Hey there!

We've been busy here on the farm weaning calves, making hay, bush hogging, gardening, foraging.......and planning a homesteading/simple living conference!!! That's right! Grandma Bea's is welcoming folks to the homestead for a day of learning (and fun)! 

GRANDMA BEA'S NATURAL LIVING CONFERENCE will be held July 27, 2019, from 9am to 5pm. So far we have six classes planned including soapmaking, salves and infused oils, tinctures, herbs and foraging, natural first aid kits and natural cleaners. Live demos, vendors and food are also in the plans! It is going to be a great day! I love sharing this way of living! The conference will be held in our wedding barn called Ladders & Lace. (Check it out on Facebook -

Tickets sales started today! There is limited seating so you'll want to purchase your tickets as soon as possible. And just a little incentive....for email subscribers if you purchase a tickets from today (Saturday, June 15, 2019) through Monday, June 17, 2019, you will receive a coupon code for 20% off Grandma Bea's Natural Products!!!

Here's the link to purchase tickets:

In other news, Elderberry bushes are in full bloom here in Southeast Missouri!  The blossoms are easier to locate than the berries, so now is the time to locate and make a note of where your elderberries are for harvest time.


Elderberry blossoms

Can't wait until the elderberries are ripe to enjoy their goodness? Then here's a recipe for Elderberry Blossom Fritters to make!

• 4 to 6 clusters elderflowers per person
• Pancake batter
• 1 teaspoon or more light-flavored vegetable oil

1. Be sure elder flowers are fresh and white, not brown. Rinse and clean them, discarding any discolored blossoms, woody stems or leaves. Wrap flowers in a towel to absorb excess water while you prepare a pancake batter.

2. Make your favorite pancake batter.

3. Heat a teaspoon of oil in a large frying pan. (Follow the cooking directions for your batter; some recipes require low cooking temperatures, others are higher.) Test a drop or two of batter in the oil to make sure the pan is hot enough; the batter should sizzle when it hits the oil.

4. Holding an elderflower cluster by its main stem, dip it into batter then place it in the frying pan. Don’t crowd the pan—pancakes should not touch their neighbors! Fry until bottom is golden brown (lift gently with a spatula to check). Flip and fry until second side is golden.

5. Drain cakes on paper towels. To make additional batches, add a bit more oil to the pan; keep cooked cakes warm in an oven until ready to serve. Serve with syrup or elderberry jelly.

 If you like, you can make a double batch of these pancakes and freeze the extras. To reheat, bring to room temperature, then heat in a 350-degree oven until hot, about 5 minutes.

We'll talk again soon!

Debbie with Grandma Bea's


Extra Cold = Extra Chores!


Happy New Year! 

Here in Missouri, we're enjoying rather frigid temperatures. We woke up to a brisk 0 degrees and have heated up to a whopping 14 degrees! Factor in the windchill and it's downright cold! (Or as my farmer says "It's bone-chillin' cold"!) Along with the cold comes extra chores. The animals need extra nourishment which means feeding more hay to the cattle. The chickens have to be watered throughout the day because their water freezes. The ice has to be chopped on the ponds so the cattle can get to the water. The wood stove has to be stoked more often. The machine shed has to be heated so that the tractor is easier to start. The list goes on an on. 

Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining. In fact, I kinda enjoy it. I may be a little strange but there's something very gratifying about working the chores. I don't know what it is, but I find a sense of comfort from the farm work. I guess maybe I'm channeling the pioneer woman in me! I can't help but think of our ancestors and how truly hard they worked in everyday life. Yes, we work hard here on the farm, but nothing compared to the pioneer days. Imagine that Instead of turning on the faucet to get water for the chickens, carrying water from the well or stream (after chopping through the ice!). Not to mention we have the luxury of indoor plumbing for other reasons - brrr, don't you know those trips to the outhouse were miserable in the winter! We do have an outhouse here on the farm, but it doesn't get used much during the winter season!

The evening chores are waiting so I better get bundled up and get to them. So glad this morning I put the leftover ham bone from Christmas on the stove. Nothing better than a big bowl of hot ham & beans with some sweet cornbread for supper on a cold winter's night! 






Words to Live By


Many of us have heard abbreviated version of this well-known prayer.  You know, "God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can,And wisdom to know the difference."

Until recently I wasn't aware that the version that I had memorized and recited over the years was actually incorrect. The original prayer was written by Reinhold Niebuhr in the late 1930's or 1940's. 

God, give us grace to accept with serenity
the things that cannot be changed,
Courage to change the things
which should be changed,
and the Wisdom to distinguish
the one from the other.

Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,
Taking, as Jesus did,
This sinful world as it is,
Not as I would have it,
Trusting that You will make all things right,
If I surrender to Your will,
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,
And supremely happy with You forever in the next.


The first verse is nice and has served me well throughout the years to withstand some difficult days. But how I wish I would have known the second verse all this time! Such a wonderful message! 

How to Dehydrate Yellow Squash

The squash have taken over my garden! It's beginning to look a little like Jumanji because the butternut and yellow squash have just gone crazy! We've eaten tons of it, gave away tons of it and there's still tons of squash left! I guess I could freeze some, but my freezer is getting pretty full. So I decided to dehydrate some of these never-ending vegetables to use this winter in soup.

I used to dehydrate the old-fashioned way by drying vegetables on a screen. But thanks to the Farmer (my loving husband!) I now have a fancy electric dehydrator!  This modern machine sure does make the dehydrating process a lot easier and faster.

Dehydrating is a great way to use up those giant squash that somehow end up in our gardens. Just slice them in half and scoop out the seeds. Then chop and dice the squash. Next you'll need to blanch the chopped squash in boiling water for 3 minutes.

Drain and place evenly on the dehydrator trays. 

Dehydrate at 130 degrees for 10 hours. The squash is done when it is crispy. 

Store in mason jars or use a Food Saver to vacuum seal. 

Another option is to cut the squash into thin slices (1/8 inch) and sprinkle with sea salt and dehydrate at 130 degrees until crispy. Yum!  

Pressure Canning Potatoes!

Canned potatoes are an absolute must in my cellar. I love the convenience of being able to grab a jar of potatoes off the shelf to heat up as a side dish or add to a roast. I recently bought 30 pounds of potatoes on sale and couldn't wait to get them in the pressure canner!  Since potatoes are in the low acid category, they do require pressure canning as opposed to water bath. 

I'm going to share my method of canning potatoes, however, be sure to follow the instructions specific to your own pressure canner.  I also highly recommend the "Ball Blue Book of Canning".

First, prepare the jars by sterilizing them. This can be done in the dishwasher or by putting the jars in boiling water for 10 minutes. Prepare the lids by placing in almost-boiling water for about 5 minutes.

Now get a large pot of water boiling. This water will be used to fill the jars after packing in the potatoes. 

Rinse out your pressure canner and put about 4 inches of water in it and put on the stove over low heat to get the canner heated up. (of course, check your canner instructions just in case they are different.)

And get yet another large pot of water boiling on the stove. This water will be used to blanch the potatoes.

Wash the potatoes. Peel the potatoes and remove any discolored spots.

Cut the potatoes into cubes about 1 1/2 to 2 inches in size. As your cutting them up put them in a bowl filled with water and about a cup of lemon juice. This is to keep the potatoes from turning brown. When you're finished cutting up the potatoes, drain them. 

Next pour the potatoes into the large pot of boiling water and cook for 2 minutes. Be careful not to cook too long or your potatoes will be mushy. After 2 minutes, drain and pack the potatoes into the jars leaving 1 inch of "headspace", the space needed for expansion during canning process. 

Now you're ready to use the other pot of water to fill the potato-packed jars with hot water. The potatoes should be covered with water and still leave a 1 inch headspace. Wipe off the rims of the jar with a clean cloth. Put the lids and rings on the jars snugly. 

Place the filled jars into the pressure canner using a jar grabber. Put the lid on the canner but leave the weight off.

Let the canner vent for 10 minutes. After the 10 minutes, place the weight on and let the pressure build to 11 pounds. With my canner, the weight begins to shake when the pressure has built. Process for 35 minutes.

When the processing time is done, turn off heat and allow the canner to cool and the pressure drop before opening the canner. It may take 45 minutes to an hour for the pressure to drop. DO NOT try to speed up the cooling process! Opening the canner too soon may cause liquid to be lost from the jars.

After the pressure has dropped, lift the jars out of the canner using the jar grabber and place on a wooden cutting board or a towel to cool in a draft-free area. Be careful not to bump the jars together. When the jars have cooled, usually overnight, check to make sure they have sealed. To do this, just press the center of the lid gently with your finger, if it pops up and down the jar did not seal. If this happens, place in refrigerator and consume right away. If the lid doesn't pop up and down then the jar sealed correctly!

What's so great about canned potatoes is that they are already cooked so all you have to do is open a jar, heat them up and they're ready to eat! So convenient and so delicious!







Over-Ripe Bananas? Make Banana Bread!

Have you ever noticed that nobody ever wants to eat that last banana? You know, the one that has a few too many brown spots on it. Well, at our house, I just toss that poor ugly banana in the freezer and when I'm in the baking mood (which is just about all the time!) I dig out those frozen brown bananas and bake banana bread! 

Today not only was in the baking mood, but I also had an abundance of eggs (and frozen bananas) that needed to be used as well. So I grabbed those pitiful bananas from the freezer and grabbed one of my favorite cookbooks and one my favorite aprons and started baking!

This recipe is super easy and uses basic ingredients that are sure to be in your pantry. 

Don't let outward appearance fool you! These bananas are still delicious!

Don't let outward appearance fool you! These bananas are still delicious!

Banana Bread

  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 ripe bananas
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • nuts (optional)

Beat egg, sugar and melted butter together. 

Use a fork to mash the bananas.

Sift flour, salt and baking soda together and add to the above mixture.

Pour batter into greased loaf pan or two greased mini-loaf pans.

Bake at 375 degrees for about 45 minutes or until inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Enjoy freshly baked, place in a ziploc bag or vacuum seal with a Food Saver to put in the freezer to serve another day! I baked 8 mini-loaves that may end up in the freezer to take to the Farmer's Market next week! 



Homemade Elderberry Syrup!

The elderberries are just about ready to harvest and they are plentiful this year! I suppose you could make elderberry jam or elderberry wine with these berries, but my favorite way to use elderberries is to make elderberry syrup! Elderberry syrup is a natural remedy for colds and flu. It’s easy to make, inexpensive and effective!

Naturally high in immune boosting compounds, the dried berries of the elderberry plant (sambucis nigra) are known to help prevent colds and flu.  It is also beneficial in speeding the recovery of those who already have the flu. The berries contain high levels of antioxidants, vitamin A, B, and C which all help to stimulate the immune system.

The other ingredients also provide needed benefits to the syrup. Cloves have natural antiseptic and germicidal properties that help fight infection. Ginger root has been noted to have healing properties and cinnamon is a powerful anti-viral and anti-bacterial. And of course, honey, gives the immune system a boost as well.

Mix these all things together and you have a natural way to prevent and treat colds, flu, and sore throats!



2/3 cup elderberries

3 1/2 cups water

2 TBSP ginger root

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp clove

1 cup raw honey

Pour water, elderberries, ginger, cinnamon and clove into sauce pan. Bring water to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to simmer for 45 minutes. Then pour through strainer into glass jar or bowl. Discard the elderberries and let liquid cool until just warm.  Add honey and stir well. Store in glass jar in refrigerator.

For prevention, it is recommended that adults take 1/2 to 1 tablespoon daily. Children (not recommended for children under age 1 due to the honey), 1/2 to 1 teaspoon daily.  If someone already has the flu increase the normal daily dose to every 2-3 hours. My family also increases dosage at first signs of sore throat, cough, etc.

Easy Blackberry Pie!

This year's blackberry crop has been amazing! I've canned plenty of blackberry jam, put quarts and quarts in the freezer, given some away, baked cobblers and pies, and we're still picking blackberries!

Blackberry picking will always hold a special place in my heart. As a child, I would walk the railroad tracks in Menfro (our little hometown) and pick blackberries with my Grandma Bea. She loved picking blackberries! And she loved baking blackberry pies!

Being a grandma myself now, I love picking blackberries and I love baking blackberry pie (of course, I love eating blackberry pie too!)!  Perhaps those childhood memories are the reason behind my love of these summertime berries and I hope to pass a little of that happiness on to my grandchildren.  

This blackberry pie recipe is easy and so delicious you'll enjoy making it almost as much as eating it!


4-5 cups blackberries (fresh or frozen)

1/2 cup flour

1/2 cup white sugar

2 Tbsp milk

1/4 cup white sugar


Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Mix flour and 1/2 cup sugar in bowl. Add 3 1/2 to 4 cups blackberries and stir. Spoon the blackberry mixture into pie crust. Sprinkle remaining 1/2 to 1 cup berries on top of the mixture. Cover with another whole pie crust or cut pie crust into strips to make a lattice top. Brush top crust with milk and sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup sugar. Bake 15 minutes then reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees and bake another 20 minutes. The crust will be a light golden brown when finished. 

Can't you just taste it? My Farmer sure was happy to see two of these delights cooling on the kitchen counter when he came in from the fields! One for our family and one to share with the neighbors! 

P.S. If you have any extra crust dough left make a simpler version of Blatz Kuchen (a German sweet treat)! Just roll the dough out and place on a cookie sheet and cut into strips. Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar and bake for about 5-8 minutes until light golden brown. My children and grandchildren love this easy little treat and even the Farmer will take a bite or two as he waits patiently for the pie to bake.