love tip #11: scratch tastes better


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Shhh!  The most delicious foods are often the most simple to create!

Dusty’s Core Baking Mix

Since active with the Gypsy Preparers, I’ve been asked to share my grandmother’s core recipe for basic baking mix.  Since she didn’t actually measure her ingredients, I have adapted what I learned into measured recipes that I’m able to create off the top of my head for everyday use.

Flapjack mix

Dusty’s Flapjack mix,

Everything starts with the Core recipe.  Mine is a simple mix of:

  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt

> Basic pancakes: add egg and milk (I scoop about 4-5 heaping tablespoons of this mix into a bowl, add 1 beaten egg and milk to desired texture.)  I use a griddle with cooking spray, flipping the pancakes as soon as bubbles begin to open.  If your pancakes are dry, thin the mix with milk and flip your pancakes sooner.

> Basic waffles: add egg and milk as above, plus 1 tablespoon oil or shortening (I prefer olive oil.)  The fat adds that bit of crisp to the cooked product and is more like the Belgian Waffles I remember from when I lived near Brussels!

> Flapjacks: raise sugar to 1/2 cup and add 1/2 cup cornmeal, prepare the same as Basic pancakes.

> Biscuit mix: add 1/3 cup chilled shortening to the Core recipe, cutting it in quickly and then adding just enough water or buttermilk to form drop biscuits for baking.  You can also reduce the sugar and raise the salt to desired taste.

> Backpacker’s mix: add 1/3 cup powdered milk and powdered eggs as desired to Core recipe, when ready to use, spoon out desired amount and add water until desired consistency.

Don’t forget to add your favorite toppings!  Although I will mix mashed bananas right into the pancake mix, I add all other toppings just after pouring the mix onto the griddle, immediately adding blueberries, chopped chocolate, etc., to allow the ingredients to cook into the mix and warm well.

*** You can even make your own buttermilk quickly and easily using fresh milk with lemon juice or white vinegar.  Simply put 1 tablespoon of either acid into a measuring cup, then fill to 1 full cup with milk.  In 5-10 minutes you will have buttermilk ready to use!

Please remember when sharing to credit content and photos to permie love!  Thank you!

UPDATE! rain barrels are filling


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rain barrels are filling.

rain barrels are filling

UPDATE!  These rain barrels were a wonderful addition last year!  We had good rainfall and both remained nearly full the entire summer.  I did not use the garden hose, NOT ONE TIME, for watering!  When winter came, I had to open the valves so that the water would pass through and not freeze the faucets on them.  Need to figure out a way to ‘bypass the bypass’ so that the water will drain back down the original path and away from the house.

Thunderstorms coming in tonight to both test and help fill our new rain barrels!

Got two 50-gallon rain barrels installed on the downspouts.  Not anywhere near the amount I’ll want or need but it is a start.

50 Gallon Rain barrel

Hoping to eventually get a large cistern for this end of the house where the basement walk-out area is and then placing the smaller ones on the other end by our driveway.

And while it will take over 300 fillings of each to start saving dollars out of my pocket due to sunk costs on the barrel and downspout redirect, the savings to Mother Earth are enormous.

Every time a barrel fills, that’s 50 gallons less of pumped and chemical filled water being delivered to my door.  Also, by getting the pre-made enclosed barrels, we won’t be adding to the summer mosquito problems.

Note to self: Re-level them after a few rains (very clay soil) and then plant some perennials around the bases to help seat them in and to beautify!

Kim Bryant Presentation


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Kim Bryant, Photo Credit: Amanda Field Photography

Kim Bryant, Photo Credit: Amanda Field Photography

For members of the Purdue University Good Earth Master Gardeners, the February 12th meeting will feature Kim Bryant, owner/operator of the organically certified Bryant Farm in Ellettsville, Indiana.  Kim will be discussing vegetable production from seed, as well as management of her farm-to-market operation.

The farm produces: arugula, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, Chinese greens, cucumber, eggplant, green beans, green onions, chile peppers, lettuce, potatoes, pumpkins, salad greens, spinach, summer squash, tomatoes, turnips, winter squash

Bryant Farm … produces organically certified fruits and vegetables. Owned by Rex and Kim Bryant, Bryant Farm is almost completely family-run, with their intern Sasha helping out.  The farm covers 11 acres and grows everything from eggplant to green beans. Rex is a electrician and Kim worked in a factory as they were raising their three daughters. Kim started growing a few items in the backyard for the family. As it continued to grow, they both made the decision for Kim to leave her job and farm full-time.”  — State House Market

“About Bryant Farm: We are a family owned and operated farm, located in Ellettsville. At Saturday markets you’ll find myself, Kim, daughters Jessica, Jade, and Katie, and son Michael. We started attending the Bloomington market in 2003. This is our 11th season. With each year we have been able to offer more vegetables each season. Along with the Bloomington markets on Saturdays we also attend the original Farmers Market on Wednesday, and the Statehouse Market on Thursdays each week in Indianapolis. Each vegetable we offer is started at the farm from seed. The feeding program we follow is the Fox Farm schedule. As far as pest and fungi control we use Neem Oil. Both of these practices are OMRI approved. My favorite crops to grow are cauliflower, because it is challenging, and eggplants because they are beautiful. Come see us at the Saturday Farmers’ Market!” — City of Bloomington, Indiana

got my Foundations of Permaculture course!


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Earth_Users_Guide1Although I’ve been a permaculture student through reading and application, taking the Foundations of Permaculture course through Midwest Permaculture begins my formal education in the practice–and it just arrived in the mail today!

Midwest PermacultureThis is the first step in getting my Permaculture Design Certificate.  So excited to begin!


  • permaculture

    [ ˈpərməˌkəlCHər ]

    the development of agricultural ecosystems intended to be sustainable and self-sufficient.
    Powered by OxfordDictionaries · © Oxford University Press



Good Earth Master Gardeners


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Linking to my Master Gardener club’s NEW website/blog!



Join my online party!


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Reblog  to share my newest venture!

Join my online party!.

Simply stated,


I believe that Barefoot Books are the best

cultural and earth friendly children’s books

–and they’re fun and beautiful to boot!


So … I’ve become a Barefoot Books Ambassador!  Yay!


Join my launch party at:


At Barefoot Books, we celebrate art and story that opens the hearts and minds of children from all walks of life, focusing on themes that encourage independence of spirit, enthusiasm for learning and respect for the world’s diversity. The welfare of our children is dependent on the welfare of the planet, so we source paper from sustainably managed forests and constantly strive to reduce our environmental impact. Playful, beautiful and created to last a lifetime, our products combine the best of the present with the best of the past to educate our children as caretakers of tomorrow.

teaching in the spring!


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I’ll be teaching a 9-week gardening course in the Spring!  Info for the course is from my teaching blog, Miss Dusty’s Impartation

Gardening Course (ALL proceeds to charity!)

NEW!!!  With permission from the Purdue Extension Office, I will be teaching this course with all proceeds going to charity!  Fees for the course will be split 50/50 between Salem Homeschool Academy and Good Earth Master Gardeners (a Purdue University Master Gardener Program) of Washington County, Indiana.  So come out and support great local charities while improving on your own green thumb!

Offering Spring 2015!  Explore the basics of gardening and horticulture with a focus on Indiana climates.  Learn plant basics, soils, plant identification, fertilization and composting, propagation, diseases, pests, and how to create gardens, and even forest gardens, while promoting sustainability and permanence.  Students will be able to participate in hands-on learning labs culminating with an end-of-course field trip.

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love tip #10: gathering seeds


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As I return to the world-wide web and all of its wonders, I’m also returning to my land and gathering seeds from the finest of the plants–ones that I will want to plant more of in the coming seasons.

Seeds collected today from my property

Seeds collected today from my property

How does one know which seeds are ready and how to store them?  These are questions that can be answered in general, but also with a unique answer for each plant type.  Confusing?  Well, yes and no.

The best answer is that Mother Nature lets you know when things are ready!  Plants and/or their seeds either dry up, drop from the plant, are blown in the wind, or as hikers and pet owners both know, are carried inside on humans and furry pets alike.

  • My Black-Eyed Susans have big dried seed-cones that I’m able to clip whole and store.
  • My Eastern Redbuds have bean pods that have dried and browned and are just starting to fall.  (These have gorgeous flowers in the Spring.)
  • And, although the Pin Oaks’ acorns are still green, they are falling to the ground, thus telling me that they are ready to be gathered as they will dry and brown within the week.  (Our squirrels bury their seeds rather than store them, losing most, so I’ll save these to give to them in winter!)
  • Without seeds, I still have baby Tulip Trees that have volunteered themselves in my flower beds.  I let them have their way in the flower beds this past summer and now, with just one growing season, they are 2-3 feet tall and ready to transplant once their leaves drop.
  • And don’t forget Hostas and spring/early summer bulb plants.  With fall comes the perfect time to move, divide and conquer many of these so that they will be in place and ready to grow as soon as nature commands in the Spring.

As for storage, everything has its own rules but nearly all require time to dry (lowering moisture) and storage in a cool, dry, dark place until ready for planting.  And while some say that the seeds must be in breathable containers (such as paper), others swear by their old habits of using sealed glass jars such as canning jars, or old mayo or pickle jars, or plastic zipper bags.

Gathered wildflower and tree seeds in Mason jars

Gathered wildflower and tree seeds in canning jars

I say to each his own.  If you’re worried about a particular seed, research it to find out if it has any special needs.  For example, my PawPaws have seeds, but they have extremely particular growing needs that are difficult to reproduce.  But regardless, don’t fret, take on the challenge to keep your favorites and enjoy the process as it plays out.

To see some of the plants listed above, visit my plant inventory page.

You can also visit Seed Savers Exchange for more information on the process and to gain access (via membership) to a seed exchange service.


just a few lilies from my gardens


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A beautiful selection of Lilies, Lilium spp., that have popped up on my property!

update! delving into hugelkultur

via delving into hugelkultur.