Friday, June 27, 2014

Garden Valley Homestead Blog is LIVE + Facebook Page

The new blog, Garden Valley Homestead--How-tos + Adventures in the Western Landscape, ( is LIVE!

I'm very excited to invite you over to our new homestead blog--Garden Valley Homestead. It's like Stable Road Homestead, but bigger, BETTER; richer in content, images and interactive-ness. (Is that a word?)

It has a magazine format.

Why A New Blog?

I have a strong leading to take my blogging beyond a hobby/past-time, and up to the next level, so I can bring you more and better information. Bringing my vision for the new blog to life entailed switching from Blogger to WordPress.

Yes, I pretty much had to start all over.

Yes, it was a lot of work--but so much fun!

Garden Valley Homestead Has A doTERRA Essential Oil Store

One of my favorite things about the new Blog site is the essential oils store.

I've been a passionate user of pure therapeutic grade essential oils since 2007, when a friend brought them to us in an emergency circumstance. Essential oils have change our lives!  (The full story is on

Until recently, I've kinda been in the closet about my passion for the healthful properties of essential oils. But, I know the time is right to share my passion with you. If you're already a lover of essential oils, I'd love to hear from you!

Essential oils have been in use for more than 5,000 years. The Lord wrote about them in His Book. Remember Frankincense and Myrrh? (Recommended book: Healing Oils of the Bible.)

Garden Valley Homestead Has A Facebook Page

Of course, it does. Right? On the Facebook Page, you will find information about upcoming articles and information about essential oils.

Please visit the page, tell your friends, and LIKE, like, like it ;)

Head on over the Garden Valley Homestead today!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

A Brand New Blog Site Is Coming!

It's a good thing it's so hot outside right now (100+). why? So I can focus some time on creating a brand new blog, complete with new products. I'm really excited about it and will post the new web site address here when the site is ready to launch.

12 Days On A Ladder In the Garden, Orchard, and Deck

I realized it this morning: I spent the last 12 days on a ladder. At least the view is beautiful from here.

The cherry and apricot trees in our small orchard came into season--more or less, this week. I harvest the fruit when it's just starting to ripen so the birds don't eat it before I do. The stone fruits (peach, apricot, plums, prunes) will continue ripening inside a sealed paper bag in the kitchen.

Our three apple trees are bearing an abundance of fruit, which means it's time to get back into the garden and climb back up on the ladder to start thinning them.  

Thinning the apple trees is an important step to reduce the load on the branches and allow for the remaining apples to grow larger. 

The apples are thinned to leave 4-to-6 inches between the fruit. It seems like a waste of fruit, but it's an important step to growing a good crop. (We thin our peach trees, too). Besides, this time of year the trees experience what's called "June drop", a process through which they naturally start shedding fruit on their own. I'm just giving them a hand.

Meanwhile, I'm busy in our family room repainting the 20' x 20' space in Sherwin Williams Harvester. Most of the painting could easily be done from the floor with an extension poll...until I realized caulking was missing between the tops of the dry and the ceiling, and around some of the windows. So back up on the ladder I go...

Just to make sure that we stay really busy, we are diving into re-roofing our home before the full-blast of summer's heat strikes. And The Heat Is On. The first step is to remove the old overhang, which we'll replace with something simpler. Next, we removed the gutters. That's when we discovered that the fascia boards had not been painted. Fortunately, they're redwood and are in good shape...but still in need of a protective layer of paint.

 Back up on the ladder I go.

We took our time to seriously contemplate how to remove the deck cover from the existing roof without getting smashed under it. My husband, and his engineering genius, worked it out perfectly so that the three of us could remove the structure in manageable pieces...and not die in the process. Phew!

The old gutters are shown in this photo. We've since installed new gutters around the entire home. The next steps is to paint and install the downspouts. Painting the downspouts now is a little tricky because it's gotten so hot outside. We're working around the heat of the day by painting the sheet metal during the cool hours of the early morning and late evening.

Come back to see what it all looks like when it's finished. Plus, I'll share how I made no-cost custom "farmhouse" baseboards for our freshly painted family room.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

WARNING: No Fish Were Hurt During This Shoot

Heading out

A look up the creek we just traveled down

Crossing to a deep pool

Luring the trout out from under the shadows

Resting out of the wind (gusts at 45 MPH)
Preparing to cross

Granite captured by the tree's roots

Family of geese browse the shore

Alpine carpet

Making a plan

Monday, March 31, 2014

Powerfuel Morning Chia Muffins Recipe

If you tried this recipe, please let me know how you liked it. I'd love to know.

I might be wrong. You'll have to judge for yourself. But, I think the secret to the goodness of this recipe is coconut oil, organic Chia seed, fresh home-grown eggs, and organic whole oats.

Photo by Sam Olson
This recipe came to me one rainy Saturday morning when I felt like making muffins, which is odd because I don't eat muffins.

I don't like them.

Why? you ask...

Because eating a typical muffin leaves me feeling not only tired, but hungry. (Tip: When I feel hungry right after eating something, that's a clue that I shouldn't eat it.) So, instead I thought I'd create a recipe that does just the opposite.

Coconut oil is the key ingredient in this recipe, so don't substitute. It's the thing that brings in flavor and moistness without creating a heavy or greasy...or  crumbly muffin. Chia seed and whole oats not only give this muffin tremendous flavor and texture, but also supply excellent sources of energy and fiber. (The Bulk Herb Store has a great article library where you can read more about the health benefits of coconut oil, Chia seed, and a lot more.)

This recipe comes together very quickly, especially you have a food processor. You'll notice I don't do a lot of measuring. The fun comes from mixing a little of this with a little of that to see what works. And this recipe works!

Mix up a batch for yourself, then please let me know what you think!

Preheat oven to 325 degree fahrenhiet.
Use muffin tin liners (cups) or do as I did and lightly grease your muffin tin with coconut oil.

In your food processor, (or mixer or mix by hand), pulse together (approx. 6 times):
  • 2-3 apples, peeled, cored, and quartered
  • 1 handful of raisins
  • 1 handful of shredded coconut
  • 1 tbsp organic Chia seed
  • 1 handful of walnuts (shelled, of course :/)
  • 1 scoop (about 1/4 cp) organic whole oats (from a gluten-free source)
  • 2 tsps (real) vanilla extract

Add in:
  • about 3/4 cup organic extra virgin coconut oil, melted
  • 1 cup sugar (I used organic sugar)
  • 2 egg yolks (I used eggs from our Barred Rock hens)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 heaping tsps cinnamon
  • 1 tsp sea salt
 Spoon the Powerfuel Morning Chia Muffin batter, in even amounts, into your greased/lined muffin tins. Bake for approximately 12 minutes. Use a toothpick to check for "done-ness" at the 10 minute mark.

Let them cool. Eat or freeze for another day.

Bon appetit. :D

Friday, March 14, 2014

Tax Prep Advice from the Homestead

It's tax preparation day at the homestead.
So I dove right in and...
Made a double batch of chocolate-chip cookie dough
Completed 4 loads of laundry
Stripped all the slipcovers off the sofa cushions and washed them
Helped my son prepare for his high school graduation exam (two years early!)
Reviewed lecture 2 of Writing Creative Nonfiction
Exercised the Retrievers
Visited with the hens
Cleaned the horses' stalls
Watered the newly-planted plum trees
Helped Hubby load the horses into the trailer
and photographed these lovely spring blooms:

Taxes can wait   ;)