About Melissa Norris

Melissa K. Norris writes inspirational historical romance novels. Her stories inspire people to draw closer to God and their pioneer roots. She found her own little house in the big woods, where she lives with her husband and two children in the Cascade Mountains. She writes a monthly column, Pioneering Today, for the local newspaper that bridges her love of the past with its usefulness in modern life. Her books and articles are inspired by her family’s small herd of beef cattle, her amateur barrel racing days, and her forays into quilting and canning—without always reading the directions first.

8 Foods You Should Be Storing and How

Everyone knows we should be storing some kind of food in our home pantries for both emergencies and preparedness. But how do you know where to start or which foods to store? I see lots of lists on foods folks think you should be storing for your long term food storage. Some of them I agree with, but a lot of them, they’re not practical.8 Foods You Should Be Storing and How

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Podcast #36 Seed Saving How to Save Garden Seed

Seed saving is one of the lost arts to many modern gardeners. It’s my aim to change that. Learning how to seed save is one of the most important things you can do for you self-reliance, preparedness, and frugal nature. It’s also an important tradition we’re in danger of losing.

Learn how to save your garden seed. There's nothing like never having to buy seed again and upping your self-reliance and preparedness level. Great tips, her family has been saving several strains of seed for over 100 years.

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Podcast #35 Pressure Canning Like a Pro

Get pressure canning like a pro with these time saving tips. The end of summer earns my pressure canner a permanent spot on the counter. It gets used every day, sometimes multiple times a day, despite it’s hissing at me. Okay, if that joke fell flat, I blame it on all the pressure canning I’m doing.

Learn how to pressure can like a pro with time saving tips! I need all the time saving tips I can get.

 

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How to Grow Swiss Chard in your Fall Garden

Grow Swiss Chard in Your Fall Garden. I'm so excited to grow a fall garden this year and increase our growing season. Great tips on sowing swiss chard, how to grow it, and way to even eat the stalks!I don’t know about you, but if I don’t know how to do something, I’m not shy about asking. Because no one knows it all right? Between you and me, if someone does seem to know it all, I usually don’t like to hang with them for very long.

While I’m a pretty old hand at gardening, there is a lot I’m still learning. And one of those things is increasing our fall vegetable garden. Continue reading

8 Tips to Keep Sane when Preserving the Bounty +Giveaway Bundle

Of all the things we do on our homestead, preserving the harvest is one of the most crucial parts to our self-sustainability and old-fashioned pioneer roots. It’s also one of the ways we keep our food bill down. In the long run, it keeps our health bills down, too, because the food we put up at home is done at the peak of freshness and when grown by us, heirloom and organically.

You might say I’m a little bit in love with preserving food at home. And my husband is totally okay with my other “love”. In fact, he encourages and even helps… yea, he’s pretty awesome that way.8 tips to keep sane when preserving the bounty. During peak canning season I always feel behind, these are some great tips to remember. Plus,  the food saver and canner giveaway would be awesome to win.

And I have to tell you, this Preserving the Bounty Giveway Bundle is totally awesome! Continue reading

Excalibur Giveaway!

I’m super excited to be part of this Excalibur dehydrator giveaway. Having the tools to preserve our food at home is very important to this Mamma.

Back to school time is hectic and money challenging for a lot of us. I’m gearing up with homemade snacks and meals to send in my little ones lunches, including some homemade fruit leather. Our grapes aren’t ripe yet, but when they are, I’ll be dehydrating the extra bounty for year round snacking.

I don’t have an Excalibur Dehydrator, but I hear they are amazing. Is it weird to be a little jealous of the winner of your own giveaway?

Even if you don’t have little ones going back to school, I hope you enjoy the chance and enter to win this giveaway. Good luck!

Back To School Excalibur Dehydrator Giveaway
Back To School Excalibur Giveaway
As most of you probably know it is Back To School time! A group of blogging colleagues decided to put together a great fall giveaway. What is better than an Excalibur 9 Tray Dehydrator with a timer? Our gardens or farmers’ market are in full swing ready to provide the produce so we can dehydrate most fruits and vegetables as desired. The kids will be heading back to school, if they haven’t already and would love to have goodies to take with them, if allowed at their school. Some of our kids are homeschooled. Either way, lets get dehydrating some fruits, vegetables, meat or herbs. If your name is chosen as the winner what would be the first items you would like to dehydrate? We would love to hear from you!
Here are the bloggers involved in this fabulous giveaway:
1. Food Storage Moms
2. Imperfectly Happy
3. Whole New Mom
4. Montana Homesteader
5. I Get Ready
6. Survival For Blondes
7. Prepared-Housewives
8. Ever Growing Farm
9. Home ready Home
10. Sharing Lifes Abundance
11. PreparednessMama
12. Timber Creek Farm
13. Meliss K. Norris
14. Are We Crazy Or What?
15. Fabulous Farm Girl
16. The Backyard Pioneer
17. Memories By The Mile
18. Hostile Hare
19. That’s My Home
20. Common Sense Homesteading
21. Food Storage and Survival
22. Kneaded Creations
This giveaway is open to any resident 18 years of age or older living in the 48 Continental US States. The giveaway starts on Aug. 11th at 5:00 am (MDT). We will choose a winner at the end of the giveaway on Aug. 18th, 2014 at 5:00 pm (MDT). We will email the winner that is chosen and they will have 24 hours to respond to the email sent to them. If after 24 hours we do not hear from said winner, another winner will be chosen. Thanks again for entering and good luck to all!
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Podcast #34 Planting a Fall Vegetable Garden

Planting a fall vegetable garden ensures you’ll be harvesting vegetables far into the cooler months. But you need to start planting now to harvest in fall.Planting a Fall Garden Now. Learn how to plant now for a fall harvest, seed sowing, how to cool the soil, and tricks for using the frost for your advantage.

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5 Vegetables to Plant Now For a Fall Harvest

There’s nothing as good as harvesting home grown vegetables from your own backyard. One of my favorite things about summer is having a free grocery store next to my house. Growing up and the first years of our marriage we planted our garden the end of May and wound up the harvest by the first of October.5 Vegetables to Plant now for a fall harvest. Great list of vegetables to put in now to extend the growing season, plus which ones to sow from seed and which ones should be transplants. I'm sowing some more seed tomorrow

Our food bill went down considerably and we naturally ate more vegetables than any other time of year. As I became more of a garden and determined to live a self-sustainable lifestyle, I really wanted to be able to grow more of our food year round. The cooler and somewhat normally soggy temperament of the Pacific Northwest seemed to make that out of the question. Do you see my extreme pouty face?

If I only planted warm weather or summer crops, the above statement is true, but cool weather and root crops, now these are a whole ‘nother story. And I love stories that take me by surprise, how about you?

Cool weather crops are sometimes grown during the summer months around here, especially in places with cooler or more mild summers, but they really thrive in the early spring and fall.

The trick, you need to plant them now in order to harvest them this fall. Seems kind a weird, right, you plant during the hottest part of the year, in the dead smack middle of summer for fall? Yep, you do.

These are some of our favorite fall and cool weather crops to grow. Depending upon your first hard frost date, you might be able to sow some of these up into September or about 4 weeks before your first hard frost. Our’s is typically the tale end of October or first of November.

These are 5 vegetables to plant now for a fall harvest.

1. Carrots. Carrots are an excellent fall crop. If your winters aren’t extreme, you can even leave them in the ground and cover them with a layer of straw or mulch. Plus, you get to make carrot cake and carrot muffins and baked carrots and… yea, I kind of like carrots. Carrots are best sown by seed on top of the soil. Keep soil moist until they germinate and thin once they greens are a few inches tall.

2. Beets. Beets are something I developed a taste for as an adult. But they’re like carrots, you can keep them in the ground or store them in the root cellar. They’re super yummy pickled, roasted with garlic, or in my Chocolate Gluten-Free cake. I might have a thing for vegetables and dessert. Here’s our complete tutorial on how to plant and grow beets.

3. Parsnips. I love roasted parsnips with a bit of butter and garlic. Like I will eat the entire pan by myself, in one sitting, without sharing unless I really absolutely have too.

4. Cabbage. Oh, cabbage, I love you stuffed and rolled, shredded in a slaw, and fried in butter with some sausage. Cabbage is one you should plant using seedlings. If you don’t have any started, many nurseries and stores will have seedlings for sale this time of year.

5. Kale. How did I live over two decades without knowing about kale? We adore kale. It’s super easy to grow. Sow it by seed on the top of the soil either in rows or scatter it for a cover crop. These kale chips are so good my son even questioned if they were actually a vegetable.

What are your favorite fall crops? Do you grow any crops year round?

Interested in growing more vegetables into fall? Learn how to cool your soil during planting, which crops to sow from seed, harvesting tips, and how to use the frost to your advantage.

Planting a Fall Garden Now. Learn how to plant now for a fall harvest, seed sowing, how to cool the soil, and tricks for using the frost for your advantage.

 

Finding Things to Be Thankful For

Ever have those days where you just feel weary? You’re tired of stretching to make ends meet, you feel like no matter how you try, you never get ahead.

I don’t know about you, but I have those moments. When I just want to throw my hands up and say oh forget it all. I want to crawl under the covers, except it’s been way too hot, and not think.

I know those moments aren’t from God. Whenever we feel weary or worried, He wants us to turn to Him. Because if we’re focused on Jesus, then many of the things we think are important or stressful, when in light of eternity, suddenly don’t hold such significance.

I recently started reading 1000 Gifts by Ann Voskamp. The one thing I really like about the book is looking for things everyday to be thankful for. Too often, we get wrapped up in the things about this life that are hard or not as we’d like. When we look at things with a grateful heart, it changes our perspective.

These are some pictures of things I’m thankful for God blessing me with today.

Things to be thankful for, clothes on the line

1. Clothes drying on the line.  Continue reading