Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Chicken & Rice Recipe

Click the button above to join in the fun!

I love crock pot recipes! They are so easy and you can throw anything in there and it cooks...all day long. And 99% of the time, it is delish! Below is a tried and true recipe for chicken
that is SO good.

1 package chicken breasts, boneless & skinless (3-4 breasts)
2 cans mushroom soup
1 can cheddar cheese soup
8 oz mushrooms, sliced or quartered
garlic - to your preferred taste (I use tons, lol)
cayenne pepper - to taste

You can add anything else you would like to also.

I clean up my chicken breast a little cutting off all fat and 'stuff' before throwing it in the pot. Then I cut them in half. Put all ingredients in and cook until chicken is tender. The mixture will be thick at first, but will mix well together and become more like gravy. You can shred the chicken also if you want to. It will get very tender and easy to shred. I had some garlic that did not go well in the garden so I minced the garlic tops and threw those in. I will serve this with orzo and a cauliflower casserole.

I linked up with the old fashioned recipe exchange, hosted by Little House on the Prairie Living! You can go here to join in on the fun!

Thanks for reading, have a stupendous week!

Favorite Things

Sometimes when things get to me, I like to remember some of the things that make me happy. I would like to take a minute and thank God for how fortunate I am in my life and how special these things are to me.

Here is my little list:


A child’s laughter


A cool fall morning

Reading quietly

The beach

Rain Lilies

Fresh Ripe Tomatoes

Clean Sheets

A Fire in the woodstove

These are a few of my favorite things…

photo credit: Lorraina Miller

Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day

Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.
John 15:13

I am taking Memorial Day off to be with my family. I want to reflect and remember those
who have kept this country free.

Enjoy your day!
God Bless America!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Preparedness Challenge #10


If there was a disaster how would you communicate or find out what was going on in your community? If the power was out, what would you do? A battery operated radio would be the first step in finding out news, but how would you be able to let people know what was going on in your area? I don't think cell phones would work, would they? Following are some guidelines that may help. :)

Communication During a Disaster

To report an emergency:
1. Call 911.
2. If your telephone does not work, check to see if a neighbor’s phone works.
3. If no telephone works, you can try a cell phone. Don’t count on it working though, as these often depend on land lines, and they may also be overloaded.
4. Go to a fire station to report your emergency. Be aware that during a disaster, crews are likely to be already working at an emergency scene, in which case they won’t be in the station. During a major extended emergency, additional staff will be assigned to take emergency reports during a phone system outage.
5. For a life-threatening medical emergency, you may need to go directly to the hospital emergency department. Have someone besides the sick or injured person drive.

To report other conditions:
1. Gas, water or electric outages, call the appropriate utility provider at the number listed in the phone book.
2. Local Police non-emergency number.
3. City Information line
4. Down Trees
5. Mental Health Crisis Line
6. Sewer, Repair Emergencies
7. Traffic Signals not working
8. Water Main Breaks

To get information during a disaster:
1. Turn on your television or radio to a local station. Use battery-operated radio (or car radio) if electrical power is out.
2. If your home is in a location where immediate action is necessary (evacuate, shelter in place, etc), you may receive a telephone call with basic instructions via the Emergency Notification System.
3. Emergency personnel may also be canvassing the area to provide emergency direction, or triaging for damage and casualties.

To help the communication system work during an emergency:

1. Do not make unnecessary phone calls. They will only add calls to an overloaded system and may prevent emergency calls from getting through.
2. When you get reliable information, share it with your neighbors.

I am going to research Ham radios and see if there is some sort of directory of people in my area that I could talk to about the subject. I think if the situation was really bad, that will be the only way to communicate and it wouldn't hurt to know someone. 

Communication is very important in emergency preparedness and everyone needs to have an idea or plan of what to do. Make a list of your emergency numbers in your area and have it close by or put it in one of your GOODY bags.

Side Note:
On a side note; as I was writing this post the electricity went out at our house. As I sat in the dusky light, I thought about all the things I had ready to go in case this were to become a real emergency. I also thought about all the things I wasn't prepared for. My cell phone was not charged, I didn't have a full tank of gas in my car and my GOODY bags are not toally ready to go - yet, to name a few. However, I do have water, crank flashlights, a wood stove and grill and a good start on food among other things. This is an ongoing preparation for me but I am closer to being there and feel better about what I have accomplished.
Thank you Amy for the Preparedness Challenge. Without your challenge I wouldn't have had any preparations done at all.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Garden Guessing game

I took some pictures of the flowering vegetables in my garden. I thought it would be fun to see who knew what kind of vegetables they are. Anyone up for it? You don't win anything but it could be an entertaining five minutes. :)






#6 (oops, not a flower, lol)

Put your numbered answers in the comments and we'll see how you do! Have fun.
Thanks for reading. :)


Hi all, I apologize, but something is going on with my google/blogger account.

Actually, I am not the only one. I believe they are working on the problem, so hopefully it will be resolved very soon.

I am not able to leave comments and my "Followers" are missing. :( I hope they get this resolved soon, it is very frustrating!
I love leaving and getting comments after all.

Also go check out the Preparedness Challenge tomorrow @ Homestead Revival. I will be there! :)

Have a great Memorial weekend & remember those who gave their lives for us!
Thank you.

Thursday, May 26, 2011


The winner of the book Root Cellaring: Natural Cold Sotrage for your fruits and vegetables is:

#16 - Katie!
Congratulations! Please email me with your full adddress and I will mail the book out. (dollwoodfarms@gmail.com)

Thank you to everyone who participated. I hope to have more giveaways in the future!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

My Fall Garden

My niece's friend Jackie took this picture in the mountains last fall. Beautiful!

I want to have a bigger garden in the fall. Yes, I am already starting to think about my fall garden. I am dreaming of seeds and perusing seed catalogs. What can I say? I am a planner.

We are really lucky to have a long growing season in Florida. The past two Januarys have been cold, but normally they are pretty mild. This year, we even had cold weather until March and that is almost unheard of. But I digress…

·        I want the garden to be bigger than it is now…
·        I want to make square foot garden boxes this time around…
·        I want to have LOTS of fresh vegetables for as long as I can…
·        I want to plant more flowers…
·        And I want my friends to be able benefit…

One reason I did the ‘bag’ method (Mother Earth News) this spring was because I will have a lot of the fall “beds” already established. All I will have to do is build the boxes, add more soil & compost and get rid of the plastic from the bags. It won’t be that easy, but it will be fun and I am looking forward to it already. My friends have expressed an interest in my tiny garden so I thought I would see if any of them want to help out and get paid in veggies. I don’t think technically it can be called a “Community” garden, but it will be a “friend-ly” place, lol.

So far I am thinking...

Bush or pole beans (just keep them coming)
Carrots (later)
Chinese cabbage
Garlic, lots of this!
& tomatoes

I am thinking about Strawberries and Shallots also.

I would love to grow enough to actually freeze or can something, but I will be happy with just some yummy fresh veggies to eat without having to pay the big prices at the grocery store. I am not sure what else will grow so I will keep researching to see what else might work. J
Thanks for reading!
Don't forget, today is the last day to enter my giveaway for the Root Cellaring: Natural Cold Storage of Fruits & Vegetables book. Winner will be announced tomorrow morning. Enter the giveaway here.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

And Yet Another Giveaway!

Hi Everyone! Blessed Hearth is having an awesome giveaway! Go over and check it out here.

I just found this blog and it is wonderful! Enjoy and enter the giveaway. :)

Swedish Meatballs!

I haven’t fixed Swedish Meatballs in forever, so I perused the internet and found a good recipe and it was pretty easy. I served this with egg noodles and the ‘sauce’ was very good! All in all, I would make this recipe again but definitely  tweak some things by adding fresh herbs. I also mixed the meat and ingredients with my hands. I mixed too much and the meatballs didn’t stay together very well. I would just mix with a fork or spoon next time and be more gentle. It was still tasty and everyone enjoyed it.
These Swedish meatballs are cooked on stovetop then finished in the oven.
·         1 1/2 cups soft bread crumbs, about 3 slices bread
·         1 tablespoon dried minced onion or 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
·         1 1/2 teaspoons salt
·         1/4 teaspoon pepper
·         1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
·         3/4 cup milk
·         2 pounds ground beef
·         2 tablespoons butter or margarine
·         2 tablespoons vegetable oil
·         2 tablespoons flour
·         1 can (10 1/2 ounces) condensed beef broth
·         1 cup half-and-half or light cream
Combine bread crumbs, onion, salt, pepper, nutmeg and 3/4 cup milk in a large mixing bowl. Let milk soak into crumbs for a few minutes. Gently stir in ground beef until well blended; form into balls about 1 to 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Brown meatballs in butter and oil in a large skillet; remove with a slotted spoon to a 2 1/2-quart baking dish. Drain off all but 2 tablespoons of drippings; stir flour into drippings. Cook, stirring constantly, until bubbly. Stir in beef broth and cream. Continue cooking, stirring constantly, until sauce thickens and boils for a minute. Pour over Swedish meatballs in baking dish. Bake Swedish meatballs at 325° for 35 to 45 minutes. Swedish meatball recipe serves 6. We served over egg noodles.

 I found the recipe on About.com. Enjoy!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Another giveaway!

Stephanie, at Keeper of the Home is having ANOTHER great giveaway! Check it out here.

Against the Grain is a great cookbook that has delicious recipes for the whole grains and people on a grain free diet! I would love to get rid of grains in my diet, and hopefully I will win a copy so I can take that first step! Thanks Stephanie!

BOHO Farm Giveaway!

Check out Carolines fantastic giveaway! She is giving away a Ball home canning discovery kit! I would love to win this!

Check out her post here.
Enjoy your day!

Barn Hop #14

I consider myself a newbie urban homesteader/gardener.

I don’t have a big garden, I garden in bags of organic soil. This is only my second Spring season. My bees, well, if you read my blog a few days ago, you know about my bees. If not, you can read about them here.

We live on a good bit of acreage, but most of it is shaded and even though we 'feel' like we are in the county, we are in a highly incorporated area.

Dappled light all over the property

I read all of your blogs that are so cool with their chickens and gardens, goats and cows, even horses and pigs and I am envious of it all.

I love all the Barn Hops and recipe exchanges, canning advice and homeschoolin'.
I would love to do all of this but I have to start small.
All of Gods good things take time, right?

Don't forget, Wednsday is the last day to enter my giveaway for the Root Cellaring - Natural Cold Storage of Fruits & Vegetables book. Winner will be announced on Thursday's blog. Enter the giveaway here.
Thanks for reading!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

New ebook and $100 Amazon giveaway!

Hi folks. Who couldn't use a $100 Amazon giftcard?
I know I could.

Well, Derek at "Life and my Finances" is giving away his new ebook, 101 Ways to Make More Money and a chance to win the gift card! He has a great blog about finances and money so go on over there and sign up! I did and can't wait to read the ebook. You can go here to check this out!

Thanks and have a nice day!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Preparedness Challenge #9

This week we finally got around to setting up the Berkey water system. However, my mom hates water & threw her baby bottles across the room when her mom gave it to her as a baby. She doesn't like it now but she drinks it. Her doctor told her she had to and I keep her on track. :) I won't let her mow unless she takes some outside with her, lol. The taste of the water is different than what I am used to; but I have been drinking sulphur-like well water for years.

I love water! So I am thrilled. Actually, my mom is thrilled too. Not because she likes water, but because she can stop filling up those milk/water jugs at the grocery store. The water is only a quarter but it adds up and this way she can fill them up at home and use the water as storage for the future. This water system will save us money in the long run. I feel so much better knowing we have it.

I have been doing some reading this week too, but not much in the way of food storage. I need to make a plan for that soon.

Go here to link up and read the great posts! Have a great weekend & thanks for reading.

Don't forget, Wednsday is the last day to enter my giveaway for the Root Cellaring: Natural Cold Storage of Fruits & Vegetables book. Winner will be announced on Thursday's blog. Enter the giveaway here.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

My FIRST Giveaway!

I am having my first book giveaway! I accidently bought 2 copies when I ordered my copy so I am giving the extra copy away! I have not been contacted by the authors or Amazon to have this giveaway. It is just fate and you could be the lucky winner!

The name of the book is Root Cellaring: Natural Cold Storage of Fruits and Vegetables, by Mike Bubel and Nancy Bubel.

I haven’t read my copy yet, but I did glance through it and it looks wonderful. Living in Florida I don’t have a lot of options for ‘cold’ storage but I am positive I will be able to store the vegetables I am able to harvest. A lot of the book is about what types of fruits and vegetables to store, but there are chapters on constructing root cellars themselves.

Leave a comment telling me your favorite vegetable and how you like to cook it! It is that simple.

You can get extra entries by blogging, tweeting, or sharing this giveaway on facebook to your readers and friends. Please link to Dollwood Farms and leave a comment for each of the three telling me you've done so.

This giveaway ends on May 25th, 11:59pm EST and the winner will be picked via Random.org. I will announce the winner on the blog Thursday morning.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Some Favorite Posts this week

Following are some of my favorite posts from this week so far. Enjoy!

Amy at the homestead Revival is making homemade napkins! I wish I knew how to sew! That is going on my to do list for sure. These are absoultely beautiful! Check out the post here.

The Humbled Homemaker is showing us how to make "box" gardens. Check it out!

Who doesn't love Risotto? I do and Kims looks so tasty! Go here to get this yummy recipe.

Amanda @ Homegrown is due any day now and had a lovely dinner shower put on by a good friend. Look at the lovely pictures and the meal looks beyond good. Chek out her blog here.

Stephanie @ Keeper of the Home is having a fantastic giveaway. Hairclips! I love these, they are so practical yet beautiful and delivate too. To enter the giveaway check out this post.

Aand last but not least, Frugal Granola has a fine recipe for homemade toothpaste. It's GREEN! Won't that look wonderful on your teeth? Click on this link to get there. http://frugalgranola.com/2011/05/frugal-natural-homemade-toothpaste/

That is all for today, but there are many more wonderful blogs out there. Check out my blog list for a few more of my favorites. Enjoy your day & thanks for reading.

The Bees Part Deux

The “Cottage” Food Act of Florida

Another item that has been on the small Florida beekeepers minds (and home bakers) has been the Florida Cottage Food Act. As I understand it this act allows you to bottle your honey in your house instead of having to rent a commercial kitchen. Bakers can also bake their cakes in their own homes. You have to make less than $15,000/year (I believe).  It passed (yay) and goes into affect July 1st.

However, you can no longer sell honey online or sell it to any farmer markets or vegetable markets for them to resell. It must be sold direct to the end user. This doesn’t really affect the big guys as they primarily make their money as pollinators, but it does have an impact on some of the smaller bee keepers who do sell as a third party.

There was a fellow beekeeper at the meeting who has built his business up and sells wholesale to a lot of stores and markets in the area. He was a little upset about that provision and honestly, so was I. I have been working on a website and have approached several stores & small vegetable markets about carrying our honey. I was actually getting some good feedback too. Everyone I talked to wants LOCAL honey, not honey from the other side of the state. I am able to sell AT the little farmer markets, (as in a little booth) but most of the markets are closing down this time of year due to the heat and/or they already have honey vendors and don’t want duplicate products. I would like to check back in the fall but am not sure I will even have enough honey this year anyway.

Does your state have a "Cottage" act? If you keep bees, do you plan on selling honey to just friends and family or possibly stores too? Thanks for reading. :) 

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Hives

Well, I knew it. I didn’t know it but I suspected something was wrong. I have been watching the hives for the last week and a half and knew there was something going on. I have seen little to no activity out of my girls so I asked my friend Jonathan to come out and take a look. He came out last Thursday night. He checked the newer hive first because that is the one I noticed had almost no activity. He showed me the honey in the comb, but there is no brood and no queen. (I forgot the camera).

The older hive, the one that I have had for a year, had very few bees inside. There were wax moths and hive beetles inside along with maggots. *sigh* As far as he can tell, the bees got into some pesticide. Again. None of the comb had honey on it at all. We live on 7.5 acres but we have incorporated neighborhoods all around us and around the lake so there are a lot of people making their lawns & flowers ‘pretty’ with fertilizers and such. I am not blaming the neighbors by any means, just wish this hadn’t happened. Again. He said it had only taken about 5-10 days too. I can't believe it happened so fast. :(

Thursday night was also our local bee meeting so we were very interested to see if anyone else is having any issues in this area. Some people are having issues with heat but not necessarily with poisons that they knew of. I am so bummed and ready to throw in the towel but I do have options. Here are a few:

·        I can take the hives off the property and have him put them somewhere else. We may just be to close to ‘civilization’. There are people in the city limits that do fine so that is why we think it is a particular poison on a particular flower.
·        We can build up one of the hives and bring it back until January, then move it into the orange groves (a little north of here) and not bring it back until June. The other hive will be cleaned up real good and possibly brought back depending on the first hive.
·        Or I can quit altogether and just buy my honey from Jonathan.

There may be other options, maybe someone has some ideas and can leave them in the comments?

No matter what I decide it will take a few weeks to build the hives back up so I have time to think about it. Oh, if you do nothing else, keep notes on your hives. Having notes from last year’s fiasco really helped us to figure out what happened this year.

For now, Ray (Jonathan’s dad) has come and picked up the hives. Now when I look out our big picture window I see plain cement blocks. No girls flying in the sunlight, heading out to find nectar or home to make the honey.

I hope this post doesn’t discourage any new beekeepers. Everyone has different circumstances and although mine are unfortunate, I am not going to let it get me down. Everything happens for a reason and God is good all the time. It will work out for the best.   

Thanks for reading. Enjoy your week!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Barn Hop #13

This past week I set up my rain barrel. Actually, it has been set up, but i haven't really "featured" it). The top has a screen over it to keep out the mosquitoes, pine needles and any other dropping/flying things, lol. This is a food grade barrel that I received from my county extension after taking a Rain Barrel course they offered. The top had to be refurbished by me after a big miscommunication between my brother & I. I didn’t put it under the eaves of the house because I understand there could be toxins within the roofing materials and I don’t want any good rain water getting contaminated and poinsoning my edibles. I could use the water from our roof on grass or flowers, but not in the veggie garden. The barrel works and that is what matters. Now, if we only had some rain.

I alos planted my sweet potato slips. I had no idea they were actual plants until I ordered them. I expected them to look like the potato seed I planted earlier this year. (You know, actual potatoes, lol). I have read that sweet potatoes are hard to kill so I am hoping for a good crop of those this year too. I planted peas and fertilized with a good organic fertilizer.

They look pretty droopy after I planted them, but they are looking better today.

Come back tomorrow for a bee update; but for now, head on over to the Barn Hop and join in the fun. J

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Preparedness Challenge #8

Another week of accomplishment for me. Not a huge amount, but definitely makes me feel better. I finally received my crank flashlights! These things are so much fun. I read a post over at Safely Gathered In and she talked about the scariness of being in a bad storm a few years back. (Read the post here). She had a BOB within reach, but some of the items were still in their packages. Trust me; read the post, you won't regret it. I immediately took mine out of the packaging and tested them out (played with them) to make sure they worked ok. These things are great.

I also put my emergency car kit together. Inside there is a first aid kit, disinfecting wipes, granola bars (not pictured), almonds, sunscreen, matches in a waterproof container, flint & striker and two emergency blankets.

Head on over to the Homestead Revival site to link up to the Preparedness Challenge or just read some great posts! Enjoy the weekend and thanks for reading. :)

Friday, May 13, 2011

Blogger :(

Something has been wrong with Blogger for the last 24 hours (at least). My post for today was deleted, along with some comments, but it is rewritten now and will post next week. The good thing about this break is I got the fever and wrote a few posts ahead. Yay!

Come back tomorrow for the Preparedness Challenge but for now, have a stupendous weekend!
Thanks for reading!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Good reading on the web this week.

I read several blogs this week and they were all pretty interesting. I thought you might enjoy reading them too. Enjoy.

Simply Forties has a guest writer who wrote about Substitutes for red meat. We all could stand to cut out some red meat. I know I can. Read the article here.

Kendra @ New Life on a Homestead just had a baby boy! Check out her 'home birth' story and see pictures of this precious baby boy here. Congratulations!

Smitten Kitten has so many yummy recipes, you just HAVE to check them out. This one is a Leeks & Blue Cheese on toast. http://smittenkitchen.com/2011/05/leeks-toasts-with-blue-cheese/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+smittenkitchen+%28smitten+kitchen%29&utm_content=Google+Feedfetcher

Book lover? Here you can read all about Erin's love of independant book shops (and books). She gives a very insightful look at small book shop owners and their struggles to succeed in a world of big box bookstores.

Kelly @ Centsible life is giving away a iPad2. Go and enter, you have until the 15th (I believe). http://www.thecentsiblelife.com/

I loved this article on beauty products. Most of them are pretty simple too. I really need to take better care of my skin. Thanks to Kim @ Jabez Farm!

Enjoy the blogs and the rest of your week. Come back on Saturday for the Preparedness Challenge, hosted by Amy @ Homestead Revival!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Barn Hop #12

The girls are doing it again. Please join up and enjoy all the great blogs.
Thanks to:

I am doing a garden update today. Things are going ok, but the Cuke is just kind of sitting there. Not doing much. The cabbage is getting eaten by something and the green beans are not doing much either, although there are little blossoms. *sigh*. This is only my second year so I am still learning (and probably always will be, lol). For now, I will post pictures of the improving 'crops'.

These are my Hunan peppers in the top left and the 4 little trees I got for Earth Day from Lowes!

This is a tomato from my 'old man' tomato plant. (from last year and still going)

This parsley is driving my mom nuts. She wants to cut it all and use it for something, lol.

My yellow squash. It doesn't really seem to be going nuts like I thought it would, any suggestions?

Corn is about thigh high. :)

These are my potatoes!
The left and front are my Red Potatoes and the ones in the back are Yuklon Gold.
Woo-hoo, they are doing tremendous!

This is the Moon and stars watermelon. There were flowers last week. :)

Tomato blooms!

Dill is doing wonderful and it tastes good too.

He was disturbed from his sleep down under all that paper in the box. He is the funniest cat, but not very nice. We call him "bad cat". He is a beautiful Manx (no tail) but a pain in the rear, lol.

Everyone have a GREAT week!


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