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I am a Christian woman who loves her family and tries to live with a purpose. "I can do all things though Christ who strengthens me" Philippians 4:13


Monday, September 30, 2013

Inward before Outward

Normally I would only talk about homesteading and I will again, but...  With all that's happening with the talk of government shut-downs... 

The current news may be one of the best examples to live as self-sufficiently as possible.  I think of all the folks who could possibly be in trouble should the government close it's doors.  I'm not going to lay blame at either side's doorstep, though there is much to go around.  I'm just thinking at this time those who think things will always be in their control may want to reconsider.

Look inward before looking outward.

Have a great and blessed day.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Learn, Teach

Starting out on this journey we didn't know a lot about a lot.  Sure I had gardens in the past, but chickens then goats then turkeys, rabbits, ducks oh my.  Did I let that stand in my way, nooooo.  I just didn't know enough to know to be scared.  So we just jumped in, both feet, yes we did.  Learning something new everyday; we still are (that's the best part.) 

Fortunately we have good friends who knew much about animals.  Then we read and read and read more.  Looked on the internet for anything else we wanted to do or make.  Let our own imagination go a little wild with ideas and then it happened.  One day we noticed we were homesteading and helping others.  More and more folks are looking to simplify their lives and learn skills that have been lost.  People are rediscovering the ability to care for themselves and not too soon. 

Our parents and grandparents are leaving us at staggering rates along with their skills.  The fear I have most is, if we continue to push everyone into an office or similar field no one will know how to care for themselves.  Before you all post comments, I know we aren't there, but ask yourselves, can you see that happening some day?  Should you answer yes, then get out there and learn then teach.

So I thought I would share a few books we started with:
Reader's Digest; BACK TO BASICS
(the second and third books are almost word for word so either one them would be good)
Storey's Basic Country Skills
Storey's Raising Dairy Goats

Have a great and blessed day.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Apples are Here

So the apples are here today and the work begins.  We have a bushel each of Jonathans, Honey Crisp, Golden Delicious and half a bushel of Gala.  I love this time of the year.  The house has such a sweet aroma from apples.

I start with a combination of Jonathans, Honey Crisp and Golden Delicious.  This way I have a sweet, a tart and who can go wrong with a Honey Crisp (firm but juicy) apple.  I find this combination makes awesome applesauce without adding sugar.  Then I follow the instructions from the "Ball Blue Book of Canning and Preserving".  I want to tell you, this is awesome in a jar.  I'm going to use Jonathans to make apple pie filling to can but when Jonathans (which are a good baking apple) aren't available the old standard of Granny Smiths works well.  My favorite green apple is not available until later in the fall, so then I will use a different selection of apple to can more.  Going to make apple butter as well but not sure what combination I will use, still working on that.

I was hoping to make apple juice this year but not sure if I'll be able.  Every year I'm trying to add to the list of items I can, but this year instead of canning for two, I'm canning for eight.  That's something else you'll have to figure out.  Just how much you'll need for your family.  For instance, I canned 108 quarts of Pasta sauce this past spring and summer.  I'm now finding out I may not have enough, so will have to find something else to can to supplement the pantry. 

Not to let anything go to waste, we throw the peels to our chickens.  I give all my scraps from canning to the chickens; scraps helps lower our feed bill and it's good for them so why not.  You could also use the peels and other scraps in your compost.  Whichever you do, you're not wasting and that's good.

Canning gives us a chance to preserve the season's harvest.  To enjoy the memories of all who help and to fill our bellies and hearts.  Most of all, it gives peace of mind, I know however high the prices in the grocery store go, my family will eat well, healthy. 

So in the cold winter months, summer laughter comes back when we open jars of corn.  When a jar of peaches are open the memory of giggles will come running back of children trying to sneak a slice.  When we open a jar of anything, we open a jar of love and happiness.

Have a great and blessed day.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Spaztastic Day or Clothes Pin Bag

Spaztastic - adj. eng. meaning; spastic fantastic day.  We had a spaztastic day today. 

I gave the above definition just to explain the day we had here.  You know some days are just like that.  No matter what you plan, things are as crazy as they can be.  All in all a good day but I wasn't sure we were going to make to the end. 

First, today was one on the most beautiful weather days in a long time.  Cool enough to turn the air off and open the windows.  I love days like today.  Then there was the other side of the day. Hmmm how do I explain it.  I can't, so we'll just go with the above definition of spaztastic.

When we have days (good weather) like this, I like to hang laundry out and that's what I did.  The plastic bag I had the clothes pins in was snagged and torn.  So after I collected all of the clothes pins up, I hung the laundry and came in and made a clothes pin bag.  I took an old, girls size 6x cap sleeve blouse and turned it inside out.  Sewing the opening of the arms closed, I then sewed the front and back hems together.  Then I turned the blouse right side out.  I put a child size hanger inside the blouse and then sewed it to the blouse and now I have a clothes pin bag.

Now I'm not cheap, I just don't like throwing money away.  If I can make it I would rather do that.  I'm happy I didn't throw anything into a landfill.  I didn't spend money unnecessarily and I have a practical and cute clothes pin bag.  Make sure you have a blouse (or shirt) with buttons on the front so you can open it wide enough to get your hand inside.  If you don't have any children's clothes, you probably have a family member or friend who does, you can ask them for an old blouse/shirt.

Have a great and blessed day.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Rain and Plans

So today is the first day of Fall and it's raining.  Good for the plants but not so much for those who have to feed the animals.  Oh well, I'll just think of it as a big shower, with the clothes on.

So the garden is loving the rain.  I don't care what you may use on your garden, it just seems rain grows plants faster than anything.  Though I like rainy days, I'm hoping we don't have too wet of a fall this year.  A few years back we had so much rain, a lot of gardens drowned around here.  I know it sounds funny that a garden can get too much rain, but it really can.

So sitting here with a cup of tea and listening to the rain, I'm thinking of what needs to be accomplished this week.  Finish rearranging the animals.  Put more veggies in, (I plant every two to three weeks to stagger harvest.)  Hopefully the apples will come in so we can make our applesauce and apple butter.  Take stock of animal feed and hay.  Drain the kids pool.  Build new shelter for goats and don't over do so I don't re-injure my rib.  Oh yeah take care of anything else that might pop up.

I know it might sound like a lot of work but it's a different kind of work.  When homesteading you have a lot of peace.  You are more in control of your life and circumstances.  Remember  you can do anything you put your mind to.

I will start adding more pictures in the very near future.  Just trying to get a few things in order.

Have a great and blessed.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Make it Yourself

So what kinds of things can you do for yourself?  Just about anything.  In the evenings after dinner sometimes I just sit and crochet dishcloths.  They're very easy to make and very practical.  Something you need on a daily basis and add a splash of color to any kitchen.  Ok, so, maybe the splash of color isn't your concern, but they are nice and you do need them.

 When you can make something for yourself, it's nice knowing you won't have to run to the store for every little thing.  Of course you will have to keep some things on hand, like the 100% cotton yarn.  I keep things like that on hand so when I need a dishcloth I can knock one out.  They also make nice gifts.  I usually make two solid color and two variegated, if I'm giving them as gifts and I make a couple of potholders that match.  I don't know about you but I love homemade gifts.  For me, receiving a homemade gift says the gift giver thought enough of me to give their time.  I can't think of a nicer compliment. 

I crochet scarves in the evening as well.  They take little time to make and they too have a practical function.  There are many beautiful yarns these days to use, but if you are on a tight budget you can use more inexpensive yarns.  As I said before, you are giving two gifts, the actual gift and the gift of your time. 

The gift of time is something we have forgotten to appreciate.  One of the best things about homesteading, is the time we have with our children and grandchildren.  Sharing the beauty of the land, water and most of all life.  Though there is much ugliness in the world, it still holds a tremendous amount of beauty.  Sharing that beauty with loved ones is what memories are made of.  Someday long after we are gone, another generation will share what this world once was like.  In doing so they can also share the precious gifts of time and memories.

Make sure if you decide to make or get 100% cotton dishcloths you follow the care instructions.

Have a great and blessed day.

Friday, September 20, 2013


Talk of costumes are running amuck at the homestead.  I want to be this or I want to be that.  "Grandma can you make me this costume."  Seems the grandchildren have much confidence in grandmas sewing abilities.  So out will come the fabric, pins, threads and sewing machine.  This is a wonderful feeling to have someone see a potential in you and ask you to meet the challenge of creating.

So the new challenge, four costumes.  The biggest obstacle is grandma doesn't know all of the characters that are being asked for; maybe we can talk about cowboys and cowgirls.  Whatever the costume may turn out to be, I'm very happy to see they are making the change from can I buy, to can we make. 

The creative process is just as important to develop as is the work ethic.  Remember that old saying "all work and no play makes John a dull boy", well that's as true as all play and no work  makes John an irresponsible boy.  Balance is necessary in all aspects of life.  When placing more importance on one aspect of life than others, we lose; it doesn't matter what it is we still lose.  Remember if you have children in your life you are always teaching them, more so by your actions than your words. 

So on this homestead we have time to learn, time to work, time to play and time to listen.  Of all the things I spend time on, listening is the one I wish I had more time to do.  You'll never know all that you miss if you don't take time to listen. 

Today, go, talk with a generation that is younger than yourself and create something.  A small garden, a rabbit hutch, a jar of preserves, or a costume; the greatest thing you can give is your time.

Have a great and blessed day.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Conversations and Preparing Children

Today was a very busy day on the old homestead.  Chainsaw in hand, the son-in-law started removing unwanted foliage.  Unwanted only in the sense we need the area for the goats and they get to eat it.  So they're happy, I'm happy, it's a win, win for all who live here. 

Having busy days with the whole family can lead to some interesting conversations.  Especially with the younger members of the family.  We talk about how come some animals eat grains and others eat veggies.  We discuss how to care for them and when they're old enough to mate, but the biggest topic of discussion is, who do we eat?

All know we raise animals and veggies for our daily sustenance and of course the girls try to negotiate who lives and who, well, comes to dinner.  The younger of the two girls has a unique way of determining who reaches the dinner table.  Should you hurt her, like one of the roosters did when he spurred her, you're up next.

Funny little story, she was feeding the chickens when one of the roosters flared up and spurred her. That's not the funny part.  Now he got her good and she was crying.  Of course grandma saw what happened and immediately told grandpa to prepare him for dinner.  Not having a problem with that at all, she refused to eat the first bite of dinner until said rooster was cut up and put on her plate.

The next day she was helping with the goats and one of them challenged her by rearing up at her.  She firmly stood her ground and looked right at the goat and said, "do it again and see what happens."  It seems if you hurt or scare her, you're ripe for the picking.  To dinner you will come.  I'm very happy to report, the goat backed down and those were the only two unpleasant encounters she's had thus far.

Now the youngest of the grandsons who is here, likes not having to go to the grocery store for food.  Sometimes he'll announce he wants chicken for dinner, so go get one from the yard.  I'm happy they know where their food comes from and even happier they're okay with the process.  Too many times I think we coddle our children, wanting to protect and shelter them.  In doing so, I believe we send them out into a world that is not always safe and warm.  The more we teach them about life the more we will send out into the world prepared, self-reliant, hard working individuals.  What better thing can we do for our children?

I would also like to report, number two granddaughter now goes into the chicken coop with a large shovel in hand.  I believe she is prepared.

Have a safe and blessed day.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

The Joys of Life

When homesteading one of the things you should always remember, take time to enjoy life.  There are always chores to do and reasons to not do one thing or another, but remember we only go around once in this world so have some fun.

This weekend was busier than usual but so enjoyable.  Saturday we went to two birthday parties and had a wonderful time.  Both were held together for two beautiful cousins.  One for a six year old little girl who wanted everyone in costumes.  I must say she made a beautiful princess and the other for a lovely young lady who turned fourteen.  Going made my heart happy.  Seeing two girls with such a gap in age both enjoying the day.  The parties were held in their church hall, with half the room in pink and white with balloons and the other half a little more sophisticated, white, black and green.  Each had their own time with a meal in between to give a nice interlude.

Today we had a wedding to attend.  A very lovely event with much joy and happiness.  The young man is a very long time friend of our son.  He and his beautiful bride had smiles so big on their faces they could have lit the world from the glow.  How much it reminded me of our own wedding day and the happiness we felt. 

Another unexpected joy happened by a chance encounter.  Later this evening we met with some family to sit in the breeze by the water.  When we arrived we saw two friends who live out of town.  They unexpectedly decided to pack up for a few days or so and come into town.  So a chance meeting gave even more joy and laughter to an already fabulous weekend.

Times like the past two days give us time to pause and refocus on what life is really about.  Two wonderful days of family and friends celebrating life's joys will always be to coin a phrase, the best of times.  So for tonight we go to bed with joy in our hearts and love in the world.

Have a great and blessed day.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

When Life Has A Different Plan

Thank goodness for having many hands.  The other day as I was working in the garden I reached for a 40 lb. bag of humus.  That's when it happened, the loudest pop I think I have ever heard.  I popped a rib.  I believe the pain is only second to child birth.  So after the family came running over to see what the scream was for, a lawn chair was brought to grandma and I was helped by some of the sweetest medics (grandchildren) I have ever had.

So what do you do when you can't help?  Write a book..  A how to book.  I will attempt to help you put thought to how you will start and what to consider before you begin to homestead.  I'll talk about how even those living in a city as well as those in rural or suburban areas can do this.  That's what I plan to do, but who knows... 

So there you go.  When something happens and your plans are quickly changed, look for options.   There are always options.  One of the options will allow me time to do a little research on the solar and wind we are trying to put on the house.   Speaking of which we thought we'd have all that up a couple of weeks ago but finding some of the connectors we needed is proving to be a little harder then we thought.  So like I said time for research.

So for the rest of the family chores go on, schoolwork, feeding animals, collecting eggs, gardening, next week canning etc.  As for grandma, I'll do what the doctor says and rest the ribs, take 10 deep breaths an hour (to prevent pneumonia) and write. 

Have a great and blessed day.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Please Take More Than A Moment

Please take more than a moment to remember a morning that started like so many others and ended in a way we pray we will never see again.  Take more than a moment to remember the families with empty seats at their tables and children who will never know a parent.  Take more than a moment to remember those who ran to buildings to bring out people they didn't know.  Take more than a moment to remember the tears that filled our streets and the pain that filled our hearts.  Then take more than a moment to be grateful for the loved ones you can still hold, for the joys you can still share and for memories you can still make.

Father, on this day of mourning we pray for your peace.  We pray for those who are no longer here and for those who still are. We pray we never feel the pain we felt that fateful morning and our children may live in peace.  We pray for your healing touch. 

Father we turn to you and ask once again to bless this land to protect and save us.

In Jesus name we pray. 

May GOD bless all of you and please take more than a moment.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Underestimating and Accomplishments

Planning Thanksgiving dinner is one of my most favorite meals to get ready for.  So I've already started.  Now you may think it's a bit early to do so or even a little crazy but...  When dinner is walking around in the back yard you notice how much weight he is or isn't putting on.  Here's the question to ask yourself, is it time to increase the feed allotments.  Will young Tom be big enough for all those you have sitting at your table.  We're increasing the feed.  There will be at least 9 of us at our table so Tom needs to fatten up.

Planning this meal will consist of what we have already put up.  What we will have from the fall garden and what we can get from our local farmers.  You cannot understand until you've made one, how good a pumpkin pie can be from fresh pumpkins and not from a can or frozen.  Anytime you can make it fresh you are helping your family to get the nutrition they need without preservatives and building memories.  I don't know about you but I have fond memories of sitting at my grandmother's table with my mother, aunt and grandmother making pierogies.  My job was to crimp the ends with a fork, both sides.  Thanksgiving was so much fun; I helped stuff celery with cream cheese and a cream cheese and olive mix.  Fixing fruit bowls, cookie trays and nut baskets.  As for pies they bought them from a local diner and they were good, so good they were delicious. 

We often think life was simpler back then, and in some ways it was.  Remember though, there were problems those families had.  Problems that were much the same as ours today.  The big difference was they looked at the problems of the day in a different light.  They would look to each other.  There wasn't looking outward but inward.  How can we solve this problem together?

Though it may seem like I'm underestimating what many of us are facing,  I think we are underestimating what we can solve for ourselves.  When life hit us in the face with the reality that my husband wasn't able to work anymore, my first thought was to plant a bigger garden.  When there wasn't any money to buy new clothes, I pulled out the old patterns and when it came time to give a gift, we looked around and thought what can I make?

New things are nice to have and shopping can be fun but we need to recognize the difference between wants and needs.  Someday the wants may be a reality again but for now the needs are being taken care of.  You know it's funny, given the chance not to get the wants, you may come to the conclusion you really didn't want it after all.

So for now, I'll start planning a meal that gives a real sense of accomplishment.  A meal that we are truly thankful for.  We will also continue to give thanks to the one who gives us strength to carry on through all we are facing and allowing us to feel his presence.

Have a great and blessed day.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Baby Goats and Helpful Friends

Everyone loves to see a new kid (goat).  Last night a friend called to let us know of the birth.  Our buck sired the newest member of their herd (family).  She was beautiful and had her daddy's ears.  So very cute but the excitement of her birth was slightly overshadowed by another recent member of the herd.  Born on July 11, the little one had her first feeding of grain.  Just as we arrived to see the newest little girl, her slightly older sister started to vomit.  Something we had never seen before. 

Out came a laptop to go to the best site for goats we have found, fiascofarm.com.  But feeling a little more urgency, we decided to call another friend whom we all think of as the guru of goats.  She was over seeing her horse and said she was on her way.  Never have we called and she not come to help.  What a great person.  When she arrived in what seemed to be just mere minutes, she quickly assessed the situation. 

The little one was choking, by choking I mean had a small piece of grain stuck in her throat.  Yesterday had been the first day she had eaten grain.  By running the fingers down the neck, our friend was able to feel a lump in the throat.  Gently massaging the throat the little one was able to bring more up.  Our friend held the little one talking softly to her the whole time.  Shortly after, the lump subsided quite a bit.  The little one started hopping around and then it seemed to start again.  So the process began again.  Repeating the whole process the little one was once more out of discomfort.

One little side note I might mention; when goats vomit they don't do it like humans.  Seems they get a mouth full and slat the heads from side to side as a method of expelling the offending yuck.  This method allows all around to know they are sick.  A new and slightly unpleasant way of sharing.

The lesson of the day is; surround yourself with knowledgeable people.  Should you decide to homestead find folks who are already homesteading in your area.  They will be a great source of knowledge and equally a great source of encouragement.  Then one day you will be able to help others. 

Have a great and blessed day.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Kindness Brings a Warm Heart

Pear season is here and I will be making pear butter tomorrow.  The funny thing about the pears I'll be using is, 3 or 4 years ago I bought 3 pear trees.  Not having enough room for all of them I gave one to my neighbor.  Now the tree I gave away has bloomed every year full to the point of bending and possibly breaking with pears.  The 2 trees I planted have not born even 1 blossom.  Oh well I have a good neighbor who is willing to share and because of that, I will be making pear butter tomorrow.

This is why being neighborly is always a good thing.  When times are hard as they are now, one simple kindness can turn into another kindness.  In this case we have been blessed with pears.  This may seem like a little thing to you but to me in the cold winter months this pear butter will bring a warm feeling to my heart.

The recipe I use for the pear butter can be found in the Ball Blue Book of Preserving.  Many good recipes can be found in it and they are easy to follow.  Besides this book I also use the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving and a Gooseberry Patch cookbook, Mom's Favorite Recipes, the sixth printing July, 2005.  This is the pasta sauce recipe I make every year.  This year I made approximately 80 quart jars.  We use this for everything from pasta to pizza.  I have to tell you something I found while canning, it becomes addictive.  Once I got over the fear of poisoning us, I couldn't stop canning.  The more I canned the more I wanted to can but at some point during the summer months that enthusiasm subsides and you long for the winter months where you can just enjoy the bounty of the summer.

Remember if you decide to start homesteading, try to curb the enthusiasm just a bit.  Not that you shouldn't be enthusiastic, just jumping all in can become overwhelming.  Starting slowly lets you get your feet wet and you develop the skills you need for each task in a much calmer and enjoyable atmosphere.

Have a safe and blessed day.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

How this Journey Began

I've been asked several times what lead us to homesteading and how much land do we have.  Let's take the first part of the question, how the journey began.  Steve, my husband, was in the Air Force so we traveled with his service.  I always had liked to garden and would put a small veggie patch wherever we were stationed.  I guess it just reminded me of my childhood.  My grandfather always had a vegetable garden and he would let us help harvest.  When I say he had a garden to me as a child it looked like a farm.  It wasn't; my grandparents lived on the outskirts of the city and had an usually big back yard.  But fresh produce was always part of our diet.  Then a few years later my parents moved to the next town over.  We moved closer to my grandparents but were in fact in the next town.  Across the street was one of the nicest older couples I have ever met.  Mr. and Mrs. Williams.  I don't mind using their names because they have long gone to be with the Lord.  Once a year the Williams would go out of town and I would watch over the house and garden when they left.  Mr. Williams would carefully walk me through the garden and tell me every detail I would need to know.  What to do if I saw a certain bug, or if I saw the beginnings of a fungus.  He tended the garden like most mothers watch over their children.  Now Mrs. Williams was a wonderful person herself.  She knitted and canned.  How I can remember her cherry preserves.  Back to the story.  Part of my pay was all the vegetables that ripened while they were gone.  So a love for gardening was cultivated early for me.

But the story really begins June of 1987 in Naples, Italy.  As I said Steve was in the Air Force and stationed there.  I had told him I was making lasagna for dinner, it was his favorite.  Well long story made short, he was in a horrible car accident on his way home.  He was taken to a local Italian hospital where he awoke to cuts being cleaned with alcohol.  This was the beginning of a long journey.  Over the years he was not doing as well as a young healthy man in his late twenties and thirties should.  He would go to the doctors many times and be told they knew he thought something was wrong but they couldn't find anything.  Doctor after doctor said the same thing.  Test after same test was done over and over with the same results, until one day in November of 2007.   Steve got up for work and collapsed.  He mustered some energy and continued to get ready for work.  He looked awful; for the first time since the accident in Italy I thought if he left for work I would never see him again.  I asked him to stay home that day; like many days his day was filled with meetings and appointments he couldn't miss.  I told him if he insisted on going to work I would drive him.  I know I'm not making this all that short, but I am working to the beginning of the journey.  Again long story short, he agreed to stay home and go to the doctors one more time.  That was the first day of Steve's very early medical retirement.

He was diagnosed with what is now called a TBI or Traumatic Brain Injury.  His body had been deteriorating for 20 years.  His Pituitary Gland was all but dead.  He had Osteoporosis to the point one good sneeze could break his back.  His memory was not at all good and he was sleeping 15 to 16 hours a day.  He was up for work and the drive there and home and sleep the rest of the time.  When the diagnosis was finally made he was to say at the least a mess. 

This is where my self taught PHD in cause and effect of medical treatments and food come to be. The treatments he was going to be on got me thinking a lot about our diets and how food would play into the changes.  Then a very simple encounter in a hardware store with a nurse I happened to be standing in front of in line, really got me thinking.  How safe is our food?  So with computer in hand and the internet at my disposal, I researched his condition, the treatments and how the meat and vegetables we eat are given or sprayed with the same hormones. 

Now Steve's hormone levels are checked every 3 to 4 months to make sure they aren't too high or too low.  Then I decided he or I didn't need any additional hormones in our food.  So that's how the journey really began.

Now for how much land we have.  It happens that just 18 months before he collapsed we bought a small farm style house on just over a half acre of land.  I had a friend who attended church with us, whose daughters were in 4-H.  They were raising chickens, ducks and goats.  They had just hatched a large amount of biddies and were selling them.  So our daughter who was staying with us while her husband was deployed and I went to the store and ran in to my friend and she told us of the biddie sale.  We followed her home and of course fell in love with the babies.  The short of it was, we came home with 24 little cheeping, fluffy chicks.  Not knowing the first thing about raising chicks didn't bother us in the least.  I know GOD was watching over us, but I'm really not sure if he wasn't looking out for the biddies more.  So with said computer and internet we started reading and studying about chickens.  We built a coop (we call it the Taj Baccaw) and put up fencing.  That was the beginning of the animals. 

Again remembering about hormones in all the food we consume I thought about our milk.  So off I went again looking for dairy goats.  I found two beautiful La Mancha's.  Now when everyone saw them for the first time, we always got the same question.  What happened to their ears?  La Mancha's don't have regular ears.  They have little button ears, with fur over them.  They are by far the most docile and loving breed of goats.  When in milk we would get 2 to 3 quarts of milk from one of them a day.  But sadly our small 1/2 acre was not large enough for full size goats.  So Myra and Hope were given new homes with more land.  But then I found pygmy goats, Nigerian dwarfs to be exact and they fit.  Well of course after the goats and chickens, how hard could a couple of rabbits be, right?  Well like I said before they do breed like bunnies, hahaha.  So now we had goats, chickens and rabbits.  I thought how hard would it be for a couple of turkeys?  Surprisingly they were the hardest to raise.  Not that you can't do it.  It just took a little more studying.

Well our daughter's husband has recently been medically retired from the Army.  One day we all took a ride to Tractor Supply.  May I suggest you don't go there in the spring.  They have animals.  Chickens and ducks to be exact.  So can you guess what happened next?  You got it, 9 little ducks found a home. 

Of course we have cats and dogs as well.  Dogs to keep predators away and cats, well if you have animals you have feed, if you have feed you have mice and if you have mice, you need a good mouser.

So this is how our journey began.  1 small farmhouse, just over a 1/2 acre of land, Noah's ark as my family and friends say and a garden.  With a good plan for land management, a lot of prayer to and help from the good Lord you too can have a small homestead.

I would like to suggest a book that may be out of print but you can still find copies; Gardening by the square inch.  Also Readers Digest has a series of books I find very helpful,  Back to Basics, Self-Sufficiency and Homesteading.  Each of these books are almost word for word the same but you may find one or two things in each that the others don't have.  Another book I use a lot is Storey's Basic Country Skills.  I have others and will make a list in another post but this should get you started.

Have a safe and blessed day.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Quick Tip 1

From time to time I thought I might throw out a Quick Tip.  So today's Quick Tip is, when baking cakes and cupcakes you can substitute applesauce or pear butter for the oil in your recipe.  This is a healthier choice and doesn't change the taste.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Beginning a New Season

I love decorating for the fall.  The rich colors inspire me. So today being the 1st of September, I'm already thinking of scarecrows, wreaths and pumpkins.  It doesn't take much to decorate and bring a little happiness into our lives.

Sometimes with all that is weighing on us, we have to look to the little things to brighten up our days.  So, don't have much money to decorate, no problem.  Lets start with the scarecrow.  Do the kids or better yet the husband, have any old clothes they have outgrown or you don't want them wearing anymore?  You'll also need a few safety pins, a belt or rope and straw, if you don't have straw, old newspaper will help in a pinch.  Stuff the pants with straw or paper.  Then button the shirt and pin the hem to the pants.  Continue stuffing the shirt, body and arms.  Now for a head, take an old pillow case (one you don't mind drawing on) and stuff it also.  Tie off the opening with string or yarn and pin the head to the body.  Now if you have straw you can put a little coming out of the arms and legs and retie them off.  Two ways you can display your scarecrow, you can one set him/her in a chair or two you can stand him/her up.  You'll need a pole for the second option.  Don't worry about buying one, you can use an old mop or broom handle or go outside and look for a long branch that might have fallen.  Stuff it up the back of the shirt on the scarecrow.  Don't forget to draw a face and put a hat if you would like to.  There you have your first fall decoration.  Little to no cost, depending on what you have around the house.

Thinking of fall also brings to mind the holidays and the food drives that come with them.  Many don't have enough to eat and you may find you or someone you know in this situation.  I understand that's a very hard place to be.  With a little preparing you may be able to avoid this.  If you're not canning from your garden and still going to the grocery store, take advantage of the sales.  In my area we have a store that has a deal once or so a month.  Buy 2 get 3 free, usually there is a limit, but only a limit on each purchase not how many times you go back (so take your purchase to the car and go back in and start again).  Say you wanted five cans of soup.  So buy the two and get the 3 free but don't stop there.  Buy 2 more and get three more free.  You were going to buy five anyway, so you paid for four and got six more free.  If you do this with other products you will soon find a pantry that is full.  So if you come across hard times, you'll still be able to feed your family with products you have stored for such circumstances.

There are little things you can do, day by day to help yourself.  In doing these things the feeling of helplessness goes away and you feel much better even in the worst of times.  Remember, the longest journey begins with but a single step.