Decorative Heirloom Pumpkins


Pumpkins are used for decorations around the holidays and are also good to eat. This article will show some of the varieties of pumpkins and ways to decorate with them and save their seeds.


David Proctor

 Urban Farmer/Rancher

Decorative & Edible Pumpkins

by David Proctor

September 28, 2023

Urban Farm Lifestyle Magazine    Published Weekly

One of the fun activities around Halloween is pumpkin carving. 

I have seen some really creative and scary pumpkins come out of my house.

First – Pumpkin nutrition facts

The following is from nutrition and you.

“Pumpkin is one of the most widely grown vegetables, incredibly rich in vital antioxidants, and vitamins.

Though this humble backyard vegetable is low in calories, it carries vitamin A, and flavonoid poly-phenolic antioxidants such as lutein, xanthin, and carotenes in abundance.

Pumpkin is a fast-growing vine that creeps along the surface in a similar fashion to that of other Cucurbitaceae family vegetables and fruits such as cucumber, squash, cantaloupes…etc.

Traditional Pumpkins

It is one of the most popular field crops cultivated around the world, including in the USA at a commercial scale for its fruit, and seeds.

Pumpkins vary greatly in shape, size, and color. Giant pumpkins generally weigh 8–13 lbs with the largest capable of reaching a weight of over 55 lbs.

Decorative Pumpkin

Golden-nugget pumpkins are flat, smaller, and feature sweet creamy orange color flesh.

Pumpkins, in general, feature orange or yellow outer skin color; however, some varieties can exhibit dark to pale green, brown, white, red, and gray.

Variations in Pumpkins

Their color characteristics are largely influenced by yellow-orange pigments in their skin and pulp.

Its thick rind is smooth with light, vertical ribs.

Cinderella Type Pumpkins

In structure, the fruit features golden-yellow to orange flesh depending upon the poly-phenolic pigments in it.

The fruit has a hollow center, with numerous small, off-white colored seeds interspersed in a net-like structure.”

Second – Saving Pumpkin Seeds

  1. Remove the pulp and seeds from inside the pumpkin. Place this in a colander.
  2. Place the colander under running water. As the water runs over the pulp, start picking out the seeds from the pulp. Rinse them in the running water as you pick them out. Do not let the pumpkin pulp sit in non-running water.
  3. There will be more seeds inside the pumpkin than you’re going to need to use, so once you have a good amount of seeds rinsed, look over them and choose the biggest seeds. Plan on saving 3 times more pumpkin seeds than the number of plants you will be growing next year. Larger seeds will have a better chance of germinating.
  4. Place the rinsed seeds on a dry paper towel. Make sure they are spaced out; otherwise, the seeds will stick to one another.
  5. Place in a cool dry spot for one week.
  6. Once the seeds are dry, store pumpkin seed for planting in an envelope.”

Properly Store Pumpkin Seeds for Planting

“When saving pumpkin seeds, you also need to store them so that they will be ready to plant for next year.

Any seeds, pumpkin or otherwise, will store best if you keep them somewhere cold and dry.

One of the best places to store pumpkin seeds for planting next year is in your refrigerator.

Put your pumpkin seed envelope in a plastic container.

Place several holes in the lid of the container to ensure that condensation does not build up on the inside.

Place the container with the seeds inside at the very back of the fridge.

Next year, when it comes time for planting pumpkin seeds, your pumpkin seeds will be ready to go.

Saving pumpkin seeds is a fun activity for the whole family, as even the smallest hand can help.

And, after you properly store pumpkin seeds for planting, children can also help plant the seeds in your garden.”

Molly’s Pumpkins As Decorations

Check It Out!

Gilroy Vlogs

Quick Tip

Tips for Growing Great Heirloom Organic Pumpkins

The following quick tip is from True Leaf Market.:

“Heirloom Pumpkins do not like wet, soggy soil. 

Heirloom pumpkins aren’t too fussy, but if you want really big pumpkins should add lots of great composted manure under each hill of pumpkins. 

We dig large holes out about the size of a beach ball and replace it with rich composted humus.  To that, we may add a hand full of bone meal and blood meal. 

We stir this up really well and use the remaining soil to make our hill.  It is on top of this hill we will plant our pumpkin seed. 

Organic pumpkins are deep-rooted, water-conserving plants and should be watered deeply and infrequently to encourage good vine and root growth.

Rember organic pumpkins can ramble up to 12′ so give them plenty of space.”


How To Harvest And Store Pumpkin Seeds.” Gardening Know How. N.p., 30 Aug. 2008. Web. 28 Sept. 2023.

“Pumpkin Heirloom Seeds.” Heirloom Pumpkin Seeds. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Sept. 2023.

“Pumpkin Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits.” Nutrition And N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Sept. 2023

“8 Amazing Pumpkin Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits.” Nutrition And,

“Non-Gmo Gardening Seeds & More since 1974.” True Leaf Market,

“Pumpkin Seeds.” True Leaf Market,

Posted in Health, Homesteading, Magazine Issues, Plants, Recipes Tagged with: ,

Process of Breathing


The secret to true health is not in what you eat, how much you exercise, or how skinny or fat you are, but in how you breathe.


David Proctor

 Urban Farmer/Rancher

Perfect Breath

by David Proctor

September 21, 2023

Urban Farm Lifestyle Magazine    Published Weekly 

I have never really thought about the process of breathing.

You inhale and you exhale, doesn’t get much simpler than that.

Plus, you don’t have to think about it, you just do it.

Yes, I have thought about breathing but mainly when I didn’t have enough air.

Like when running or swimming underwater or even when the breath is knocked out of yourself.


Then you think about inhaling, not the exhale.

As a reference, I consider an excellent book called “Breath” by James Nestor.

It turns out that we actually breathe too much and do not exhale enough!

I thought that was strange.

To truly breathe correctly the old adage of breathing in the good air and letting out the bad, is that we tend to take shallow breaths and keep too much bad air in.

Stop and think about all the people you may know that have breathing problems like asthma or are mouth breathers.

Breathing through your mouth should only be on exhale if needed.

Improper breathing can lead to changes in the shape of the mouth and even elongation of the facial structure.

Have you ever woken up the next day and felt tired because you didn’t have a good night’s sleep?

One reason for not sleeping well is breathing through the mouth.

This can become so bad that people wear masks or CPAP at night to control this.

Try an experiment on yourself.

I know this may sound strange, but put a small piece of tape on your mouth at night so you will breathe through your nose.

Don’t go to an extreme with this, just a small piece of tape and try this for a week.

You might be surprised at the way you feel after doing this and may want to continue.

Or you can wear a mechanical device that helps you breathe and deal with possible health issues from that.

The book is all about how we take our breath and gives examples of what can change when we change our breathing.

James Nestor points out “the new science of a lost art” in breathing.

Athletes are always looking for a way to improve performance.

Running Workout

Few things will make as big a difference as to how the athlete breathes.

You may be asking yourself well just what is the right way to breathe?

What is the perfect breath?

“The perfect breath is this: Breathe in for about 5.5 seconds, then exhale for 5.5 seconds. That’s 5.5 breaths a minute for a total of about 5.5 liters of air.”

By trying this you will get out what you take in.

It doesn’t stop with just that.

People have had and do have many ailments that with proper breathing, the body can reset its autonomic nervous system.

One way to do this is through “heavy breathing”.

James describes how he was instructed to do the heavy breathing by: 

“start by finding a quiet place and lying flat on your back with a pillow under your head.

Relax the shoulders, chest, and legs.

Take a very deep breath into the pit of your stomach and let it back out just as quickly.

Keep breathing this way for 30 cycles.

If possible, breathe through the nose; if the nose feels obstructed, try pursed lips.

Each breath should look like a wave, with the inhale inflating the stomach, then the chest.

You should exhale all the air out in the same order.

          At the end of 30 breaths, exhale to the natural conclusion, leaving about a quarter of the air left in the lungs, then hold that breath for as long as possible.

Once you’ve reached your breath-hold limit, take one huge inhale and hold it for another 15 seconds.

Very gently, move that fresh breath of air around the chest and to the shoulders, then exhale and start the heavy breathing again.

Repeat the whole pattern three or four rounds and add in some cold exposure (cold shower or ice bath) a few times a week.”

This type of breathing is called “Tummo” and should never be practiced while driving, walking, or in “any other environment where; you might get hurt if you passout.”

This has been claimed to have helped thousands with illnesses that other treatments had no success with.

If you would like to learn more about breathing correctly for all the benefits this can provide, then please read the book, it is an enjoyable read.

Check It Out!

Quick Tip

Asleep in 60 seconds: 4-7-8 breathing technique claims to help you nod off in just a minute


Nestor, James. Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art. Riverhead Books, an Imprint of Penguin Random House LLC, 2020.

Posted in Health, Homesteading, Magazine Issues Tagged with: , ,

Oatmeal Apple Crisp

Apple Recipes

Now is the time to plan on picking apples! You may have your own trees, but if not, take a trip to your local apple orchard and enjoy the peaceful time you can have and the rewards that later come out of the kitchen.


David Proctor

 Urban Farmer/Rancher

Baked Apple Recipes

by Laurie Calloway

September 14, 2023

Urban Farm Lifestyle Magazine    Published Weekly 

In the 1994 blockbuster movie, Forrest Gump, Forrest’s friend, Bubba, enthusiastically educated him about all the ways to prepare shrimp. 

And there were quite a few!  However, if any food can rival shrimp in the number of ways it can be prepared, the many varieties of the humble apple would certainly be at the top of the list. 

Most families have a favorite apple pie recipe, and more than likely, apple pies are probably the most popular way to make use of apples.

Apple Orchard

Apple Orchard

However, as delicious as they are, they can be a bit labor-intensive, especially if you prepare your own pastry for the crust. 

So, if time is not on your side, here are two recipes that can be prepared fairly quickly, filling your home with the wonderful autumn aroma of cooking apples and spices in short order.

Baked Apples(This recipe can be easily doubled or tripled)

Two large, firm, crisp apples
Two tablespoons melted butter
Two tablespoons brown sugar (light or dark)
1 teaspoon cinnamon or ½ teaspoon apple pie spice
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons golden or dark raisins or dried blueberries
2 tablespoons chopped walnuts (optional)
Aluminum foil and cookie sheet

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Wash and core apples, leaving at least a quarter to half-inch at the bottom of the apple.  (Take care not to core all the way through.)



Melt two tablespoons of butter in the microwave oven in a small, microwave-safe bowl. 

Add the brown sugar, honey, cinnamon, raisins or dried blueberries, and walnuts.  Stir to combine.

Cored Apple

Individually In Foil

Spoon the mixture into the cored apple, pressing it in tightly.

Wrap each apple individually in foil, and place on a foil-lined cookie sheet.  (I find this makes clean-up much easier.)

Unwrap From Foil

Bake for 40 to 45 minutes.  This time may vary due to differences in ovens, or in the size of your apples.  

Remove from oven, cool for at least five minutes, then unwrap from foil and serve as is, or with whipped cream or ice cream.

Oatmeal Apple Crisp (Makes approximately eight servings)

Eight medium-sized apples of your choice. I used Gala.   (If using Granny Smith apples, you may wish to increase the amount of sugar.)

Two cups old-fashioned (not quick oats) oatmeal
½ stick melted butter, and 2 tablespoons butter, divided
¼ cup granulated sugar
½ cup light or dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon, divided
½ cup chopped walnuts (optional)8 or 9-inch square casserole,
(or 9 by 12-inch casserole, or large deep-dish pie pan), sprayed with canola or vegetable cooking spray, or greased with butter.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Peel and core apples. (This is the most time-consuming step.  However, I have a handy, little device that peels the apples lickety-spilt, then I core and slice them with an apple corer/slicer. 

If you cook a lot with apples, or can applesauce, you may consider investing in a device that either peels and cores, or just peel apples.) Place the sliced apples in the greased casserole, and sprinkle the granulated sugar, flour, and 1 teaspoon cinnamon. 

Apple Peeler

Cored Apple

Toss to coat and mix, right in the casserole.

Dot the top of the apples with a tablespoon of butter cut them into small pieces.

Melt butter in the microwave using a medium-sized, microwave-safe mixing bowl.

Greased Casserole

Oat Mixture

Add oats, brown sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and walnuts.  Mix well to combine.  Cover the apples in the casserole with the oat mixture.

Dot the top with a tablespoon of butter, cut into small pieces. (If desired, sprinkle a bit of cinnamon and granulated sugar on the top.)

Bake for 45 minutes to an hour.  

If you feel the topping is becoming too brown before the apples are cooked all the way through, cover with foil for the rest of the baking time.

Serve as is, or topped with cream, whipped cream, or spoon on top of your favorite ice cream!

With both of these recipes, walnuts can be substituted with chopped pecans.

Serve As Is

Although the nuts are optional, unless you or a family member just does not like nuts, or is allergic, they make the finished product even more delicious.

Happy baking!

Check It Out!

by Laurie Calloway

Use only fresh, ripe apples to get the best results.

Apples vary in their natural sweetness.  When using sugar in any apple recipe, adjust according to taste.  Some apples may require little or no sugar, others more than what is stated in the recipe. 

Baking times and temperatures can often vary due to the variety, size, and freshness of your apples.  It is a good idea to check on your recipe while the apples are cooking to prevent over-browning of crusts or toppings.

Mixing up different varieties of apples in pies, applesauce, or apple butter often makes a better tasting final product.

A gadget such as an apple peeler/corer can be well worth the investment if you bake a lot with apples, or can or freeze applesauce.

Quick Tip

If you wonder about how many to pick, a bushel of apples is about 48 pounds. 
This chart gives an idea of weights.  Note: When it comes to cooking with apples, it may be helpful to know the following:

  • 1 pound of apples = 2 large, 3 medium, or 4 to 5 small apples
  • 1 pound of apples = 3 cups peeled and sliced apples


N.p., n.d. Web.
N.p., n.d. Web.
“Best Apples for Baking.” Best Apples Baking Cooking. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Sept. 2023.
“Apple Harvest.” Graves Mountain Lodge. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Sept. 2023..
“U.S. Apple Association.” U.S. Apple Association. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Sept. 2023.

Posted in Homesteading, Magazine Issues, Plants, Recipes Tagged with: , ,

ACV Natural Remedy

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is used as a natural remedy for the prevention and cure of health problems in humans and animals. ACV can be used as a treatment aid, cleansing detox, or even to make a delicious, homemade salad dressing! 


David Proctor

 Urban Farmer/Rancher

Health Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar

by David Proctor

September 7, 2023

Urban Farm Lifestyle Magazine    Published Weekly 

“Apple cider vinegar is a type of vinegar made from apples, it’s fermented apple juice.

To make apple cider vinegar, apples are crushed and exposed to yeast.

By doing this, the natural sugar from the apple is fermented over time and turned into alcohol.

Then the apple cider is fermented again to make the cider turn into vinegar.

The health benefits for man and beast can be amazing.

Apple cider vinegar can provide human health benefits such as:

  • Is a natural laxative and can improve digestion;
  • Lowers blood sugar levels;
  • Improve insulin sensitivity;
  • Reduces belly fat;
  • Lowers cholesterol;
  • Lowers blood pressure and improves heart health;
  • Prevents and decreases the risk of getting cancer and slows down the growth of cancer cells.
Graves Mountain Apple Orchard

The nutritional makeup of apple cider vinegar contains:

  • Magnesium;
  • Iron
  • Phosphorus;
  • Potassium;
  • Manganese;
  • Amino acids;
  • Antioxidants.

The greatest benefits are obtained when you use an organic, raw – unfiltered, “Mother”, and unpasteurized product.


To consume apple cider vinegar, you can drink it as it is or add it to recipes or use it as a marinade.

Common dosage per day is approximately 1-2 tablespoons per day.”

This amount will change some when given to animals.

Pat Colby – Natural Horse Care
“When used for animals, and specifically in this example with horses, this product is invaluable in any region where potassium is often in short supply, mainly due to chemical farming.

Cider vinegar contains natural potassium in a safe form.

It should always be bought in bulk and unpasteurized.

Feeding quantities of apples as such can lead to digestive problems in horses (although chopped apples are supposed to be good with sanding).

Horses, goats, and other animals, willingly take cider vinegar in pretty large amounts and it is wholly beneficial for minerals and a source of potassium.


Cider vinegar maintains the correct pH in the body, which is probably one of the reasons it is so helpful.

Because of its potassium content, it is invaluable for mares coming up to foaling.

Young Foal

If there is any doubt about potassium levels, start feeding it six weeks before the foal is due.

It doesn’t hurt to feed year-round with apple cider vinegar with your animals.

Potassium deficiencies cause blood vessel constriction, affecting the extremities and, it seems, the cervix and uterus in the final stages of pregnancy, dystokia (slow or difficult labor or delivery) is the result.

Many stock owners and human mothers have observed an amazing difference with birth being relatively easier and with the newborn in very good health.

Cider vinegar helps prevent bruising and assists the tissues in recovering from exertion.

Given regularly to a stallion, it will help prevent urinary calculi, and it is especially useful if they are limited to very hard water, as is the case on many properties.

Trail Horse

Cider vinegar added to feed twice a week would be sufficient to stop stones in the urethra or kidneys, and prevention is certainly better than the cure for this dangerous condition.

A tablespoon twice a week would be enough for a stallion.

It can also be used as a mild cure for skin conditions.

For instance, cider vinegar can be used on ringworm when it is too close to the eyes to use a copper wash; rubbing it in well two or three times a day for a couple of days is usually enough.

Apple cider vinegar can be very useful for the natural prevention and treatment of many common ailments.

Check It Out!

How to make Homemade Apple Cider Vinegar “with the Mother” – DIY Prepsteading 15:07

Quick Tip


Baier, Lacey. “19 Benefits of Drinking Apple Cider Vinegar + How to Drink It.” A Sweet Pea Chef, 11 Nov. 2019,

“D. C. JARVIS.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 25 Aug. 2021,

Coleby, Pat. Natural Horse Care. Acres U.S.A., 2010. p54-55

Posted in Animal Husbandry, Health, Homesteading, Magazine Issues, Plants, Recipes Tagged with: , , ,

Freezing Fresh Corn

Silver Queen Corn

Silver Queen sweet corn used to be the standard for sweet corn and was available everywhere.  Now you don’t see it around as much, so it’s a good time to think about saving what you can’t eat when you have some. 


David Proctor

 Urban Farmer/Rancher

Freezing Silver Queen Corn

by Lorie Calloway

August 31, 2023

Urban Farm Lifestyle Magazine    Published Weekly 

My summer garden produced so well this year. I had lots of tomatoes, squash, eggplant, chard, kale, and onions.

However, I do not have the space to grow sweet corn, so I visited the local Farmer’s Market to grab a few ears for dinner.

What I did not expect, was finding a vendor who had Silver Queen corn for sale.

Silver Queen corn was the corn of choice when I was young, and even the grocery stores carried it in abundance.

Silver Queen Corn

I had not seen it offered for sale in many years, so, I bought a dozen and a half ears; some for dinner, the rest to freeze.

Freezing corn allows you to have the taste of fresh corn during the cold, winter months, and is very easy to do.

First, shuck the corn, and rinse it, using a soft bristled brush to whisk away the corn silk.

Soft Bristled Brush

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and add the corn.

This is a process called blanching, which will slow the development of enzymes which hasten the ripening process of vegetables. 

Allow the water to come to a second boil after the corn is added, and boil for four minutes.

Prepare a container of ice water while the corn is in the boiling water. 

After four minutes, submerge the corn into the cold water.

Cold Water

Allow the corn to drain.

At this point, you can freeze the ears in a freezer bag, or, cut off the kernels. (My preferred method.)

Use a sharp knife to cut the kernels from the cob.

There are many ways to do this…I just place the cob, wide end down, on a plate, and use a sharp knife to cut off the kernels.

Cut Off The Kernels

The eighteen ears of corn I bought, yielded twelve cups of kernels.

Twelve Cups Of Kernels

I measured two cups of cut corn for each quart freezer bag.

Each bag will provide enough for a meal for four people, or for a corn pudding recipe.

Two Cups Per Bag

During the cold winter months, you will enjoy this taste of summer!

Check It Out!

Eastern Shore Silver Queen Corn Chowder

8 ears of fresh Silver Queen corn
1/4 cup onion, chopped
2 Tbsp. butter
4 cups milk
1 Tbsp.cream
1 Tbsp. flour
1/4 salt
1/4 black pepper
In soup pot, saute onion in butter. Remove the kernels from corn. Add to onions.
Add milk, bring close to boil. Mix cream with flour and stir into pot. Add cream and bring close to boil. Season with salt and black pepper
Serves 6
Delicious! This recipe was handed down in our family from my great grandmother and we have all made it and loved it!
Servings:    6
Time:    10 Minutes Preparation Time
30 Minutes Cooking Time
By Jackie from Salisbury, Maryland

Quick Tip

  • Use only fresh corn to freeze or process.
  • Blanch corn first for four minutes.
  • Submerge corn into ice water to stop the cooking process after blanching.
  • Squeeze as much air as possible from the freezer bags before sealing and placing in the freezer.


Jackie. “Eastern Shore Silver Queen Corn Chowder.” ThriftyFun,

Posted in Homesteading, Magazine Issues, Plants, Recipes Tagged with: ,

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