Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Tuesday on my Homestead


Looking out at the gray, rain and clouds is not my idea of a great way to start the day!  LOL..  Sunshine.. I love it and donÂ’t see enough of it in this part of the country!! 


But enough whiningÂ…  on to Tuesday.. 


I have a question for other goat ownersÂ….  Have you ever used herbal wormers for your goats, what did you think of them?  I just purchased herbal goat wormer from Hoeggers and have just started it.  I am looking for anyone with experience on this one, would love to know what you think. 


I work to get my familyÂ’s life more whole and natural, now I am moving on to my animals as well. 


I posted my MILÂ’s chocolate chip cookie recipe on Friday and we (my daughters and I) actually made them that day and I have to tell you they were delicious!!  So if you are looking for a good cookie recipe.. give it a try..   We did add more flour because ours was freshly ground and that makes the cups measured a bit less volume wise and the extra flour helps prevent them from spreading as much.  These are definitely on the list to make again this weekÂ… You would not believe how fast a few dozen cookies goes when you have 6 kids, a cookie loving hubby and of course a cookie loving mom  ..  


When we make them again, I will take pics and post to give you all a peek at themÂ… then for sure you will be wanting to make them.. LOL..  


Have a great Tuesday on your Homesteads everyone!!! 


Friday, February 24, 2006

Homestead Kitchen Day: Recipes to Share!


In honor of Friday being the Homestead Kitchen Day on

The Front Porch.  I thought I would share a couple of recipes with you all today.


This first one comes from my very sweet Mother-in-Love, Nadine..   She is an amazing lady.. at 70 she and hubby have a little homestead where they raise Icelandic sheep, Dexter cows, Nubian goats, chickens and each year she as a garden to help provide for them.


Here is the Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe she sent me:


Chocolate Chip Cookies


Evap. Cane juice crystals      1 c

Sucanat                     1 c

Butter                                2/3 c

Palm or coconut oil              2/3 c

Eggs                          2

Vanilla                               1 t

Whole wheat flour               3 c

Baking soda                       1 t

Salt                           1 t

Chopped nuts                     1 c

Chocolate chips           1 c



Heat oven to 375.  Mix sugars, butter, oil, eggs, and vanilla.  Stir in remaining ingredients.


Drop dough by rounded teaspoonfuls about 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake until light brown, 8 to 10 minutes.  Cool slightly before removing from cookie sheet.


About 7 dozen cookies. 



Peppermint Chocolate Chip Cookies:  Stir in 2/3 c crushed peppermint candy with the remaining ingredients.


(This might be a good idea after Christmas if all the candy canes havenÂ’t been eaten.)





And here is a little treat I baked for my kids earlier this week..


Applesauce Cake made with Spelt (**see note)


½ cup butter, softened to room temp

1 cup honey

1 egg

1 t vanilla

2 ½ cups spelt flour

1 t baking soda

1 t cinnamon

½ t salt

½ t nutmeg

¼ t cloves

¼ t ginger

1 cup applesauce


In a large mixer like a Kitchen Aid or Bosch beat butter, honey, egg and vanilla until fluffy.  Add all dry ingredients and mix until all is moistened.  Add applesauce and gently mix until all is combined.  Pour this into a 9x13 pan that has been sprayed with a non-stick spray.  Bake at 325 for 35 minutes. 


*As a extra treat you can sprinkle a handful of chocolate chips (and/or chopped nuts) over the top just before baking. 


**If you donÂ’t have spelt flour you can use whole wheat pastry flour instead.


Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Pictures of the New Chicks and More..

First of all here are pics of our new baby chicks!  It is really hard to get a picture of them because as soon as you disturb them they all run to one end of the brooder and do a little chicken pile up!  Then you move to that said of the brooder and they all run to the other! LOL..  So here is the best I could do:





And here is a pic of EmilyÂ’s new skirt! ( Cute Skirt Pattern )It is really hard to see the print on this fabric in the picture. It was a light pinkish red and the print was not really checks or plaids but thin stripes going in both directions.  In any case she was happy with it and now Leanne and Hannah are excited to make their skirts using the same pattern.



Wednesday on the Homestead

Today is wet and rainy out.  I canÂ’t complain too much because it is a nice change from the cold weather we were having.  No more breaking the ice in water buckets down at the barn.


When is spring going to be here anyway??  I am done now with winter!


Yesterday our 50 new baby chicks arrived.  We spent time trying to get the brooder warm enough for them.  Finally last night we got it worked out and they were looking pretty happy by the time we went to bed.  I will be posting pics of the chicks later today!  


I was also watching friendÂ’s children, who were so well behaved and just played with my children.  I hardly knew they were here.  


Today will be a day at home, which sounds perfect to me.  I have soap to make, and laundry to catch up on.  Two of my children need to catch up on their school work.  Since it is grey and wet out we will have plenty of incentive for staying inside and getting things done.


Leanne has a skirt pattern to cut out.  Emily made a skirt yesterday.  I bought this adorable skirt pattern from the Newark Dressmakers Supply.  The skirt pattern was called:  Cute Skirt Pattern.  Not only is it cute it is very, very easy to make!  Plus there were different options with the pattern so you each time you make a skirt it can have a different look.  I will post a pic of EmilyÂ’s skirt later today. 


Emily is starting breakfast for us all.  She is making Jonathan's Dutch Babies.  We call them that because my son-in-law Jonathan is the one who gave us the recipes.  This was a favorite breakfast of his when he was young. 


Here is the "Jonathan's Dutch Babies" recipe:


6 eggs

1 ½ cups milk

1 ½ cups whole wheat flour


Beat eggs, add milk and flour.  Beat until smooth.  Heat oven to 425 degrees. While the oven is heating up put cube of butter into a 9x13 pan and put in the over to melt and let the pan get hot.  Watch so the butter does not burn.  When the pan is hot and butter melted, pour the batter into the pan and return it to the preheated oven.  Bake for 15 to 20 minutes.  Sprinkle with powdered Sucanat and serve warm with real maple syrup. 



Dinner tonight is going to be something easy..  pork chops, mac and cheese, salad and maybe some dessert. 


Now it is time for me to get on with the business of the day!! 

Monday, February 20, 2006

Friday, February 17, 2006

The New and Improved Goat Sweaters

OK.. my husband says I am getting a bit obsessed with this project LOL..  he wonders who feels better.. Me just knowing my goat babies are warmer or the goat babies ACTUALLY being warmer!  (This would strictly be a "mom thing").  


None the lessÂ…. the temps were dropping again last night; close to the teens was predicted.  So we closed up the big barn window with plastic and pulled the barn door almost all the way closed and I set to work on some new and improved goat sweaters. 


The first ones were just a dog sweater pattern that I found on-line and made a few changes to, but after making them I saw a lot more changes that I could make.  Now I feel better as they are in the barn sporting the “turtle neck” version and they are fitting a bit more snug now.  And I feel much better knowing they are a bit warmer!!    Now my brain is wondering what could I do next to this pattern to make it even better!!  One of these days I may even have a goat sweater pattern to share with you all!  


Here are the updated pics of the girls in their new sweaters: 





And here are the rest of my does at the hay feeder this morning..  that white you see in the front of the pic is our goat dog Daisy:



Here is a better pic of Daisy and Hannah:



Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Wooo HooooÂ… BABY GOATS!! and PICS!!

My first doe of the year has delivered her kids!!  Two little does..  They were born late at night on the 13th.   


I found out about this on Valentines morning about 7:30.  The kids were fine and had nursed they were just cold.. wouldnÂ’t you know it the temps last night dropped down to 25!! 


My ValentineÂ’s Day was already a full and busy day. 


It was my Father-in-Laws 73rd birthday so we were


making him a big birthday dinner. 


Aside from the heart shaped cake that Emily was making for Grandpa, we had heart shaped cookies to frost, 15 homemade cards to make and 2 songs to practice that morning as well!  We were headed to the local seniors home to sing and pass out cookies and cards.


We got home from that event and still had to clean up the house and make a big dinner.  AND in between it all I was busy crocheting goat sweaters for my 2 new little girls..  they were cold!!    In the past I would put baby clothes on them, but wouldnÂ’t you know it.. I had no baby clothes!!  I know what I will be searching for this summer at garage sales!  Baby sweaters!!



Well here are pics of my babies:





Here is a pic of EmilyÂ’s heart shaped cake.  Grandpa loved it! 



Here we are lighting the candles:



Here I am madly crocheting away after dinner..  I had one more sweater to make!!  My hubby Tobin is sitting next to me looking pretty tiredÂ… he works long days and this was getting to be the end of the day for him!!  



Here are my babies in their sweaters!!





And of course here are pics of the Poms.. 




And while I was down at the barn taking pictures I thought I would share a pic of my one and ONLY rooster!!





Monday, February 13, 2006

Sewing Project: Cloth Diapers


My newest project lined up this week (after a birthday dinner for my father in law on Valentines Day and an event with my homeschool group for the seniors in our community also on Valentines Day) will be to start sewing cloth diapers for my daughter who is expecting in September.  My daughter is a frugal person due to being raised by a frugal mom and really likes the amount of money she will save by washing her own diapers!  And she sees the benefits of cloth diapers for the environment too.  So I told her I would be helping her out in this by making diapers. 


After researching on-line I have found lots of websites with information and how-toÂ’s for making diapers.  I have tried my hand at a few and they are not hard to make!  I am going to start by making her a couple dozen new born size and then go from there.  I am going to make the fitted diapers (with and without velcor so she can tell me what she likes better) and some of the pre-fold types.  I may even do a few flat folds.  


I will be back to post the websites I have on file and let you know my progress in this.  For today, I will post a web site that I have found to be sooo very inspiring on this topic.  This grandmother tells how she helped her daughter diaper her baby for FREE!   Can you imagine all the thousands of dollars currently spent on diapers and this woman did if for free.  Her story is very fun to read and gives lots of information on doing this yourself.  This website is the one my daughter and I first found in our cloth diapering web search and where we got the idea of doing this for ourselves.  http://www.geocities.com/cyndiegran/diapertext2.html  

I will keep you all posted on my progress and share pics of the diapers and other websites as I progress along this journey!! 

Thursday, February 9, 2006

Pom Update..

Here are current pics of the pom puppies!  They are 5 weeks old now and the time is getting closer and closer for them to have to sold.  We will be sad to see them go, they have been so much fun to have around. 


We have not named these puppies because we are going to sell them, so each day we come up with a new set of names for them.  Here is a sample of some the names we have come up with:


Belly & Berry  (this is a combo of both parents Bear and Ellie)

Bonnie & Clyde

Fred & Dianna

Gilbert & Ann (we were in a Green Gables mood!)

Pudgy and Rose

Monica & Bradley

Little Man & Little Girl

Spunk  & Whine


Ok.. enough of that.. here are the updated photos of them!


Here is the little boy pup:




Here is the little girl:





Preparing for Baby Chicks

 We have baby chicks arriving on Feb. 20th.  Fifty baby chicks to be exact! 


So this next week we will be getting ready for their arrival.  I thought I would share with you my experience in case there is anyone else planning on raising some hens this year.


Chickens were the farm animal that began our homesteading adventure.  I was not prepared for them at all!  My husband built the chicken coop while we used a cardboard box in the basement to brood them in.  They quickly outgrew the box and we were taping more and more boxes together trying to keep them contained while he built the coop.  We were all happy when the chicks finally went to live in their new home.  Every couple of years now it seems it is time for new chicks! 


We just ordered chicks last year but my girls have more egg customers than eggs so we decided to get more chicks to keep up with the demand. 


My girls and I will be setting up the brooder this coming week, getting the heat lamp set up, finding and washing the chick feeder and the watering container and setting out the pine shavings that will cover the floor of the brooder. 


If you are planning on getting chicks for the first time then here are a few things to know to get you started:


You will need to have some type of brooder to raise them in.  There are lots of options for this.  Something as simple as a cardboard box does work!  I have used this many times.  However there are draw backs to cardboard.. it can get wet and yucky and fall apart and make a big mess when the brooding time is over. 


I have heard of people using plastic swimming pools, metal water troughs, Rubbermaid plastic totes, etc.. you are only limited by your imagination!   Now for a brooder I have a wooden one that my husband made. 


Aside from a brooder you will need a chick feeder, a chick watering container, some pine shavings to cover the floor and a heat lamp. 


The feeders, water containers, pine shavings and chick starter can be found your local feed store.  The heat lamp can be found at the hardware store. I go for the unmedicated type of chick starter as I donÂ’t like giving my chickens medicine unless I have to. 


Make sure you can cover the top of your brooder with something, but there must be ventilation too.  I put cardboard over mine and leave room for the lamp to hang down and air to circulate.  The temp inside the brooder for a new chicks is around 90 degrees.  I keep a thermometer in there too, just to make sure things are not too cool or too hot.


That is the starting place..  I will post more about my chicks as they arrive and more information on raising them too!


If you would like to do some more reading on poultry raising here is a huge page full of links to all kinds of info!    http://www.feathersite.com/Poultry/BRKPoultrySites.html 


Sunday, February 5, 2006

How To Can Milk

Canning Milk (taken from my website)

I have been canning my goats milk lately to preserve it.  My freezer was overflowing with milk despite selling goat shares, making cream cheese, yogurt and kefir.  With limited freezer space I thought this would be a great way to save it so I have some milk available when my does dry up for the winter. 

The instructions and times I have found on-line for doing this are conflicting at best!  I have experimented and there is no FDA (or any other governmental group) regulations on this so if you try it, do so at your risk.. as I am doing! 

Here is what I have been doing and am finding the best results:

Fill 7 clean, sterilized quart size canning jars with milk to within ½ inch of the rim.  Place brand new lids on and clean rings.  Make sure to boil the rings and lids a few minutes first.

Put pressure canner on stove.  Add 2 or 3 inches of water.  Set your jars in the canner.  Cover and turn heat on high.  Let the canner vent for about 5 to 10 minutes (venting is letting the steam escape out the spout at the top of the canner).  Put pressure weight on and bring the milk up to 5 lbs. of pressure.  Turn heat off and let the canner cool on its own.

When everything is completely cool remove jars.  The milk should still be nice and white, not caramelized as happens with the hotter temps.  Some separating may occur but when shook it smoothes out again. 

If you are doing this with a boiling water bath canner you can boil the jars of milk for 1 hour. But I am thinking you will have discolored caramelized milk due to the long processing time. 

I had someone remind me that when milk is canned it looses it value as a raw milk product.  I agree with this but have decided that at least my own home canned milk has not been homogenized nor are there any hormones in it, thanks to my organic eating goats!


Friday, February 3, 2006

Canning Milk Question Answered

(picture of milk I canned last summer in the background)


Gena asked meÂ… Why would someone jar up milk?


That is a good question, because I guess it could seem pretty odd!!  But it is not odd if you have gallons and gallons of milk to deal with weekly!!


Canning milk is a way of preserving it without taking up freezer space.  While my goats are at their peek of milk production I am always looking to use the milk any way I can.  I make cheese, kefir, yogurt, smoothies, soap.. etc.. but there is still milk!!  So I can it up and put on the shelf to use now.. during the winter.  It works great in baking and cooking.  Drinking it is not that great, but for other uses it is very nice to have on hand!