Our Perfect Halloween Harvest

Happy Halloween friends!  We hope your families are enjoying the day and you're staying plenty busy with parties, costumes, and treats! Speaking of treats, we found some of our own today down in the gardens! It may be October 31st, but we're still harvesting plenty of food here from our gardens.

 The days of sun-scortched swiss chard are long gone.  With all of this "typical" Seattle weather we've been having lately, our chard has just taken off and really begun to thrive.  The plants are all so healthy, lush and green.  This dry, hot summer of ours we just had made it a challenge to keep the gardens watered.  Everything dried up so quickly! It stressed a lot of our plants out, but now that the temps have cooled, much of what we have left in the raised beds are beginning to perk right back up! 
This year we grew several varieties of swiss-chard, but pictured above is  

 Take a look at these leeks!  These are {Carentan} Leeks, and boy are they delicious.   We use these a lot in soups, quiches, and so much more!  It was a great year for them, I'm so happy we decided to add them to our gardens this year.

 We're still harvesting plenty of turnips! We planted two varieties this year, the {Purple Top, White Globe} and {Golden Globe} Turnips.  They are both tasty and I just can't get over how beautiful the Purple Top variety are. 

 One can never have too many chives or onions growing in their garden.  I'm constantly snipping the green tops of these {Evergreen} Bunching Onions to use fresh in all of our favorite recipes and also to dehydrate for our long term food storage.  Because we dehydrate these Spring-Fall, we're blessed with plenty to hold us over through the winter months. 


How to Cure Small Gourds

Have you grown gourds this year in your garden, but now you're not sure what to do with them? This post is for you. There are so many ways you can dry or "cure" your gourds, but this is an easy way, especially if you're drying smaller varieties of gourds.  (Like these ones!)

Pick your gourds when the stems start to turn brown and the leaves on your vine are all dead.  
Make sure you grab them before your first frost.  

Wash your gourds in warm soapy water or in a water-vinegar bath in the sink.  Dry your gourds completely, and then wipe with a little bit of rubbing alcohol. Make sure you discard any bruised or immature fruit.  They won't do anything but rot during the curing process.  Only use prime gourds for curing.

 Take a small piece of newspaper or "junk mail" and loosely wrap it around each gourd.  You don't want to wrap them too tightly, because the key to drying gourds is good air circulation, and a warm, dry place. 

The newspaper will help keep all of the gourds from rotting if one in the bunch starts to. It's also there to help keep bruising down.

For smaller gourds, like the ones pictured curing here, transporting them in a large rubber-maid container works great. The less you handle them the better. It will keep the chances of them bruising very low.

Once you have all of your gourds wrapped in newspaper and carefully put into a container, place them in a dry, and well ventilated area. Some gourds can stink quite a bit during the curing process, so we don't recommend keeping them in the house.

Avoid placing them in direct sunlight, as it tends to fade the colors and check often for any signs of decay among your curing gourds.  Remove any damaged gourds quickly, before it can spread to the others. 

Avoid placing them in direct sunlight, as it tends to fade the colors and check often for any signs of decay among your curing gourds.  Remove any damaged gourds quickly, before it can spread to the others.  

Depending on the size of your gourds, the entire process of drying can take 1-6 months.   First, you'll notice that the outer skin will harden and the colors will begin to set.  This generally happens in the first few weeks.  The internal drying takes place next, which usually takes another 4 weeks. 

 Once your gourds are dried you can use them for a number of projects.   
Check out our Pinterest Board!
Follow The More One Sows;'s board Gourd Art Projects on Pinterest.

Temples & Food Trucks -Our Day in Portland-

After a long week of farm chores and stress of daily life, as sweet as it is, sometimes it's nice to get away for the day.  We love disappearing on the weekends to go for "mini-trips". It's something the two of us have been doing since we first started dating. I can't count the places we've been. Sometimes our little "mini-trips" have turned into vacations to Vegas, Utah, all over California, Oregon, and of course beautiful Washington.  We LOVE traveling, and while our homestead keeps us from traveling far distances most of the time, we still manage to find the time to "get away".

 We drove to Portland this morning with little expectations. Usually I'm quite happy just going for a long drive.  We had one place that we wanted to visit, and that was the LDS temple.  Something about it is always so peaceful and it always calms my soul.   I'm thankful for the temples around the world and the blessings we are able to receive by going to them.    

We could tell the rain would be coming in soon, so we gathered the baby and the stroller and headed for a walk around the temple.  Before I could even get up onto the walkway, I had the strongest feeling come over me. This was the place I was suppose to marry Erick.   I didn't say anything about it, and we just kept walking and enjoying the temple grounds. 

 Even on a cloudy day, the temple is a beautiful place to visit.   We walked around the fountains and both of us were taking pictures with our cameras, when all of a sudden Erick stopped me and then he got down on one knee. (he's already done this btw!)   He said the sweetest words and began to ask me if I would marry him here.  (Well, I should have paid more attention to that feeling I got a few minutes prior about this being the place I would be marrying Erick!) 

 I'll spare you the sappy and gushy details of the moments that followed, but long story short, I said "Yes" and there were a lot of tears.  A LOT.    We took Noahh into the visitors center and we all watched a few movies about the plan of happiness and finding joy.   Noahh colored pictures of temples, and we listened to a few talks given by prophets.  It was a lovely morning, and a day I'll remember forever as Erick and I made the commitment to one another that we would be married in this temple.  

Want to see other trips we've taken to the Portland Temple? Go HERE! 

After we left the temple grounds, our stomachs were growling. We knew exactly what was next on our agenda for the day. FOOD TRUCKS! Nothing gets rid of a little stress like Jesus & good food. ;)

We're big "foodies". It's something the two of us have always had in common and been something we've enjoyed together. We love trying new restaurants and visiting the food truck pods located all over Portland.

 We headed to a new pod of trucks that we hadn't been to before and instantly "fell in love" with this place. It had the most adorable shops and places to grab some grub.

 I didn't know what to do first! Eat or shop! Eat! My stomach was growling pretty loud by now and the scent of all the food in the air was only making my tummy rumblings worse.

We must have circled the pod like three times before we started to order food. Usually we'll order a few dishes from a couple of trucks and then share them. That way we get to try a little bit of everything. This was a pretty big pod of trucks though so we picked 3, and placed our orders!

 I could live in this trailer. Isn't it adorable?!

 While Erick ordered up the food, I browsed some of the shops.  Like this double-decker dress shop. The cutest thing ever! 

 I think Erick was even overwhelmed by the amount of choices! Usually he's pretty quick about deciding what he wants to eat but it took him a while to make a decision. Seriously, everything looked so good. 

We ordered up a "Monte Cristo Waffle Sandwich" for ms. Noahh.  Waffles, powdered sugar, strawberry compote, cheese, ham. We were all pretty much sold on the idea. 

Second choice... a "Chicken Hot Dog".  Loaded with the works including their homemade famous slaw. 

 I visited the vegan truck and ordered an "American Graffiti Burger". Black bean & sweet potato patty with everything. Oh and a basket of hand-cut fries. 

Erick was still hungry after his "Chicken Hot Dog", so he visited another truck and put an order in for their "Night in Bangkok Burger.  A beef patty, peanut butter, pickled jalapenos, and bacon bits.  I'll admit, when I took a bite, it was pretty wild.  

Want to see other trips we've taken to the Food Trucks of Portland? Go HERE!

This trip, we had enough willpower to avoid another one of our most favorite places but just in case you're wondering what it is...you can find it HERE!  We had already had too many calories for one day, but we won't pass it up next time we're in town! Have a look!

2 Years Old

I can't believe this little gal of mine is officially 2! I shake my head in disbelief whenever I think about how quickly the last two years have flown by.  So quickly, way to fast.  After Noahh's big birthday celebration we headed to the park for a family walk.  Even after a big party like that, it's nice to pack everybody up and enjoy our evening walk together.  

If there's one thing Noahh just loves, it's birds and ducks.  Most of the places we take her for walks at have them so she's gotten to the point where she almost expects it and will start asking for ducks and birds as soon as we buckle her up in her carseat to hit the road. 

She had been carrying around the balloons that Great Grandma and Great Grandpa Waibel brought her all day, so we brought them to the park as well.  Nothing wrong with letting the whole world know that today was our little Noahh's special day!

We sat at the duck pond just as the sun started to go down.  It was so relaxing and beautiful. Noahh just sat on the bridge, tossing "treats" to the ducks in the pond below her.

We ran around in the rose gardens for a few minutes and Noahh inspected all of the colors and different types of roses.  Even though they are beginning to die back for the winter there was still plenty of color to enjoy.

Noahh had her first experience with leaves here too! She took one step into them and was hooked. She kicked them, and shuffled her feet through them, back and forth.

Then she realized how much fun it would be if she picked them up and threw them into the air.

 Now she's really having a good time!

We all played with the leaves for a while, which was the end of us being clean. The leaves were wet from the rain and muddy from sitting in the dirt trails, but boy did we have a good time.

Well, my baby is now 2 years old, just like that. I blinked for just a moment and now she's getting so grown up and so big.  It's been such a fun 2 years having her with our family,  making us all complete. I'm looking forward to watching her grow up into a beautiful, talented spectacular young lady. Happy Birthday Sweet Girl. 


Favorite Word: "are you okay? are you alright? sorry" "oh oh oh okay"
Favorite Food: apples & popcorn
Favorite Shows: The Wiggles, Barney, Veggie Tales, Banana's in Pajamas
Favorite Activities: Playing with the farm animals,  COLORING, going on walks,  & RUNNING
Favorite Song: "I love you, you love me"
Size: 18Mo. - 2T

Why I Quit My Job, To Be a Full-Time Homesteader

This is the story of how and WHY I quit my full-time job, away from my home, to become a full-time homesteader. Can it be done? Of course it can.  And although I'm not advocating rushing off to put in your "two weeks notice" after reading this article, maybe it will give you something to think about for your future, where you want to go from here & how you can go about doing it.

So WHY did I quit my job?  It certainly wasn't an easy decision. I had spent just over a decades worth of my time engulfed into my career.  I owned a small business and cherished the relationships I had built because of my job so leaving and closing the doors forever seemed a bit robust at first.   It was something I had been thinking about for a while, but then all of a sudden it just came to me and an overwhelming sense of peace came over me and I knew that "my calling" was to be home.

So if "my calling" was to be at home, and to pour everything I had into being a full time "mommy-homesteader", was it going to work? Where would I struggle? How would I make the transition from career woman to living my life full-time on our urban farm?  Would I eventually give up my shoe collection all together and find myself wearing my hair in a bun everyday?  What was going to become of the person I had been for the last 10 years?  All of these were questions that I had and have since learned the answer too.

Here are the "Why's"--(WHY I Wanted to Quit)--

My Kids. 
Obviously, this is one of the biggest perks of quitting my job and becoming a full-time homesteader.  Being able to devote more of my time and energy to them has been better for all of us.  I feel like a better mother, and better caretaker.   I am truly INVESTED in my children. From the moment they wake up in the day, until everyone gets tucked in, I am there.  I find myself having more patience. I truly have been able to slow down to enjoy every moment with them though-out the day.

Homeschooling has become very important to me over the last few years as I've been more and more concerned with the problems of our broken school system.  I feel at peace knowing that I'll be able to homeschool my youngest daughter now that I am a full-time stay at home mom.   I feel privileged to be able to teach my daughter in a way that I know will suit her best, and she'll be in a safe and loving environment without the struggles that come along with being in a public school.   With a "faith-based" curriculum, I'm confident I can teach our daughter all that I can about how this world works and give her the basic tools to start creating a wonderful life for herself.

Saving $.
I'm not kidding, I actually SAVE money by not going to work everyday.  That $5 latte on my morning drive to work, the constant refilling of the gas tank, not having to buy new shoes and work apparel constantly...it all adds up. No buying lunch while I'm work....Not to mention the money I've saved on rent/ utilities/ and overhead costs associated with the small business I owned.

Better Health.
Staying at home during the day to tend to my home, garden, and farm chores has been good for my health.   When I stopped feeling like I had an obligation to be somewhere all of the time, I began to learn to focus my day around things that were important to me. Things like cooking, cleaning, making a home, tending to our chickens and goats during the day, talking to my plants, teaching my children different aspects of running a homestead, exercising, and preparing healthy meals for my family.   I learned to slow down, and just enjoy the day as it came to me.  I learned to prioritize what was truly important and what was best for my family.   Less stress makes for a better day and when you cut out the demands of a job away from home, it's nothing but natural to feel as if a weight has been lifted off of your shoulders. It's so relaxing to be able to take a deep breathe and just enjoy your surroundings, your home, your garden, your family.

Quality of Life.
I'd say not only has my quality of life gone up, but so has the lives of my family members. Because I am less stressed and more focused on goals and priorities I have within my home, everyone wins.  I've become more spiritual, and happier because of my decision to stay home and truly devote my time to this family and our homestead.  More gets accomplished around here now, which brings along an incredible amount of self-satisfaction.  At the end of the day, being home has made me a happier, healthier, and more spiritual person.

Here Are the "How's" --(How I was able to Quit)--

By gardening more, I have saved thousands of dollars on our family grocery budget. Now, all we ever buy from a store are paper products, cleaning supplies on occasion & pet food.   I can't tell you the last time I set foot into a grocery store or seen the "inside aisles" of a grocery store at that.  We shop at farmers markets to supplement our food needs, but for the majority, we eat from of our gardens.  Gardening will save you so much money, and it's great for your soul too.  You'd be surprised at the amount of pride that comes from that homegrown tomato you eat for lunch, or the spaghetti squash you bake in the oven for supper.   Growing your own food saves you money now and later.  Just think of all of your medical problems you can rid yourself of when you start eating real, organic food you grow in your own backyard.

We've saved a great deal of money by owning chickens.  They have provided us with a beautiful experience of raising them and a nutrient dense protein for our diet.  While it does cost a little bit of money to get a coop ready for them, it's a wonderful investment for anyone who is serious about learning how to become more self-sufficient.  Raising your own food will save you money, and bring a great sense of pride.

We started raising goats for a few reasons. #1, we wanted the milk, butter, cheese etc. #2, they are wonderful companions. Smarter than most dogs and way less work as far as I'm concerned.  Adding goats to our small urban homestead was one of the best decisions we've made.

Since we grow most of the food we eat, we had to learn how to preserve our harvests so nothing went to waste.  Using a freezer should be used with caution as the "shelf life" of frozen foods usually don't last as long or the quality can go down with time due to freezer-burn.  If the power goes out, you've got a problem too. If you were without power for any length of time and had to consume an entire freezer of food before it went to waste, you probably wouldn't be too happy about it.   We choose to can our homegrown fruits and vegetables so that they are "ready to eat", and don't need refrigeration.  Being able to safely and adequately "put up" what we grow in our gardens saves us thousands of dollars each year.  We could eat out of our canned goods, for quite some time and be very happy about it too. We only can what we like and we eat from our pantry on a daily basis.  Waste not, want not.

Building our Food Storage.
Since we wanted to save money on food, we needed to learn how to build food storage.  Most people think about food storage as being a dusty set of foods that you don't really like, being stored away under the bed in case of a major catastrophe. For us, it's quite the opposite. While I may have food stored under our beds, it's defiantly not because we don't eat it.  WE EAT OUR FOOD STORAGE.    The key to building a successful food storage for your family is to purchase a little bit at a time, and not going into debt to accumulate your food storage. Only buy things you like. Only buy what your family enjoys. Start by ordering or shopping for one item a week.  You'd be surprised with how quickly time goes by and before you know it you're storing food in every nook and cranny of your house. Especially if you live in a small house like we do.    Another benefit of having rice, beans, dried fruit, dried vegetables, flour, sugar, salt, milk etc. on hand at any time is that you basically have endless possibilities for meals when you combine your homegrown produce with your food storage "staples".  Start with your basic "staples" and once you have a good stock of those, treat yourself to more "indulgent" type of food storage items that you might find.  Brownie mix & fruit punch could really cheer you up if you're having a really, really bad day.  (think.. "catastrophe moment")

Work from Home.
We were fortunate enough that my husbands job could pay all of our monthly expenditures.  I knew that quitting my job might make us cut back a little bit on our spending, but for the most part we haven't really noticed a significant difference in our finances because of everything we're doing at the homestead to save ourselves money.   By doing all of the things I've just mentioned above, we've saved more money than I can count, and to me, being at home and becoming a full time homesteader has been worth it.  I save money, I'm not as stressed out, and my family as a whole has benefited because of this change.   Homesteading allows you opportunities to still work from home if you choose. I've been blessed with the ability to blog about our lives here on the homestead, and make a living doing what I love. Gardening, photography, spending time with my kids, raising animals...it's allowed me this great opportunity to make money and do what I love at the same time.  Quitting my job to become a full-time homesteader was one of the best things I ever did.  For my health. For my family. For me.

Battle Point Park & The Haunted Woods

As you know, we try to walk every evening together as a family. On the weekends, we usually get up bright and early and go on a little "mini trip". We tend to have more time on the weekends to drive a little further for our walks than we do during the week, especially now that our days are getting "shorter". 

This morning we ended up on Bainbridge Island, at Battle Point Park.  This was Erick's first time at this park, but the girls and I will usually go and walk here while Erick is on the Island during his church meetings.  It's a very large park, and part of the reason we love it so much is because there are ducks! {geese too, but Noahh doesn't know the difference}

We came prepared with a loaf of stale bread.   There is so much joy in simple outings like this.  Watching Noahh feed the birds was just the most perfect way to spend a Sunday morning. 

Daddy taught her how to rip the bread into small pieces and toss it towards the birds.  They came within 1-2 feet of us so they must have really been enjoying our treats.

The weather cooperated beautifully. It was a crisp cool day, but in the sunshine it was plenty warm. 

After we finished up with feeding the birds, Noahh said she was hungry, so into the stroller she went so we could finish our walk.

This kid loves apples. I've never seen a baby her age take a huge giant apple and eat the WHOLE THING. I have to literally pull the seeds from the apple core before she can eat them. She'll eat the core and all if we're not watching. She loves her apples! I'm definitely not complaining. I love that this farm girl of ours is growing up to love her fresh fruits and vegetables. 

We walked around the pond, which was absolutely beautiful, and then stumbled upon this...

Haunted woods?! How fun is this?  They decorated part of the park for Halloween, and it was just spooky enough for little Noahh.  She didn't quite know what to make of the creepy dolls, heck I didn't even know what to think of them, but she loved the bats and the spiders. She's obsessed with spiders these days.  She'll wander around our own backyard and find one and sit there and talk to it.  

We had a great time walking through the "Haunted Woods". It was a fun and spooky surprise to our morning walk.  Way to go Bainbridge Island Parks!  

As we made the loop around the park, we stopped to enjoy their community gardening area. Most of the plots were showing signs of neglect since it IS October and most people lose the gardening bug come July or August.   We love wandering around community gardens though. It's a great way to see what other gardeners are doing, and what they are growing.  It's a fun way to get new ideas and learn from other people in your area.

I saw a lot of vegetables still growing strong. A lot of kale, lettuces, chard...some raspberries and a gorgeous fig tree loaded with figs.  

After we took our tour of the gardening area we made the trip home. It is Sunday, after all. I was looking forward to getting home, making lunch, and just enjoying my family for a little while.

While I made lunch, I managed to get a load of meat into the pressure canner as well.  I canned beef sirloin stir fry with onions and garlic, and ground chicken!  

This will make for some awesome meals this week. I'll be busy prepping for Halloween and Noahh's 2nd Birthday party! I've got one week to get everything for her party ready. Her big day will be here in the blink of an eye. 

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