Author Archives: Homesteader's Supply

Homemade Summer Drinks From Your Kitchen

Homemade Summer Drinks

Homemade Summer Drinks

Homemade Summer Drinks

Ahhh summer! It’s time for delicious homemade summer drinks that quench your thirst, taste great and are healthy. These recipes are child friendly. They can be turned into an adult beverage with the addition of your choice of alcohol. We know a lot of fruit and sweetener can be out of the question for many diabetics so we have a smoothie recipe that’s suitable for most everyone.

Garnishes are easy ways to make homemade summer drinks prettier and might add some flavor. Edible flowers such as chive blossoms, violets and rose petals are perfect. Be sure they haven’t been sprayed with pesticide. Sprigs of mint are great, and an established plant will continue to grow and provide more sprigs.

It’s easy to substitute fresh fruit in your summer beverages as they come into season. Strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, gooseberries, plums, watermelon, cantaloupe, peaches, grapes, apricots…the list is long.

Freezing fruit to use in place of ice cubes will keep your beverage from being watered down as the fruit thaws. Pureeing fruit before freezing is a nice treat. As it melts you’ll be able to drink the fruit through a straw so you don’t lose it beneath the ice.

Coconut Peach Lemonade

  • 1 tablespoon honey or agave
  • 2 cups of coconut water
  • 2 peaches, peeled and pit removed
  • Juice from five lemons
  • ice
  • garnish – peach slice, spring of mint or a slice of lemon is nice

Put everything but the garnish in the blender. Blend on high until you reach the consistency of a Smoothie. Pour into a tall glass. Garnish and serve with a tall straw.

Freeze strawberries for "ice" cubes that won't water down your beverage.

Freeze strawberries for “ice” cubes that won’t water down your beverage.

Strawberry Watermelon Lemonade

It’s hard to beat sweet, juicy watermelon and strawberries on a hot summer day.

  • 3 cups of watermelon, seeds removed
  • 1 1/2 cups sliced strawberries. Slice one cup, leave 1/2 cup whole.
  • 1/4 cup agave or honey
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 4 cups sparkling water

Combine watermelon, 1 cup strawberries, agave or honey, and lemon juice in the blender. Blend until smooth, approximately 30 seconds. Stir in sparkling water and pour into glasses. Garnish with a strawberry.

Peach Smoothie

  • 1/2 cup sugar free yogurt, peach or vanilla flavor
  • 1 peach, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 cup skim milk
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup ice

Combine all ingredients in the blender and blend until smooth.


Container Gardening: Carrots

Anyone can grow something somewhere thanks to container gardening. How’s that for an abstract statement about a concrete subject? We can grow something somewhere. How about a pot of lettuce in the kitchen window, a celery stalk cut down and planted in a coffee mug, or carrots in a food storage container?

Carrot Container

Carrot Container

This container is 10 inches tall by eight inches across. I filled it with a 75/25 mix of ProMix and well-finished compost.

Choose a carrot variety that is at least an inch shorter than your container. I’m growing Napoli, a variety that grows up to seven inches long. They do well in containers, raised beds and in the regular garden.

Carrot seeds were planted one inch apart starting one inch from the outside of the container. You don’t need to measure. They’re carrots, they’re not that fussy. Carrot seeds must stay moist while germinating so I covered the container with plastic wrap.

Carrot seedling

Carrot seedling

You shouldn’t have to deal with many weeds when container gardening but just in case, this is a carrot seedling.

Carrot Container

Carrot Container

I moved the container outdoors as soon as the weather warmed enough during the day, bringing it inside on cold nights. Small containers like this one are easy to move around as necessary. On cold days that kept the container in the house I moved it to follow the sun if I walked by.

Napoli carrots grown in a container

Napoli carrots grown in a container.

Thin the plants as they grow. If you managed to get just one tiny carrot seed per inch you are my carrot-planting hero and I hope you’ll share your seed-spacing tips. I plan to pull every other carrot as they run out of room but it doesn’t always work out that way. Pull the carrots that need to be pulled. They should all be ready to pull within 10 days of each other.

If you’d like to start again you can dump the growing medium out, amend it with compost and replant. I use the same growing medium two or three times for carrots and once for a leafy green before dumping it into the garden and starting again.

Have questions? Leave a comment and we’ll come back to help.


An Important Update for The Ultimate Cheese Press

The Ultimate Cheese Press is our pride and joy. Designed by Jerri Bedell, founder of Homesteader’s Supply and is manufactured by another American company. We’re happy to tell you that we’ve made a change in how our presses are oiled.

We’ve been testing organic non-GMO cold pressed coconut oil and we are very happy with the results. Coconut oil is thicker, soaks into the wood well, and stands up to the acidic nature of whey in cheese making. Presses being shipped now have been treated with coconut oil but If you’d like to order a raw press (not oiled) please request it when you order.

The Ultimate Cheese Press

The Ultimate Cheese Press

Next time you need to treat our press you should follow these steps.

  1. Wash the wood with warm, soapy water. Wash all indentations and where bolts meet wood well.
  2. Air dry for a minimum of four hours, overnight if possible. Be sure the wood is completely dry.
  3. Melt 1/4 cup of organic non-GMO cold pressed coconut oil just until it melts.
  4. Wash your hands to avoid transferring anything to the coconut oil.
  5. Using a lint-free cloth, apply a heavy coat of coconut oil. Place oiled pieces on lint-free cloth or paper towel while the wood absorbs the oil and the oil solidifies. Fold your cloth into small sections that can be pressed into the grooves.
  6. Let the pieces sit for an hour or two before wiping clean with a lint-free cloth.
  7. Inspect all pieces closely. If you’ve missed a spot or the coating of oil is uneven, repeat steps three through five.
Oiling The Ultimate Cheese Press

Oiling The Ultimate Cheese Press

You should hand wash your press with warm (not hot), lightly soapy water after use. Never soak the wood. Be sure to let the pieces dry thoroughly before reassembling the press to store.

The Ultimate Cheese Press

The Ultimate Cheese Press

Motivation Monday – Canning Jars

Motivation Monday

Motivation Monday – a little inspiration to start your week on a good path. Please share your Motivation Monday link in comments. Or share a motivational quote. We’ll visit your blog and leave a comment.

A little inspiration was needed to get the strawberry patch weeded and mulched so I counted the empty canning jars to be sure I have enough for jam. If I don’t get that patch tended to I won’t have enough berries for all I want to put up.

Motivation Monday - Canning Jars

Motivation Monday – Canning Jars

Rain Days

Yeah for rain days! It’s raining today, perfect timing. After a long winter and a hurried spring, it’s nice to have a day indoors. I’m making Chicken Marsala for supper. It’s been a week of simple meals and I’m really looking forward to sitting down with the chicken, fresh asparagus and brown rice.

A few late blooming tart cherry blossoms.

A few late blooming tart cherry blossoms.

The washing machine is getting a workout today. It’s not the best timing but oh when you are a homesteader things sometimes get done when they get done. As much as I love to hang clothes on the line to dry, it’s not happening on this rainy day. I’ll miss sleeping on sheets that were dried in the sun and fresh air and scented by cherry and lilac blossoms, but I’ll fall asleep so fast tonight I won’t miss them for long. Today the dryer is running. Sometimes we compromise in order to get things done and that’s okay.

Also earning its keep today – the dishwasher. I sometimes like to hand wash dishes but this isn’t one of those times. I’ve cleaned out the refrigerator (bonus points for getting this done before science projects sprouted in the back corners), made the chickens happy with their windfall of leftovers, and filled the dish washer. Twice. I love being able to open the door and see what’s in there without squinting or worrying something will fall out and crush my toes.

Clutter gets on my nerves so on this peaceful rainy day, I’m de-cluttering. I am reasonably sure two people do not need eight sandwich containers (we seldom eat sandwiches to begin with). I’ve accumulated a half dozen candles that have only an hour or two worth of wax and wick left so one at a time, I’m burning them. Pine & Balsam in the living room, then Woodland Forest in the kitchen at the other end of the house, and when that was gone I’ll choose another scent. The candle jars will be passed on to a friend who’ll use them to plant succulents. Waste not, want not, yes?

I’m happy to see the rain for the sake of the strawberries. I’m growing Sparkle, a variety with a lot of runners. Some of the parent plants from last year have four or five babies. I’ve dug them up, transplanted them to a new strawberry patch, and have watered them daily. Today’s rain gives me a break from watering and gives the plants a break from the bright sun. They looked terrible yesterday but better today.

Dandelions and puddles

Dandelions and puddles

The apple, pear and cherry blossoms are almost gone. The bees had a nice long spell of good weather and got their job of pollinating done before the rain came. I sit here by the window, looking out at a young apple tree with a few straggling blossoms left, and think ahead to the apples I’ll be using for sauce and pies, leaving some behind for the white-tail deer.

Choke cherry blossoms

Choke cherry blossoms weighed down by the rain

I’ll make cherry jelly with the tart cherries if I can pick them before the robins and blue jays discover them. The choke cherries are left for the birds, and sometimes the bears, a bit more tart than we like.

Peaceful, lazy rainy days sure are busy. They’re a welcome change of pace at the end of a busy week and before the start of a sunny, hot weekend.

What do you do on rainy days?

Motivation Monday – Helping Seeds Grow

Motivation Monday

– a little inspiration to start your week on a good path. Please share your Motivation Monday link in comments. Or share a motivational quote. We’ll visit your blog and leave a comment.

Motivation Monday

Motivation Monday