Easy Loquat Preserves

We co-habitate with a wonderful hearty loquat tree that lives at the edge of our 1/2 acre lot along one of our neighborhood’s busiest streets. About three years ago I began harvesting the fruit annually for a simple loquat preserves recipe I like to make with my kids. Jump to the bottom if you want to get right to it!

There is something that is delightfully enticing about finding food in your own yard – especially food that is offered by nature without any effort or coercion – and turning it into a routine to look forward to seasonally.  My now 7 year old daughter is always my buddy when it comes time to harvest loquat, and we all get excited when we see the tree limbs start to become weighed down with fruit in April.

DIY Plantain Salve for Burns, Bites, Stings & Eczema

Here is a simple DIY Plantain salve to add to your first aid kit for Burns, Bites, Stings & Eczema. This plant is so abundant you likely have some growing in your own yard!

DIY Peppermint Lip Balm

This DIY peppermint lip balm recipe took me from start to finish about 10 minutes.  It feels great and is about as clean as it comes, with only two ingredients plus optional peppermint essential oil.  

Garden Abundance: Sneaky Greens

When you have an abundance of kale or other greens to consume, here’s an easy, make-ahead ice cube tray recipe to help you add a serving of greens to your smoothies.

Garden Abundance: Cilantro & Parsley Pesto 🌱

If you have an abundance of cilantro and parsley in your garden, check out my easy, make-ahead, Cilantro Parsley Pesto recipe. Both of these herbs have an impressive array of health benefits. Also, ever wonder why some people love cilantro and others hate it?

DIY: Quick & Easy Hand Sanitizing Gel

If you’re like me, you probably prefer soap and water for hand-washing, but every now and then need a hand sanitizer instead.  I try to avoid using alcohol-based products because they dry my skin so much and often have ingredients with concerning health effects like triclosan, Benzalkonium Chloride and phthalates. This recipe literally took me less than 10 minutes to make.  It has a pleasant cinnamon and citrus scent and nice moisturizing effects.

Little Rituals: Make Something

When was the last time you made something for fun?  Not because you had to, not because you needed to make money, not because your kid needed help with a school project, but a time when you sat down, gathered a few materials, and decided to scratch the itch of an idea?

Little Rituals: Sit Outside

Today’s little ritual is quite possibly my favorite of them all. I rely on it often to help me return to baseline in times of stress, anxiety or frenzy, and to promote gratitude in times of ease.

This practice invites you to find ten minutes of space in your day to do nothing. Absolutely nothing. On purpose. And to go outside while you do it.  If being outdoors is not possible, then at a minimum sit by a window.

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Little Rituals: Feed the Birds

Do you have a bird feeder in your yard?  Or a place for birds to get water? If not, I humbly suggest you consider getting or making one this winter.  Create a sanctuary for winter birds to come and fill their tummies, and claim it as a visual reminder to clear space in your mind, and free yourself from a few moments of worry and/or thought-clutter.

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Kid Fun: Composting Wormery Bins

In a recent post I discussed how and why making a tiny wormery with your kids could maybe save the world.  To build on that thread, today I want to talk about making a larger scale worm bin to compost your family’s kitchen scraps.

Little Rituals: Honey Lemon Cayenne Tea

Lately each day, when I’m feeling chilled or sense the hint of sickness coming on, I find myself making warm honey, lemon and cayenne “tea”.  I have always sworn this concoction can nip a fuzzy headed, drippy sore-throat feeling in the bud before it ever settles in, but I’ve never really known why it always seemed to work.  This week I took time to explore that curiosity.

Little Family Rituals: Create a book for reflections and dreams

The holidays are a fantastic time to create ritual that invites us to pause and reflect on the year behind us and consider what we want most for our days ahead.  Not only does taking time to do this allow a way to integrate lessons learned both collectively and individually, it also provides a place to share these things when we might otherwise keep them stored inside.  What’s more, looking back on the ways a family has grown, or the ways dreams were realized (or turned into something completely different) after many years is the way this simple and quick ritual can turn into something priceless that can be enjoyed perhaps even by generations who will follow.

Kid Fun: Make a Tiny Wormery (and Maybe Save the World🌎)

As follow up to my recent post on the importance of helping the Earth maintain and replace healthy topsoil, here’s a simple activity to help you have this conversation with your kids: Make a Tiny Wormery!

Building Life with Soil: Compost 101

We’re talking dirt this weekend. More specifically, the process of composting and how you can get started in your own backyard to help preserve one of our planet’s most valuable resources: healthy soil.

DIY: Olive Oil Lamps

Now why on earth would you make a homemade olive oil lamp, you ask? Because it is a surprisingly delightful and easy project that adds beauty and excitement to an otherwise uneventful day.  At least that was my reason.

DIY: Tea Tree Oil Shower Spray

I’m sharing a simple recipe today for a DIY tea tree oil household spray that I’ve been using the past week or so. It inhibits the growth of mildew and molds, so if you’re interested in learning simple ways to use fewer chemicals and still have good cleaning results, read on.

Springtime on the Urban Yardstead 🌱

The most magical season for our yardstead is spring! Now that everything is in full bloom in Texas, and before the chiggers and mosquitos realize how nice and warm it’s getting, it’s time to get out in the yarden and plant all of those yummy veggies and fruits for harvesting this summer. What do you have growing or planned for your yarden this year?

Yardsteading Fun: Canning Loquats

Amongst other yard treasures, we were fortunate to inherit a beautiful loquat tree at the home we moved into a little over a year ago.  I have seen loquats growing around Texas throughout my life, but for whatever reason, I was never inspired to try the fruit.  Living along the Blanco River in the Texas Hill […]

Yardsteading

My yard has become my sanctuary.  I moved into my current home in 2015, and it has taken some time to get to know it, including its array of edibles. For me, being able to gather edibles from my own yard, or as I like to call it, “yardsteading”, is ridiculously gratifying.  There is something special about using your own fingers to pluck the fruit, nut, vegetable or herb from the branch or dirt, and then to create the time and space to turn it into something you can enjoy or give to others.