Simple Abundance

Aug 16 2014 040

We have been very blessed in many different ways since we’ve moved out here to our new place in the Ozarks. We lead a simple life out here. People drop by just to say, ‘howdy,’ or to share their simple abundance. It doesn’t matter what your house looks like, or if you have make-up on or not. That use to be my worst nightmare, but now, I actually look forward to it. Out here, nobody has time to keep up a house. Their houses are functional, and everyone is too busy fussing over the important things that need to be done in order to ‘live’.

Most people out here have a garden, and at the very least, chickens. When our hens’ egg production gets low, I can run down to the soap lady’s house and buy some eggs from her. I know how they are raised, and what they eat. The chickens often greet me when I go to visit her. I think they know I’m a chicken lover…or maybe they just think I have a treat. I know I probably give off ‘treat-vibes’ because I am, in fact, an avid ‘chicken-treater.’ Last night, my hens got leftover spaghetti noodles. In the mornings, they look forward to me dumping out the bacon or sausage grease onto the grass. They love their grass dressed with bacon fat and tasty bits of bacon debris from the bottom of the pan.

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The other day, the soap lady came to visit. She’d invited herself for coffee. I like that, and I love coffee…anytime of the morning. When visitors come calling, I throw caution into the wind and stop counting how many cups I’ve had. The soap lady brought with her the abundance she had…some tomatoes, cucumbers, a bell pepper and a hot pepper….and half of a cantaloupe. It was hot that day, and it smelled so good…I couldn’t wait to eat it. We had it for lunch right after she left.

That night, we had chicken sandwiches with sliced homegrown tomatoes, and I made some salsa with the hot pepper which we ate with tortilla chips. With the Bell Pepper, I made Eggs a la Clara, from the video series, “Great Depression Cooking.” (I absolutely love her!) Please check the link to her video out!

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During the Soap Lady’s visit, she mentioned that she had even more cucumbers. She’d made Bread and Butter Pickles, and Pickle Relish, and she had so many cucumbers that she was now giving them to the chickens! I (The Chicken Treater) told her NOT to give them to the chickens (sorry chickens)…that I would love to have them…I’d pay her for them, in fact. I went down several days later to get them. She wouldn’t let me pay her. I made Dill Refrigerator Pickles and then took a couple of quarts down to her.

Aug 16 2014 007I also took a couple of quarts to the Homesteaders. They are always giving us something, and I always feel so bad that we don’t have much to offer here that they don’t already have. They recently gave us some pickled beets, some fresh squash and some vinegar peppers (like the kind that you put on greens.) They grow the Heirloom variety of veggies, too. I’ve never had yellow squash that tasted like that. It was so good! It had a nutty flavor to it. We’ve purchased some of their free range chicken (from the flock I helped process) and farm raised pork, but those were a splurge for us. They had also given us some, as well, and that’s why we purchased some.She also gave me some chicken feet for my bone broth. (In case you don’t know, chicken feet add a lot to bone broth. They help it to ‘gel.’ You want the broth to gel, because it’s healthier for you that way. The Gelatin in the broth is good for joint problems.)

Last night, I got a call from the Homesteaders. They wanted to see if I had the phone number for the Mennonites. Their Buffalo had gotten loose and were out of their fence, and Mr. Homesteader needed to tell Mr. Mennonite that his Buffalo were roaming outside of the fence. One of these days, I’m going to go up there and take a picture of the Buffalo. They are spectacular-looking! They are in a field by the Mennonite church and the view is one of the best around here! So many times, we’ve driven home from either the Soap Lady or the Homesteader’s house at sunset and my breath is taken away by it’s beauty.

Aug 16 2014 002

Back to the story…I did, indeed have the Mennonites’ phone number and gave it to Mr. Homesteader over the phone. I had a really bad headache all day yesterday, so I’d taken my bath and was in bed, when I heard a car vehicle drive up. It was the Homesteaders in their four wheeler. I was in my skivvies, so Bud went out to greet them. They brought us some okra and a cantaloupe. Oh, it smells so good…and the other day, I almost bought some okra at the grocery store, and in the end, decided not to, so the gift of the okra was providential!

Aug 16 2014 004

I’m defrosting some pork chops, and we are going to have fried pork chops, fried okra and sliced homegrown tomatoes for supper. We’ll have the Cantaloupe for dessert.

We had been given some tomato plants when we first moved up here. Since we didn’t have time to get a real garden going this season, Bud just dug a couple of rows into the ground and we planted them, hoping we might get something out of them. We had three tomatoes this season from those plants. A tomato hornworm got one of them right as it was turning red, so the chickens got that treat (both the hornworm and the tomato, which was already half eaten.) I picked the other two tomatoes right after that and let them ripen in the window. We had one sliced with breakfast this morning, and I’ll slice the other one with supper tonight. Mmmm…

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Aug 16 2014 010

I cut the cantaloupe this morning, and the chickens got the ‘innards’ for a mid morning treat.

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My parting shot is another trite foot shot. πŸ™‚ (…but I like the foot shots…they are so ‘artsy-fartsy’.) πŸ™‚ This one is unique. It has been cold in the mornings, and I’ve had to resort to putting on socks to keep my feet warm when we have our coffee on the porch. (That’s not a Moo-Moo I’m wearing…it’s my apron.)

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Hope you all are having a great weekend!





11 thoughts on “Simple Abundance

  1. This reminds me so much of when we lived in Mississippi, we had a small homestead, chickens, goats'(I milked her and made cheese buttermilk) and the neighbors were like that, always stopping by to give us something! I felt the same way I felt we were always the ones taking and didn’t have much to give back,we still say they were the best neighbors we ever had! When we get enough saved up we will be looking for another place a little warmer then Ohio , we want to get more animals and garden again, we miss it!!
    So did you know the best way to cook okra is with your bacon grease your giving to your chickens?(At least I thought it was really good) I always saved bacon grease and put a beat up egg on my okra then rolled it in flour and cornmeal,salt and fried it in bacon grease, yummmmo!!
    I tried to grow okra this year here in my dads garden and didn’t have any luck!
    Love your post thanks for sharing!! Kim


    1. I had read a comment on the recipe I used for the okra where someone said they used their pork chop grease, and I didn’t think it was enough to fry the okra. I’m not a bit afraid of using bacon grease, and that sounds like it would be extremely yummy! I haven’t been saving my bacon grease because one time when I tried to save it, I guess I didn’t use it soon enough and it tasted kind of rancid. If I had enough room in my mini fridge, I would save it in there. You’ve inspired me to try to start saving it again, though. When I get my new fridge, I’ll probably do it.

      What kind of goats did you have? I tried goats milk once, and didn’t care for it. I’ve since heard that the breed of goat makes all the difference in the world. We have some neighbors who actually offered to give us one of their goats (he is older and blind) if we would give them some of the milk. We don’t yet have a place to keep them. We use to buy raw cows milk. I’d love to have a cow, but I hear that they are expensive and a lot of trouble. Use to be, that everyone had a family cow, though. Some of the neighbors have mentioned that they would buy some from us. Anyway, when we were buying raw cow’s milk, someone would drive 2 1/2 hours to the dairy, and bring it to a drop off point where the customers would pick it up.

      There is a place for sale right down from us that is almost 40 acres with a house with a spring that is pumped into the house for 98,000. It was built by the Mennonites that live here (one of the sons), and the inside looks very nice. Though it has water to the house, I don’t think they have an indoor toilet. (I saw an outhouse.) I think kitchen water drains onto the ground. I also saw a place for a washer and dryer (through the window), but it probably drains on the groundtoo.The house would require some work, as would the pump (which is a sump pump). It’s absolutely gorgeous out there. Mostly woods, with some pasture. I keep mentioning this place to people I know because I would love to have friends or family move out here. πŸ™‚ You all seem like really nice people, and I already consider you to be a friend. If you are interested, I could try to get pictures of the inside. I have a few of the outside.


      1. I think you would really like the bacon grease okra, if you have a green tomato and a yellow squash, a zucchini and okra, it’s a really yummy treat with the same corn meal, flour salt fried in bacon grease!! You post made me remember all the yummy things we ate in the south!
        Our goat was a mix, alpine, nubbin she had triplets the fist year and twin the next, she gave us 3 females total, the boys we butchered, and decided we wouldn’t butcher the kids any more, it was too sad, we loved our goats, and it took a long time and lots of feed to grow them, I think maybe a meat goat would have been better!
        I want a cow too, our children didn’t really like the goat milk, so I had to find ways to use it up!I made really good smoked jalapeno cheese with the milk!
        Aww I would love to be your neighbor! The price sounds really good for that many acres , but I think it would be too many for us, I think we’ll be looking for 5 acres or less, let me know if another cabin/ cottage is near :O) Also we don’t really want a house payment if possiable, we are debt free and want to be able to pay cash, I’m sure by the time we had that much money the lovely farm would be gone :O(

        I was going to ask you what state you live in?! Let’s see if I could guess where you live by what you said Mennonites, that built the house, so I would guess you live near PA? Or Missouri,or Arkansas?( I have plain back ground so I’m guessing by where the Mennonites live?!!~ )
        We lived in Ms, Ohio, Florida so far in our 14 years of being married and I think it would be fun to check out/live in another state, probably a warmer one, so more southern, but not to far south…. I hunt craigslist!!


        1. We are in Northwest Arkansas. The closest big city is Harrison. There is a fairly large population of Mennonites in this area. In all honesty, I am not 100% sure that they are “Mennonites.” I’m guessing. They dress plainly, wear head-coverings, but most of them have outside jobs, (own businesses, in fact) in addition to doing some sustainable living (animals, gardens, etc.) They have electricity and cell phones, though I don’t think they have TV or Internet…not sure. I would love to know more about them, and although I have talked to them (and even took care of their animals for them once), I haven’t had the courage to talk about their religion yet. They are very friendly, though. I suspected that you might have a ‘plain’ background, based on some of the family pictures. I would love to know more if you ever want to share. I’m fascinated by that way of life. I love to read books about the Amish way of life.

          I don’t want to say exactly where we live, unless I could do it in private via email. Before we moved here, we lived in the Houston, TX area. It was hot, humid, and the summers drug on forever and ever. We didn’t ever really have a real ‘winter’ there. It would get cooler for a few days, and then get hot again. I would imagine that Florida is the same way. I can remember Christmases where we were wearing shorts! Here in AR, the summers are shorter. This has been an exceptionally cool summer for this area. It’s my understanding that it CAN get hot here, but then, it can get hot in Chicago, too. Summers just don’t last as long here, and they are not as severe. The heat here is different than it was in Houston. It’s humid, sometimes, but not as much as Houston. Last Winter was a bad one for them here…so was the summer before that…very hot. We were here at Thanksgiving, Christmas and Spring Break. We had snow at Spring Break! It doesn’t stay for long, though.

          The taxes are extremely low here. What we paid in taxes for one month in the Houston Suburbs, we are paying the same amount for a years worth of taxes here…even on 30 acres of land. If you are looking to relocate, I would recommend you look at some real estate sites for Newton county, Jasper, or even Harrison. It’s a different way of life here…more old fashioned…friendlier…slower pace. I’m not trying to be controlling…just throwing all of this ‘out there’ because it’s hard when looking for a new place to live when you don’t know much about the area.

          I totally hear you on the house payment, thing. We felt the same way. Our 30 acres and house were $65,000. Of course, you see how much work the house needs…but we knew that and were willing to do a little at a time as money allowed. Land is inexpensive here, and if you are willing to do a little fixer upper work, you can get some land with a house for cheap. You just have to look for it. I have seen some with small acre land and a house for $35,000. You could also look for foreclosures or auctions (but I think you need cash in hand for those.) You just need to be willing to take a smaller house, and one that would need a little work…or a lot, in some cases.

          I would have a hard time killing the goats, too. I can’t even kill my own chickens. I think in order to be able to do that, I’d have to have a larger flock of one breed with some nasty, mean roosters, where I couldn’t get to know them. If you are milking a goat and helped with the raising of her kids, that would be very hard! Did you like the taste of the meat? If I had goat milk, I would hope to make cheese, too. Your cheese sounds delicious. I love jalapenos, too. πŸ™‚


          1. That is very good information, I wouldn’t share exact location on here either :O)
            It’s funny you are in AK , that is where I have been looking on craigslist so the locations you mentions are really good to know, it is hard to make guesses when you want to re locate, we traveled in the rv and I had for got we had our TX drivers licenses, Amarillo, and Quitman and stayed in AZ, and New Mexico for a bit as well! THAT was a LONG time ago it seems now, about tens years

            The laid back life is what we like, Mississippi was like that too. The home school laws were good there too, haven’t looked at that in AK yet, but I think one of my cousins moved there so I need to ask my mom again where~ The thing I didn’t like about MS, is gardens didn’t grow well, in OHIO you can plate your garden, and in the end you have tons of food to put up, in MS, it was a struggle to get much canned….

            As far as plain back ground, I grew up Old German Baptist) the people are just pretty much normal people, we grew up with cars and electric, but no tv or internet, the church as since split and so some of them have internet now.
            My sisters all stayed with the side of no internet, and my parents have the internet. It made a weird divide between all the families that was 5 years ago, and it still hurtful to the group….
            My husband did NOT grow up like me, he was part of the church for awhile for the first 4 years of our marriage, but he questioned their doctrine, because he really wanted to understand it, and they actually put us out, we don’t go to church any more. We believe Jesus and what he taught!!
            I’m thankful for my husbands understanding and after being put out, I almost feel sorry for the ones who are still there, it’s a nice lifestyle, if you can go along with the flow :O) Growing up I never even thought to question the things we just did…


            1. Actually, I think AK is Alaska. Ar is Arkansas…just in case you type in “AK” in Google and start getting links showing bears and bald eagles and stony snow-capped mountain ranges, LOL. Our mountains are rocky, but they are more ‘hills’. They also have bears here, but they are brown bears and much smaller than they would have in Alaska…and they are rare here.

              I also have to mention that if you are dependent upon working outside of the home in a traditional job, everything is a ‘drive’ in this area…but I also have to add, that there is acreage just outside of the city limits of Harrison, and surrounding areas, too. Yellville is pretty close and is a nice town, but you have to be careful about finding cheap places there. I hear there is some riff-raff out that way. Not sure if it is true or not. If you have any questions about an area around here, you can ask, and I’ll tell you what I know, or try to find out for you.

              I hasten to add that this area is not so great for farming. Animals, yes….growing food, no. People have gardens, and I know my neighbors put up vegetables. They do well. It’s not easy, though. The soil is very rocky. One of them has raised bed gardens…but this area is not well known for ‘money crops.’ Further North in Missouri would probably be better…out of the Ozarks. The soil in the Ozark Mountains is rocky and from reading the story of Laura Ingalls Wilder (after she got married to Almonzo and moved to Missouri in Mansfield), even that area is still pretty rocky. That area is considered the ‘foothills’ of the Ozarks. The books talk about all of the rocky soil they had to deal with there, too. They had an apple orchard for their money crop. I guess that is if you are trying to have a money crop. I know they put up veggies there, though. I would have thought Mississippi would be great for farming…that’s why I feel I need to tell you what it’s like farming-wise here. Water, springs, creeks, etc., are abundant in this area, too.

              Church splits are always hurtful, and I would imagine when your family is involved, especially in a tight-knit group like that, it would be very awkward. Your story is interesting, though. Thank you for sharing that. I’m not familiar with German Baptist. Is that part of the ‘Bretheren Church’? And/or maybe Beachy Amish? I’ve done a little research trying to figure out what my neighbors are.

              Wouldn’t it be interesting if your cousin was living in this area? Missouri also has a Mennonite population, too. It’s a small world, you know. I think my neighbors have family in Ohio and Pennsylvania.

              I AM familiar with just believing in what the Bible says, and that’s what we try to do, too. I’m afraid that ‘Jesus’ and what He taught (sadly) isn’t even in many of the churches today…at least in the ones we have tried. Maybe in ‘word’…a mention or two…but not in Deed. Many seem heavily steeped in making people feel good, and everything Jesus taught was not necessarily a ‘feel good’ message. It is good to question doctrine, because in the end, it won’t be about what church you went to, and what they taught you…we will have to answer for ourselves…and we have a Bible. It’s how we know Who Jesus is and what He taught.

              I’m so glad you stopped by my blog that day and made a comment…and that I have been able to get to know you through your blog. I think you are an interesting and nice person. πŸ™‚

              > >


              1. Oh yes , I always forget that It’s AR, I get the A states all mixed up some times!!
                So soil for growing gardens is hard there too?! You know our neighbors all had gardens in MS too, stuff will grow there, but not the garden stuff I grew up enjoying, we had purple hull peas, okra and cuc. But my mouth was set on tomatoes,and green beans and I didn’t get them to do good. So I suppose you can garden any where if you know how?

                Looks like my parents are driving over in a minute so I need to finish my dishes and sweeping before they get here! It’s nice living close and hour and a half from them now, I thought I’s see my sisters more then I do, but they are busy people.

                That is the reason we don’t think we would ever find a church family again, it seems the teachings of Jesus is missing…. We don’t want to go to a church and raise our family in what we don’t believe is teaching what he taught just to have “friends” ,that really we found out are not truly friends , when it really matters the ones we thought were friends we never there for us , it was pretty dramatic for us when they kicked us out, BUT I feel it made us stronger, and made us realize people will kick you under the bus so to speak when it really matters, and that we don’t want to be that kind of a friend!! Hopefully one day people will search and find his teachings again and know he came to teach us the way to the father, it seems a lot of people think he came to make their life full of riches or what they want in life, and it’s more what they can get out of their busy lives then the fact that we are to lay our lives down to follow him~
                The 10 years after we got put out my husband has had a great study and hopefully when times get worse and worse he can help others see what Jesus came to teach?! That’s the hope for us ,we hope to meet others who want to truly know/or have found the simple teachings and want something more then the “world” has to offer?!!! Our conclusion isn’t what most “normal ” Christians have been taught~
                I’m a bit scattered when it comes to writing….


                1. You do great with your writing, and it makes perfect sense. Yes, we are on the same page, I think. Being a Christian is following Jesus, knowing you need a Savior, and laying down your life for others, and laying down your life to be His servant to do His bidding…whatever that is that He shows you as His will for your life.

                  I’m so sorry about your friends. I can only imagine how hurtful that was…but I can relate to it making you stronger. I went through a time of ‘honing’ where I think the Lord was teaching me to keep my eyes on HIM, rather than people…because people are not perfect. They can also become idols in your life if you are too dependent on them or what they think. People will always fail you. Jesus never will. I’m trying to keep my eyes on Him, and keep my life about Him so that it doesn’t matter what other people do or don’t do…because HIS bidding is why I’m here. I’ve got a long way to go, but at least I’m starting to ‘get it’.

                  I think some veggies do better in certain places than others. In the Houston area, tomatoes did really well, as did peppers. Everyone grows those there. I think tomatoes do decently well here. My neighbor was complaining that her tomatoes didn’t do near as well this year as last. Last year, she couldn’t keep up with them they were so abundant. I’m not sure about peas. She did have green beans, and she didn’t think they did as well this year, either. As I said, the weather has been very abnormal this year for this area, so I think that’s part of it. She has the raised bed gardens. My other neighbors grow their veggies right into the rocky soil! They have grown beets, squash and tomatoes for sure…okra, and maybe corn, too. I’m not sure what else. Cucumbers do well here, too. My neighbor is ripping out her plants because she’s had all she wants. That’s why she gave some to me. She was feeding the excess to her chickens!

                  There is a lot to be said for being close to family. I’m glad your are getting to see your folks today.

                  I’ve had fun chatting with you, and I hope you enjoy your visit with your family.


  2. I forgot to mention that it is ‘for sale by owner’. They have been trying to sell it for a while…they might be willing to come down on the price. I don’t know.


    1. Thanks, Lee Ann. I would agree. I’m hoping that our garden next year will be such that we will have things to share with our neighbors as well…like maybe cow or goat milk…or maybe grow something the other neighbors are not…something like that.


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