It’s That Time of Year

Bernie and I have been busy in the yard, preparing for the colder weather that is quickly moving in. We cleaned up the garden and added some mulch from the straw, pine shavings, and chicken poop pile that’s been cooking all year. We covered the outdoor plants in leaves and pine straw. I brought in tender plants that have lived in the greenhouse all summer. And, for the few plants still in the greenhouse? Well, I’ve been saving milk jugs all year. So I painted them all black.


I took them up to the rain barrel filled each with water. And then I put all the greenhouse plants on the floor, and placed the jugs among them. The hope is that the water in the jugs will heat up during the day, as the sun shines, and provide a little extra warmth for the plants through the cold nights.


Well, not all the greenhouse plants. I left a couple of tomato and pepper plants on a shelf, just to see how well they will hold up in cold weather in the greenhouse.


The tomatoes plants have kept us in tomatoes for a while, but they are starting to peter out now. The large pepper plant is loaded in small, tight blooms. I’m interested to see if we get any more peppers off of it. I have a very small pepper plant I started a month or so ago. I have no idea how well it’s going to do as time goes on.

And as the cold weather moves in, so does the reality that Christmas is just around the corner. You may remember that I covered several eggs in polymer clay for Christmas ornaments earlier this year. Well, Angie, over at Home Grown, posted about some ornaments she made from eggs – and they are absolutely gorgeous. I knew I had to make some of these.

Here are some of the first few I made:

Christmas Eggs

This first batch was made with some fun stickers I thought would be cute.

Christmas Eggs

I have over two dozen more that are waiting for the caps and strings to be applied. These are mostly modeled after Angie’s beautiful eggs.

Christmas Eggs

This is such a fun project, and I think these ornaments are my favorite. They are easy to make I’m sure they will be a beautiful addition to any tree. You’ve still got time to make your own! Hop on over to Angie’s blog and learn how!

Fall is also the time of year that many people dig their horseradish to make horseradish sauce. When we lived in town, we had horseradish that started as two, small roots. Over the years it flourished, and we liked to dig it up in the spring to make horseradish sauce. When we moved to the homestead, I dug up a couple of roots to get started with out here. That was two years ago, and the horseradish is going strong.

I like to give new horseradish plantings at least a couple of years to get well established before digging them up, so we didn’t dig any of ours this year. But we have a neighbor who had some growing next to his house and, even though he didn’t know what it was, he really disliked it. Horseradish has huge leaves and, if not contained, will grow out of control. When I told him how lucky he was to have horseradish he said “You want it? Dig up as much as you like. I’m getting rid of it.”

So, yesterday, Bernie and I dug up our neighbor’s horseradish. It was well established, and the roots ran so deep there was no way we could get all of it. He’ll be dealing with horseradish again next year….. but, in the meantime, we had a bucket of horseradish that we planned to turn into horseradish sauce.


If you decide to make horseradish sauce, I highly recommend you plan to do it outside. When we lived in town we made horseradish sauce in front of an open window with a fan sucking the air out. And it was very painful. Nothing can make eyes and noses water and sting better than horseradish! This year, we decided to move the entire operation outside.

I washed the roots under the outside spigot.


They’re looking better already.


Then we took them to the picnic bench we moved in the garage and began the tedious chore of peeling them. Knives and potato peelers work really well.


Once they’re all peeled, wash them one more time.


And then it’s time to grate them. We use food processors for this step, but you can hand grate them if you have the time and patience.


When we finished, we had two large bowls full of grated horseradish.


But we’re not quite finished. See how chunky it looks? We ran all of it back through the food processor on chop mode. And when we were finished with that, we had a nice, horseradish sauce consistency.


Then I just filled jars with horseradish, dumped in a little salt, added a pinch of sugar, and topped each jar with white vinegar.


And now we have two quarts, two pints, and one half pint of fresh, homemade horseradish sauce.

Oh, and see that tiny, empty jar? That’s a jar from some horseradish sauce Bernie bought at the grocery store a while ago. It was good, no doubt about that. But it wasn’t as good as homemade horseradish sauce, and it was very expensive! And have you ever read the list of ingredients on some of that store bought horseradish sauce? Making your own horseradish sauce is a little time consuming, but it’s extremely inexpensive and it’s easy. I think it’s worth every minute it takes.

It’s that time of year, and we’re staying busy with “Fall Chores” on the homestead. I always dread the cold weather, but I like doing “Fall Chores”. It feels good to have things cleaned and tucked in and ready to get a few months of rest. And it feels good to work on the things that only get done this time of year.

What kind of “Fall Chores” are you doing?

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15 Responses to “It’s That Time of Year”

  1. You have been busy. I like your idea of the black water jugs. Let us know how it works for you.
    Those eggs are so cute! I may have to try to make a few.
    I know you will enjoy your horseradish sauce. I rarely use it, so it would be too much trouble for me to make it.
    I need to get outside and do some fall chores. I have pine needles to rake and leaves to get up … if it would just stop raining.

  2. Trixi says:

    Wow, ya’ll have been busy. I have not even thought of growing our own horseradish. Great idea. I can’t wait to go over and learn how to do the egg ornaments. That will be a craft project around here in the next few weeks. Yours look so good.
    Have a great week.

  3. Angie says:

    Great idea with the black jugs! I want a greenhouse!! Your ornaments are just gorgeous! great job! I like horseradish but I prefer cream of horseradish with beef and I used the ground horseradish in cocktail sauce. I wish I had some of those roots to plant!

  4. cousin Mckee says:

    Hey! I love your ornaments!! They are beautiful! you are so talented! I so hope one day I will have a homestead like yours!

  5. frugalmom says:

    Who said anything about doing any fall chores???

    Okay, fine. I have been cleaning up the garden, getting a pile ready to burn all the left over foliage, getting all my hanging baskets cleaned out and stored for next year, getting all my supplies together to get my garlic planted, having firewood delivered(cuz you know as well as I do that we dont have any trees around here), and well, that kinda stuff….oh, and vacuuming those damn beetles off the ceiling every night.

    I dont think I like horseradish….but that sure was nice of Bernie to help you preserve all that. Looked like he was a hard worker.

  6. Julie says:

    Love the milk jug idea! We run electric to my greenhouse, where it sits it just doesn’t get enough sun light. How long will the horseradish keep the way you put it up? I can’t wait for mine:-) I have been wanting to grow some for years, just didn’t want to buy it out of those magazines. The eggs are so cute! I have some ideas for some too. I’ll see how they turn out before posting them. I like the ones that I put out for “harvest time” each year.
    Take Care! Love ya!

  7. basicliving says:

    SVB – Rain really messes up the falling cleanup outside, doesn’t it? We’ve been lucky in this area and haven’t had a great deal of it.

    Trixi – I really think you and the kids will enjoy making those egg ornaments. And they are so darn cute!

    Angie – Remind me in the spring and I will send you a couple horseradish roots. I don’t think there is an easier plant to grow!

    Cousin McKee – Thanks for stopping by! You are just too sweet. I honestly believe a person can “homestead” where ever they are. And I think you are well on your way. You owe me and cousin Julie a recipe, by the way….

    Frugalmom – I was going to ask you about that firewood. Did you have to import it from Virginia????? Bernie is always a hard worker – and more than willing to pitch in. Especially when it comes to making things he loves so much! I never like horseradish until I met him. I think it’s an acquired taste….

    Julie – Your “harvest time” eggs are TOO cute! I just love those. I hope you’ll post some pics of the ornaments you make. And even though my greenhouse gets sun all day, the winter days are short, sometimes there is no sunshine, and our night time temps can get down to single digits for stretches of time. I’m hoping those jugs of water will help, but this is the first winter with the greenhouse, so I guess I’ll find out….. I was pleasantly surprised to open it the other day and find that, even though the outside temp was around 50 degrees, it was 90 degrees in the greenhouse. Of course, the sun was out……

  8. What be this word “chores” you speak of??

    I love the egg ornaments. Every year I try to make family ornaments but this year I shall be selfish and make some pretty eggs for the fun of it.

  9. lisa says:

    Wow! And you thought I was busy… The horseradish is amazing, and to be honest never even thought to grow that myself. Already have plans for a ‘chicken’ garden next year, gonna do some extra healthy treats for all of my feathered babies. I want a greenhouse up at home but it is like finding the time for husband to get it up, it would be nice for my orchids, they just love humidity and since my mother-in-law built a new house she no longer has her greenhouse at her home, hope she gets a new one built then I won’t need one. Hah!

    you must have some really nice neighbors, horseradish, fertilized eggs, what next.

    Oh how are those baby chicks you hatched from your neighbor.

    Oh and those egg ornaments are so pretty to, you are so talented and crafty.

    Take care and stay warm

  10. charlotte says:

    The Ornaments are Super. Tex said Thank You, for the horseradish , I will use some of it in making the sweet pickles next year. And your name is on some of the jars. love ya charlotte

  11. Farmer Jen says:

    Wow. I never knew how to make horseradish sauce before. Thank you for showing the process. I love your blog header photo.

  12. basicliving says:

    Nicole – Be selfish! Make some pretty egg ornaments just for you. And then be sure to show us the pictures!

    Lisa – Our neighbor really is a sweetheart. We have him some of the horseradish. He’s the same one that gave me the eggs to hatch, and those chicks are doing great. They are much larger than my other chicks – they’re mixed breeds and I believe he has Road Island Reds, Cochins, Barred Rock, and a few others. All of them are larger than most of my breeds. He has no clue what he has down there! But the chicks are just gorgeous and I’m still praying they are all pullets!

    Charlotte – you make the best sweet pickles! Ever.

    Farmer Jen – It’s funny you say that. Everyone seems to be getting new blog headers, and I was just thinking this weekend about changing mine. But I don’t have a picture I like any better, so I guess I’ll be keeping it a little while longer. Thank you for the nice compliment.

  13. charlotte says:

    Penny you will have to post pictures of the new chickens once they are bigger. We want to see them. And maybe get some of their parents, So we can see were they get their looks from. I am hoping Feathers & the girls will give me some nice new hens this coming year.

  14. Inviting you the Carnival of Home Preserving on my blog today and every Friday. Hope to see you there. Laura Williams’ Musings

  15. Helen says:

    Do you can the horseradish?

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