My grandmother and the seeds she gave me.

One day as I was visiting my grandmother and she started asking questions about how my garden was doing. I told her that things were going well and that we had a bunch of things growing still. My grandma who is cute and sweet gets up out of her chair and says that she has some seeds that she was given and I can have them. “I wont be able to use them as I can’t get up long enough to plant them into the ground so you can use them,” she tells me. So she gives me four packets of seeds, corn, onions, peas, and bell peppers. She couldn’t remember when she was gifted them, but she said they should be fine.

So I planted them like two week ago. I recorded it when I planted them. We’ve gone to check on them almost everyday since we planted them because, well we’re impatient. So far we have a couple of seedlings that have decided to sprout, so they are still good. Now to only get 100% growth that is going to be awesome. The Onions are taking a bit of time to sprout and it could be that they just take a while to germinate or they are old and wont grow. We aren’t going to give up on the onions though as we eat onions quite a bit.

Look at the peas growing

The peas are doing amazing at this time that I am writing this post. The onions not so much. I know that the peas are not only a good little snack but they are also beneficial to the soil that they are growing in. They can be used as cover crops and cover crops are plants that are planted to cover the soil rather than for the purpose of being harvested. Cover crops manage soil erosion, soil fertility, soil quality, water, weeds, pests, diseases, biodiversity and wildlife in an agroecosystem—an ecological system managed and shaped by humans. Cover crops may be an off-season crop planted after harvesting the cash crop. So that being said, when you are done harvesting your bulk fruits and vegetables for the season and you don’t want to have empty raised beds, grab yourself a couple bags of whatever cover crops you want and put them in the beds. Not only will they be great for that soil and help prepare them for the next round of cash crops that you will be putting in those beds, some of them are beautiful and add that extra bit of color to the cold winter months. Who doesn’t want to have some beautiful pops of color during that time right?

Now I can’t wait for the peas to get to the point to where I can harvest them and then bring a handful of the peas over to my Grandmother and see her smiling face. She is going to be super excited when she sees that her peas got the chance to grow just like she knew they would all along.

I’m excited as well, because I was really skeptical about them at first, but I like to roll the dice on things like that and to be able to use that as a learning experience. I enjoy being in my garden and planting things and then seeing their tiny little sprouts pop up out of the soil. It’s very fulfilling and I have learned so much and I’m going to continue to learn as much as I can. Next time I head to visit my grandmother I am going to record her and ask her questions about gardening and get some advice and knowledge from her. She is 85 very smart and has seen it all and done it all and will not shy away from any questions.

Thanks for hanging with me for a while, I hope that you have a great day!!

Third time trying Carrots Plus the people that I’ve learned from

I’ve planted carrots before and I had no idea what I was doing, but I grew them. I had only one raised bed at the time and I planted so many different things in this one box. We built it ourselves after figuring out which design we wanted for our raised bed. Many YouTube videos were watched. I didn’t know how deep to plant them or how tiny the carrot seeds were, how far or close to plant them. I just grabbed my packet of seeds and my hand rake, raked up the soil a little bit and sprinkled the carrots all around hoping that they would grow.

Axel and Duke hanging in the empty raised bed (2017)

We had great soil in the raised bed .The soil was called Black Kow and it was mainly cow manure and compost, but it worked. Bags of Black Kow were bought to give our plants the nutrients that they needed to thrive and survive. I can’t find that particular brand here in California. The excitement on all of our faces when we got to pick our first set of Tomatoes- I had no idea what I was doing with growing tomatoes either, but I did it. Planted them in the ground after I sliced one in half and just put it in the ground. It’s kind of my thing to just put seeds in the ground without following the directions or looking up how to actually plant them and how far apart they need to be in order to grow well. They grow well at times and I love it.

Now this time I’ve watched two different gardeners on two different zones and different states. I started following a lot of homesteaders last year when I decided to go ahead and get a garden going on this property and I said you know what let me go and really try to learn as much as I can about homesteading and gardening. I had a garden before. One at my home in NC and the other was when we previously lived out here before, but in Base Housing. This right here, this property here, I have grown more than I have before. So some of the veggies and fruit that I have growing, I am growing for the first time, like the zucchini squash- which grows so quickly you run out of ways to cook them- those get big super fast if you don’t pick them quickly. They go from like the size of my hand to the size of my arm within a matter of days.

Ok back to the two gardeners plus bonus homesteaders that I follow and glean from. Jessica from Roots and Refuge Farm, she is pretty awesome and has such a sweet personality and a lovely family and is on the east coast. I have learned so much from her within the first year of starting my hardcore journey into becoming a homesteader and gardener. I have watched so many of her videos on how to grow food and how to store them, but for this post we’re talking about carrots, so she has a video walking you through how to grow them and how deep to plant them and how far apart.

Here is the link to that video of growing carrots plus her YouTube channel and her website as well.

The next family that I watch all the time is Justin and Rebekah Rhodes. I found them through their movie The great American farm tour. I immediately fell in love with their whole entire family and lifestyle and just everything. They are such an amazing family to watch and to learn from. They make homesteading look easy. Justin uploads videos to their YouTube channel daily I believe. I love how all of their children are all so involved in the family farm. When Justin is up to do farm chores, so are the kids and they each have chores that they do to help out with or they do totally on their own and that is so inspiring to me to see how the kids are doing things and enjoying it as well. Like I said before they make it look so easy. Getting my kids to just come down stairs is a struggle and don’t get me started on trying to get them to come help out in the garden. But I’m sure that they don’t want to get up that early to do farm chores all the time though because, well, you know how kids are, they can be stubborn and moody and just down right unpleasant, but we couldn’t live without them and you know it. https://www.

Following The Rhodes family and Jessica from roots and refuge opened up the door to a whole community of people who homestead and raise their own farm animals and grow their own food. It opened up the door to so much learning and growing and freedom. I love it and I’m glad that my heart continues to stay on this path of freedom and happiness.

Our very first carrot that we grew , probably to early though 2019

That’s it for now. We will see how these Carrots that we just planted grow. Even though we see tiny little green tops starting to pop through the soil, we can’t wait until they are fully mature enough to pick and then eat them. So here’s to happy growing whatever you are growing. Grow it and grow it well!!

Have a wonderful day!!!! The Petersen Homestead

Tragedy on the backyard homestead!

Saturday morning we get up around 9/10ish and as I’m coming downstairs I’m greeted by” our ducks are dead, I need a towel quickly we might be able to save the last one”. I’m confused as to what happened so I run and grab a couple of towels and head out back. My husband hands me Pickles ,who looks as if she has been laying in dirty water for hours. All I see are two dead ducks floating in the water upside down. “WHAT THE HECK HAPPENED LAST NIGHT?” I can’t wrap my head around what possibly could have gone wrong as I am in shock as I hold Pickles in my arms and wrap her in two towels to try and warm her up. Wait I only saw two ducks in the water and I’m holding Pickles, so where is Spots? My oldest son and Husband look everywhere in the yard for Spots and no luck finding the poor baby at all.

The squad (left to right) Flash, Spots, Nick and Pickles -the big one in the back.
Spots standing up and Pickles relaxing in the water.
Pickles not wanting to be alone.

I can’t tell you how devastating it is to go to bed knowing that you have 4 ducks and then wake up and you now only have one more. It was a traumatizing day not only for us but for Pickles as she had to witness her siblings die. She could no longer be a happy duck and waddle around in the backyard freely as before. In her mind the backyard was a reminder of what happened to her and how she almost died with the rest of the ducks. I don’t have a clue as to what animal came into our backyard and attacked my sweet ducks as we have only seen squirrels in the backyard. I have never seen a racoon in the area or a opossum either.

I held on to Pickles for as long as I could and once she warmed up we took her upstairs to get a warm bath and to kind of wash the mud and dirt off of her, but she couldn’t stand being in the water. She wanted out, she wasn’t hurt she wanted nothing to do with water. As the day went on we began to go out back to look around for paw prints or any clues as to what it was that attacked my babies in the early morning. We found only our dogs paw prints and he was inside with us, because he is not an outside dog. Shortly after looking around my son comes inside and says that he found Spots, but Spots no longer had a head and he was missing a wing. Well that solves at least one question about what happened. A predator of ducks came into our back yard grabbed Spots and had an early breakfast snack.

Pickles was very much traumatized and could barley be outside by herself or away from us. She became an inside duck for a few days until we rehomed her to a nearby farm with other ducks and animals who roam around the cute little area freely. I don’t think that we will be getting another farm animal anytime soon. As losing animals is just very hard to deal with no matter how they go. You become so attached to the animals that you raise even if they are animals that you have on your property for your food.

The next time we decide to have farm animals, they will be in their own little secured homes and predator proof. I can’t help but feel like the ducks dying was all my fault even though I know that sometimes no matter what you do to protect your animals from the predators, those predators will find a way to get their meal that day.

So I hope that maybe this helps someone who is thinking about getting farm animals, think and plan better than we did on our first time having farm animals. We know better now and when you know better you do better.

Here is a really good site on duck predators and how to prevent them from killing your ducks. Might as well add chickens in there as well, because they might have the same enemy.

Top 7 Duck Predators: How to Know Which and Prevention

Well, thank you for coming along with us on our journey into homesteading and all of the wins and loses that we will go through. Also follow us along on our YouTube at The Petersen Homestead.

Have a wonderful day

Amaris !!!

The squirrels, Aphids and powdery mildew.

I’m trying not to see this as a fail, but sometimes I can’t help to feel that way at certain times during the summer growing months in the garden. This is the time when everything that I’ve grown from seed, starts to or has been producing so much food.

Not here in this desert that I call my backyard. No matter what I’ve done to keep the plants happy and thriving, I still don’t know it all and I may be missing some things to help that I don’t know about. I’m doing my best really. From cutting down all of the diseased leaves on the plants to spraying the leaves with organic bug spray and disposing of the decaying leaves quickly-well as quickly as I can, I’m a stay at home homeschooling momma of three remember. Sometimes I’m stopped right in the midst of clearing out the dead leaves to stop a dispute over who’s paper airplane looks better or so and so hit me, that I can’t get to everything right away.

The squash has been harvested and tasted, but not by me and my family, but from the squirrel or squirrels that like to frequent my backyard. I come to check on things every morning and to my surprise -NOT- the zucchini that was there yesterday isn’t there anymore and the one next to it has bite marks in it. I hope it was delicious little guys or girls. Never again will I plant food near the fence.

Tiny, tiny little bugs that just suck the life out of your garden babies. Hoping and praying that you start to see beneficial bugs flying around the yard or just a hope that your eyes catch a glimpse of the tiny little magnificent ladybug who can eat it’s way through a ton of Aphids. It’s like an all you can eat buffet for them. They weren’t as bad at first and now that the weather has gotten warm they’ve multiplied. I guess I need more ladybugs and other plants to deter the Aphids from eating my garden babies.

Powdery mildew…. Powdery what?!? Yeah powdery mildew is another one of those things that attacks your garden babies as well. It’s white dots that cover your leaves and if not treated or taken care of it can spread fast. It looks as if someone came to your yard and poured baby powder all over the leaves of certain veggies. No matter how hard you try to not get the leave wet when you water the garden, you still have the morning dew that brings in the extra moisture and that can cause powdery mildew. I’ve heard that a simple mixture of milk and water can help to keep the disease away, but I have not tried that one yet. I try my hardest to simply cut the leaves that have been plagued with this issue.

I’m going to be super vigilant with this next growing season that we are about to go into. At least I hope to be super vigilant about it, but hopefully with the cooler season upon us it shouldn’t be that bad…. right? We shall see, we shall see.

A homesteaders fight against the squirrels.

Hello everyone, welcome to my blog. Today I’d like to talk about the battles that I’m having with squirrels. For the past few years of my gardening I have always tried to grow pumpkins. I have a thing for pumpkins lol -apparently it goes way back to when I was a little girl growing vegetables in the backyard with my grandma. So every year since maybe 2015, when I started gardening in a little plot off of the kitchen patio when we lived on base housing, I have always tried to grow pumpkins. I didn’t really get the chance to really get into gardening and planting until recently.

I had one raised bed back at our house in NC and there was so much growing in just that one bed. From strawberries, tomatoes, Carrots, Honeydews. Now I have four raised beds and I’m growing more than I have been before.

Now to the fight against the squirrels. When we first moved into this new place there would be a couple of squirrels here and there, but we didn’t have anything growing for them to eat, so maybe they were jus checking out the new people. Now two years later and we have so much growing. Last year I guess I wasn’t growing anything that they liked to eat, so we didn’t see them. This growing season I have lost about two pumpkins and a couple of squash due to the squirrels coming to have a morning snack. So I have resorted to searching the Google and asking for information from a couple of homesteaders. One thing I found was that squirrels dislike Mint so I moved the mint that I had in the planter and put it near the pumpkin and squash patch. Then I went and bought two more plants to put around them, so we will see how those work on keeping them away.

I have also purchased Bone Meal fertilizer to see how that works, plus it’s a bonus I get to fertilize my plants and give them the food and nutrients that they need. I am still searching for ways to keep them at bay and away from all of my plants. I’ve also seen that they dislike the taste of peppers and anything hot, but the only problem with that is that you will constantly have to put it around the plants, because it will just get washed away from the rain(barely any here in sunny California) and from the plants being watered. So there’s that idea. I also put up the chicken wire around the patch. Hopefully these methods workout and they get the point, but we shall see about that.

Squirrel damage

The biggest pumpkin we had so far and the squirrels got to it.

Well I hope that you enjoyed my rant about dealing with the garden pests. Hopefully all of my attempts to keep the squirrels away. If not I will continue to find away to grow my pumpkins and other veggies.

Come back soon, much love!!! The Petersen Homestead.

A big one, but not the final one!!

Legos on the floor, kids still in their jammies, messy hair, did anyone eat lunch today? Oh my gosh your breath, did you brush your teeth today? I’m on my second cup of coffee of the day. I have a long list of things to get done and that list is a mile long already. Welcome to summer vacation!!!!

We’re moving back across the country for the millionth time. Why couldn’t it have been Okinawa that we were going back to? I would have still had the same long list of things to get done, but that duty station would have been so worth the long list. I would have been able to show my kids where I spent my teen years and where I met their daddy. There’s still time to get stationed there, but with only four years left in the Marine Corps- it’s wishful thinking.

Going back to a place that we just came from is like torture, not really but kind of. We don’t want to leave our home at all. There is not one ounce of me that wants to leave……Ok maybe half an ounce of me is excited. Only because I get to take my youngest little man to Disneyland for the first time and I’m putting seasons passes on the list. I can not wait to take him to the happiest place on Earth.

Don’t get me wrong I love California, I’ve spent my early childhood there. I have family there, cousins, memories, but it’s not where I would like to go back to just yet or maybe not at all. Now don’t get me wrong California is beautiful and there are so many amazing places to see. I can’t wait to experience the beauty of California, knowing that I will miss my home here, but we will make the best of the years away as best as possible.

What I know is that being a Military family is hard. There are separations that take up half of the year or more, some Birthdays and Anniversaries will be missed. We make our own family with each move and the older the kids get, the harder it becomes to move away. We have a home here, we have family here. My children and I get close with our friends, they all become family to us. We’ve built long-lasting bonds. This move will sting. This isn’t the final one, but its a big one !!!!!!

This one is a bit chaotic, which happens when summertime comes and when there is a big move happening. I hope you’ve enjoyed this. As we move I will document our trip across the country and how everyone is handling the trip. I would love your feedback and what you’d like to see when we make our trip. Thanks for stopping by.

Welcome to my world

On May 28, 2019, I got up to wake my kids up for school. After I gave good morning hugs and said to get ready for the day, I wandered over to the laundry room, put in a fresh load of clothes and detergent, pressed start and walked away. I decided to make the kids some scrambled eggs and breakfast sausage with fresh blackberries. Lunch was quickly made in the oven – chicken nuggets with something else I can’t remember. I got their bags ready and made sure they all brushed their teeth. Off to school we go.

I’m home now. I put my headphones in, music on, and begin to go down the dark hole of cleaning, you know the one where no one exists but the germs and the mess in your house and you have to destroy and clean everything. When I finish the downstairs I go up to the laundry room to move my freshly-washed laundry to the dryer. Or so I thought. I open the lid to the washer not only to find the clothes but water. They had been sitting in half a tub of water, as if they never got spun and drained, or like the cycle was never completed. Totally annoyed!

My washer failed me and failed me big time because I not only had clothes to wash, I had A LOT of laundry to get done. I had neither the time nor the patience for its second midlife crisis. Yes, you read that right. This is the second time that my Maytag washer has crapped out on me.

First time, I was super pissed off because how dare an appliance that we’ve had for I don’t know how long decide that it’s going to stop working. I don’t have the money for a brand new one. Do I want a brand new one with all of the bells and whistles? OF COURSE I DO! What stay at home mom doesn’t want one that steams the clothes for you or that you can see into. A stainless steel one – OH THAT WOULD BE AMAZING.

Hello, I’m Amaris. Welcome to my lifestyle blog, Life with Amaris. I’m a stay at home mom of 3, a fur mom of 1, married to the man of my dreams, and I’m a photographer of The Sweetest Thing By Amaris P. I have been a stay-at-home mom, a daycare provider, photographer, I am a mini gardener and a supportive spouse to my Marine, . We’ve gone through many separations and have had many happy homecomings. We’ve just gone through a deployment with 3 kids instead of 1 this time – what a challenge that was. But my kids rocked it this time, even my two year old.

Here I’d like to keep things real and authentic as possible. I’ll give tips and talk about my struggles, my kids, life as a military wife, family, and everything in between. I hope you’ve enjoyed this so far, and I can’t wait to see you back!!!