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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


Thursday, October 24, 2013

Left Overs

The cold winds of autumn have started blowing.  Though it's not unheard of it is unusual for this time of year.  So when feeding the animals this morning it became clear we need to make sure we were winterized.  Meaning the children had to have proper gloves to keep their hands warm.  Of course there were choruses of children singing out, "grandma I need a new scarf", hat or both and I will be making them.  I won't be making gloves for them because they do need the insulated type because of watering the animals. 

So yesterday I finished making an afghan and had yarn left over.  The funny thing is I was trying to use left over yarn on the afghan.  Anyway I had left over yarn and was trying to think how to use it up.  Then I thought I would make purses (or pocketbooks as they are called in some parts of the country) for my granddaughters.  I have to tell you, I'm really not good at reading patterns, actually I'm horrible at it.  So I usually make up my own pattern as I am making the item.  I made two and have to make one more and I will put them away for Christmas gifts.  Using the left over yarn I will make the scarves and hats for the children, maybe someday I'll use all the left over yarn.  Don't laugh, I can hope. 

All of this made me think of those folks who need such things and don't know how to make it for themselves.  Should you be so inclined and are able to make such things, please consider making extra and find a family or charity (church, Salvation Army, or other organization) to donate to.  You could also volunteer your time and teach someone to do it for themselves.  Caring for one another is one of the tenants of the Christian faith and I'm sure of other faiths.  Don't think someone else will do it or even the government is there to take care of them.  Think of a time when you were in need (whatever kind of need it was) and someone stepped up to help.  Possibly no one helped, remember that feeling as well.  One of my favorite saying is "Give a man a fish and feed him for a day, Teach a man to fish and you feed him for life." 

One person at a time, lets feed people for life.

Have a great and blessed day.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Be Creative

Animals fed, grandchildren doing school work, plants in the house, garden watered, time to start working on fall table decorations and Christmas gifts.  Something about this time of year makes me feel creative.  I guess it's because starting this weekend and lasting for the next three weekends most of the local churches have some kind of bazaar.  I have to confess most of the time I just look for ideas but not all the time.  There is one church that has hand knitted mittens and socks for a more than reasonable price.  Since I can't knit (still trying to learn) only crochet, I stock up on socks.  The bake sales are my worst enemy.  I can't walk by without buying something.  There are so many good bakers in the area and I have a horrible sweet tooth.  I am getting better but something about the fall just makes me hungry. 

So I made some napkin ring holders and put solid color bandannas inside.  I think they are cute and I'm going to do something similar for Christmas.  Even when times are hard it's good to try and decorate a little.  It lifts the spirits and changes your outlook.  Remember it doesn't have to be something elaborate, just something simple.  A candle here, a couple of napkin rings there, even just a bandanna in the middle of a table with a bowl of fruit or nuts.  Just something that isn't there all year around. 

Being creative will brighten your day or maybe you can brighten someone else's day.  Remember a smile is contagious, spread the smile :-D

These were made with strips of felt, ribbon and I sewed on leaf appliques.

Have a great and blessed day.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Share Your Knowledge

Today the meter reader came by.  He had to knock on the door for access to the back, which gave us a chance to talk.  He had noticed the animals on previous visits and started asking questions.  He was curious has to why we were living a homesteading life.  So we shared.  We talked about having meat that was antibiotic free.  We explained we had both animals and veggies without growth hormones.  We also explained that for us to get a chicken from chick to laying takes five months and commercially to get a chick to your table takes 8-10 weeks.  So this is why we do this.

He shared how he had always wanted to have chickens but lived inside the city limits and thought he would have to wait.  We told him to check with the city as many cities are now allowing hens only inside the limits.  There might be a limit of five but still you have five hens. 

I also heard the news on this morning the fact the average age of people who know how to make things with their hands is fifty-eight years old.  Within the next few years many of these folks will be retiring.  I shudder to think what life will be like as these folks shuffle off this mortal coil.  What will life be like for those who need a tradesman? 

The idea that you aren't of worth unless you have a college degree will be the downfall of our trade occupations.  One of the sorriest things the education system ever did, was to remove shop classes from the curriculum.  I know I will be dating myself but that's ok.  When I was in high school boys were offered auto-mechanics, metal shop, woodshop or possibly electronics.  Girls were offered sewing and cooking class (also they were eventually offered some of the shop classes.)  Where are our children going to learn these skills? 

Whatever talent you were given, share it.  Our children (small and older) need to know how to care for themselves.  Sharing knowledge is always good and spending time with anyone is good for the soul.  What's the worst that will happen?   

Have a great and blessed day.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Here Comes The Bride

Last week there was more work to be done than normal.  We were showing son-in-laws nephew and his girlfriend around the homestead.  We showed them how to care for the animals and garden.  We discussed the signs of labor for the does and what to do and who to call.  Reminded them to collect the eggs and showed them how to wash them.  Because we were doing something we haven't done in years; we left the homestead for a weekend. 

Friday we left for what some call foothills (they were mountains if you ask me) for my beautiful niece's wedding.  I know I may be a little prejudiced but she is truly beautiful with both inner and outer beauty.  The wedding was held on a sandy beach with a babbling stream running along side.  My brother walked the vision of beauty across the beach to a center aisle lined with rose petals that reached an arbor built from tree limbs.  Her eyes gleamed with happiness and love and looked as if she walked from the pages of a storybook. 

The weekend was filled with joy.  Along with the wedding I was able to see all three of my brothers, sister and parents.  This was the first time in about twelve years we were all together and it was so much fun seeing nieces and nephews all grown.  How happy they all are and funny as well. There was so much laughter. This was just a wonderful weekend.  I still have a big smile on my face.

The first night we were there my son-in-law looked at my daughter, "I'm bored.  Why am I bored."  He was confused over this.  Daughter started laughing and said, "No animals to feed, no chores; we're just relaxing."  It's funny how relaxing can be so very boring. 

Another funny thing that came out of the weekend is son-in-laws nephew's girlfriend discovered she likes animals and now wants a goat and rabbit.  She also made two loaves of bread and hoped we didn't mind.  We told her of course we didn't mind and she said "You know that's the best kind of bread anyway."  Just as I have long suspected, anyone exposed to homesteading will come to love it.

Take time to laugh and share, this is where true riches come from.

Have a great and blessed day.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Catching Up and Raising Rabbits

I can't believe it's been over a week since I last posted.  So much has happened.  Well let me start with husband is feeling better.  He had a procedure last Friday and had a reaction to the anesthesia.  Problem was it didn't happen until we left the surgical center.  Thank goodness it was before we made it home.  A quick turn of the car and in no time we were at the emergency room, where he was treated.  The only thing I will say about this is, too many time we are rushed out of the procedures.  How can they know all is well?  Two set of vitals does not make a whole picture.  I'm very afraid more of this is coming very soon for so many other medical issues.

Well back to the old homestead.  We had 5 rabbit pups born last week, unfortunately we lost two.  The other three are doing well and seem quite strong.  Here is a picture of them at five days old.

Mama was a first timer and was a little slow on caring for the pups.  Normally the mother will pull hair out to make a nest for the little ones.  In this case she didn't do that before she gave birth.  When we realized she had given birth and hadn't lined the nesting box, we placed fresh hay in the bottom.  Then with gloves on we carefully placed each of the pups in the nesting box.  We also have dried kitten replacement milk on hand in case mama didn't feed the pups in the first twenty-four hours.  Even though she was a little slow she very quickly started taking care on the pups. Within an hour she was pulling hair and covering the pups and a few hours later she was feeding them.  The one thing you must make sure is the pups stay warm and they were. 

 In the words of number one granddaughter... "My rabbits had pups they are so cute there are three pink ones and one black one.  They are so adorable."  We have had the discussion that the rabbits like the other animals are here for food and milk.  We also talked about the difference between homestead animal and pets.  Tinkerbell, Charlie, Spike, (dogs) Smokie, Babbie J and Kittles (cats) are pets.  The girls however have managed to talk someone into having a couple of the homestead animals as pets.  We now have a turkey named Barbie.

Just a quick note, if you are going to raise rabbits for meat you should have a journal.  In the journal you will track which does produce and care for their litters and how many they have.  Another thing to track is which bucks well take care of business.  Also you should have different pens for the does and the bucks.  Does can and do become very territorial.  She can and will attack the buck.  Also those cute darling little bunnies growl and stomp their foot, so don't be surprised.

We are still on stork watch with the goats.  All four mama's to be are doing well, though we are a little nervous since Capri had triplets the last time.  Oh well it will be, what it will be.

Have a great and blessed day.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Quick Update

Haven't written over the past few days because hubby had to have some medical test done.  Finished today with a slight problem with allergic reaction.  All that is in hand now so much better end to the day then start.

Will have pictures of the new pups (bunnies) on next post.  I will bring everyone up to date with the homestead at that time.

Have a great and blessed day.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

A Garden They Did Plant

You hope what you show the children they learn from.  You talk, they talk, you listen, they listen and then it happens. You see them take the initiative and come up with a wonderful surprise.  They've taken what you've shown them and turned it into reality.

The granddaughters (one and two) came to me and said they planted a surprise garden.  I was thinking they were talking about a pretend garden, but no.  They took my hands and led me to a very large pot.  Inside are the most beautiful bean plants in various stages.  It seems they harvested some dried beans and planted them.  I'm so proud, not bad for a six and eight year old.  They didn't tell anyone.  They wanted to surprise all of us and help with the garden. 

Both the girls watched me let some beans stay on the plant and when dried harvest the beans for seeds.  I guess I missed a few or they just saved a few when helping and planted their own garden.  They used a pot that had been used for seasonal flowers and planted in there.  So when the plants start producing we will have some delicious beans for dinner.  There is the question as to what kind of beans they planted. 

Little brother and number two grandson is sure they are magic beans and well you know, a beanstalk will be here soon.  Who knows; with a child's belief, a surprise garden might just bring a beanstalk.

Children have a wonderful sense of can do.  When they believe they can do it they do.  Much like the bumble bee who isn't supposed to be able to fly, but does.  Encourage a child you know, teach them everything and watch the garden grow.

Correction: I was just told little brother (four year old) helped with the planting.

Have a great and blessed day.

Monday, October 7, 2013


What's the last thing you think you'll find in the compost...  While hanging laundry out on this fine fall day I saw something in the compost heap.  I called my daughter over to see if she saw the same thing and indeed she did.  One of the goats had decided to try a little compost for a mid morning snack (mid morning meaning 9 a.m.).  So finished hanging the clothes and then snap this picture. 
I guess he thought he add a little more fertilizer to the mix, anyway there he is.

Number two granddaughter wanted to help write so the next few words will be right out of the mouth of babes; So we had a goat named Calvin and I loved him but we traded Calvin for Oreo McFlurry which I don't like.  We have rabbits, lots of rabbits and the brown one likes to hop in the white ones cage, so she gets mad at him for jumping in her cage and if she gets in the boys cage I don't know what him will do.  Our chickens, we have roosters, hens we have a polish chicken and the polish chicken always runs into the coop.  They live in the coop.  We have girl turkeys and boy turkeys which we are going to eat.  We have ducks and some of the ducks are little and they lay eggs.  Well our chickens lay eggs like our turkeys and we had turkey eggs before and they are delicious.  Our turkeys are so delicious when we have them on occasions.  We have dogs and cats and we like to play with our dogs and cats.  They are really fun to play with, Tinkerbell likes to play catch and our cat Kitttles likes to play with a glowing mouse toy and the spinning cat toy.  All the cats like to climb and Kittles likes to play with Babbie J (cat) and Smokie likes to lay on the porch, Kittles and Babbie J play in the yard.  Tinkerbell and Spike like to play and Tinkerbell is the one who likes to play a lot.  Charlie is our dog lays on the porch while the other two are playing.  We have a white goat and his name is Comet and we have a goat named Capri she had babies and they grew horns.  Prancer had her first kids.  We have a black goat his name is Dancer he likes to play with the big goats.

Each of the children will have a big surprise in the morning when feeding the rabbits, it seems we had 5 pups.

Each and everyday brings a laugh or two when you least expect it, just be open enough to enjoy it.  Maybe just maybe, if we all laughed a little more, well...

Have a great and blessed day.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Working the Plan

So all the animals are moved, yayyyyyyyyyyy!  The plan is falling into place with time to spare before the new births.  Ducks are doing well.  Chickens have stopped laying, so going to have to have the talk with them.  It goes like this, ladies everyone here produces, you will produce one way or another.  Not that it works but it makes me feel better lol.  The reality is, chickens don't lay everyday.  There are breeds that lay most days but still not everyday.  The turkeys are fattening up nicely so that's good.  Rabbits are being bred today.  All in all the freezer will be filled soon.

So moving on to next stage of the plan.  Fix up the birthing stall.  We have four does that are pregnant so it will be well used in a month or so.  We also will be laying in plenty of hay and straw.  Then make sure the milking stands are in good shape.  We haven't had goat milk in a while so I'm really looking forward to having some again.  Just a side note, goat milk makes great pudding, it's so creamy.  Like I said always something to do.

It's important to set a goal and then work it.  Sure I would have liked to have had all this done earlier, but life happened.  So we took our time and still worked the plan.  Too many times folks are willing to give up at the first sign of adversity.  True character shows itself when adversity presents.  Will you say well I can't do this or that because of this or that or will you find a way around this or that?  Will you step back momentarily and look for another way to complete your goal? 

Too many of us want to travel the road of least resistance.  The problem with this is you will never find a road without any bumps and turns.  Sooner or later you will run out of straight highway.

UPDATE:  Chickens are laying

Have a great and blessed day.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

To Grind or Not To Grind

To grind or not to grind that is the question?  We do, but....  Before you start there is a lot to learn.  What wheat to use for what you're baking and do I need to use dough enhancers?  Which grinder do I use?  Should I use hand powered or electric?  Where do I get the wheat berries?  Should I grind corn for meal as well?  All good questions but don't let them discourage you.

Did you know that when you grind your own wheat, you have to use it within twenty-four hours?  This will give you the most nutritional benefit.  So the next question is how little nutritional value does store bought flour have or how many preservatives does it have to give it the shelf life?

A book I like  to use is "RECIPES from the OLD MILL BAKING with WHOLE GRAINS" Sarah E Myers and Mary Beth Lind.  However there is a lot of good information on the internet and I would also suggest to check your local library and county extension office.  Also just ask around, I think you'll be surprised to find family and friends may be doing some of this themselves.

There are also a number of websites to purchase large quantities of wheat berries.  I would suggest before you get and open a super pail of wheat, look for a local store that might sell 1 lb. bags of wheat.  I purchased the super pails and continue to do so, but first I bought a couple of 1 lb. bags.  Two reason for this, first I needed to work the burrs in the grinder and there is a chance of small metal splinters during the first couple of grinds (check the manufacturers instructions) and second I needed to play with the grinder.  See just how it worked and how to set the burrs for ease and the grind I needed.

Websites to order bulk wheat (I suggest you order in pails instead of bags, this will alleviate the problem of what to do after you open a 50 lb. bag.)

honeyville.com                    (go to the bottom of the page and look for shop now)
beprepared.com                   (in the remark section of the checkout you can ask for plain boxes
                                               without the company advertising)
augasonfarms.com               (they take a little longer but good product)

Living a homesteading life takes a lot of time.  Rarely will you have time to say you're bored but it is an enjoyable lifestyle.  Soon you will see how good you feel caring for yourself and family.

Have a great and blessed day.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Pumpkins or Hens

A funny thing happened when I went for pie pumpkins and feed; I came home with seven hens.  This seems to happen to me.  A few weeks ago I left the house to run to the store for canning supplies; between the car and the front porch I inherited seven rabbits.  I often wonder what my husband thinks when I tell him, "I'm going to get... "

One day we were doing yard work when an older gentleman rode up on his lawnmower.  He very politely introduced himself and told us of his plight.  Seems he had a rooster, hen and a few biddies.  Well the problem with the situation was the rooster.  His neighbor lived in close proximity and did not enjoy the crowing rooster in the wee hours of the morning.

He had ridden past our home a few times and noticed our chickens.  So he thought he'd ask if we would like to add to our flock.  We happily accepted and thanked him for his generosity.  So, more hens.  Oh and the reason he came by on the lawnmower, he had eye surgery that didn't work as well as he had wished.  So with eyesight not well enough to drive, he rode his lawnmower to the little store just past our house.  All in all we feel very blessed and are grateful the good Lord continues to bless us.

The hens may have stopped laying, so we have sectioned them off and we will watch and wait.  Should it prove true they are not laying any longer we will have chicken soup, stewed chicken and dumplings or even chicken pot pie.  I love fresh homemade chicken pot pie and the grandchildren do as well.  The taste is much better than store bought and far less sodium.

So when we set out on one journey, we have to be open for the surprises that cross our paths.

Chicken Pot Pie

4  9" pie crusts
1 to 1 1/2 lbs. of cooked chicken breast
Peas and Carrots
Chicken gravy

Roll out  9" pie crust, placing 1 each into 2 pie plates.  Fill the bottom crust with chicken, peas, carrots and then a cup of gravy per pie shell.  Place 1 each pie crust on top of each pie plates.  Bake at 425 degrees for approximately 1 hour.  Let stand for 5 minutes and then cut into 8 pieces.

Have a great and blessed day.