Wednesday, June 28, 2006

NAIS and Its Affect on Small Farms and Homesteads

This morning I wanted to share a piece written by my Mother-in-Law, Nadine Hild.  She is really more like a mom to me and in the past 20+ years her and I have developed a wonderful close relationship.  She has been and continues to be an inspiration to me.  Nadine and her husband Richard (who is our much loved “Granddaddy”) have been a huge support to us over the years.  


One thing that Nadine and I have in common today is that we both homestead and we both are concerned about the quality of our food and our freedom. 


Nadine is 70 years old, but you would not know it to look at her.  She is an active homestead lady.  She has Dexter cows, Icelandic sheep, Nubian goats, and lots of chickens.  She gardens, grinds her own wheat, bakes and cooks from scratch and actively, daily, helps Richard run and manage their homestead up north in Washington State.


She has been frustrated with the NAIS issues and the potential loss of freedom in this country to raise our animals, provide for our family and live a quiet and peaceful life without this unnecessary government control.  She will be giving a presentation to her local farm bureau on how this will affect the small farmer and the small homesteader. 


With her permission I would like to share her writings with you today:


A Problem Recognized

A number of years ago I began noticing articles in the newspaper regarding the use of pesticides and herbicides in the growing of our food.  I began growing a garden.  I read of the hormones given to chickens, for milk production, and beef growth.  The meat was being irradiated for possible pathogens.  I saw feed lots growing beef across the Midwest and stayed near a factory hog farm a farmer was managing where they gave antibiotics regularly to keep the pigs alive, a percentage dying anyway.  So we began raising our own meat animals.  Now we have GMO seeds  that have a questionable reputation. One article said that  50% of women will have cancer in their life and 1/3 of all men will. Another article mentioned that 60% of baby boomers already have chronic health problems.  I began reading farming and agronomy books, one of which was “Soil, Grass and Cancer” that suggests that the petroleum based soil additives may be the reason for the prevalence of cancer.  All of the above uses and systems were sanctioned by the USDA, taught and researched at our land grant universities that are financially supported by agri-business.   I came to believe that if the USDA sponsored or approved of something, it must be bad for me.  Also, the FDA has sanctioned many drugs that were later recalled or were known to cause more problems than they cured.  During this time I had a bad case of acid reflux, my feet wouldn’t work after sitting for a period of time, my knees were giving me a problem and my shoulder was injured and  I was developing carpel tunnel in my right hand.  My husband had bad knees, bad shoulder, and indigestion.


A Problem Solved

We began to move away from industrial food and began eating more natural food.  I milk goats to have raw milk, I grind grain and bake bread, we eat mostly meat from our own animals, I ferment yogurt, we’ve backed off on any baked goods from the stores because they give me instant heart burn from the additives and hydrogenated oils, and we are eliminating anything with MSG because it is a chemical excitotoxin., The result of these changes is wonderful!  Most of all the above problems have disappeared and we now have increased energy and a more positive outlook. Farming is a healthy lifestyle with  good food, good exercise and fresh air.


Here Comes the Government with NAIS

With the pretext of Homeland Security, avian flu, mad cow disease, etc., a consortium put together by the USDA consisting of  Land Grant Universities, Agri-business, veterinarians, Wal-Mart, McDonalds, Micro-chip/RFID manufacturers and the Tribes have been funded to institute the National Animal Identification System, the cost of which will ultimately fall on the small farmers, ranchers and homesteaders who will be required to register their farms with satellite coordinates for surveillance purposes, register and micro-chip all livestock animals and poultry and report all movement off  and new animals onto our premises within 24 hours and we can pay for this privilege. The large cattle companies do not have to individually microchip their livestock but use one number for the whole herd.   All our information will be data banked by others in the industry and available to the USDA.  Can we believe the government regarding the security of data files?  How will this affect the financial, record keeping and privacy of our farms?  How big a bureaucracy will this grow?  How much will they tax or increase our costs year by year.  When will they come and inspect if we are raising our animals as they dictate?  What if for some reason they decide to slaughter our livestock? How often will we have to take classes for re-education? Or, is this another example of the USDA putting small farmers out of business which they have a history of doing in order to eliminate competition for agri-business.


This is the most invasive loss of our freedom with regard to land, liberty and quiet enjoyment and all for the purpose of supporting agri-business, factory farms, and building bureaucracies. Avian flu is not even an epidemic.  About 200 people have been sick throughout the world and about 100 have died.   The cause has been a result of manure from factory farms being spread on fields for fertilizer, fed to fish and wild birds were contaminated by it.  We know that mad cow disease is not contagious but is caused by contaminated feed.  Hoof and mouth is curable.  Ahhh, but the beef exporters need trace back in order to export to Japan!  It is an export driven agenda. Because of world trade,  we  U.S. citizens can eat contaminated feed produced under the control and inspection of the USDA and be deprived of our freedom.  Soon we all shall be required to eat factory food.  What is wrong with this picture?



“If people let the government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as the souls who live under tyranny”. - Thomas Jefferson



Nadine Hild

Seventy years old and learning to farm to preserve my health and well-being and that of my husband so we aren’t a burden on others in our old age and so we can enjoy our sunset years.


Caesar Chicken Pasta Salad


I made this salad last night.  The weather here has been hot and I was in town all day and wanted something fairly easy and quick.  This was the ticket!


My family is pretty good sized, so this recipe will be on the bigger side for a small family..  make  your adjustments accordingly.


4 or 5 frozen chicken thighs (you can use breast, but I don’t because thigh meat is more moist and less expensive)

4 to 5 c uncooked pasta, I used vegetable rotini (the spiral cork screw type)

Caesar Salad Dressing (recipe follows)

1 can olives, sliced

1 cup frozen peas


Begin by placing the frozen chicken meat in a pan with a little water.  Bring to a boil, cover and turn down heat to simmer.  Next start water to boiling for pasta.  While the chicken and pasta are cooking make the dressing.


Caesar Salad Dressing

1 c mayonnaise

1 c sour cream

2 t. Worcestershire sauce

1 t chopped garlic

½ t salt

¼ t pepper

1 c parmesan cheese

2 T milk


Set this aside and drain the pasta and rinse with cold water.  When chicken is done cooking chop it into little pieces.


In a large bowl combine cooked pasta, chicken pieces, sliced olives, frozen peas and dressing.  Put this in the fridge and let is sit a bit to help develop flavors.


I served this last night with a huge watermelon that everyone devoured!! 

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Tuesday on the Homestead


Today is day into town.  We are going to leave fairly early so we can be back before the weather heats up.  Yesterday it was around 100 degrees and today should cool back down to about 90!!   Not sure if I will see a difference or not..  but want to be home in time to cool off in my pond!  


I am still thinking on dinner for tonight because I am trying not to heat the house up to much.  Last night we grilled some ham steaks and I made potato salad and coleslaw.  We sat on the deck and enjoyed our meal…  Maybe this morning I should put something in the crockpot and put it outside on my deck.  However I am not sure the cats would leave it alone and I wont be here to watch it!


I may just end up doing a big chicken and pasta salad and some fresh fruit for dinner.  And make some pudding for dessert as I have extra milk and eggs to use up. 


Well I need to go and get my laundry going so I can get another load on the lines before we leave. 


Hope you all have a wonderful Tuesday on your homesteads!!

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Saturday on the Homestead

Well I have been on the computer spending my time this morning on my message board and now it is time for me to move on to life away from the computer! 


BUT I will blog first..     Today we head into the big city to go to my brother-in-law’s company picnic.  He could invite family and he invited us!  So we can meet the people he works with and have a nice afternoon at a park.  The kids will enjoy that.  Then we have errands to run and will get home in time to cool off in the pond. 


Before we leave we will hang some laundry out to dry..  I have loved the sunny weather and it is so great to be hanging my clothes out again!  Fresh and sweet smelling laundry from the line is my favorite!!  Gotta love the frugalness of it all too! 


Plus, I had plans to cut the boys hair and it has been done..  so I need to do that before we leave!!   I did get Tobin’s cut and he looks so handsome with his hair all nicely cut!  


Yesterday all the kids and Tobin (he took care of his office and his work shop), and I cleaned the house..  the whole thing from top to bottom.  When the day was over things seemed much more organized and fresh feeling.  We ended our day by swimming in the pond and enjoying a nice taco dinner.


That sums up my day on the homestead! (or rather off the homestead today!)  

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Making Laundry Soap: Step-by-Step in Pictures!

I posted this awhile back on my other blog and today saw someone asking about this and thought I would post it here too....


Making Laundry Soap: Step-by-Step in Pictures!


If you are not familiar with this recipe you can click here:   to read the recipe, what each ingredient is, tips on where to locate the harder to find items AND how much money you will save by doing this! 


A few things to explain:

In the following pictures my daughter Emily and I are making a double batch of soap, so there will be more volume from all the ingredients than if you were making a single batch.  Also I make my own soap instead of using the Fels Naptha, so my soap is white, not brown. 


Now let’s get started and make some laundry soap! 


First gather together the needed items.


Washing Soda and Borax:


A soap of some sort:


A bucket. When I make laundry soap I make a double batch and I use a saved Costco laundry detergent bucket from the last one I bought (over a year ago now!). :


And a pot of some sort to melt the soap/water in.


First begin by getting everything measured out ahead of time.  I find this makes it much easier. 


I start by grating my soap:


Then I measure out the washing soda and borax into a small bowl and setting it aside:


I also pre-measure all the needed water.  You will need to have 4 cups of hot water to add to your soap as soon as you pour it into the bucket. I put those 4 cups into a canning jar and put them in my microwave to heat while I start the rest of the process.


I mix the grated soap with the water:


Leave this on a medium burner and stir now and again until the soap melts:


Then remove from the heat and add the washing soda and borax:


Stir until all is dissolved:


Pour this mixture into your bucket:


Add those 4 cups of hot water:


Now add the remaining water.  I saved a few gallon jugs for this purpose.  I can have the jugs filled with water and waiting to be poured into the bucket.  The recipe calls for a gallon of water, plus 6 cups.. I have those 6 cups also measured out and then pour them into the bucket:



Stir and let it sit until the next day:



It should turn into a water/gel type mixture.  If it does not gel up for you, you can still use it.  Next time add a little more soap (like half the bar of Fels Naptha) and see if that helps. 


I was going to take a picture of the finished product, but because I use my own homemade soap (which is white).. mine looked like a white watery/gel inside a white bucket..  So the picture just looked white!!  

Thursday on the Homestead


Today hubby is home, he took an extra day off work which is great.  We love it when he is home and he loves being able to get things done around the homestead.


Yesterday I had the nicest visit with a friend.  When she left I made 2 batches of soap.  I had the oils already measured out and the molds ready to go. 


Tobin came home and we chatted for a bit and then I made a 3rd batch.  All my molds were filled and I will take the soap out in another day or so.


I did not end up making soup last night, the kids made sandwiches and Tobin and I ate leftovers of salmon patties and potatoes I had made the night before. 


Tonight I am thinking we are ready for some homemade pizza..  YUM!!


Today I need to give Tobin and my boys a haircut.  I have to make sure the ever present laundry is moving through the system.  I have bread to make and a kitchen floor to clean. 


I will get Sierra to help make the bread today.  With the 3 older girls at home we have such a routine of working in the kitchen that sometimes I forget that Sierra (who is 10) needs more time in there too.  She has helped many times with bread and today I thought I would supervise her and see how far she can go with it on her own.


With the sun shinning and promises of a warm day the kids may enjoy some swimming in the pond this afternoon and Tobin and I can sit and watch and enjoy the time with them. 


That sums up Thursday on the Homestead! 

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Homemade Pot Stickers


These are really easy to make.  You can also freeze them after assembling them.  If you want to freeze them make sure to “flash” freeze.  Lay them on a cookie sheet (or 2) and set in freezer until they are frozen.  Remove from sheet and place in a freezer bag and return to the freezer.  This way if you only want a few at a time you don’t end up with a big frozen lump of pot stickers!


Here is the basic recipe, you can vary this add your own spices and play around until you find what you prefer.


½ lb. finely chopped meat (I run the meat through my food processor), this can be beef, chicken, pork, shrimp, etc..  this is uncooked meat

1 cup (or more) shredded or chopped cabbage, you want this shredded very thin. I use my food processor to really chop it well

1 small onion or a couple green onions, chopped fine

½ t chopped garlic, you can add more if you like garlic

½ t minced ginger, this is fresh ginger

2 T soy sauce

1 T cornstarch

Post Sticker (also called Won Ton) Wrappers, these are small and round and  typically you can find these in the produce section of your grocery store


In a large bowl mix all of the above ingredients very well.  Then sit down at a table with a small bowl of water.  Lay one wrapper in front of you and put a small scoop of filling in the center.  Dip your fingers in the water and spread a little around one side of the wrapper.  Fold the wrapper in half and pinch it closed to seal.  Sit on a large plate and do this again until you have used up all the filling.  This will make about 2 or 3 dozen, depending on the size of your wrapper and how much filling you put in them. 


If you want to eat them right away, heat a frying pan with a little olive oil.  Lay the pot stickers in the hot oil and let them brown.  As they cook I turn them and lift them up now and again because they can have a tendency to stick.  After they are brown and have cooked for a couple of minutes add enough water to the pan to cover the bottom of the pan but not covering the pot stickers themselves.  Cover the frying pan with a lid and reduce heat to medium and cook for about 4 minutes.  Most of the water should be gone at this point. 


If you want to freeze them, follow the instructions I gave at the beginning.  You can dust the pot stickers with a bit of corn starch to keep them from sticking to the cookie sheet.   When it is time to cook them, you can take them right from the freezer and follow the basic directions allowing a few extra minutes of cooking time for defrosting and cooking completely. 




Wedneday On The Homestead

The first day of summer here in the Pacific Northwest has a promise of being sunny and 76 degrees.  If that comes true, I will be so happy!  It seems like it can take forever for the nice weather to appear.  Yesterday was sunny and about 70..  but that was enough motivation for my kids to go swimming in the pond.  They did not stay in there long because the water is VERY cold.  But they had fun anyway..  I know my kids tolerate that cool (make that cold) water much better than I do!


News from the farm:  My bottle fed baby goats are being weaned and it is a loud process.  They think of any human they see as “mom” and the one who brings those wonderful bottles.  So when they see someone they start making a huge ruckus and they were escaping through the hot wire.  Needless to say they were/are a big pain right now!  But a cute pain!    I did move them to another goat pen just to keep them contained.  They were running through the hot wire (yelling the whole time) and heading strait to the house and then we had goats on the porch….    I know this whole process will be over soon and they will get use to not having a bottle.  But it may take longer than I want as we all feel sorry for them from time to time and will break down and feed them another bottle!!!    


I have been making soap like crazy and this week looks no different.  I figure if I get it all made now I won’t have to be making it through the winter.  In the winter my milk supply is low to none so I have to freeze milk for winter soap making.  This year my idea is just to make all of my soap now.  However in case this plan does not work as well as I wanted, or I sell out of all my soap, I will still freeze goat milk!


My plans for today:  I will be home all day.  I have a friend and her children coming over to visit and have lunch with us, and I hope to get a batch or two of soap done.  I also have laundry to supervise (today Leanne has her laundry day), and dinner to think about.  My menu says: Bean Soup..  I think I will make that Taco Bean Soup and my daughters can make some cornbread and a salad to go with this. 


That sums up my Wednesday on my Homestead!  

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Delicious Roasted Chicken


1 large whole chicken

1 large onion, chopped

dash of: rosemary, basil, thyme, oregano

seasoning salt


3 to 4 T butter, melted


Wash whole chicken and set aside.  In a small bowl combine chopped onion and spices.  Stuff this into cavity of chicken.  Set on rack in baking pan or roaster pan.  Sprinkle top with seasoning salt, salt and pepper, and brush melted butter over all.


Bake at 325.  Baste with butter as the chicken cooks.  Bake for 3 to 4 hours, depending on size of chicken until the skin is crisp and the chicken is done. 


You don’t eat the onions, it just helps to add flavor to the chicken meat.  This tastes delicious!! 


Serve with potatoes (cooked as desired), buttermilk biscuits and a veggie or salad. 

Monday, June 19, 2006

Strawberry Ice Cream (with ice cream making instructions)

  Strawberry Ice Cream

by Crystal Miller


We made this recipe for my husband as his Father’s Day special dessert and he loved it.. well we all did!!

My daughters and I have made lots of ice cream over the last couple of years. For $25 I bought a brand new one gallon capacity electric ice cream maker at the beginning of last summer. It was a purchase I don’t regret at all!

An ice cream maker consists of a large plastic bucket, a metal can with a lid, a dasher (the mixer that is used to stir the ice cream) and a motor to churn your milk and cream into ice cream. The metal can (that will have your ice cream mixture in it) goes in the bucket (that will hold the ice and rock salt) the dasher goes in the can and the motor sits on top. It is very easy and once you get the hang of it, not intimidating at all.

In this recipe you will find detailed instructions on making ice cream. I am basing these instructions on my ice cream maker type. Mine is a Rival brand and I am sure the basics are the same for any other type. But if not, then you will understand why my instructions may not match your ice cream maker.


The best thing about homemade ice cream is the taste! There is no ice cream in the store that will compare.. not even the some of the best known all natural type brands will compare to the taste of your own homemade ice cream.

One thing I will point out is that my recipes use raw eggs. I have tried many recipes using cooked eggs (you make a custard type mixture and then let it cool and use it to make ice cream) and recipes with no eggs and in the end our family has decided that ice cream made with raw eggs is THE best! There is just nothing to compare.

I know using raw eggs in anything today is not nutritionally, politically correct. The bigger problem I see is that the reason for salmonella poisoning problems goes right back to the chickens diet and living conditions.

Factory farm chickens are fed unnatural diets, loaded with antibiotics and live in crowded conditions which are just ripe for disease and sickness. These are not factors that you need to worry about if you raise your own chickens for eggs or you buy them from a small farmer who is concerned about the quality of his eggs too!


Now onto the recipe:
This recipe is enough to fill a one gallon ice cream container. If you want a smaller batch of ice cream you will need to adjust this recipe accordingly.

6 eggs
3 cups cane juice crystals (or white sugar)
1 T vanilla (only the real stuff)
3 cups strawberries that have been sliced and left to sit and get juicy. You can mash them up or puree them for better distribution. Fresh berries taste the best, but frozen berries that have been defrosted and mashed up will work
2 c. whole cream
Whole Goat Milk, as much as needed to fill ice cream maker container (whole cow milk will work too.. :)
1 T arrowroot powder (helps make the ice cream smooth.. but this is optional if you don’t have any)

In a big mixer (like a Kitchen Aid or Bosch) mix together (with the wire whip) the eggs and cane juice crystals until light and lemony colored. Add vanilla and mix again. While the mixer is on, begin adding the strawberries and let this continue mixing until the strawberries are well combined into the egg mixture. Add cream and arrowroot powder (if using). When all of this has mixed together completely pour it into your 1 gallon ice cream maker container.

Now add whole milk up to the fill line and stir with a wooden spoon. Set the container into the ice cream bucket and put the dasher in place, then the lid and connect the motor to the top. Now begin adding ice to the bucket, around the metal can. You will want a nice layer of ice, and then sprinkle about ¼ cup rock salt over the ice. Continue making these layers of ice and rock salt until you have ice up to the top level of the ice cream can. Start the ice cream maker (for the Rival brand, I just plug it in).

It will take 30 minutes or more to become thick. During that time the ice will melt down and you must add more ice and more rock salt to keep the ice at the same level as the can.

You will know when your ice cream is done as the dasher can no longer move and the ice cream churning stops. Unplug the ice cream maker, remove the motor from the top and remove the dasher. What you have will look very similar to soft serve type ice cream and it will melt fairly quickly if you were to try and eat it at this point.

Now you need to “harden off” your ice cream. Replace the lid on the ice cream maker and there should be some type of plug to stop up the hole where the dasher in to. You will need to make sure you cover that spot. Now take your bucket and go to the sink and dump out all the melted water… there should be a drainage hole in the side of the bucket (leave the metal can in there, just hold the top to steady it while you pour the water out of the drainage hole). Now fill the bucket up with more ice and more rock salt, covering the top of the ice cream can with the ice and rock salt (this is why you need that little spot covered up.. you don’t want the salt in your ice cream).

Cover the whole bucket up with several thick towels or a blanket and let it sit in the sink for 3 to 4 hours. Transfer your can of ice cream to the freezer when this hardening off time is up and let it sit in freezer for at least an hour.

Now it is time to eat the ice cream!! Yummy!!! Hope you enjoy!!



Thursday, June 8, 2006

Chicken Questions Answered…

After posting my pics of our chickens I was asked:


so they are free roaming.... you put them in at night? Do you have much of a preditor problem? 




I'm curious too about whether they get put up at night or stay out all the time.


My answers:


Yes our chickens are free ranging.  They live in a chicken coop.  At night, after they have all gone to bed in the coop we close the door. 


In the morning we open the door and let them out.


Yes we have predators (coyotes, raccoons, etc..), but they usually don’t bother the chickens during the day.  So having them locked up in the coop during the night protects them.


And during the day they have access to lots of grass and bugs and this makes good healthy (high in omega 3) eggs. 

Wednesday, June 7, 2006

Chickens, Chickens, Chickens Everywhere!

Emily and Leanne are raising about 60 to 70 chickens right now.   Twenty of them are currently laying and the rest should start to lay by next month.  We have noticed a few roosters in the second batch of chickens so they will have to go in the freezer soon. 


Emily and Leanne sell the eggs, as well as provide fresh eggs for our family. They wanted to talk a little about that in their blog.. at soon as they have the time..


In the mean time I thought I would share a few pictures of the chickens enjoying the summer sun and their fill of fresh green grass, bugs, worms and all that goes into making healthy eggs! 





The saved rooster from older chickens:


Those healthy eggs!! 

Isaac's first fish...

Isaac's friend Matthew called him the other day and invited him to go fishing with him and his dad.  So Isaac went and later in the afternoon came home with his first fish.  He was quite proud of his catch and my only disappointment was that I did not grab the camera and take a picture of him with the fish when he came in the door!  But I was right in the middle of making soap..  

Tobin helped him clean it up and cook it and he got to eat his little trout. 

Here is a picture of him with the fish on the plate after it had been cleaned and he was getting ready to cook it...