantage of local U-Pick farms and how to store them so I wouldn’t have to pay top dollar for summer fruit in the middle of winter.… [Continue Reading]

Naturally Sweetened Limemade (or Lemonade!)

naturally sweetened limemade recipe

I tend to think of the summer has being split into two portions:

The first half is the everyone-is-excited-to-be-out-of-school-and-going-on-vacation time.  People are feeling liberated and eager-with-anticipation to be breaking out the shorts and flip-flops. The grass is soft and green, the heat is gentle, and it feels absolutely magical to be outside after a long winter.

And then there’s the sticky-hot-dreaming-of-snow end of summer where the days are blazing hot, everyone is sticky and sweaty, and the flies persistently dive-bomb your plates (and your face). The grass is brown and crunchy, and you even catch yourself dreaming of those snowy afternoons where you can cuddle up in front of the fire and take a cozy nap…

Yeah, I think it’s safe to say we’ve hit the second stage here at The Prairie Homestead. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not wishing away summer quite yet, but I will admit that I’ve fantasized about crisp Fall mornings once or twice here lately…

homemade limemade

Which is why this week was the perfect time to whip up a batch of this naturally sweetened limeade. I’ve had a bunch of limes in my fridge begging to be put to use for a while, so I figured a pitcher of homemade limemade would be the perfect treat to combat the end-of-summer stickiness.

Most limemade recipes call for cups of white sugar, but I prefer the simplicity of this honey-sweetened limemade. It’s refreshingly tart but still has a sweet depth of flavor from the raw honey.

homemade limemade recipe

Honey Sweetened Limeade Recipe

  • 1 cup lime juice (I used 9-10 small limes–or you can use lemons instead!)
  • 1/2 cup honey (raw is the best!)
  • 5 cups cold water
  • Lime slices — to garnish (optional)

honey limemade recipe

If you are using fresh limes, be sure to wash them well so any dirt/residue doesn’t end up in your juice.… [Continue Reading]

Homestead Barn Hop #172


 “Cultivating the Homestead Community”

I enjoy raising pigs, I really do… I love their personalities and how excited they get when I bring out the scrap bucket each night. They are also wonderful rototillers, which is great if you need your garden turned up. However, it is less-than-wonderful when they rototill your front lawn. Like this—>


Needless to say, they aren’t really helping my meager landscaping efforts. Thankfully, they are about ready for the freezer, and I’m looking forward to having a fresh supply of sausage anyway! ;)

This hop is hosted by The Prairie Homestead, New Life on a HomesteadWeed Em and Reap, and The Elliott Homestead.

Did you share any homesteading related posts on your blog this week? If so, we’d love to have you link up below! Even if you don’t have a blog, we always welcome your comments!

Some Simple Guidelines:

1. Please remember that the Homestead Barn Hop is meant to be a place to share homesteading related encouragement and inspiring ideas specifically related to homesteading. In an effort to keep our weekly round-up clutter free, links which are not specifically homestead related, and any promotions such as giveaways, contests, carnivals, etc, will be deleted in order to maintain the integrity of the Barn Hop.

2. Please remember this is a family-friendly link up. Any pictures or posts linked to the hop which aren’t appropriate for our children to view or read will also be deleted immediately. We’re pretty conservative, so we ask that you use good judgment and err on the side of caution.

3. Make sure that you link to your Barn Hop post, not your blog’s main page, so your guests won’t have any trouble finding your great tips.

4. Please link back to the Homestead Barn Hop in the post that you share.

[Continue Reading]

How to Train a Heifer to Become a Family Milk Cow

Twyla Title Photo

Today I’m welcoming Ashley from The Browning Homestead to the blog! Not all of us are fortunate to start off with a quiet, trained milk cow (I wasn’t!), so Ashley is sharing her expertise on how to start with a heifer, and end up with a quiet family cow!

We all have that dream of having our own milk cow. She gives us gallons upon gallons of milk each day. We’ll make yogurt, sour cream, butter, mozzarella cheese, and have lots of milk for the other barnyard animals.

While that was certainly my vision when I purchased my family cow, it didn’t quite turn out that way. We had trouble getting her bred and she didn’t give much milk. But she calved easily and was a gentle cow and terrific mother. So we decided to buy a few more milk cows: HEIFERS.

Training a heifer (a young female cow) to become a family milk cow can be a bit tricky sometimes. Following these few simple guidelines can set you and your milk cow up for a long, productive relationship together!

Practices for Pre-Calving

1. Bring your heifer (or cow) to your homestead before she calves. This will help her to become familiar with YOUR set-up. She’ll become comfortable and less nervous about where she will calve and who will most likely be around (kids, dogs, chickens, and other barnyard friends)

2. Practice your milking routine (without actually milking her). Tie her up to a post or put her in your milking stanchion. Give her a flake of good hay and practice your routine. Spray her down with fly spray and brush her all over. Don’t forget to tell her sweet nothings into her ear: what a good cow she is and how she’ll be a great mama cow!… [Continue Reading]