I’ve been making tissue box covers for years! As much as some of the manufacturers try to pretty up their tissue boxes, I always find them wrong – either the colors are garish or I just find them downright ugly and nothing that will fit into my farmhouse decor. Call me picky, but that’s how I feel. 🙂

My tissue box covers are super easy to make. Best of all, you can use fabric of your choice that will compliment your decor. I’ve made several that go nicely in each room of my farmhouse. Often, my tissue box covers actually compliment my decor as they add a little extra dimension of . . . what is the exact word I’m searching for . . . ahh, texture!

In the meantime, you can find complete directions to make a tissue box cover in the ebook Homestead Anywhere…and best of all, it’s free!


In the northeast corner of America where the cold North Atlantic can chill you to the bone, kale soup is a hearty, nutritious, and tasty fall and winter standby. Kale soup packs lots of vitamins and minerals, so it’s good for you – and whether you’re on a standard diet or if you’re following a Keto diet, this heartwarming soup is for you.

When I make kale soup, I don’t measure my ingredients. That said, I’m going to try and give you approximates of what I do and roughly how much of this and that goes into its making. Feel free to add more – or less – of what you tend to like.


1 large bunch of raw kale

2 cups of dried beans, soaked in water overnight, and rinsed

2 lbs chouriço meat, cut into rough half-inch pieces

2 large onions, chopped into 1″ pieces

2 or 3 cloves garlic, minced

10 – 12 cups of water

salt & pepper to taste

half teaspoon of red pepper flakes (optional)

NEXT: Tear the leaves from the kale and place into a large pot. Add the remainder of the ingredients; add cold water to cover and place on high burner. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 2 hours. Serves 6 – 8.

Kale soup is good served over al dente hot buttered macaroni noodles – which is optional, but it’s how I always serve it as it tastes great and makes the meal more robust. What I don’t do is add the macaroni to the soup pot which makes the noodles blow up and soggy. This is a personal preference of mine but is your choice.

For a soup that warms you up on a chilly fall or winter day, this soup is so satisfying and warms your soul – plus, it’s easy to throw together. I hope you enjoy your kale soup as much as we do!

Autumn Equinox – Thinking about Fall Cleaning

It’s September 21st – Autumn Equinox, when daylight hours are equal to the hours of darkness. The stifling heat and humidity of the past 3 months are behind us, and it is gloriously comfortable as I sit on the porch overlooking the water, working on a list of how I want to tackle my fall cleaning this year.

Don’t get me wrong, I love summer. But after all that oppressing heat and humidity, I am thankful once Fall arrives. As I plan for fall cleaning, all I know is that today is too perfect and comfortable and lovely a day to waste it cleaning : groan! So today I’ll merely think about Fall cleaning – and get started on it another day.

Cleaning can wait. The view from the porch inspired me to get out my easel and paint.

How to Cook Green Beans with Salt Pork

How to cook green beans and salt pork.
How to Cook Green Beans with Salt Pork. Above: Apples and eggs, and a basket of freshly picked green beans ready to snap on the porch.

My grandmother always her cooked green beans with salt pork.

Sitting on the porch snapping green beans on a lazy summer afternoon is a little bit of heaven for me. It brings back such sweet memories of snapping beans with my grandmother in her southern New England kitchen. She’d always be wearing an apron. I remember her in the apron with the red ric-rac trim. Snip snip snap – snip snip snap…and so on down to the very last bean. Afterwards she’d set them to cook on the stove, always with a little square of salt pork along with the beans in the pan.

Salt pork was always in stock in my grandmother’s kitchen; her freezer was always stocked with hams and sausages and huge slabs of bacon after killing a pig, which my grandfather kept across the road. Salt pork went into her baked beans that she made throughout the winter. Breakfast would always include crispy bacon. Sunday dinners after church were hams with raisin sauce, mashed potatoes, and hot buttered peas, along with her homemade yeast rolls. My grandparents may have been humble farming folk, yet in my little-girl mind, I thought they were rich. In many ways, they were.

Sigh. Such a long time ago now.

I cook my green beans with salt pork to this day:


  • pick and snap the beans
  • rinse beans with cold water in colander
  • place in pot of water with roughly a 2″ x 2″ block of salt pork
  • bring to boil, then turn down heat to medium-low and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes
  • serve hot with butter and enjoy along with your main dish

Backyard Chickens: For me, it’s all about the EGGS!

My Buff Orpingtons in the garden.

I have always loved keeping a small flock of hens. I keep them primarily for the wonderful nutrient-rich eggs they provide to me every day. I also find them beautiful, and the cooing sounds they make as they communicate with each other has got to be one of the most gentle and peaceful sounds imaginable. I’ve often thought that if I were ever forced to leave on foot and take only what I could carry, I’d definitely take a hen – or even two since they’re light-weight and easy to carry. They’d gift me with an egg every day, and they’d be more than happy to free-range for their own dining preferences. Yes, I think about things like this. When I’ve read posts asking questions such as, “If you were stranded on a desert island and could only bring ONE thing with you, what would it be?”, I always have to shake my head when I read answers such as “my comb” or “lipstick”. . . definitely not gonna get those ladies very far!

Breakfast includes an egg or two every morning, and I’m always well-stocked with eggs for my cooking and baking. Then there’s the gardening factors: hens cultivate patches of earth for future gardens in no time, and they not only cultivate and fluff up the soil nicely, but they add nutrients to the soil as well. I’m simply to fence off a plot I want to plant the following growing season, introduce my hens and allow them to do what they do best, and voila, a perfect garden bed that’s ready to plant with minimal effort on my part. The hens are then are quite happy being moved to another area, because of course they’d eat all your seeds, and you can’t have that.

Are my hens meat birds? Well, yes and no. Technically they could be, but that’s not why I keep them. They grow attached to me, and I to them, and I could no sooner turn one of them into dinner than I could the cat! Okay, maybe that’s just me. My grandfather used to tell me that I was too soft-hearted when it came to my flock, and admittedly, I am. My husband has a cousin who raises meat birds as well as beef, and we’ll continue getting meat from him. In the meantime, my hens are all about the eggs! 🙂

A Peaceful Island Farmhouse

Fog is a given at the farmhouse by the sea. Oftentimes the fog is so dense that I can barely see the sea wall, let alone the salt water immediately beyond. The lonesome cries of the gulls is broken only by the lowing of the foghorn. To keep the interior of the house light and airy, we painted all the walls white, and as an added bonus, everything always looks crisp and clean, which lends a certain feeling of gentle peacefulness to each room of the house. Fog doesn’t photograph well. When my photos appear “grainy”, you can be sure that it’s the fog! Welcome to our farmhouse by the sea!

Masses of Queen Anne’s Lace in the late-day fog by the seawall.
Rosa rugosa in back of the island farmhouse thrives in the early evening fog.