Make Wine With Me

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Want To Make Wine With Me?

I never thought I’d be mashing half rotten berries into a jar and making something called “Hooch”, but here I am…

Let’s just call it “Wine” and it hits differently.

So, I found myself buried in a couple  hundred pounds of blueberries this year, and after processing several batches I got burned out. There’s only so many pies we can bake and bags one can freeze before looking at one more berry becomes a form of torture. Especially when you have more waiting to be picked out in a 110 degree heat wave.

So here I am with 24 pounds of berries and I want something “easy” to do with them. Well, I found a recipe!

Don’t worry… This is SO EASY, and I’m here for ya if you want to lean on me while you pull it together.

Here’s All You Need:

  1. Three pounds of Berries
  2. Three half-gallon sized Mason Jars
  3. Three Fermentation Lids (I found some really affordable ones here
  4. 1 Gallon Filtered Water
  5. Yeast (I used THIS fancy yeast especially designed to ferment a good Wine)
  6. 1 Cup Sugar
  7. Thermometer
  8. Large Spoon
  9. A very large Pot

Okay, so here’s how it all goes down… Gather your supplies.

  • Start your water on boil
  • Add sugar & stir until dissolved
  • Mash Blueberries 
  • Add to water & remove once it begins to boil
  • Remove from heat and allow to cool to 100 degrees
  • Transfer to jars
  • Distribute 1 packet of yeast between the three (or 1/2 tsp per half-gallon of regular yeast)
  • Add Fermentation Lids 
  • Store in a cool, dark place for 1 week

So, if you don’t have fermentation lids, you can use a regular lid and burp it daily. This is a real pain, so you might want to rethink that! 

It’s pretty forgiving – you can substitute various elements to fit what you have on hand. Double the recipe if you’d like – I did & I’ll be serving up the hooch at our next shin-dig – haha!!

Now, are YOU going to be making Berry Wine? If you do, let me know! I haven’t quite made it to my 1 week mark, but I’ll definitely update ya on my Instagram Account soon. 

Unlocking the Health Benefits of Castor Oil Packs: A Natural Remedy Worth Trying

Unlocking the Health Benefits of Castor Oil Packs: A Natural Remedy Worth Trying

In the quest for improved health and wellness, I have exclusively turned to natural remedies which have been successfully used for generations. One remedy which has gained popularity in recent years is the castor oil pack, which I have been using every single day. Derived from the seeds of the Ricinus Communis Plant, Castor Oil, when combined with the application of a warm compress (known as a castor oil pack), has eliminated so many issues for me.

For one, it soothes Inflammation and Reduces Pain: Castor oil possesses potent anti-inflammatory properties. When applied topically, the oil penetrates deep into the tissues, promoting blood circulation and reducing inflammation. This makes it an excellent remedy for those like me who are suffering from joint pain, eczema, and gallbladder pain.

It also supports Digestive Health: Many people struggle with digestive issues such as bloating, constipation, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Castor oil packs can be used on the abdomen to alleviate these discomforts. The oil’s lubricating properties help stimulate bowel movements and relieve pain. Additionally, it aids in detoxification by improving liver function and promoting the elimination of waste from the body. Regular use of castor oil packs can help restore balance to the digestive system, leading to improved overall gut health.

I have been using this for years to alleviate menstrual cramps by soaking a flannel, and covering the area with a heating pad while sleeping.

I personally recommend using the QUEEN OF THE THRONES Castor Oil Pack kit, which includes a trusted extra virgin, organic cold-pressed oil and a wrap that can be tied on for ease.

The therapeutic benefits of castor oil packs extend beyond conventional treatments, offering a natural and holistic approach to achieving optimal health. Whether you’re seeking relief from pain, improved digestion, detoxification support, or enhanced skin health, incorporating castor oil packs into your self-care routine can be a valuable addition. However, it’s important to consult with a healthcare professional before beginning any new health regimen, particularly if you have underlying health conditions. Embrace the power of nature and unlock the potential benefits of castor oil packs – you may find yourself on a journey towards improved well-being and vitality like I have.

The Imperfectly Perfect Sourdough Starter

Let me preface this with this statement; “Any task that I perform for my homestead which may be done imperfectly still blesses our home”.

This recipe is not going to be sharing the precise grams in weight or maintenance plan which you may find in those fancy Blogs or Videos. This is my tried-and-true process of maintaining a healthy and happy ferment since its inception.

Isn’t it ironic that the Starter began to gain popularity once again in recent years? There was a great influx when the pandemic hit, but as I recall there was a lot of chatter in the months before. I started mine around Thanksgiving of 2019 & lovingly named her Dolores. (Did you know that if you name your starter, you may be more likely to keep it going?) I think that philosophy actually helped me.

I kept her going throughout the entire “lockdown” period, through our big move across the country in the Summer of 2020, and she’s still alive & thriving today.

There have been times when I got down to a couple of tablespoons or had to put her dormant in the refrigerator, but it’s very easy to build back up and get it active again.


Here’s my Recipe and Maintenance for my two-year-old Sourdough Starter

Tools Needed:

  • Any jar with a lid, such as a Mason Jar
  • Breathable cover (like cheesecloth)
  • Glass Measuring Cup
  • Wooden Spoon


1. To get started, in the evening fill your jar with 1/3 cup of flour and 1/3 cup of clean, warm, filtered water. You can use any flour for this process EXCEPT for “bleached” flour – I tried it & it didn’t turn out well. 

2. Stir well, making sure all dry pockets are blended.

3. When you wake up in the morning, it should have multiplied. Remove 1/3 of your Starter and either discard it, or save it in a container in your refrigerator.

4. Now, add back 1/3 cup of flour & and mix it into your remaining Starter + JUST enough luke-warm water to incorporate into a thick pancake consistency  (this has become my secret weapon to a thriving ferment).

5. Cover and store in a warm place – around 70-80 degrees is ideal. You can keep it near a heater, fireplace (not too close that it bakes), a sunny window sill or your stove. When I am baking a lot, I wrap mine in a towel and leave it on the stovetop.

6. If you choose to keep the “discard”, use it up quickly because it can clutter up your refrigerator if you’re not careful. I recommend saving the discard only after it gets established, around day three or so. You can find many amazing recipes for this on YouTube.

7. Repeat this process for 10 days, then you can begin incorporating the Starter in Sourdough recipes. I have also begun to take it out with my hands and knead it just a little bit, so that it gets used to my touch. This has really helped my Wild Yeast to respond very well in my recipes! The important thing to remember is that your Starter needs just enough warmth to create those big beautiful bubbles. After around the 30 day mark, it should be well established with a nice bubbly appearance, feel spongy, glutenous, and smell like delicious Sourdough.

Now that “Dolores” is fully established, I use it and then when I know I won’t be baking for a while, I will feed, seal up tight & store in the refrigerator until I know I need it again (feeding every week or so). This way, I don’t have to start all over with the waiting process to achieve the good ferments again.

Thank you for visiting our Blog – Please let us know how your Starter is going by tagging us on Instagram. We would love to keep in touch!

Download this Recipe HERE


In Joy – Renee Weatherford – Magnolia Hill Homestead

Homemade Products From Your Marigold Flowers

Have you ever heard about the wonderful benefits that can be extracted from Marigold buds? I have used Calendula Oil before, but I had no idea that there were so many other uses for these bright flowers.


We planted several Marigolds throughout our Gardens last Spring after hearing about it’s benefits of bringing in pollinators & keeping pests at bay. And it wasn’t until early Fall that I began researching different uses for the abundance of blooms we had.


Here is how I dried & preserved my Harvest, and 7 different ideas you can use to incorporate these pretty petals into your home…



You want to either snap off or cut the green stem from the flower, separating the blooms from the seeds. There are some benefits to using the seeds, but you may want to start with a clean cut. Discard the stems and place blooms in a bowl.


There are 3 ways I’ve dried these, and they all came out perfectly dehydrated:

Dehydrator Machine – This takes the longest, yet is the easiest method for me. I have a five-tray dehydrator and set them at 100 degrees for 8-10 hours. Place in one layer on trays – do not over-crowd, but depending on how much you have, you may want to fill each tray completely. After a few hours, they will shrink down considerably & you can space them out for better ventilation. (CLICK HERE  to see the Machine I always use on Instagram).

Sun Dried – This method is excellent if you have a dry heat with no wind. You have to be very careful to keep moisture & humidity out the process. This can take just a few hours in the right conditions.

Oven – If you have a dehydrator setting on your oven, this is a good option. You just have to check on them often to ensure they are dehydrating and not cooking. It’s especially important to have a tray that allows good ventilation (I tried a French bread rack with small holes & it worked well). This took about 8 hours. (You can also hang to dry, but this can take up to a month).


Once dry, place in a Mason Jar or air tight container and add a Silica Packet if you have one. These can be stored on the shelf for about a year. You can grind it down into a powder form, but I like to keep my herbs whole so that I can use them for different products, like teas or soaps.

Personal Uses

Your Marigolds can be used for so many things, from beauty products to additions in the kitchen. These are just a few things I use them for. As always, please do your own research on these suggestions and consult with your Medical Professional before attempting to ingest anything that you have not taken before.

Loose-leaf Teas

Top your Salads or homemade Vinaigrette (dried or fresh)

Add color to your Quiche, Stirfry or Soups

Mix into homemade Artesian Bread

Handmade Soaps, Salves & Lotions


Essential Oil Extract: Wound Care, Sunscreen, Acne, Dry Skin, Diaper Rash, Cracked Feet, Cuticles

So there you have it! Do you have these vibrant flowers growing around your home? What would you like to make from them? Tag us on Instagram & let us know!


Renee Weatherford – Magnolia Hill Homestead

What Happened to Renew Your Space?

The Short Answer: I’m still here – Teaching Organization Workshops Virtually. However, we have moved from the West Coast to a Farm in the South, and I am venturing into some new endeavors…

2009 was an auspicious year. I was full of creative energy and caught the Blogging spark. We had just moved to the beach in Southern California, and it was a tough time to jump into a new career, having just come out of the recession. My previous careers were in non-profit which were in a hiring freeze at that time, so I was forced to look inward for resources. I wrote a book called “Renew Your Space at Your Own Pace” which compiled information from several Organizing Blogs I had written. I started a Group on Facebook which is still active today. The next year I launched my Professional Organizing business in Ventura, CA which took off like wildfire. It was not only a saving grace for us, it was a fulfilling dream come true. Through the last ten years, I have kept it going with Virtual Appointments as well as Consulting Businesses.

Ten years is a very long time for a one-woman show. I have been my own Hands-on Employee, Webmaster, Bookkeeper, Customer Service, Marketer, Advertiser, Editor, Moderator, Workshop Facilitator, Speaker…. among so many other things.

When 2020 rolled around, we began to feel restless again. Similarly to when we sold everything to pursue a life in Costa Rica, turned Oregon, started a Boutique and restored an old house. But this was different. We both felt a draw to a simpler life – one in which we can live debt-free and enjoy the great outdoors every day. We spent many months dreaming up our perfect Farm Life, ultimately finding everything we needed in South-Western Kentucky. Nestled on the Kentucky-Tennessee boarder, we traveled 2,000 miles and transitioned our lives to settle into a full country adventure. We landed here in June of 2000, and it has literally taken me over six months to feel settled in enough to write this.

Now, HERE is the reason my Website + Blog + Workshops have been missing…

I lost my mojo about a year before our move, when WordPress accidentally deleted my entire website, back-ups and every single Blog I had written since 2008. Literally hundreds of articles disappeared in an instant. The Sacred Space Course, Organizing Challenges & Member Vault disappeared as well. After fighting with them for weeks, I finally gave in and decided to retreat for a while. I had writer’s block from this (I still do), and although I can use the Wayback Machine to see the ghost of it, I haven’t felt motivated enough to recreate it.

So what does that mean for Renew Your Space?

Now that I am in this space of inspired action & feel the pull to dip my toe back in, I want to try something NEW. Have you noticed that this website is now called “The Weatherford Homestead”?

I’ve been so drawn to the “Modern Homesteading” lifestyle for a few years and I have really jumped into Self-Sufficiency since we’ve been here. I would like to share our journey of relocation across the country, designing a new garden, rehabilitating an old orchard, self-taught baking from scratch, building an apothecary, learning how to become self reliant & caring for animals. I would also like to continue offering my workshops on Space Renewal here as well.

I will be splitting this website in two for both endeavors…

The Weatherford Homestead will be sharing adventures on our new YouTube Channel our Instagram Page (The Flip Flop Farmers), and this Blog every week. I share daily snippets of our new Homestead Life in the Instagram Stories & have a substantial amount of content that I’ve shared since our move.

I’m not sure how it will all fit together, but I will always work to provide you with quality content, helpful tips and the best service possible in what I do. I really look forward to connecting with you as our Farm grows.

Much love – Renee & Tony Weatherford