Category Archives: veg

Tomatoes End

We’re hanging on for dear life to our tomato season here at le homestead…still doing quite nicely, but it’s on the wane…

“Only two things that money can’t buy
That’s true love and home grown tomatoes.” ~John Denver

Tomatoes End by OliveLoaf Design

{Photo & Tomato Grower: OliveLoaf Design} ūüėČ


lost summer too

Wow! Where did August and September go? I was so busy with gardening and crafting and working on orders that I completely neglected le blog. {sigh}¬† Well, in hopes of catching up – here’s a photo collage of the missing months. Enjoy!

May Day 2014

Happy May Day! Ah, Spring is upon us here at Le Homestead. Nothing inspires me more that walking outside at sunrise and finding new flora and fauna blooming. ..

Cue the Dogwoods by OliveLoaf Design
Cue the Dogwoods

These lilacs have been a labor of love – the labor of moving them around several times to find the right spot to help them grow…for the love of the intoxicating fragrance {don’t you wish this was smell-o-vision?}.

Lilacs in Bloom by OliveLoaf Design
Lilacs in Bloom

The irises we have at Le Homestead were transplanted 6 years ago with nothing but green foliage year after year. Finally, after expert gardener tips and moving to a new spot – this year they are blooming. This particular specimen bloomed inside as pesky snails chomped its stem.

Yellow Iris by OliveLoaf Design
Long Awaited Iris in Yellow

Snow peas begin their climb. I’ve been crafting rustic garden markers from re-purposed wooden lattice, dowels, acrylic paint and paint markers.

Snow Peas by OliveLoaf Design
Grow Peas

crafty homesteady

I received a lovely note from a fan:

“I just wanted to tell you that I really like your blog and your crafts. I especially love it when you post things about your homestead and “homesteady” how-to things. I wanted to encourage you to keep at it and give us more, more, more! You are an inspiration!”¬† -Marni N. from Harrisburg, PA

Wow! That was awesome. Thank you Marni!¬† I try to branch out and post more lifestyle things just to round out the OliveLoaf Design concept. So with that encouragement, let’s give it a shot. We’ll call it: Crafty Homesteady. I thought I’d focus on things that interest me the most: Re-Purposing, Re-Cycling, Up-Cycling, Organic, Non-GMO, Natural, Homemade, Plant-Based/Vegan, Healthy and Whole. {Is that enough?!} Here’s the first installment…

Craft Homemade Vegetable Broth:

I don’t know about where you live, but around here organic, low sodium/no salt added vegetable broth is pretty pricey.¬† Do it yourself. Save ALL of your veggie, citrus and herb scraps in the freezer until you have several bags. We have tons around le homestead as we are plant-based. Cram them into a big ole pot or slow cooker {you may have to do a few batches}. Add bay leaf, whole peppercorns, smashed garlic cloves and/or bouquet garni with fresh herbs from your summer garden. Cover all this with water & cook it down until you have a delightful vegetable broth. Salt if you must and strain. Save in re-purposed/mason jars {better with glass} in the fridge or freeze. Compost remaining veg waste.¬†

Veggie Broth Brew

Not only will you now have homemade vegetable broth at the ready for all of your soup and sauce needs – but you can replace oil for sauteing too.

Glass Gem

UPDATE: 10/21/15 We do not have seeds this year. You can find Glass Gem corn seeds at Native Seeds. Cheers!

Now available in our Barren River Emporium shop:

Glass Gem Corn Seeds, 60 Seed Pack. Shipping Included for USA orders. Organic, Non-GMO, Heirloom.

This beautiful, multi-colored heirloom flint corn is used for making flour or as a popping corn. Unlike sweet corn, it is not typically eaten right off the cob. However, it was likely bred as an ornamental variety.

After wait-listing our seeds for a year, we grew the seeds available here last Summer 2013. Grown without pesticides or synthetic fertilizers; Organic. Each ear was like opening a surprise gift – each more colorful and unique than the last.

We wanted to spread the Non-GMO corn love to you. They make beautiful seasonal decorations and delicious & super-white popcorn.

Glass Gem Popcorn by OliveLoaf Design

Grown in South Central Kentucky, USA.

Glass Gem Growing by OliveLoaf Design

Via¬† "Its origin traces back to Carl Barnes, a part-Cherokee farmer living in Oklahoma. Barnes had an uncanny knack for corn breeding. More specifically, he excelled at selecting and saving seed from those cobs that exhibited vivid, translucent colors. Exactly how long Barnes worked on Glass Gem‚ÄĒhow many successive seasons he carefully chose, saved, and replanted these special seeds‚ÄĒis unknown. But after many years, his painstaking efforts created a wondrous corn cultivar that has now captivated thousands of people around the world." 

"Approaching old age, Barnes bestowed his precious seed collection to Greg Schoen, his corn-breeding protégé. The weighty responsibility of protecting these seeds was not lost on Schoen. While in the process of moving in 2010, he sought out a place to store a sampling of the collection to ensure its safekeeping. Schoen passed on several unique corn varieties to fellow seedsman Bill McDorman, who was owner at the time of Seeds Trust, a small family seed company then located in central Arizona. (Today, Bill McDorman is Executive Director of Native Seeds/SEARCH.Curious about the oddly named Glass Gems, he planted a handful of seeds in his garden. The spectacular plants that emerged took him by surprise. 'I was blown away,' McDorman recalls. 'No one had ever seen corn like this before.' "

Rainbow Corn by OliveLoaf Design

Click here to order!

Voluntary Simplicity

I¬†heard a¬†marvelously inspiring piece on¬†NPR this weekend about Voluntary Simplicity; what life can be about – a less complicated existence animated by inner joy. It resonated with me as I clearly have been aspiring or evolving into this lifestyle – without having a name for it – becoming less encumbered by possessions & consumerism, time for other people and oneself, caring about the environment, getting back to nature…

{see/hear more at}*

A little harvest from le gardens.

“We’re really led away from what we’re here for, which is to learn how to live sociably with others and soulfully with ourselves. And consumerism is relatively shallow and life is deep.” ~Duane Elgin, author of Voluntary Simplicity

Still life with wild daisies.

Wild Daisies by OliveLoaf Design

A walk in the woods.

Homemade strawberry pie {vegan}.

Handmade gifts {from up-cycled materials}.

Crafting art {from re-purposed resources}.

Observing the wonders of nature.

“To find the universal elements enough; to find the air and the water exhilarating;¬†to be refreshed by a morning walk or an evening saunter… to be thrilled by the stars at night; to be elated over a bird’s nest or a wildflower in spring these are some of the rewards of the simple life.”¬† ~John Burroughs

tuesday whatnots

happy tuesday! just a quite hello with a couple notes

{i’m busy working in the studio on some orders & planning a vacay for next week!}


i’m loving the deep purple color of these bush beans coming from le garden

{if you’ve never seen them – they turn green when cooked – very cool!}

grown from baker creek heirloom seeds…


it’s that ‘Stache~On~A~Stick time of year

been working on several orders coming in for halloween & whatnots

see le shoppe for your mustache & lips on stick needs!


if you’d like to add a little handmade & up~cycled goodness

to your thanksgiving table decor this year

{or to give a treasured holiday gift to your turkey-day host}

why not order an oliveloaf design bespoke paper~mache turkey?

{it’s a good time to queue up now!}


natural friday


happy friday lovely people.

here are some recent sights,discoveries & inspirations

and scenes from my gardening projects. enjoy!


a friendly kitty shows me the pretty geraniums at a local garden market.


gorgeous mockingbird eggs & nest in a front porch bush.


our mimosa tree is in bloom & blankets the yard with a layer of fragrant blooms.


i love this wispy tree at the lake.


lakeside meditation.


harvested:  extra dwarf pak choy. {and hydrangeas}


harvested: rocky top mixed lettuces & white hailstone radishes.


“Go and walk with Nature; thou wilt find

Full many a gem in her enchanted cup.”

~Isaac McLellan


sowing the seeds of love

after many frosty & chilly days in kentucky

i sure am wishing for springtime right about now…how about you?


flowers of kentucky 2011 by oliveloaf design


i can’t wait for the flora & fauna to return.

and i am especially looking forward to working on le homestead garden 2.0!

the mister & i decided to take it up a notch this spring

so i’ve been perusing heirloom catalogs & ordering seeds

and studying & taking notes on growing techniques.

i’ve been inspired greatly by two thorough readings of

*animal, vegetable, miracle* by barbara kingsolver & her family

this book has been a great resource for a beginning gardener like myself

and ms. kingsolver is from kentucky {and farms in appalachia}

so many of her planting recommendations are apropo

to the area where i’m developing my green thumb

{and thankfully it’s indexed online}


there i found a very helpful diagram:

the vegetannual:  an imaginary plant that bears over the course of one growing season

a cornucopia of all the different vegetable products we can harvest.


i’ve been collecting heirloom seeds from a couple of etsy sources {see list below}


and testing them in the greenhouse {aka backroom/porch}


i’ve been completely enamored with a few beautiful heirloom seed catalogs

&  eager to start growing some of the wonderful seeds i have ordered ~ like:

 sweet dumpling squash

corne de belier snow peas

five color swiss chard

moons & stars watermelons

blue curled scotch kale

extra dwarf pak choy

listada de gandia eggplant

atomic red carrots


boule d’Or melon

pink oxheart tomato

and many more


in case you’re interested ~ here’s a list of the heirloom shops i dig:

Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds

D. Landreth Seed Company

Annie’s Heirloom Seeds

Cubits Organics

Heirlooms R Us Seeds


happy gardening!


hey wait! as i was going to press with this post – mr. mailman showed up

with a box of seeds from baker creek {super fast shippers!} yay!