Monday, September 17, 2012

We Are Moving Our Blog!!!!!!!

As of today we are now in the process of moving our blog to our website. We are asking that everyone please check out our website to keep up with everything that is going on and our new blog. Thanks for the follows and keeping up with us and hope to see you all there.

Bug Eating for Survival - Could You Do It??

     Okay so let me start this off by saying I have yet to put any type of bug or insect into my mouth voluntarily... I do however think that if it came down to eating them or starving that I could do so. For that reason I decided to do a little research on them and this is the information I have found at another blog located here; Girl Meets Bug . There are literally tons of insects that are edible around us all the time... I have included a partial list below with some tips I found on each type of insect. I have also included two recipes at the bottom of the post on how to prepare them. If anyone has actually eaten any of these or others I would love to hear about your experiences with it. Also, if you know of some others to add to the list let us know in the comments.

Agave worm: Also known as the maguey worm, these larvae of either the Hypopta agavis moth or the Aegiale hesperiaris are sometimes included in tequila bottles as proof of authenticity and alcohol content (tequila must be of high enough proof to preserve the worm). In Mexico, they are also eaten as part of a meal, and are highly nutritious.

Ant: there are several varieties of ants that are eaten: Carpenter ants, leaf-cutter ants, honeypot ants, and even lemon ants.

Honeypot ants have abdomens swollen with a nectar-like substance, which is used to feed other ants, sort of like a “living larder.” An excellent “bush food,” they are dug up from the ground and eaten raw by  aboriginal peoples in Australia.

Leafcutter ants, also known as Hormigas Culonas in Spanish (which means big-butted ant) are eaten mainly in South America. They are  said to taste like a cross between bacon and pistachio, and are usually eaten toasted. In Colombia, they are sold like popcorn at movie theaters.

Lemon ants are found in the Amazon jungle and are said to taste like just that: lemons.

Bamboo  worm: Often eaten fried in Thailand, they are the larvae of the Grass Moth, and eat their way through bamboo before metamorphosing.

Bee: Bee larvae, especially, are prized in many cultures as tasty morsels. Think about it, all they eat is royal jelly, pollen, and honey! The larvae, when sauteed in butter, taste much like mushroomy bacon. Adult bees may also be eaten, often roasted (roast bee!) and then ground into a nutritious flour. In China, ground bees are used as a remedy for a sore throat.

Centipede: Most often found as a street food in China.

Cicada: Periodical cicadas, primarily found in the Eastern US,  live underground for 17 years before emerging and molting into adults. Just after they molt, they have soft, juicy bodies, and are said to be very tender and delicious. Different species of cicada are also eaten in many Asian countries, such as Japan, Thailand, and Malaysia.

Cockroach: Yes, you can eat cockroaches! Just not the ones you find around your house. Contrary to popular belief, cockroaches can actually be very clean and tasty insects, especially if they are fed on fresh fruits and vegetables. They can be eaten toasted, fried, sauteed, or boiled. Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches have a taste and texture like greasy chicken.

Cricket: eaten fried, sauteed, boiled, and roasted, these are amongst the most common insects eaten. Eaten in Mexico, Thailand, Cambodia.

Dragonfly: eaten in Indonesia and China. Can be eaten in adult or larval form. In Indonesia, these are caught by dipping a reed in sticky palm sap and waving it through the air. Often eaten boiled or fried.

Dung Beetle: despite the strange-sounding name, dung beetles, often eaten fried, are quite tasty.

Earthworm: known to be high in protein and iron, eaten by various peoples such as the native Yekuana of Venezuela.

Fly pupae: the fatty acid pattern of house fly pupae (Musca domestica L.) has been found to be similar to that of some fish oils. Shaped like small red pills, the “flavor is rich with a hint of iron, sort of like blood pudding,” says David Gracer of Small Stock Foods.

Flying Ant: Also known as Sompopos, the flying queens are collected in Guatemala and roasted on a comal with salt and lime juice. They are said to taste something like buttery pork rinds.

Grasshopper: in Mexico, these are eaten roasted with chile and lime, and are known as chapulines. They are high in protein and calcium.

Hornworm:  David George Gordon, author of The Eat-A-Bug Cookbook, says that Tomato Hornworms can be fried up much the same as the fruit of the plant on which they feed. They taste a bit like green tomatoes, shrimp, and crab.

Jumiles: also known as stink bugs. High in B vitamins, these are said to taste either bitter or like cinnamon, and may have tranquilizing and analgesic properties. Apparently, they can survive the cooking process, and thus are often eaten alive. The yearly Jumile Festival involves the eating of thousands of jumiles, and the crowning of a Jumile Queen.

June bug: June bugs (Phyllophaga) can be eaten at both the larval and adult stage. Native Americans roasted them over coals and ate them like popcorn.

Locust: the locust is one of the few insects condoned by the bible. Leviticus 11:22: Even these of them ye may eat: the locust after its kind, and the bald locust after its kind, and the cricket after its kind, and the grasshopper after its kind.

Mopane worm: largely eaten in Southern Africa, during their season, mopane worms can fetch a higher market price than beef. When dried, they are said to taste like  an earthy jerky.

Mealworm: Mealworms are found wherever there is, well, meal! They are the larva of the mealworm beetle. They are often prepared boiled, sauteed, roasted, or fried, and taste like a nutty shrimp.

Midge fly: in East Africa, these are pressed into solid blocks and cooked into Kunga Cake.

Nsenene: This tasty grasshopper is a Ugandan delicacy. Usually prepared fried.

Pill-bug: AKA sowbugs, roly-polies, woodlice, these are actually terrestrial crustaceans, closely related to lobsters, crab and shrimp. When boiled, they are said to turn red.

Rhino beetle and grubs: Also known as one of the strongest animals in the world, the Rhino beetle can lift 850 times its own weight. The beetle and its larvae are a common part of the diet in Nigeria. Studies have found the larvae to be very high in protein, calcium, and phosphorous. They can be fried, stewed, grilled or roasted; one cookbook advises cooking them within a coconut shell. The clarified fat of the larvae can also be used as a kind of butter.

Sago grubs: the larvae of the Palm Weevil.  Sago Delight, or fried Sago grubs,  is a specialty in Malaysia and Indonesia. In Borneo  and  Papua New Guinea, they are often cooked in Sago flour, and wrapped in a Sago leaf like a tamale. They are said to taste somewhat like bacon, and are an essential source of fat.

Silk worm: A popular dish in Korea, these are known as Bon Daegi, and are an edible byproduct of the silk-harvesting process.

Scorpion: Often found skewered and fried in Thailand and China. Scorpions tend to have a flavor like soft-shell crab.

Tarantula: Primarily popular as a food in Cambodia, tarantulas are high in protein, and are believed to help boost virility. They taste somewhat like an earthy crab.

Termite: Termites are often eaten raw straight out of the mound in places like Kenya.

Wasp: Wasps are eaten in both adult and larval stages. Boiled, sauteed, roasted and fried, they taste somewhat buttery and earthy.

Walking stick: Eaten in Asia and Papua New Guinea, Walking Sticks taste somewhat leafy.

Water Bug: AKA Toe-biter, the giant water bug is popular in Thai cuisine, both consumed whole (steamed or fried), and as an extract in sauces. Raw, the bugs have a scent like a green apple. Steamed, their flesh (plentiful enough to make small filets), tastes like a briny, per-fumy banana/melon, with the consistency of fish.

Wax-worm: The larvae of the wax moth, in the wild wax worms are a parasite of bee hives. In captivity, they are fed on a diet of bran and honey. Roasted or sauteed, they taste like a cross between a pine nut and an enoki mushroom, and are high in essential fatty acids.

Wichetty grub: Eaten by Aborigines in Australia, often roasted in coals or over a fire, wichetty grubs are high in protein and fat. According to Peter Menzel in Man Eating Bugs, “Witchetty grub tastes like nut-flavored scrambled eggs and mild mozzarella, wrapped in a phyllo dough pastry.”

Zaza-mushi: “Zaza-mushi — zaza, the sound of rushing river water, and mushi, insect — are the larvae of aquatic the caddisfly.” – Man Eating Bugs. Zaza-mushi are boiled then sauteed in soy sauce and sugar in Japan.

Basic Cooked Insects

Yield 1 serving; Time 30 minutes

    1 cup cleaned edible insects
    2 cups water
    1 teaspoon salt
    2 dashes pepper
    1 tablespoon butter
    1/2 teaspoon dried sage
    2 tablespoons finely chopped onions.

    Place ingredients in a medium-sized saucepan. Bring to a boil and allow to simmer for 30 minutes or until tender.

Source: Adapted from Entertaining With Insects by Ronald L. Taylor and Barbara J. Carter 

Dry Roasted Insects

Yield 1 serving; Time Two hours

    Spread cleaned insects on paper towels on a cookie sheet. Back at 200 degrees for 60 to 90 minutes until desired state of dryness is reached. To check state of dryness, try crushing insect with a spoon.

Source: Adapted from Entertaining With Insects by Ronald L. Taylor and Barbara J. Carter

Herbs In Your Chicken Nests???

     Why yes it is a great idea. Fresh or dried herbs in your nesting boxes not only work as insecticides, but also have anti-bacterial properties, and can act as natural wormers, anti-parasitics, insecticides, rodent control, stress relievers and laying stimulants.  They will help a laying hen feel safe and relaxed while she is sitting, and calm a broody hen, as well as repel rodents, flies and other parasites. Plus they look so pretty !

      They will also benefit newly hatched chicks.  Research has shown that wild birds will line their nests with fresh herbs and flowers, especially those that contain essential oils. The newly hatched baby birds benefit by rubbing against these herbs in the first few days of life.  Same applies to baby chicks. The chicks will also eat some of the herbs, thereby garnering even more health benefits from them.

Here is a partial list of common herbs and flowers and their beneficial properties:

Basil - antibacterial, mucus membrane health
Catnip - sedative, insecticide
Cilantro - antioxidant, fungicide, builds strong bones, high in Vitamin A for vision and Vitamin K for blood clotting
Dill - antioxidant, relaxant, respiratory health
Fennel -laying stimulant
Garlic - laying stimulant
Lavender - stress reliever, increases blood circulation, highly aromatic, insecticide
Lemon Balm - stress reliever, antibacterial, highly aromatic, rodent repellent
Marigold - laying stimulant
Marjoram - lay stimulant
Mint (all kinds) - insecticide and rodent repellent
Nasturtium - laying stimulant, antiseptic, antibiotic, insecticide, wormer
Oregano - combats coccidia, salmonella, infectious bronchitis, avian flu, blackhead and e-coli
Parsley - high in vitamins, aids in blood vessel development, laying stimulant
Peppermint - anti-parasitic, insecticide
Pineapple Sage - aids nervous system, highly aromatic
Rose Petals - highly aromatic, high in Vitamin C
Rosemary - pain relief, respiratory health, insecticide
Sage - antioxidant, anti-parasitic
Spearmint - antiseptic, insecticide, stimulates nerve, brain and blood functions
Tarragon - antioxidant
Thyme - respiratory health, antibacterial, antioxidant, anti-parasitic

Read more: Grit Article on Herbs in Chicken Nests

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Homemade Room Scents and More

Okay so as via the first post on our homemade cleaning products we make, use, and sell our own laundry detergent. We have recently changed the recipe we use so that it is now completely Biodegradable. It still cleans just as well and still makes just as many loads out of each container. Also, we have started experimenting with homemade room scents in a jar. These are a great idea for those who want to have a nice fresh scent but do not want to use or pay for aerosol sprays. I have included the few "recipes" I found and have been trying out below along with directions for putting together and using them. If anyone can think of any other scent combinations I would love to here from you about them.

General procedure for the room scents:

     Combine the ingredients in a 2 cup (pint) jar or container, or in a pan on the stove top. Cover them with water and heat. The different heating options are explained further down.

Scent #1: Oranges, cinnamon & cloves (allspice and anise are optional).

     This scent carries into multiple rooms better, and it can be reheated to scent your rooms for several days.

Scent #2: Lemon, rosemary, & vanilla. It has a lovely freshness to it. 

Scent #3: Lime, thyme, mint & vanilla extract. This combination has such a fresh, pleasant scent.

Scent #4: Orange, ginger (fresh or powdered), and almond extract. This is a sweet, delicious scent.

Scent # 5: Pine or cedar twigs (or other fragrant twigs), bay leaves, and nutmeg. These scents combine for a complex aroma. If you have whole nutmeg, use a micro-plane to grate off the outer surface--this will release the scent. Add the whole nutmeg piece along with the gratings.

Make ahead and... in the fridge. Uncooked jars of scented waters will keep in the fridge for 1 to 2 weeks, so you can make these ahead to have on hand. I recommend adding all of the ingredients, including the water, to the jars before refrigerating them.

    ...freeze them. Freezing them both with and without the water added work fine. Make sure you use freezer-safe jars like these pint wide-mouth mason jars. (Not all mason jars are freezer-safe.)

How to heat the scented mixtures
     Some of them provide a more powerful scent than others. Just like the air fresheners you buy, none of these will scent a whole house. Hopefully you already have what you need to try out one or more of these options.

Stove top method.
     To get the most powerful scent that will spread to more rooms the fastest. It's easy as can be. Simply combine the ingredients in a pot on the stove, bring them to a boil, and then lower the heat to a simmer. They will immediately begin to scent your kitchen and spread to other rooms. How far the scent spreads depends on the size and layout of your house. The only drawback of this method is that you have to keep a close eye on the water level. If the pan dries out, you'll be smelling burned citrus instead of sweet, fragrant citrus.  NOTE: For a stronger scent, simply double or triple the recipe in a larger pot on the stove.

Uncovered Slow Cooker Method. 
     Use a mini slow cooker--the kind made for keeping dips and sauces warm. The mixture never actually bubbles and visibly steams. It's subtle, but creates a pleasant smell in the house. It's easy and uses very little electricity. If you're concerned about accidentally letting it run dry, you can put a lamp timer on it so that it automatically shuts off at the desired time. Put a scented jar mixture in the microwave for 2 minutes to get it really hot before adding it to the slow cooker. That gives it a jump start on releasing the scent.  NOTE: For a stronger scent, simply double or triple the recipe in a larger, full-size slow cooker.

Fondue Pot Method. 
     If you have a fondue pot, then you have a portable scent station. Set it up in any room you'd like to scent. Get the scent mixture boiling hot before adding it to the fondue pot.

Mug Warmer Method. 
     It only keeps it warm, it doesn't actually heat it up. So again, be sure to heat the mixture before adding it to the bowl. Or microwave a jar and set it right on top of the mug warmer. This low heat puts off a soft scent that is perfect in a bathroom.

    Here's a hint to keep it pretty. As the mixtures cook and lose their color, they're not as attractive. You can spruce it up by floating a fresh slice of citrus on top. Or add a few cranberries; they float and add a touch of color.

Candle Warmer Method. 
     These work just like the mug warmers. Candle warmers come with a little bowl on top for melting scented candle pellets. Instead, you can add some heated scented water. Or, remove the bowl and set a jar or other bowl on top.

    Note: The mug warmer and candle warmer both keep the mixture at about 120°F. That's enough to let off a very subtle scent, but don't expect these to strongly scent a big room. You need more heat and steam for a stronger scent.

Tea Pot Warmer Method. 
     These only last as long as the tea lights burn, but they can get hotter than the mug and candle warmers, thus releasing more scent.

Add more hot water as needed. As the water evaporates from any of these warming bowls or jars, top it off with additional HOT water. It needs to be hot when it's added so that it doesn't cool down the temperature of the scented water.  Higher heat = more fragrance.

Gift them! These make a fun, unique hostess gift. Take one along to a party as a gift for your host that can be simmered and enjoyed the next day.

Reuse each mixture 2-3 times. After these have been heated and simmered for awhile, the water becomes cloudy, and some of the ingredients lose their vibrant color. Although they don't look as pretty, they still smell good. Usually, you can reheat and simmer these again 2-3 times. Jar them up and refrigerate them between uses. Open the jar and give it the sniff test--if it still smells good, reheat and reuse it. Add more water as needed.

Our New Google+ Page

Okay so for all of our loyal fans we now have a Google+ page for the farm as well as a Facebook Page. Hopefully  between the two of these everyone can follow us completely. Please go check it out and add us to your circle if you are on Google+. Just search for Hearts Haven Heritage Farm.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Earthship Building Party

Okay so we have decided that in order to help raise the awareness in our local area about these wonderful homes and to help get the job done a little quicker we are going to be hosting an Earthship building party. This will be held on March 31, 2013 and start at 9:30 am. We are going to be treating this as a pot luck event so we ask that everyone coming either bring some kind of food or beverage (non alcoholic only please) and also if you can something off the supplies needed list. This will help with the completion of the home a little quicker. Of course you do not have to bring anything to attend, we would just like to make it easier on everyone by having food and drinks during the day.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Our Farm Page

We now have a website up and running for our homestead. It can be found here Hearts Haven Heritage Farm. Also if you would like to visit our facebook or google+ page please click the links below.



Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Composting toilets & Humanure

     On the subject of our earthship house in the works, I have decided to write a little about composting toilets and the use of humanure.

     We are currently using a composting toilet at the cabin since there is no running water to it. Of course being on the frugal side our current composting toilet is a homemade one. I cannot see spending close to $1000 on a toilet of any kind especially one I can make myself for less than $20.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Angora wool... I Think So

     Okay so hubby and I have decided that one more thing we would like to add to the homestead are angora rabbits. I have been reading up on their care, how to collect and spin the wool, the different breeds of angoras. Then came the fun part... trying to find some close enough that we didn't have to invest a small fortune in gas to get them. That being one of the downfalls of having a Suburban.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Sophie's Second Rescue

     Okay so on the last post about Sophie we talked about her being our first rescue here on the homestead, she had been abused and was not trusting at all. In fact she was down right terrified of everyone. Well she has come around greatly, she likes everyone now even Jerry and loves to be petted and loved on. She sleeps at the foot of my children's bed by the baby crib every night. Every morning she wakes me up to go outside for the day, and beats me to her chain that she is on during the day. She sits down so very nicely for you to put her on or off the leash and chain. She is just a joy to have here. 

Monday, August 20, 2012

Tanning Hides The Old fashioned Way

     Okay, so as part of our ongoing effort for sustainability and prepping I got to thinking there has to be a way to tan animal hides like they did years and years ago. So, I started researching it and guess what I found it. You use the animals own Brains, yes I said brains. So I acquired the information from the farm's website that I found it on and will share it here for you. If you have anything to add please let me know. 

Friday, August 17, 2012

Seed Swapping, Saving, Stocking

      I was just wondering if there might be anyone out there that would be interested in swapping some seeds? I am trying to build up my supply as a prepping measure. I am going to list all the types I have on here. If you see something you would like let me know and I will let you know which varieties I have. We can work out something.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Meat Rabbits

So thanks to a lady in Huntsville, AR we have started our meat herd. We now have four Chocolate Satins, 2 does and 2 bucks. 

Welcome Sophie!!!!

     So over the weekend we brought home our first real rescue to the homestead. Her name is Sophie, she is 4 1/2 years old. I am not 100% sure what breeds she is but looks to have some Doberman or Coon Hound in her, she is very sweet and extremely intelligent. 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Fried Chicken

Fried Chicken

Prep Time: 10 min
Inactive Prep Time: 24 Hours
Cook Time: 14 min
Level: Easy
Serves: 8 servings (16 pieces)


3 eggs
2/3 cup water
About 2 cups hot red pepper sauce
4 cups self-rising flour
2 teaspoon pepper
2 (2 to 3 1/2-pound) chickens, cut into pieces
Lard for frying

In a medium size bowl, beat the eggs with the water. Add the hot sauce and mix so the egg mixture is bright orange. Add chicken pieces to egg mixture, cover and refrigerate over night.

The next day in another bowl, combine the flour and pepper. Remove the chicken from the egg, and then coat well in the flour mixture.

Heat the lard to 350 degrees F in a deep pot. Do not fill the pot more than 1/2 full with lard. Fry the chicken in the lard until brown and crisp. Dark meat takes longer then white meat. It should take dark meat about 13 to 14 minutes, white meat around 8 to 10 minutes.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

100 Items you might want to stock up on

Found this on another blog and thought  I would share. Something to think about in today's society.

Top 100 Items to Disappear First During a National Emergency

Our Earthship: Floor Plans

     Well we have finally decided on and finished the floor plans for our earthship home. These floor plans are a two part system. We are working on a budget so we are building the original house first then adding the rest from the other plans on at a later date. 

     The original house will have the living room area, the kitchen and dinning area, cold pantry, the laundry and mechanical room, the kids room, the master bedroom, the guest bath, mudroom/ woodshed, and then the master bath room. Along with the front hall/greenhouse and the two airlocks on either end. We will be adding later on the other five bedrooms, two rain storage cisterns, and another air lock. The original house footprint is going to be approximately 112' by 35' not counting the earth-berming of course.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Stove-top Lasagna

Not having an oven makes it hard to enjoy some favorite comfort foods. Well, I have found a way to make one of ours without an oven. It is a hit every-time I make it. There never seems to be enough to go around. Here it is. Let me know what you think.

Stove-top Lasagna


  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2 1/2 pounds ripe plum tomatoes, diced
  • 4 tablespoons each chopped fresh basil and parsley, plus more for garnish
  • freshly ground pepper 
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
  • 8 sheets no-bake lasagna noodles, broken into small sections
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and cut into ribbons
  • 1 medium zucchini, peeled and cut into ribbons
  • 3 1/2 cups fresh baby spinach, chopped
  • 1/4 pound mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced


      Heat the 1/4 cup olive oil in a large dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the garlic; cook until golden. Add the tomatoes, carrots, zucchini, spinach, 1 tablespoon each of the herbs, and pepper to taste; cook until saucy. Transfer to a blender and puree. Return the sauce to the skillet and reduce the heat to low.

     Meanwhile, mix the ricotta, Parmesan, mozzarella, the remaining 3 tablespoons each of herbs, and cayenne pepper to taste in a bowl. 

     Place broken lasagna noodles over the sauce in the skillet. Push noodles down into sauce adding water to cover completely if necessary. Cover and cook on medium-low heat until noodles are just under done. Top with the ricotta mixture in spoonfuls. Cover and simmer until the lasagna is cooked done and the cheese melts

     Let rest for a few minutes before serving. Scoop into bowls with large deep spoon. Garnish with more Parmesan and fresh herbs.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Spaghetti Bolognese

Okay, so I figure it is about time to post a recipe. This is one of my favorite things to cook. I have adapted my grandmother's recipe. Her recipe came from my family from Italy and I have just added a couple of things to adapt to my taste. The yield is about 8 servings.


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 ounces bacon or pancetta, diced
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onions (about 1 medium)
  • 1 cup shredded carrots (about 1 medium carrot)
  • 1 cup diced celery (about 1 stalk)
  • 1 cup diced sweet pepper ( I like yellow ones for color)
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 pound ground beef or ground veal
  • 1/2 pound pork sausage, removed from the casings, or ground pork, or substitute for any neutrally flavored leftover meat in the frig (chicken works good)
  • 4 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 2 (14 1/2-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes and their juice
  • 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup beef or chicken stock or broth
  • 2 teaspoons light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 1 1/2 pounds spaghetti
  • 1 cup each freshly grated Parmesan, and Mozzarella

     In a large pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook, stirring, until browned but not crisp and the fat is rendered, approximately 4 to 6 minutes. Add the onions, carrots, celery, peppers and cook, stirring, until soft, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic, pepper, bay leaves, thyme, oregano, cinnamon, and nutmeg and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add the beef and sausages or other meat and cook, stirring, until no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the wine and cook, stirring, to deglaze the pan and remove any browned bits sticking to the bottom of the pan, and until half of the liquid is evaporated, about 2 minutes.
     Add the remainder of the tomatoes and their juices, the tomato sauce, broth, and sugar and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, to keep the sauce from sticking to the bottom of the pan, until the sauce is thickened and flavors have melded together, about 2 hours. Add the cream, butter, and parsley, stir well, and simmer for 2 minutes. Discard the bay leaves and adjust the seasoning, to taste. Remove from the heat and cover to keep warm until ready to serve.

     Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water with a couple teaspoons of olive oil added to a boil. Add the pasta and return the water to a low boil. Cook, stirring occasionally to prevent the noodles from sticking, until done, 10 to 12 minutes. Drain in a colander.

     Add the pasta to the sauce, tossing to coat. Add 1/2 cup of the each cheese and toss to blend. Divide among pasta bowls and serve with the cheese passed around.

For making meatballs to add instead of meat in the sauce I will add a variation later.

Herbal Remedies


 Okay so as part of my prepping I am trying to learn as much as possible about herbal and alternative medicine. I have been trying them out as necessary and feel very accomplished after the last week. My 10 year old daughter had a very nasty boil develop on her knee. It was very painful and didn't seem to want to come to a head or drain. I contemplated taking her to the hospital but then decided to try my hand at it first. So after some research and digging through my dried spices and herbs to see what I had on hand I made a rather thick poultice from Oregano, Garlic, and Thyme. All three of these have some antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. Well we packed this onto a piece of clean muslin and tied it on to her knee over the boil. We repeated the process twice, keeping it warm and moist with a heat pack that I made from a rice filled sock microwaved and then wet. Well after just about 36 hours of this it came to a huge head, we were able to open and drain it and in two days it was gone. Now the only trace of it left is the open hole in her knee that is closing up rather well and quickly. I was extremely impressed at how quickly this worked and how easy it was to do.

     So has anyone else out there tried their hand at herbal or alternative medicine? How has it gone? What experiences have you had from it? I would like any advice or comments.

Our Earthship adventure: building our new home Update: 7/25

     Okay, so I figure something that a lot of people will enjoy reading a little more about would be our adventure with planning and building our new home. We have went over and over the different types of "green" building styles there are out there. In the end we have decided on an earthship home. An earthship is a passive solar type home designed by a gentleman named Michael Reynolds. They are built out of recycled materials. The main structure of the house is rooms in a "U" shape connected by a main hallway/greenhouse in front. The load bearing walls are built out of tires that are rammed full of earth. He gives some more information, photos, and plan sets on his website for Earthship Biotecture

     Because of the materials used for these homes they can be on the rather small side when it comes to cost, or they can have an extravagant cost. It really depends on where you get your materials, whether you get them free or cheap or just buy them new like a few people who are impatient about waiting to find them, also the cost depends on if you are going to be doing most or all the work yourself or hire out for someone else to do it. We are hiring out for the excavation work of course which is going to cost us around $1000 for the original layout of the house. We plan to add more rooms on later when we can afford more, but for now the house will consist of the living room, kitchen/dining room, greenhouse, master bedroom, kids' room, bathroom, mud room, and then the laundry/mechanical room. Which I will scan and add pictures of the design and layout when I have more time. Also because we plan on doing things on the cheap side we are using the trees that are to be cleared in the house footprint area for the viga and latilla roof system. We are aiming for a total budget of under $8,000 for the original house.

      When finished it will be bermed on three sides and the roof for a sort of underground feeling. Instead of buying plans from one of the several sites online that do sell them I just got all three of Michael's books, read through them, and designed my own plan. Now I have to put out there that I live in such a rural place that I do not have to deal with local building codes that force me to go through all types of loops to build this house. The basic concept of an earthship home is that although you can connect to the grid it has the ability through being built to Michael's design of being completely self contained. That means that we are going to be saving on not needing a septic system, we will be using composting toilets, won't need as much maybe no extra heating or cooling, thanks to passive solar design and mass thermal storage of the tire walls.

     Our house is going to take right around 1400 size 15 tires to complete the original house build. That is a lot of tires to stack fill and pound with a sledge hammer but we will get it done. I imagine that while the walls are still short enough to not have to be climbed I will be doing most of this myself while my husband is at work. We are planning on starting in January or February so hopefully Mother Nature will be kind and consider us building when she decides our areas weather this year. 

     This home is just one more step on our way to being able to deal with anything that happens in the future. My kids are very excited about the finished home when they will each have their own room and their own growing space in the front hall. I plan on incorporating a lot of the systems in our new home into their school work. It is important to me that they understand how the house "works" because one day they will have to be on their own and hopefully will already understand how they can live just as comfortable then as they will in it as children. 

     We have come up with some interesting ideas for the flooring in each room also. Since the base floor for each room is an earthen floor, we will just be able to add these as we can get the things. Some of these designs which I will add pictures of once we get to that stage are as follows: in the kitchen we will be using wine/bottle corks for the floor, in the laundry/ mechanical room the floor will be made from pennies, the bathroom(s) are going to have a bottle cap floor, the greenhouse/hallway area will have a brown paper bag floor, the living area will be a floor made from old recycled leather belts of all colors and sizes, the kid's rooms are going to be done in a few different things, the first one that will be built with the original house section is going to be crayons, and then i was thinking one of them could be done in playing cards, so the only rooms left are four more kids rooms and then my dining area and mudroom. Feel free to offer up suggestions if you have any. 

     I also plan on using cement and crushed glass bottles to make my counter tops and the top for my dining bar and island in kitchen. I plan on having a well done in the laundry/mechanical room or possible even the kitchen with a hand pump as a back up well in case anything happens to the main one that will be drilled outside the home. We will have a cold pantry added on to the back of the kitchen for long term food storage so I will have somewhere to put away all the food that gets canned out of the garden. I got the idea for a cold pantry after realizing that our climate just would not work for a thermal mass refrigerator like Reynold's describes in his books. I found information and even contacted and talked with Kelly Hart, a fellow green builder from her website, Green Home Building. She was very helpful with my questions, and has tons on information on her site about a lot of green building ideas.

Update 7/18/12 :
     Okay so after sharing some thoughts and ideas with a fellow green-builder in the planning process, I have decided that the front wall to the house will be a cordwood wall on a rock filled tire foundation. I think it will look pretty cool. Also I am thinking about putting our kitchen toward the front of the house as to help with the grey-water reuse and to keep as much natural light in there as possible. 

Update: 7/25/12:
      So I have decided that I want to add a rock pizza oven into the kitchen. My Mother's family was Italian, and I love to cook especially Italian foods so something like this would fit perfectly. I found a couple a pictures of ones I like will post a picture once I decide on the design... I might just draw one out myself though.

Hearts Haven Heritage Farm Donations

     We are now taking donations for the farm to help with the cost of acquiring the needed equipment and fencing to start taking in unwanted farm animals until new permanent homes can be found for them. If you are interested in making a donation please let us know that you are doing so that way we can keep you updated and add you to our list of thank yous on our donation page. 

     All donations can be made to one the following PayPal email addresses; or or by texting a Green-dot Moneypak number to 318-268-6234.

Lunch by flashlight

     Well, I haven't ever had to make lunch by flashlight before but as it turns out it isn't all that easy. My hubby leaves for work at the mill at 3:30am Monday through Friday. I get up at 3:15 every morning to make his lunch before he leaves out. So, this morning he wakes me up at about 2:30 to tell me the power was out... I just said okay and drifted back off to sleep. It isn't very often that I get to sleep lol. Well we got up about 45 minutes later and still no power. Okay so light the lantern I thought, but no lighter. Phewy!! We bought it just for reasons like this, well and because the first night we stayed here we had no power yet. Just my luck so then I hold the flashlight for him to get dressed and then use it to make his lunch. It is a lot harder than it sounds to make sandwiches using nothing but a slightly bright flashlight. On top of that it kind of put a cramp in my plans to get online early this morning to get a headstart trying to find a work at home job. Oh well, my little man woke me up at about 6:30 and it was back on. I don't know when it came on or even why or when it went out but it lead to sort of a small adventure in lunch making this morning.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Homemade Cleaning Products

     Okay so taking advise from a fellow blogger I made my own laundry detergent the other day. It was a hit. Worked great on everything from my little man's cloth diapers to hubby's work clothes that I was having trouble getting clean. 

     It has a natural alternative to color safe bleach. My detergent is a liquid detergent like you get from the grocery store. It is not a gel like the recipes you find online. I am selling it is Gallon and Half Gallon sizes. The gallon jugs will do approximately 64 loads at 1/4 cup or 2 oz. per load. The half gallons will do 32 loads. The 1 Gallon size jugs cost $5.00 and the half Gallon ones are $3.00. This does not include shipping I will update that price when I get an estimate on it. However, at these prices you are paying just 8 cents a load with our Gallon size and 9 cents a load with the Half Gallon size. That is a big savings when the closest comparable store brand with color safe bleach additives cost about between 13 and 15 cents a load, and if you are buying baby detergent for your little ones clothes or cloth diapers then the savings are even more considering these run from 16 to 25 cents a load in stores. It has no perfumes in it so it is safe to those with sensitive skin as well. If you would like though a scent can be added for as little as 25 cents per jug.

     Just let me know if you would like it scented and I will let you know which scents are available at that time. All of our jugs come with child resistant tops to help keep little ones out of the detergent however you should always store it somewhere out of reach to children. I will be adding to the list of cleaning items available so keep checking back to see what new items we have. If you are interested in more information about ordering please email me at

Friday, July 20, 2012

Our furry loss

     So yesterday while outside washing clothes, I asked my six year old son to check on our billy goat, Gruff. He was not up and moving around and I wanted to make sure he wasn't tangle up where he couldn't reach his water. He was a tethered goat, but a happy goat. Well, Ashton went over and looked around then asked me where is he?? My first thought was just great he got loose and is gone. So I went over to see how he had gotten loose and found him lying in the brush dead. He apparently got bitten by a snake in the mouth. It had just happened as not but twenty minutes earlier he was up and bleating at me as I was leaving to get water and rigor-mortise had not started to set in yet. So I let the clothes soak for a few while I took him off the chain and added our poor little Gruff to the compost pile.

     I know right about now there is someone reading this going "Oh my, no don't add animals to your compost that is not safe" well if you read up enough it is you just have to compost correctly is all. It has to be through a thermophilic composting method for natural rendering that takes an extended time period. We do not waste anything on our farm. So now we are back on the market for a cheap goat to start over. I think this time I will look for a Nanny or doeling instead of a billy, I would rather get started with one that can be bred and give me milk along with clearing our 5 acres.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Sock animals, cloth diapers, and baby wearing ring slings

Okay so I have decided that it is time to try and make some extra money while at home just to get our farm up off the ground and running. To do this I have decided to start making and selling online sock animals, cloth diapers, and ring slings. These are all hand sewn items, and are made using the same patterns I use to make my own that I use everyday. I will post some pictures as an update to this article when I get a chance. in the means time this is my facebook page for my sock animals. Please feel free to like it and share with as many people as you would like. Thank you.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Fleas!!!!! Blah I hate them...

Okay so besides there being a million more ticks up here than what we are used to in  Louisiana we are now also dealing with an almost ungodly amount of fleas. I have never in my life had fleas this bad and we don't even have carpet for them to hide in just plywood floors. It is so bad that we look like we are being eaten alive, oh yeah we are, lol. It seemed as though when we got our kitties it died back some I thought maybe it was because they had gotten on them but now over the last week they are back and worse than ever.... You can't walk through the cabin without felling them jump on your feet and legs. It is ridiculous and I have no idea what to do. I don't want to use poisons because I have children and inside pets, two kitties and three bunnies. So if anyone out there has any suggestions to get them out of the house and keep them out please let me know. I have been researching online but unable to find anything useful.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


     This blog is about our life on our homestead and everything it involves along the way. I am a mother of five children. I am married to my wonderful husband of seven and a half years. We are a homeschooling and cloth diapering family.