*Life-long Apartment Dweller Bloomin' Where Ever I'm Planted and Making It Home*
(Please, no Pins. Although blogger gives that as a share option, I am not on Pinterest. Thank you!)

Friday, September 12, 2014

Friday Favorites

What you're seeing here are my favorite shots from today. The weather was perfectly Autumnal all day. Sun up to sun down, classic September! Perfect. Windows open wide to chilly breezes & nonstop sunshine inspired me to start decorating for my favorite time of year! Yes folks, and so it begins... 

Friday, September 05, 2014

Friday Favorites: Sunrise Mountain

There are places which call to me. Places I sometimes have the overwhelming need to visit every so often. Thankfully, this past Labor Day Monday morning, the Marine (Hubbs) and I had the chance to visit one of these places: Sunrise Mountain and the Scenic Overlook in Northwestern NJ.

Of course I took many (many) photos! Here are some of my favorites:

It was disgustingly hot and humid, but, for once that didn't bother me much. I was winded by the time we got to the pavilion, but not nearly as bad as in the past, even with the oppressive air! That made me very happy. Proud even, since I've been working on some of my physical aspects as of late. 

It smelled like Autumn atop Sunrise Mountain, looked like it too. Many of the trees near the pavilion have already lost their leaves. 

So gorgeous up there!

I can't explain it accurately enough, I don't think, but, it was like a sigh when I got up to the pavilion, like my body sighed. Or perhaps it was my soul. Regardless, it felt like such a relief to finally be there again! 

On the way back down, I stood in place, my feet planted on a giant slab of boulder, hoping my love and appreciation for this place came through into the mountain and felt my connection to it as deeply as ever. 

What are your favorite places to visit, ones that call to you like this? Share with us in the comments below!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Under Construction!

Saturday morning I decided I want to make my blog here my happy place again. The place I turn to when I want to share the good as well as the bad, not just photos. I've started a journal specifically for The Portable Homestead - for my notes on turning it around and giving it a renewed focus. I've also begun doing a lot of research on blogging in general and so far it's fascinating & inspiring! 

Here's to new beginnings!

Stay tuned...

Monday, August 11, 2014

Adventures In Gardening Archives (What To Do With All Of Those Green Beans!)

In honor of today's #plantchat topic on ways of preserving your harvest, I wanted to re-post this 'how to freeze green beans' from my Adventures In Gardening Archives.  And so appropriate as I harvested the first green beans this afternoon! (#plantchat is hosted by @CoronaTools each Monday afternoon at 2pm est on Twitter).

Title:  Preserving The Harvest (What To Do With All Those Beans!)
Original Post Date:  Saturday, September 22, 2012

Happy Autumn everyone andwelcome to my first (official) "how-to" Adventures In Gardening!

In my last post, I mentioned I was up to my eyeballs in (green) beans this year, so much so that I've been freezing my near daily harvests to enjoy during the colder months. Today I wanted to share with you how easy it is to freeze beans!

Let's get started.  Yesterday I used a fresh batch of harvested beans.  (I clip them off right into zip lock bags so they can go right into the fridge if being used that day or the next - if keeping them longer than than, I like to freeze them).

Regardless of how you grow edibles in your garden, give the beans a quick rinse before cutting.  (I grow my beans on the gate arbors & the birdies love to hang out in the foliage).

I cut both end tips of the beans off, but you may only want to cut off the top where it connected to the vine.  Then I cut the larger beans down into smaller pieces.  Many of the beans are more than six inches long!  If any of the beans feel 'hollow,' pop them open and take out the bean seeds - dry them on a paper plate in a safe spot & you can use them to sow next year!  (All of my beans this year came from seeds I saved from last).

Now that the beans are ready, fill a large pot with water half way & bring to a boil.  Fill a large bowl half way with cold water & add an ice cube trays' worth of ice to the bowl.

When the water comes to rolling boil, it's time to carefully dump the beans into the pot!

Once they're all in, I set my timer for 3 minutes & I stir them a couple of times.

Bring your bowl of ice water close to the stove so you can easily transfer the beans from the pot to the ice water.  I use a large serrated serving spoon to fish the beans out of the pot.


Once all the beans are in the ice water, give them a good stir or two.  I leave them in here for a few minutes.

After a few minutes in the ice water, I drain the beans.

Pick out the ice cubes & then give the beans a few good shakes to help drain the excess water.

At this point they're just about completely cooled off; I let them sit for a few more minutes.

Line a bowl or plate with a paper towel, then dump your batch of beans out onto it to help them dry off a bit.  You can move them around my hand or spoon to give them all a chance to dry.

After a couple of minutes on the paper towel, I place the beans inside a zip lock bag, filling one bag about half way.  (You may need more than one bag per batch of freezing).

Before sealing the bag, I make sure as much of the excess air is out of the bag as possible.  Then I make sure to spread the beans out in the sealed bag as much as I can (so they're not in one big clump & therefore don't freeze that way) before placing flat in the freezer.  

And there you have it!  Takes a little longer than 'easy as 1-2-3' (roughly 20 minutes) but it's well worth the effort.  Add to your favorite cold weather soups, stews & roasts right from the freezer or bring to a low boil in a small pot half filled with water for a side veggie.  Enjoy!

What garden harvests are you preserving now?  Share with me in the comments section below!

Until next time…

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Micro-Blogging & Catching Up

Are you on Instagram?

Me too!

Without intending to, my Instagram has become my micro-blog. It's now my immediate go-to when posting photos along with short text posts. I didn't expect how much I would enjoy using IG as well as the interactions with other users there.  

I didn't mean to get derailed here once again! There's so much to keep up with in the online (and offline) world anymore. Add my unpredictable health to the mix and it's all too much at times, even though I've always been conscious about using what sites/apps I enjoy vs what the status quo is at any given time. Our recent vaca was a great technology/app break and I've tried to keep that going to a large degree since being home. (Coming down with a wicked awful sinus infection the day after we got home on 7/20 and only starting to feel better on 8/3 has helped with the extended break!)

What I'm going to try focus on in the weeks to come is sharing here at The Portable Homestead in a way that doesn't duplicate my IG posts, but expands on them and takes them even further into detail. Get back into the writing aspect, not just the photos. 

Can y'all believe it's August already?! 2014 is just trucking along at an alarming speed. Summer hasn't been too bad so far. Our infamous Jersey summer has been less infamous so far and though disgustingly humid at times, the temps have mostly been in the 70s & 80s during the day! I for one am very thankful! (As are our air conditioners). Unfortunately it's been all or nothing when it comes to rain which has caused flooding issues at times locally, but overall, if our summers were more like this one, I'd complain about them a lot less!

How is Summer treating you so far?