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Make The Mistake

Tara was raised in a lot of places, first on a mixed farm with her parents and grandparents, then to Grande Prairie Alberta, out to a off grid elk ranch, then when that blew up back to Grande Prairie. Now she still lives in Alberta, about an hour and a half from the capital. In the fall of 2019 her, her husband and two children bought 160 acres, the spring of 2021 found them buying 40 acres across the road for her in-laws to have their dream of being an acreage realized. 


She was raised with raising meat animals, hunting, canning, gardening and baking. Still needed to switch it up from what she grew up with went with sheep which she had never owned before and got more into pressure canning which her family never did.   


Tara and her husband Jon went a little crazy the first few years and tried to do it all on their farm, with the animals, buildings, putting in different income streams like firewood and fruit trees. The burn out is real. This year 2023 is about regrouping.  

Try, what is the worse that can happen? Ether, it works and that’s great or its failed and you learn. One lesson I learned early was to own it. If you laughed the loudest at yourself, it gave less room for other people to poke and bug about it. Plus, if you can grow to the point of being ok just uncomfortable (its probably always going to be uncomfortable failing at something) in your mistakes you are less likely to ignore or forget the important lesson that you were being taught. Unless it’s leaving hoses running for hours or all night, why is that one so hard to remember?! 


Most important own your mistakes with your kids, tell them you are sorry when you should be. My childhood left me with scars that pop out when I don’t expect it. I am very far from being a perfect parent and have to say sorry often and try to explain why I freaked out. In doing this I have found it a lot easier over years to keep my temper in better check and my daughter especially knows its not her I am mad at, its something within my own brain that got triggered. When I own my mistakes, it lets them make theirs. Which they do a lot, learning to be a human is hard!  


My main goal is that my children will be better parents than I am. There is a fair share of trauma in the generations in my family and in many ways my parents though flawed did better than their parents, same with my grandparents. Each generation should be trying to do a little better, you will not fix all the problems in one life that took so many to make the problems, but you definitely can build fountains for the generations after.  


Some things were not mistakes until life happened. This year I should have planted way more corn, it’s been crazy hot and they are loving it. Instead, I focused on beans, planting hundreds of seeds of four different kinds. Sadly, the grasshoppers also love beans and have pretty much killed every one that has come up. Beans grow in my area a lot easier than corn normally, but the grasshoppers are not touching the corn, so they are doing great! 2023 will probably be my worse garden to date. I tend to take on way more than I can actually handle (a lesson I am so so slowly learning). I expanded it a fair bit and after years of drought have found hügelkultur beds don’t work in hotter drier climates, which sadly our area is turning into. So have made a different style of beds that will stay above ground (never know when a flood will come) but will have a flat top to hold the moisture better. 

Another terrible mistake I have made out there was not paying enough attention to my companion planting. I can not even remember the name of this flower but the bees were supposed to love it so I threw it in there. Three years later I have mostly got it out. Hopefully, it was really good at self seeding itself and would get huge fast blocking out the plants I actually wanted. One day I will actually have my garden dialed in. Until than I will keep making many mistakes out there but hopefully new ones each year.  


One of my favourite examples of a mistake turning into a victory I have for me was once I was trying to make a wild rose petal jelly. I was out of Certo and since it was the middle of the night when I was last minute rushing this for a party. I use gelatin hoping it would be a similar result. So silly right? But it was late and I was rushed. It did not turn to jelly to spread on the scones I had made. What it did turn into was jello! It has remained to this day our favourite jello. This is not a real recipe as I kind of change things most years but it’s a good base to try out for yourself.  


4 cups of clean rose petals (I use my salad spinner)  


2 cups of hot water 


Leave to sit over night. 


Strain the petals out, you will be left with a gross brown liquid.  


Bring to a boil with about 2 cups of sugar. You can change this based on your family. Or try it with honey, I have never had enough honey around that I wanted to try it with it.  


This part is the magic, grab the kids. Start adding lemon juice to this muddy mixture one tsp at a time. The lemon juice reacts to it by turning it a gorgeous pink! Like back to the shade the petal were. Keeping adding lemon juice bit by bit till its all pink. Let it come down to closer to room temperature.  


Add a package of gelatin or 15 ml.  

Pour in cooling pan and let set up in fridge.  


Have fun learning, through the stumbles and falls. Be there to lend a hand when someone else trips. Life is too short to worry about being perfect.  


All the best from Tara at Almost A Ranch.  


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