Just get out and do it.

Welcome to my blog, Garden for Your Life! This site will be mostly about my garden, but you can build one just like it in your back yard too. It can be bigger or smaller, just get out and do it. You can do it for fun. Your can do it for your health. You can do it for fresh food in these troubled times. The point is to get out and do it for whatever reason that you need.

Over time I will cover topics like canning and preserving your harvest, soil and beds, bugs, what to plant and when, and much more.

I've been working on this garden on mine and improving on it for over five years now. I will continue doing that for many more. You can too, just get out and do it.


Thursday, November 14, 2013

Fresh Manhattan Clam Chowder!

Howdy,  I found a great recipe for Manhattan Clan Chowder.  Here's the recipe from allrecipe.com.


I added tablespoon of chopped garlic and some chopped BACON! to it.  After we tried the recipe we decided to make a big batch and can it.  It came out great!

Our test batch. It was so yummy!
We used home canned stewed tomatoes with onions, celery, and green peppers in it.
Next came the chopped carrots and potatoes. 

Add the spices, salt, and pepper and warm it up to mix well.

DW is adding to the pint jars

The first batch ready to go!

And into the pressure canner! 1 hour and forty minutes at 10 psi.

The finished product!  I love that ping as the jar cools.

Winter Garden

Howdy,  Here's an update on my winter garden. Half is going to be fallow and I now have the winter crops in.  
Onions on the left
Garlic on the right!
Three types of lettuce and napa cabbage.
Root crops, radish, kale, beets, and carrots.
I'll cover them in cold weather.

A pail of sweet basil.
Parsley for the bunnies. 
Broccoli and califlower

The girls in the yard inspecting.

Canning Sausage!


Been a bit since I posted here, so here's an update.  We bought 20 pounds of breakfast sausages from Zaycon foods.  After I cooked it all up and sampled it to insure quality we canned the rest.  75 min at 10 PSI in wide mouth pints.

Cooked and ready to go!

Into the jar stuffing begins!

12 links per jar.

Don't forget to clean the rims very good with vinegar!  Oil on the rim would not be good.

Into the pressure canner, 75 min @ 10 PSI

The first batch cooling and tasty

Monday, August 26, 2013


I love cookies!  Chocolate chip and sugar cookies are my favorite.  Lets make some sugar cookies with dried blueberries and cranberries in them.  First the ingredients.

3 cups of pastry flour. I prefer the finer flour as it makes a lighter cookie.
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 cup butter, not that margarine plastic stuff.
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 baking powder
nuts, dried fruit as you like.

Secret ingredient, a tablespoon or so of honey.  I think it adds a great taste to the cookie.

Heat oven to 375 and line your pans with parchment paper.  Makes clean up real easy.

Combine the soft butter and sugar together till its nice and creamy.  Then add vanilla, baking soda, baking powder, honey, and egg. stir together well.  Mix in the flour in a cup at a time till well mixed. Add any nuts or fruit and your ready to bake. 

I use a melon baller to scoop out my dough and put it on my pans.  It helps make them all an even size.  Bake for 10 min.  Cool on a rack or just paper towels like I do.

Sooooo yummy!

Just to prove that you can can anything, lets can some BACON!

Yes, you can indeed can BACON! Ahem sorry, I obsess a little when it comes to bacon, a basic food group. 

First fry up a mess of BACON!  In this case I made 12 pounds of fried bacon.  I bought 36 pounds from Zaycon Foods.com and I needed to preserve it somehow and freezing just wasn't an answer so canning it must be.

Since this is going into pint jars I cut the bacon in half so it would fit.  This is also the perfect size for bacon sandwiches. Do not over cook the bacon as it will cook a little more as you pressure can it.

Smells so good on the grill!
Drain the grease well.  6 pounds worth of delicious BACON!

Now your ready to pack and can!  Cut strips of parchment paper about 24 inches long and a foot wide.  Place 18 pieces on it, fold top and bottom over and roll.  Stuff it into the jar, put on the lid, and repeat until all the jars are full and your ready to pressure can it.

And into the pressure canner it goes. 75 Min and its done.

On the table and cooling.  7 pints worth for 6 pounds of bacon, minus what I ate while cooking it. Hey you got to test it while you cook it!

Here's a raw packed quart next to a cooked pint. Notice the amount of fat in the jar.  it makes a big difference to cook it first. 

You can also make and can your own Bacon bits too.  Just buy bacon ends, chop up fine, and cook out the fat.  Drain well, fill jar, and pressure can it.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Starting the second season

Howdy all!

One of the nice things about living in SE Texas is that we have a long growing season.  My tomato's gave it up in the near 100 degree heat, so out they went.  In went beans, cow peas, pintos, black, and red beans.  Down the middle went some melons and squash.  Cantaloupe, spaghetti squash, summer squash, and zucchini.

My Herb bed, some doing real good and some getting better.
My Black Berry bed with Strawberries underneath.  Next year will be awesome!

My peppers didn't so much as die in the heat as I have more than I could use.
I'll plant onions in one half, and Garlic in the other half for the winter soon.

I added some new rabbits and got rid of the old. I still have a male New Zealand, but i'm just fattening him up.  When my first American Chinchilla gives birth he's dinner.  The American Chinchilla is a large breed meat and fur rabbit that is rare since the fur industry died back.  I now have 4 does and one buck.  All but one doe is registered.  Her babies will be for meat and the others for sale.

My rabbit hutches under my mesquite tree.  Fans removed due to rain on the way.

Granite, my buck.




And now the rain barrel project.  I've built a stand that will hold 4, 55 gl rain barrels.  My plan is for all of them to be open top blue barrels.  There is a lid that I can remove, so I can dip out water if I need and for ease of cleaning out as needed.  I'll channel the water in with pvc piping on the top to get the water in and the same on the bottom to get it out.  That will have to wait as its fixin to rain so I put a temp in to fill the one barrel to see how long it will take to fill.
A quarter of an inch of rain took 15 min to fill one barrel.