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Every time you feel in God's creatures something pleasing and attractive, do not let your attention be arrested by them alone, but, passing them by, transfer your thought to God and say: "O my God, if Thy creations are so full of beauty, delight and joy, how infinitely more full of beauty, delight and joy art Thou Thyself, Creator of all!
- Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain

You can’t get to joy by making everything perfect. You can only get there by seeing in every imperfection all that’s joy.
-Ann Voscamp

Friday, December 30, 2011

We're Alive and Well

Hi all! I'm super thrilled to be posting, though it's probably a lone post in the middle of a long quiet spell. Computer fixing is on the back, back burner, far behind other important things right now. A few of those other things are getting new tires on the van, fixing the power steering pump on the work truck, and paying the insurance for the house and cars. All important and all way less fun to think about or pay for than so many other things I can think of right now. Such as the lovely stainless steel insulated carafe designed for keeping raw milk in. It would be so much more fun to just go ahead and spend the money on that. But no, I'm being good and responsible. It can wait, along with the computer.

I was eaves dropping on my littlest (6) while I was doing chores yesterday, and I have to share her conversations with the chickens with you all. First she caught her favorite little black hen and brought it into the goat barn. She put some hay into the milking stand feeder and put her little hen in it. I heard, "Please lay an egg. This is the perfect place to lay an egg...oh, you probably won't lay one until tomorrow." Then, "You need a beautiful name, like...Olivia. Do you like Olivia? Okay, you're Olivia." A bit later we went to care for the chickens. I let Six scatter the scratch around. I got to hear, "Olivia, don't do that. Come here, Vanilla. Yellow Hen, come down here. Don't be afraid. They're nice. Okay, be nice. Here's some for you." I really don't think she's going to find a lot of success as a peace keeper for the hens, but it sure is sweet to listen to her. :)
Happy New Years, everyone!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

New Experiences

Our family has been having some new experiences lately! One of them is sort of controvercial, but it has been interesting, and is really what we're up to, so on the blog it goes.
We have some good family friends who are trappers. Their children are mostly grown now, and moving on to their adult lives. I think Mr. Trapper misses having young children to teach and pass on his experiences and knowledge to. He took an interest in teaching our children some of his skills, and before we knew it the children were involved it running a muskrat trap line with him.
This has meant that we as their parents have gotten involved as well. Yesterday I got to be the chaperone as my young ones checked and reset traps. It was really very interesting how it all works. I wish I had pictures, but we forgot the camera, and the computer troubles we're having are making our internet connection operate so slowly I feel like we have dial-up again. Ugh!
Muscrats live in little houses much like beaver lodges, but smaller and made out of balled up grasses that they wet and stick together, some small sticks and mud. The bigger the house, the more rats live in it. To set the traps, the trapper makes a hole in the top. The tunnel from under water into the house is found, and the trap is placed in the doorway. It is connected to a wire that anchors it outside the house.
When the trap is in place, grasses are dampened and placed over the hole, and then covered with snow to keep the water inside from freezing. To check the traps, the snow and grass are removed from the hole (this can take a while as it is frozen in place), the trap is pulled up and checked, and reset.
In the past few days, Mr. Trapper and the children have gotten two muskrats. If a person is interested in working with the fur (as my children are), it takes one pelt sold to get the money to have one pelt tanned to keep. One of my children has a muskrat hat made by Mr. Trapper and one of his daughter trappers. It looks much like beaver, and is lovely, soft and warm.
I had fun taking my children out to check the traps. I was reminded of a book I'd read once about a woman who lived in the Alaskan wilderness with her trapper husband. She had a baby out there, and they passed a winter out there alone. They couldn't find any game and very nearly starved before they were able to get out. By the time they got help they were quite ill with scurvy.
For one afternoon, I felt like a strong, brave pioneer trapper in the wilderness. It was pretty exciting, I must say. :)

In other news, as we approached the shortest day of the year, the chickens have picked up in their egg laying. This seems to happen often for us, and I love it. Just when we expect to go eggless for months, having a lovely surprise of five eggs in the nest boxes is so nice, and the morning afer the solstice, too!

I'm planning to pick up my does from the breeder on Friday afternoon, and I can't wait! I'm so excited to have them back home, and even more so by some extenuating circumstances that I don't feel right about sharing here. Suffice it to say, I'm a bit extra concerned about their wellfare right now, as well as that of the dear woman caring for them who has recently become a real friend.
I have stopped in to see them a couple of times, and they look pretty good, except for Starlight. She's never been what I'd call thrifty, and now is no exception to that. She has some upper respitory stuff going on that is worrying me. I really want her back so I can give her some extra TLC. I'm really unsure how things are going to develop for her, and only hope that she makes it through pregnancy and kidding without too much dificulty.
By the way, that extra TLC is going to be hard to give, as my girls are STINKY! I don't know how the buck stink will ever wear off. I pray that I get two nice bucklings, one by each of the two bucks involved in these breedings. If I do, then I will be able to have a closed herd after this for a long time, and no more pen breedings. That's my ultimate goal now. I used to think this traveling and pen breeding would be a yearly occurence, but I've now come to ralize that it causes a lot of stress to myself and my does. I don't want to have to do this agian.

I want to wish you all a wonderful Christmas and New year, as I may not be back for a while. I just can't take the time to post or read blogs with my PC and laptop both acting up so badly. I really miss reading all of your posts, and can't wait to catch up a bit. :)

Many blessing to you all in the New Year!
-Patty

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Reward Time and Crafting Space

Because I don't have any dirty dishes or dirty laundry in my house right now, and I didn't even have to toss them outside to be able to say that, I am rewarding myself with some time to post. Oh, happy, happy day! Maybe you can tell by my reaction to being so stellar in the housekeeping department today that it doesn't often happen. I have the best of intentions for keeping up on things, but they seem to fall by the wayside every time. I would so LOVE it if this time I managed long term success in the dish and laundry department.

Anyhoo, it light of the fact that there's nothing pressing right now, and I've a child stewing it the tub so I can't go far, I have a moment to sit here. I'm finally making a small attempt to show and tell about how I find space to sew/craft here on North Forest Farm. There's been quite a bit of the like happening here lately with Christmas just around the corner, but do you think I actually took a picture when I had things out? No siree! That would be just too darn organized and practical for me.
Here's the table where we "do school", craft, sew, scrapbook, etc. We used to just use the dining room table; all of our books fighting for space with the sewing machine and various sundry cups, plates and flatware. It wasn't a pretty sight, and also kind of messy. Garments stained before they're ever worn, that's just...



Anyhoo, do you see in this picture hubby's stereo tucked into the corner? Yeah, he doesn't like that at all. You see, he wants to actually be able to use it. Go figure. He's really threatening to get rid of MY table. I don't like that. I guess we're at an impasse. Really, I think I could solve the problem with a bit of work. I could actually keep the table top clean, and fold the table up when we're not using it. Maybe, but...

Alrighty, then. Here's what's been happening while I've had the machine out these last few days:

First ever quilted anything. I'm giving some quilted pot holders as gifts this year. I'm pretty happy with my first attempt so far. I think I'll have to either put some ties in or do some stitching so they don't fall apart in the wash.



I also made five of these little stockings (now filled with M&M's) for our family gift exchange. We exchange the names of the children in the family and make homemade gifts for them.



I really don't have anything amazing to say about where I store things when they're not in use. The unglamorous truth is that they're mostly stuffed into plastic bags in the closet, and sometimes I can't find them again when I need them. Okay, OFTEN I can't find them again. The finding usually takes longer than the crafting. :/ Can anyone say organizationally challenged?

Friday, December 9, 2011

Tiny Roo and New Hens

...spare roosters too.


Here's the tiny little guy. I wish I'd had someone hold him while I took this pic. He can't be more than 9 or 10 inches tall. He came with his own little hens, too. I don't know yet what kind they are.



Besides the four little black bantam hens, there are these three new girls hiding under the nest boxes. I'm not sure what these are yet either.



And then there are these guys. Isn't that one guy gorgeous? I think he's a dorking, but I can't remember for sure if that's correct. I would LOVE to keep him just for his looks, but unfortunately he has to go. He and his cronies beat our beloved brahma bantam up pretty badly, so they can't stay. There are four or these roosters, lovely as can be, now residing in my goat barn. It will be hard to butcher this beautiful boy if nobody will take him. They all seem nice (to people) so far.


We ended up with these when some friends of ours decided they didn't want to keep chickens any more as they wished to travel more now that their children were grown.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

I'm Back!

Hey all, I'm back online. :) I grounded myself in order to prepare for a trip, and then take that trip and visit with my sister and her family. We had an absolute blast playing together for five days, and now it's time to clean up the mess we brought home with us. I'm rested up and ready to dive in, but had to take care of a little business first.
I've recently began the process of getting all set up to get my goats registered in my name, with a herd name. Of course I'd wanted to get something that had Tanglewoods in it. Apparently that's pretty popular, because no variation I could think of was available to me. We had to choose a new name for the "herd". My eldest daughter came up with North Forest Farm, and that passed. So, our new homestead name/herd name is North Forest Farm. My husband and eldest daughter are happy. They never thought Tanglewoods Homestead "fit" anyway. So, here we are with 1.5 acres we're now calling a farm. :) I can't wait to see what else this homestead adventure brings.
I also can't wait to slowly catch up on all of your blog posts as soon as I get a chunk of time to myself. I sure hope you've all had a lovely week.
Hugs!

P.S. Next post, I'll introduce you to the little additions to our laying flock, including the tiniest little roo I think I've ever seen.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Goat Meet and Greet

Yesterday's goat meet and greet went quite well. Actually, the most hectic part for me happened before we even left home. The breeder decided that it would be best if I gave a course of antibiotics to my does so we didn't end up spreading "shipping fever" between our animals. Shipping fever is sort of a generic term for something that commonly happens when goats are transported to new places. They can get stressed and then their immune systems get depressed. If that happens, then any germs hanging around can quickly cause an illness.
So, I gave them each a shot of penicillin and gathered up supplies to send with them. Then I gave them some hay so they could eat for a while while I got kennels loaded up.
It turns out they've all grown since I got them. I started by trying to cram Cupcake into a kennel she used to fit in. She said, "NO!", and that was that. So, we decided that Panzy could just ride in the van like a family pet, and prayed she wouldn't pee. All good, no accidents.
The meeting went fairly well, with no major trouble between any of the does. However, I don't know when any of them will get a chance to eat or drink, with the bucks hot on their heels all the time.
A am still a bit nervous...God bless them, please.

The following is the only picture I took. This is Panzy and Maxwell. The others were inside the barn, and it was pretty dark in there, so no pics.




I'm grounding myself from my computer for a while now, so I'll see you when my grounding is over (probably by Friday). Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

For Sure, Most Likely...

My comment last night to CR:

Hi CR-
They're only going about 30 miles from me. I think they'll just be there for three weeks. That should cover at least one heat period for each of them. Not having bucks around, it's hard to catch the heats, but I think I've observed at least a couple in succession for each doe, and they're about 18 days apart at the most (I think). Right now I think I have two does just finishing a heat and one about to start, so I could start getting babies by the last days of April. I'm super excited! :)


...and this AM my doe who was going into heat is already in standing heat, I'm pretty sure. If it doesn't last until tomorrow afternoon, I guess she'll be there for sure until her next cycle. That's kind of a bummer, because they most likely will be gone for three weeks. I was hopeful that even though I am planning for three weeks, it would take less. But, I won't be pushing it as much as far as the weather is concerned. If her heat doesn't last, then for sure no kids in April.

I keep wanting to say "for sure, most likely". Now, that shouldn't make any sense, but it does if you're doing any kind of gardening of farming. There is definitely a, "for sure, most likely" and a "for sure, most likely, not".

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Homestead Diary November 29, 2011

Update on bunnies: We still have one bunny that hasn't opened one of its eyes, and it really doesn't look like it's going to. This is just the strangest thing. It seems happy and healthy though, and at least has one eye to use.

Today I began my final preparations for the goats to go visit the bucks. I'll be bringing them Thursday afternoon. Last week I trimmed hooves. Starting today I'm making sure to offer them a lot of minerals since I've been sort of hoarding them because I was running low. I'm also giving them an immune support tincture to hopefully help their immune systems thrive through the stress of traveling to a new farm and meeting a new herd. They had their weekly wormer today, and a treat of some apples from our tree that are beginning to shrivel.

On a more personal note, I'm a bit (well, a lot, really) nervous about this whole process, and I'm also really going to miss the girls while they're gone. I can't wait to have them all settled and back home.
I hope to get some pics of the "meet and greet" to post here.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Counting Blessings #209 - 225

209)holidays

210)cookies

211)pot lucks

212)pets

213)healthy family members and animals

214)new friends

215)old friends

216)blog friends

217)my whole family in one room at the same time

218)good books

219)Tales from the Green Valley(Thank you, Quinn, for sharing this with us.)

220)fresh bread (but not as much when I forget the salt as I did yesterday)

221)homemade granola for breakfast

222)fresh eggs

223)husband who did dishes today :)Thank you!

224)earl grey tea when trying to stop drinking coffee so much

225)Timothy the vole, my daughters' newest "pet" :/ Well, sort of thankful. ;)

Friday, November 25, 2011

Waiting for the Butter to Turn

I'm just sitting here waiting for the butter to turn, so thought I'd post quick. I've been making some of our butter for a while now, from raw cream from our local diary. For some reason I don't like the butter they make there. I know a lot of folks who use it, so I think it's purely personal. Any way, to me it has a sour taste that I don't like. Therefore, buying the cream and making it myself is working for us. The bonus is that I have buttermilk to use after I've make the butter. :) I usually buy a quart of cream from which I get a pound of butter and a pint of buttermilk.
How it works:
I pour the cold cream into my Kitchenaid, put on the whisk and the pouring sheild, then crank it up to speed 5. I then just go about my business nearby until I hear the sloshing sound of the buttermilk with the butter floating in it (about 10 minutes), going back once and scraping down the cream while it's "churning". When the butter turns, I strain the buttermilk off into a pint jar, and then it's time to wash the butter.
If you don't wash it well it gets a sour taste from the buttermilk that's left in it. To wash it, I use a flat paddle like spoon to knead the butter as I run ice cold water over it. I do this in the Kitchenaid bowl. When the water runs clear, the butter is rinsed well. I then salt it with about 1/2 t. salt, kneading it in well, shape it into a long rectangle, and slice it into about 5 smaller pieces. I like it in small pieces so that I can have one out and soft and use it up before it goes bad.
So far, the butter I make gets used mostly for toast and other "table" use. I wish I could afford to make all of our butter, but for now I'm not. Perhaps when I'm getting milk from the goats I can buy more cream for making butter.

November 25 - The goats ALL seem happy and healthy today, so I'm thrilled with that. I did their weekly wormer today, and trimmed hooves. I think the girls are all ready to go meet the bucks next week.

We've found that we've had a strange thing happen with our last batch of bunnies. Two of them seem to have a problem with their eyes. They aren't opening them as soon as they should. We're actually questioning whether or not one of them has eyes at all. What a strange thing to have happen! They don't seem bothered by the fact that they're essentially blind. They're hopping and exploring just like their sighted brothers and sisters, and perfectly chubby, just as they should be. However, they're only just over two weeks old. I question what will happen when they get closer to weaning age. Will they be able to find food and water? If they can and they continue to keep up with the others, there's no reason for us to kill them I guess. In the many, many batches of baby bunnies I've raised in my life this is the first time I've ever seen something like this happen.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVERYONE!

For snowy days, cozy fires, close friends and family, good food, games, hugs and smiles, and for Your sustaining hand, we give thanks to You our God.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Homestead Diary November 18 - 23, 2011

I'm now busy working on Christmas gifts. I'm making some quilted Christmas stockings for the family gift exchange. It only took me four tries to figure out how to sew the pieces so everything came out right. Just having a pattern to follow could save me so much trouble sometimes! Also making granola and pumpkin pie filling today. As I've learned from a dear friend, pumpkin pies really do turn out much tastier if the filling ingredients have a chance to meld for a while before being baked into pies.

Here's what's been happening with the critters around here this past week. Some fun and exciting, some more discouraging.

November 18 - When I went out to do chores this A.M. Starlight was coughing more than usual (I say more than usual, since she's been sensitive since I got her, coughing/choking on occasion. The other girls never catch anything from her, and she seems to be fine other than that). I gave her some immune support tincture from Molly's Herbals.
Gave weekly wormer to all today.

Still getting an egg a day from the new hens. Hoping some more will begin laying soon.

Bunnies are opening their eyes and are so unbelievably cute! I'm glad they happen to be at the cutest age (2 to 3 weeks) for my parents visit. My mom just loves them at this age.

November 20 - Mom went out with me to do chores this A.M. Had fun seeing the chickens, bunnies (especially bunnies), and goats.
Water is beginning to freeze at night now, so hauling much more than usual.

November 21 - Did fecals. All clear, so that's great! New microscope works great! Will do them again when I bring the girls home from the breeder.


November 20 - 23: Starlight still seems under the weather. Giving her Immune Support tincture. She sneezes once in a while too. I don't like this at all, and I wish I had a good working relationship with a vet (one experienced with goats) who was closer to me than a 3 hr. one way drive. Thankfully she's still eating fine. I hope she pulls out of this soon as there are only about 7 days until they are supposed to go to the breeder. I'm going to make a phone call today (23rd) to the breeder she came from. Hopefully she can advise me what I should do. She's a vet tech. and taught me how to give injections, and draw blood for testing for disease or pregnancy. I'm thrilled that should I ever want/need to do any of this I can take care of it by myself.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Apron Sew-off and Learning To Use a Pattern

Thank you ever so much, Susan at e-i-e-i-omg! for hosting this little apron sew-off. It really helped kick me into gear. I've been trying to get to this project for a long time, but have been a bit intimidated because though I sew things (p.j. pants, curtains, pillow covers, reusable feminine products, a shirt that Molly(13) designed, etc.) I haven't ventured into pattern use. I've wanted to for ever so long, because I want to be able to make anything I want to, not being limited to what I can figure out or dream
up on my own. Sometimes it's nice to know how to do things the "right" way. So any way, I wanted to begin teaching myself to use patterns. I chose this one because it said it was easy. Really, it did turn out to be pretty easy, but the one mistake I made could have been disastrous. This was a reversible apron pattern. Almost every piece said cut two. So, folding the fabric in half so as to have two layers, I pinned all the pieces and cut two. It was a good thing I had enough fabric because I was supposed to cut one of each fabric, not two of each. What I now have are two matching aprons! Well, that's okay! I can handle that kind of mistake. :)

If you'd like to read about all the other apron stitcher's projects, visit Susan's blog. She'll be linking to all of them. I can't wait to see what everyone else has created! This bunch or women are sure to have come up with some outstanding aprons. They're a pretty amazing bunch of gals!








shirt designed by Molly for which I made pattern pieces from butcher wrap and sewed

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Computer Troubles

Hey all-

I've tried to post about my computer having problems so many (wasted) times, so now I'm keeping it short.
Computer not working.
Can blog, but don't have time and sometimes it doesn't work.
Can't leave comments.
Wish I could, since you're all so awesome.
Hugs to all of you!
Busy this weekend with family, so I'll see you all on Monday, maybe (depends of computer issues being resolved, or not).

Hugs!
-Patty

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Microscope Fun

Wow! Am I ever impressed! I never would have thought that I could get a microscope this solidly built and beautifully working for such a price. If anyone you know is interested in getting a microscope for homeschool or farm use, or whatever, this one is great. I got this here.
I was actually able to put my camera up to the eyepiece of the microscope and take pictures of what we were seeing.



Here we have frog blood cells,



pollen,


and protozoa.

This has been so much fun for my family, and now I can't wait to get a fecal sample to look at. If there's something to see, I know I'll see it with this little gem!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Homestead Diary November 14 - 15

11/14/11 - No more clumpy poops for Cupcake, and all seems well.

11/15/11 - Heard back from Molly @ Molly's Herbals. She says the clumpy poop is a sign that the herbal wormer is doing its job. Glad to hear it.
Cupcake showing signs of heat today. For some reason, whenever she's in heat she gets bullied by the other does more, so I can usually tell when it is.
First real snow of winter is falling now. Kids having fun tonight with snowballs.
Learned today that birdsfoot trefoil is high in concentrated tannins, making it a good natural wormer for barber pole worms. Happy because we have plenty of it for them in the summer, and they graze it fairly well after the dandelions slow down.
Raised bed is finished and ready for mulching. Big garden still needs more mulch. If this turns out to be the snow that stays maybe it won't get done this year.



I seem to be over the slump I was having this fall. I'm so glad! I wonder what happened to so many of us this fall? Any way, I'm back to being productive again, at least a little (when blog reading and writing don't distract me too much). I've finished my apron in time for Susan's apron sew off over at e-i-e-i-omg!. I'm really excited to see everyone's project, and the project really got me going on the sewing path. Can't wait to make something else!
The rest of this week I'll be spending all of my spare minutes cleaning for a visit from my parents over the weekend. I'm really looking forward to having some time with them. Well, I guess that's it for now.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Fecal Floatation: Should I Do This At Home?

There are some advantages to learning to do your own fecals on your animals at home. It could potentially save you quite a bit of money. If it typically costs you $25 to take a sample to the vet for testing, you could pay for the equipment you need to do it yourself in the first four uses. Another good reason is that you can keep better track of what's going on with each animal. Because it's essentially free for you do do it yourself and you won't have to make any special trips, you can do fecals as often as needed on as many animals as needed.
Doing separate fecals on each animal will give you better information on who needs treatment and who doesn't. Usually not all animals will carry a heavy worm load, but you may have one or two animals with a lower resistance who are troubled more often than the others.
If you, like me, don't have a vet nearby who is well acquainted with goat medicine, it may be an especially good idea. For me to rely on a vet for a proper worm identification and proper knowledge of wormer use and dosages, I would have to get my samples and drive three hours to the nearest vet I've found who claims to at least "like" goats, and has some experience with treating them.
Not all vets know that almost all goats will have at least a couple of worm eggs in their sample, but this won't usually cause the goat any trouble at all. If this were the case with your vet, you would almost certainly end up overusing chemical wormers, which would lead to resistance to them on your farm. Once that occurs, you will really be up a creek without a paddle.
If you're the one doing the fecals, you get to decide how many eggs is too many. You'll become familiar with each goat in your herd and what is normal for them. This will help you spot any real problems that will call for treatment.
If you're feeling unsure of whether or not you're spotting the eggs in the sample, or if you are identifying them properly, perhaps you can find someone who can be relied upon to double check your results. Once you gain confidence in your ability, you will be able to stay on top of what is often the most difficult part of managing a healthy herd.
Here's the place I learned about doing fecals.
There's a link on the site for the microscope I purchased (about $85 with the shipping added on from Amazon).

Happy poop checkin'! :)

Monday, November 14, 2011

Homestead Diary, November 10 - 13

11/10/11 - Recd. herbal wormer in mail today and began using it. I first tried easy and sprinkled it on their food. No go, of course.

11/11/11 - New tactic with herbal wormer. I mixed it with water and sucked it up into a syringe, and drenched them. Messy but effective, though Japanzy (my problem child) is still pouting and glaring.

Sam found the first batch of chicken eggs from our new girls in a window well this morning. Wahoo! There were four. Going to look for some wooden eggs for the nest boxes while running errands. Thinking about just locking the girls in the coop until they begin using the boxes, but that will make for a very lonely little renegade hen. We have one out of three Silver Spangled Hamburgs left, but like the others she refuses to go into the coop at night. She will, however, sneak in during the day to eat and drink.

11/12/11 - 3rd try at finding a dosage method for the wormer. Mixed powdered herbs with a bit of rolled oats and added molasses until I had "crumbles". They ate it all up. Nice, pleasant experience that I will be repeating tomorrow. Ordered new microscope for us to use. Can't wait to let the kids look at some stuff, and will be using it to do fecals next weekend if it comes in time. Perfect science experiment for the kids.
Couldn't find wooden eggs (or any other) in town, so purchased some air dry modeling compound and made eggs from that. When dry will put in nest boxes. Still getting eggs in the window well. :)

11/13/11 - got the rest of the hay last night. 15 more bales of timothy/orchard mix. It's beautiful, and I feel spoiled by it. I'm sure the goats will agree wholeheartedly if they ever have to eat anything else again.
Fed the final dose of wormer today. I wish that I'd taken the time to do or get done fecals first, because I've realized that I won't have a real way to see if it has done anything. However, since I'm hoping to have them in good shape as they head off to be bred (they'll be away for the month of December having a long date with a couple of handsome bucks), I felt it was best to try it now.
The wormer seems to have given Cupcake clumpy poop, so I'm watching to see if that goes away. We've never had that before and it showed up after the second dose. However, the other girls are fine.
It's been such a gorgeous day today that I had to find reasons to stay outside. Got the hay stacked in the barn, cleaned the goat room, swept up straw and hay off of the floor and put it in the chicken coop, let the kids cuddle the newest bunnies who opened their eyes within the last 24 hrs., hunted for hiding places for eggs but didn't find any.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

And the Winner is...



Congratulations!

I've added a contact button near the top of the blog where you can click to leave me your address. I'll get it out to you as soon as I can!

Thanks everyone else who posted a comment. I think you're all winners, and you all bless me with your own blogs and your comments on mine.

I hope you're all having a wonderful day!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

200th Post GIVEAWAY!

YAY!! It's finally time! And without further ado, here it is!



Click here to go to the blog for Homegrown and Handmade to find out more about this great book, and the wonderful woman who wrote it. You can also look at the blogs I follow and find Antiquity Oaks, another blog Deborah writes.

Ummm...this is sort of sounding like an advertisement, but it's not. Deborah doesn't even know me, or that I'm writing this post.

I have, however, found Deborah to be a very knowledgeable and practical person. She's got some wonderful down to earth homesteading know how to share with us all on her blogs, and most especially in her book. In her book are chapters on gardening and using your produce, raising animals for milk, meat and fiber, and using your milk, meat, and fiber. The animals she and her family raise (or have raised) are chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys, angora rabbits, Dexter cows, pigs, goats, Shetland sheep, lamas and alpacas. I think that covers it, but I'm not positive. Her book is an excellent reference for lots of great information, and would be equally at home in the kitchen with your cookbooks. There are wonderful recipes for dairy products, canned goods, bread and soaps. I'm especially interested in the soap recipes right now, since I'm planning to learn that craft as soon as I have milk to make goats milk soap.

So, if you'd like this book, please leave me a comment to let me know. I'll get your name in the pot. :) I'm going to give you all until Sunday, November 12th (while I take some time off of blogging). I'll be back on Sunday afternoon to get all of the names, add them to the pot, and draw a winner (though you're all winners to me).

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Herbal Wormers for Goats?

As any of you who've been reading my homestead diary posts can probably tell, I have been in a quandary over worming for a while now; yes, no, chemical, natural? My brain has been tied in knots over this. I've decided to follow my gut, and try herbal first. I'm learning how to make a flotation solution and do my own fecal exams. My solution is in the works now, and I hope my microscope has the capability it needs for me to see what might be lurking. I've ordered the herbal wormers from Molly's Herbals. I've heard good and bad things about these, so I'm unsure what I'll discover. I only know that I want organic, and organic I won't have with a chemical wormer. I also don't want to throw out milk because there are chemicals in it. That would be very discouraging for me. So, I'll keep you posted, and as always, feel free to add your two cents (or more!) so that I can learn from your experience.
I hope you're all having a beautiful week! :)

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Deer Hunting

Deer hunting season began yesterday morning. I must admit that I had mixed feelings because deer hunting is work. I know that sounds bad, like I just want to get out of work or something, but...I'm tired, really. I'm just feeling tired lately, and fitting deer processing into the schedule is difficult right now, but seeing Dan come home with this little beauty is exciting nonetheless. And seeing Dan enjoying himself is pretty nice. He got this guy at about 11:00 AM yesterday. It's a young buck, but heavy and well fattened. This guy was ready for winter!



Dan is done hunting now, but taking out M and S at separate times to try their hand at the hunt. What if they each actually bag a deer? Oh, my! I hope that as we get experience at processing deer it will seem much less intimidating!

Today, I'm limiting my list of blessings to five:

- full freezer
- new bunnies (The second and last batch of fall born this morning. I haven't counted them yet.)
- unseasonably warm weather
- donation day at the playhouse :) (2:00 P.M. if anyone's interested in the Rockin' Tale of Snow White)
- Molly and Dan getting time together today

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Giveaway Update and Homestead Diary Update

10/28/11 Trimmed Starlight and Japanzy's hooves. Need to do Cupcake's before long. Also need to make fecal float solution and do fecals on all.
Chickens turn 20 weeks today.
Bunnies due this weekend.

10/29/11 Things to do, questions to research:
- when to vaccinate, what do do when in prep for breeding and kidding
- find goat minerals
- mulch over gardens

10/30/11 Some answers to questions yesterday:
Before breeding; Do fecals, worming if necessary, and recheck fecals
Pre-natal; CD/T vaccination, Check into whether or not BoSe is necessary for our area. Some say to deworm within 48 hrs. of delivery and at 10 days deworm kids too? I need to research more and decide how I want to handle parasite management before I have to make that decision. CD/T kids at 4, 8 and 12 weeks.

To do: Get new raised bed space tilled, black dirt and compost added, and mulched. Finish mulching big garden. Research need for copper (COWP?) in our area. Make a list of kidding supplies to begin assembling. So far, I have;
-clean towels
-7% iodine
-Dixie cups (navel dipping)
-long surgical gloves (that hopefully will remain unopened)
-OB lube
-baby bottle
-baby ear/nose syringe
-propylene glycol
-penicillin, needles, syringes
-electrolyte solution
-tube feeding syringes
-heating pad/heat lamp
-short, shallow pail for watering after birth
-trash bags
-lactated ringers

Other ideas, anyone?

11/2/11 Goats still eating minerals more than I think they should. Decided to feed concentrates with 25 ppm copper with the BOSS and see how it goes.

11/5/11 Situation seems to be stabilizing with the goats. They are now eating the BOSS and chow and leaving the minerals behind, so I think that whatever got out of whack is back to normal. Here's hoping!

Forgot to note bunnies born on November 1st. Only two this batch, but fall breeding can be tricky with rabbits unless you have a light source to give more hours of daylight. I feel these rabbit mamas deserve a break over the winter any way, though some say it makes them fat and harder to breed. Waiting to see if the other doe kindles. She's due right now, if the breeding took. She acts as though she's thinking about making a nest, so perhaps.

GIVEAWAY!!!!!!
Okay, are ya still with me? :) The fun, not so boring, part is here! I finally received the give away item for my 200th blog post. I'm really happy with mine (I got two, one for the lucky winner, and one for me).

Here's a clue: It's very "homesteady", and perfect for a cozy fireside evening this winter. One more? It was created by a fellow blogger whom I follow.

Only three more posts until I tell you what it is! :)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Too Many Cooks Spoil the Soup?

That may be true, but I know one more thing that can spoil soup...

Yesterday evening before I left for a meeting, I whipped up a quick batch of soup for my family's supper. I left it resting on the back of the stove so they could eat it after they got home from pestering all of our friends and neighbors for candy.

I didn't have much time, so opted to use some of my canned goods to whip up something quick. Now, as I tell you what I put in, all of you home preservers will easily be able to see how much work went into this one pot of soup.

1 qt. home canned chicken broth
1 qt. home canned rabbit meat and broth
1 qt. home grown canned carrots
1 pt. home grown canned green beans
store bought noodles

When I was putting this together, I remember thinking to myself, "Boy, it's really hard to use all these jars of canned goods at once. A lot of work went into this. It sure is nice how all this work has made me really not take food for granted, and we've gotten so much better at not wasting things. This is really a gift from God!"

Well, my meeting went very late. I got home at around 11:30, finished a few little tasks, shut all the lights out and went to bed. This morning I got up and went to the kitchen...to find the soup sitting out on the stove top. This actually made me cry. Yep, I truly had to go back to my bed and shed tears and say prayers over soup. After a couple of minutes I went back to loading the dish washer. My family was truly apologetic, and hubby said he felt like an "epic failure". Well, of course I was glad he was sorry, but he's SO FAR from "epic failure" status. Of course I forgave him immediately...then trudged out to the chickens and told them they'd better appreciate their breakfast soup.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Counting Blessings #195 - 208

This week I've been so thankful to God for...

195) my kids. They've been so much fun lately!

196) plenty of work for Dan in his business.

197) Dan's physical health and protection while doing this hard work.

198) Life; life itself is so amazing sometimes.

199) wood heat; I love heating with wood. It's so warm and cozy in here! And it smells good outside too.

200) day of rest - so I can start sewing my apron together! :)

201) carving pumpkins and pumpkin seeds.

202) books, books and more books.

203) the joy of finding things to be thankful for. It enriches my life so much, and I think the lives of those close to me. It must, because it helps me to be more positive, and a positive person is so much easier to be around!

204) the changing landscape. It seems kind of funny to be, considering how I may feel about it in February, but right now I'm enjoying the leafless trees. It's fun being able to see farther into the wooded areas. I've been noticing the birds flitting around in there, eating little mysterious bits.

205) quiet; it is so blessedly quiet in this house right now. The kids are all reading or quietly playing, the cat and dog at rest.

206) Dog and cat. I am sometimes unhappy with the messes they make, but they are, after all, a part of the family. They bring us lots of laughs and joy and are wonderful confidants for children who need an impartial friend.

207) sun. Beautiful, sweet sun!

208) applesauce, warm with cinnamon. Yummy!

Thank you, Creator and Sustainer of all!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Goat Saga Continues

Last night I gave the girls about 1/4 c. minerals, and decided to mix in 3t. DE for parasite control. Little Cupcake (lowest in the herd and usually pushed around by all)edged everyone else out and ate pretty much all of that in 10 mn. What is up?? I thought maybe selenium deficient, so gave about 1/4 c. sunflower seeds to each. Someone said maybe zinc, since they were on the alfalfa and that has a lot of calcium which may have interfered with the zinc absorption.

I added more DE to the feeder, sans minerals, and it was gone this A.M.

For now, I will give each their minerals w/ sunflower seeds on the milk stand in the evening.

The more I learn the less I know...

Also running very low on minerals. Will have to find a way to get more.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Future Giveaway! and Homestead Diary?

I've decided I'd really like to have a give away. Actually, I've wanted to do it forever, just have failed in the planning department. So, now I'm planning. I know exactly what I want to give away, but I'm going to keep it a secret until post number 200. That way I can celebrate reaching number 200. :) Seven more posts to go, and we'll be there...

I've also known for some time that I really need to keep a homestead diary. I don't know why I haven't done that yet, because it really is necessary to write down what I do when and how it works. There's no use in forgetting what works well, or repeating what was disastrous, is there?
I haven't decided whether I'm going to use this blog as a more extensive farm diary, or write in an actual book, or what. What do you all think? Would you be interested, or is this B-O-R-I-N-G?

I have some things to put into that diary now, so I'll share them here for today. Give me some feedback if you'd like. :)

Regarding goats:
September 29:. New hay: 25 bales timothy/orchard grass ($4.75/ea.) and 15 bales alfalfa($8.75 ea.). $263 HAPPY HAPPY GOATS!

October 15: I notice the goats are eating minerals like candy. They've never paid much attention to the minerals up to this point. I would have to throw them out and put fresh minerals in the feeder for them before. Now they will eat a 1/2 c. in a day. I wonder, is it because they don't have fresh browse and pasture any more? Is the hay somehow different than the old hay was? This new hay appears to be SO MUCH better quality, and they eat it so much better than the old stuff I had. Which mineral might they somehow be deficient in that they are doing this?

The happy goats were not necessarily healthy goats. I was overfeeding the goats on this very nice alfalfa hay. BEFORE: I was giving the three of them (all dry does) about a 4 inch flake of alfalfa in the morning, and twice that of the timothy/orchard grass mix in the evening. They were getting minerals (Mama Pro Goat Mineral) free choice and baking soda free choice. Had started eating a TON of minerals for some reason. This is the same way I was feeding them with the old alfalfa and timothy, but the hay quality was poor, and they wasted a lot. They were nowhere close to fat on that hay and had been eating it for 4 months.

October 21: I weaned them off of the alfalfa hay. They are now getting a section of timothy/orchard grass hay in the morning and another in the late afternoon, and free choice minerals and baking soda. So far, so good. Now to watch and see what happens. May need to watch Cupcake to make sure this is enough for her. Watch for some weight loss in Starlight and Japanzy. Still eating minerals like crazy. Japanzy and Starlight in heat.

October 26: Still eating minerals like crazy. I've started to put about 1/2 c. in the feeder every other day. Always gone by the next day. According to Mama Pro, the target amount to feed is 1/4 to 1/2 oz. per goat per day. I'm going to have to find out what that translates to in some kind of dry measure. I really need a kitchen scale...

Okay, all of that was in my head. No wonder I can't remember to drink water. It's cluttered up there! I feel better already. So, what do you think? Should I find a different place for this kind of information, or could it be helpful or interesting to any of you? And, if anyone out there had experience with any of the questions I'm running into and wants to chime in with some advice, feel free! I could use it. ;)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Counting Blessings #186 - 194

186) Bundle of Joy, laying on her belly and coloring a picture
187) Yesterday; perfect fall day, crisp in the morning, warm sunny afternoon, wonderful autumn smell
188) playing Dutch Blitz on a Sunday afternoon with my brother and my kids
189) a good cup of coffee
190) a school-day schedule; Boy did I fight this! My eldest daughter is very methodical. She kept telling me that she needed a schedule telling her what do do when for school, because it would help her. Well, I did NOT want to do that because it would mean I would need one too, at least to some degree. If I said lunch was at 12:00, then I would have to make it on time. Oh boy, that was not what I wanted to do. Finally, I decided I had to help her by doing "the schedule thing". I decided to just go all the way and make one for the rest of us too. Well, what do you know!? It was an awesome week!
191) more rabbit meat ready to eat or freeze, and friends to eat it with (rabbit BBQ = yummy!)
192) a sweet husband to do the butchering - my job; cutting and wrapping. I don't mind my job, and I don't want his. It works out perfectly!
193) Wool sweaters all freshly washed and line dried.
194) a day of rest

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Pioneer-ish Type Day at Tanglewoods Homeschool

This year in history my littles are studying early American history and U.S. geography. Over the last two weeks we've studied the Dutch colony at New Amsterdam (now New York) and the French colony at Detroit, as well as French pioneer/explorers who explored the Great Lakes region. The Dutch were among the first to import cattle to the New World, and made butter and wonderful cheese. The French explored the New World by birch bark canoe.

We had a wonderful hands on day to go with our history program today. We ground wheat, made bread, made butter and made this model of a birch bark canoe. We also looked at birch bark canoe images online. What fun it was! :)


Monday, October 17, 2011

My Apologies, Counting Blessings #162 - 185

I apologize to anyone who might be looking for new posts from me, especially the Counting Blessings posts. I've been very negligent these past two Sundays. I'm going to write that post right now!

I'm thankful for...

162) time to write this post

163) time to breathe

164) time to snuggle with little girls and read stories

165) time to mend a damaged relationship

166) time to play games

167) time to cook healthy meals

168) time to fill drawers with clean clothes

169) time to visit with extended family

170) time to talk on the phone with my sister

171) time to take a shower

172) time with no propane in the tank to figure out how to live without it, if only for a few days

173) time to remind myself of ways to use less propane in the future

174) time to remind myself to check the propane tank in future, so as not to run out again

175) time to do story problems with my daughter that go like this, "David forgot to close his four chicks into the coop last night. A fox ate two of them. How many chicks did David have left?" This was seriously one of her story problems in her math book last week. How awesome is this? Teaching personal responsibility, homesteading skills and math all at once! :) We're using a curriculum the Mennonites developed for use in their schools for 1st grade reading and math. I am loving the simple homespun stories and emphasis on taking personal responsibility and living with integrity my little first grader gets from this. Other types of story problems might be, "Tim and Mary spent the morning weeding the garden for their mother. Tim weeded two rows and Mary weeded three. How many rows did they weed in all?" I love it!

176) time to wash dishes by hand using yummy smelling dish liquid

177) time to snuggle with hubby drinking coffee and reading Small Farmer's Journal together

178) time to clean up spills

179) time to clean up broken glass

180) time to think about how these major pet peeves of mine (spills and broken glass) really aren't that bad when I'm trying to focus on seeing all time as a gift, and how can that be, because don't I hate wiping spills and cleaning up broken glass?

181) time to pet the goats

182) time to smell fresh autumn air

183) time to pray

184) time to make schedules, and maybe time to keep them?

185) time to watch babies! Thank you Little Bird, and Bundle of Joy, for gracing us with your smiles and baby belly laughs this past week. What a joy you are! Welcome to the world, Little Bear! You are warm and snugly, and we love you!


Finally, one thing that I seem to rediscover every fall is that it takes a LOT of time to homeschool, and that seriously leaves very little time to blog, or read blogs. I hope to do some blogging, and probably more reading of your lovely blogs, but things will probably be significantly quieter from Tanglewoods Homestead for the winter.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

I Didn't Forget

Hi all! I didn't exactly forget about my blessings post yesterday. I thought about it a lot, but I was away from my computer.
I took the kids to my grandparents farm to help get their winter's wood supply. We had a great time visiting with family, and helping out. I wish I'd taken pictures, but I spaced it out completely. They would have been great pictures to have! Tractors, chain saws, little wood splitting competitions to liven things up; it really was a great time. Only too much food...way too much food...

It's so strange that I had so many battles with time since more than a week ago when I talked about time in my Counting Blessings post. My blessings list is going to reveal the real us, for sure! I'm trying to learn to appreciate and invite God into ALL my time, not just the feel good time. I want to be thankful and appreciative of all the times in my life. I have managed to do that this past week to some extent. I'll get that list posted soon, I hope!
I'm not sure how much I'll get on this computer this week, so I'll wish you all a wonderful week! :) Blessings on all of your time!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Snow Day?

Nope! When one homeschools on the homestead, they never have to take a snow day. However, there are times when it's necessary to take a tomato day.




I peeked into my bags of green/turning red tomatoes and found this happening. Wow!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Molly's BWCAW Camping Photos

Dan took the eldest three children on their annual fall camping trip this past weekend. I LOVE seeing Molly's pics when they come back, and maybe when Dani is old enough for the trip I'll even go with them. For now it's such a blessing to stay home with the littlest and spend some time with just her. It seems that everyone blossomed during this weekend. The kids came back so excited and confident. It was really fun to see. Littlest really benefited from some time with her mom too.








Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Goats in the Garden

But that's OK! The garden is finished for the season and about ready to be put to bed, so we've been letting the goats into it. They're happy to finish up anything that we've missed or left intentionally. They like green beans and bean stalks, broccoli and Swiss chard, and pretty much all of the weeds. We've been having a lot of fun with these little goats. They're just right for a small homestead with young children.
If you've ever been curious about goats milk, here's some info and my opinion about it. The milk the Nigerians give (the only goat milk I've ever tried) is so very good. It's very sweet and creamy, excellent for drinking and making dairy products of all kinds. These little goats give the richest milk of all goats, averaging 5 to 7 percent butter fat and the fat has more short and medium chain fatty acids than cows milk. Goat milk contains more vitamins and minerals than cows milk too. Now, given the choice between cows milk and goat milk purchased in the store, cows milk wins. Don't even bother making your decision about how you feel about goats milk by trying that stuff. Go to a goat milking friend who has a clean barn and keeps the bucks away from the does, milks into a CLEAN container, and strains and cools the milk quickly without pasteurizing it. Try some of that and then decide.


Sunday, October 2, 2011

Counting Blessings #152 - 161

152) Maple trees in fall

153) Reluctant Pilgrim by Enuma Okoro - I'm reading this book so unlike any other I've ever read. It's about faith and community, but from a whole different angle than any I've ever looked at life from. It's extremely interesting, intellectual, sometimes dark and sometimes beautiful and touching me in some great ways.

154) time alone with littlest daughter

155) having the privilege of caring for little niece Bundle of Joy

156) the quiet in the house this morning - quiet is something that probably every mother wishes for at times. It was so incredibly quiet in this house this morning that I could hear the church bells down the road. That is rare indeed, and beautiful.

157) plans for a hike with new friends today

158) perfect autumn weather

159) clean floors (that doesn't happen nearly as often as it should, so it's a real treat)

160) new hay - the goats are thankful too! It's so nice to feed them something they like, and we've gone from about 50% waste of really bad hay to nearly zero waste with really nice hay. I feel so much better having found this. :)

161) time - Time is such a strange commodity. Time...Well, my brain just fell into such a deep hole thinking about the word time and its many facets that I think I might be stuck here for a while. I'm going to have to think about this. I'd like to make peace with time, because when I typed "time" here I realized that at this moment I feel thankful for time, but not always. Time is an enemy as well as a friend. Sometimes it seems as though there's not enough time and at other times it seems like too much. I hope I learn to be thankful for all the time I have, and see it all as a blessing.

I'm going to think about time all this week. How I feel about it, what I'm using it for, and I'll attempt to start each item on next Sunday's list with "Time for..." I think that thinking about time in this way might be a very good thing for me.

I wish all of you many, many blessings in the things you spend your time on/with this week. Hugs!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Tepees and Wigwams

In order to get the kids up for school this A.M., I had to call them from outside. The weather was perfect for sleeping out last night, and the older three and dog slept on the lawn. I got up and took this photo before they all got up.



The youngest two girls have been learning about North American native culture this week, so we've made model wigwams and tepees. I've come to see the native homes as great works of art. Trying to make these tiny wigwams almost made me crazy. To make them for real must have taken great skill that I certainly don't posses.



It's been a good week so far!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Counting Blessings #138 - 151

138) fall leaf hikes - crisp leaves, earthy smell, beauty

139) five days at home - This time in quarantine has been just what I needed. Staying home for five whole days without taxiing anyone around has been very nice, and having my family to myself for that time has been great too!

140) nicely trimmed goat hooves - After around four corrective trimmings on Cupcake, she's finally getting a nice flat hoof to walk on, and her trims are going faster. Hooray for that!

141) home grown golden delicious and gala apples - Thanks, Mike and Donna!

142) organic, grass fed beef - This is SO exciting to me! The sweet folks who I doulad for last ordered a quarter of beef for us in exchange for my time with them. Talk about a huge blessing! It was a blessing just being there for them, and we will be receiving this wonderful gift as well. I'm so very thankful.

143) seven freshly processed chickens in the freezer - Yesterday Dan and I processed the seven white orpington chickens that managed to keep away from predators. We did it by ourselves for the first time, and it went pretty well.

144) gaining skills and confidence

145) learning new things - I hope I never stop!

146) Small Farmer's Journal - Dan and I have been enjoying a stack of these for a while now. I like that it gives us ideas to talk over and try out. Lots of fun having projects to work on as a couple.

147) the amazing abundance of tomatoes that grew this year - more than I hoped for - Thank you, God of Wonders!

148) golden aspen leaves against bright blue sky - how could I not be happy with such beauty to see?

149) beautiful weather - It feels like we're getting a real fall this year. The leaves seem to be changing a bit slower than usual, and staying around longer. The weather has been fantastic! I'm soaking up as much of it as I can.

150) a baking day - It seems so long since I've baked anything. It was nice to have some baking time, since the produce isn't keeping me so busy. I made granola and whole wheat crackers. Those wouldn't have been my children's favorite choices. Next chance I get, it's going to be Roman apple cake, and apple crisp. The kids will be much more happy with my choices. I still have over a bushel of apples to process.

151) a day to pause and be thankful - I hope I never stop!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Final Two Winners!


I've got two more lovely Liebster's to introduce you to tonight.

Kim over at Jabez Farm is one entertaining and enlightening blogger. Her blog fast becoming a favorite read. If you'd like to know how to cut up a pig, render lard, raise turkeys, cook or bake something delectable, make your own vanilla extract...well, I could go on, but you get the idea. She's a homeschooling, homemaking, home-girl with a great sense of humor. I hope you love her as much as I do!

And last, but not least, Peggy at Hidden Haven Homestead is sure to make you feel all cozy and homey. Her homestead animal tales are always entertaining and informative, and I love her stories about her grandchildren. Don't miss the one from yesterday! It's great, and all mom's of teens are sure to get a good laugh - and maybe a good idea!?

Thank you, ladies, for the great blogs!

Now if you five awesome women would like to, you may choose five outstanding Liebster's of your own and feature them on your blogs. I'll be reading, and would love to meet some of your favorite bloggers. Happy posting! :)



P.S. I hope this all makes some semblance of sense. I'm a bit tired tonight. We're dealing with whooping cough, and now basically quarantined. We'll be spending the next five days at home (Thank you, God! I'm actually thrilled to be forced to stay home!). Ordinarily, I'd invite you to stop by any time, but please don't right now. Apparently we'll be contagious until Tuesday P.M. :(

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Two More Winners

I'm pleased to introduce you to two more Liebster (dear, sweet, kind, nice, good, beloved, lovely, kindly, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing, and welcome) women!



Mama Pea at A Home Grown Journal is a real homestead lady. There are two very lovely homesteads in our area that are built with her (and Papa Pea and even Chicken Mama's) blood, sweat and tears. The first is being enjoyed by another couple now, but they are both lovely and well laid out little farms. Mama and Papa Pea are wonderful folks, and full of wisdom about many, many homestead type things. Honey bees, solar power, gardening, poultry, cottage cheese making, kefir, dairy goats (which they had on the "old place"), canning, baking...You really should meet them. You'll be so glad you did!

and

Erin at Garden Now Think Later is another woman who writes a truly happenin' blog. Her life is always full, and right now it's a bit more full than usual. She and her hubby and boys are in the middle of a big transition right now. Those of us who've gotten to know her through her blog, and are fortunate to have her big transition end with a move to MN, can't wait until it's complete! She is truly an amazing gardener...in Virginia, no less...in the SUMMER, no kidding! She's also an accomplished espresso maker (and drinker), knitter, food preserver, military wife, and wonderful mother to two really great boys.
She's also very organized. I just had to throw that in because I have no idea what that is (except it looks GREAT!), or how it works, and it amazes me. It would still amaze me even if that's ALL she did, but as you've read, it's not. You should definitely get to know her!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Difficult Task Completed...Drumroll Please!

AND THE WINNERS (in no particular order) ARE...

Sherry over at Russ-stick Acres writes a great blog. I love seeing glimpses of her life; Wee-house, (and it's wee-wee house ;), the goats and other critters both on and around her homestead. Her faith is inspiring to me as well. In some ways she had a rough year, but she looked for and found God and His blessings in the difficulties of it. That's BIG, seeing God not as the cause of our trouble, but the One who wants to help us THROUGH it. Thanks, Sherry, for the encouraging example!

You are a true


lady! Absolutely dear, sweet, kind, nice, good, beloved, lovely, kindly, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing, and welcome!


I just realized I won't have time to finish this today, but I can't wait to start sharing these awesome women with you. So, I'm going to share in stages. If that means some of my chosen blogs earn this award from someone else before I share them with you, they'll be receiving it more than once. :) Have a great time getting to know Sherry!

Monday, September 19, 2011

A Big Thank You and Hug To Match

Thank you so much Apple Pie Gal, for the fabulous award! Seriously, it feels like a great big hug from a friend. I'm thrilled! I'm most happy because this means I get to choose five of my favorite blogs (and their super wonderful authors) to pass it on to! This is going to be so fun, but so hard. I love all the blogs I read so much. You all inspire me in so many wonderful ways, and I learn so much from you.




The Liebster is awarded to spotlight up and coming bloggers who currently have less than 200 followers.
"Liebster" is a German word meaning dear, sweet, kind, nice, good, beloved, lovely, kindly, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing, and welcome.
I'll be keeping these words in mind as I choose five of you wonderful women, but like I said, this will be HARD! I think all of you exemplify these characteristics!

I've got some choosing to do, but I'll be back! :)

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Counting Blessings #125 - 137

125) smoky, roasted tomatoes

126) coffee with clover/basswood honey and goat milk - I have a newly discovered love for both the clover/basswood honey I get at our co-op and our sweet goats milk. In fact, don't tell on me, but I sometimes steal a spoonful of honey and eat it by itself. YUMMY!

127) fresh squeezed apple cider - Some good friends gave us a taste yesterday. Oh, my. Tastes like autumn in a glass.

128) littlest daughter's sparkle

129) three weeks of school finished - This time of year is so delightful in the respect that I spend much more time interacting with my children. It's wonderful to spend time snuggled up on the couch together.

130) real snuggling weather

131) count down on the garden - It's nice when there's more stored away than there is left to process.

132) Swiss chard - It's the most amazing stuff! It's sweeter now that there's been frost, and it's greener and healthier than ever. It was one of the first crops to be eaten this spring and is still being eaten fresh.

133) ripe apples off the tree

134) Dani's hawk (story coming soon)

135) This Recipe for grape juice concentrate, also found in the Simply in Season cookbook.

136) Speaking of the Simply in Season cookbook, that's one thing I'm thankful for this week. I just got it a couple of days ago, and I love the way it's organized. It's not just a cookbook, but also a book full of ponderings about every aspect of food. I love how I can search by ingredient and find something to cook or a way to preserve that ingredient. For instance, if you were inundated with turnips, what would you cook? Or chard, or cabbage, what could you do with a mountain of that? This book has helped me answer these questions this week.

137) my husband's organizational skills

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Cupcake's (aka Lily's) Antics

Cupcake has a thing for my hood strings. This is our little interaction today.

"I'm not doing anything back here."


the sneak attack


cute, cuddly, but with an ulterior motive


"Got it!"


"If I can't have the string, can't I taste the camera?"


"I'm bad!"

The Season I'm In, and Maybe You Are Too?

I would like to know how many of you ever feel like there's no way you are EVER going to find the bottom of the laundry pile again, or you will NEVER have matching socks in the children's drawers, or how about winter clothing? Anyone else out there planned to get it all washed and put away for the summer, only to find that it's nearly winter again and it's still waiting to get put away? Anyone else sort of feeling that the harder you work the more there is to do? I HOPE so, because I'd like to know that I'm not the only one who is feeling this way. On the other hand, I hope not, since I don't like this feeling and hope none of you deal with it.
So, if you don't, wonderful! I'm genuinely thrilled for you, and so glad there are some of us out there who can plan and execute things so well. You just might be the ones holding the world together! :)
To those of you who are feeling a bit like I am right now, I'm sorry to hear that. But, you know what? There are more of us than you might think, and we're a pretty fantastic bunch of people too. I promise if you invite me over, I won't even look at your laundry pile, and I won't lift the couch cushions either. If I see your children wearing mismatched socks or none at all, I'll assume you've got a life like mine. Very full, and very happy, and a bit chaotic. Maybe you also have many many pints and quarts full of your summers work stocked away in the pantry. Maybe your life's rhythm in the summer is ruled by what the garden or animals are producing, or what summer activities the children are involved with, or both. Perhaps we will all finally get to the bottom of that laundry pile when the garden is sleeping under it's winter's mulch and the jars of summer goodness are being slowly opened and savored.
Life is full of seasons. Sometimes I struggle with fully living in the season I'm in. Sometimes I'm not thankful for the blessings I'm receiving because I'm worried about what's coming next. That too bad, because each season has its treasures and blessings.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Tomato Help Needed Again

Hey all! I just helped our Resident Naturalist post about hornets, so please don't miss it even though I'm posting again so quickly.

I have a tomato quandary. It's supposed to freeze tonight, but I have a LOT of tomatoes that look like this:




What would you do? Would you pick them even though they're not quite ripe, or cover them and hope for the best? I'm going to cover them anyway since there are so many green ones. I'd like to give them a chance. But I would hate to loose these beauties when they're so close to ripe! Can I trust covering with sheets to protect them? By the way, that picture is of one of the bush early girls that froze this spring. You can see what it looked like here. See the third photo in the post. Can you believe that? I'm so glad I decided to try letting them grow!
So, please advise me! I await your wisdom... ;)

Guest Post by Resident Naturalist

We went to a place my dad works and saw this hornets nest. It was built on the side of a greenhouse. It was as big as my dad's head. It was like half of a nest. You could see inside of it. The hornets came to feed the larvae. The larvae were wiggling around.
It was really cool because there was another hornets nest inside the greenhouse, but it was abandoned. It was as big as my dad's fist. It was safe to watch the hornets from inside the greenhouse.
Here is a video of the nest that my mom helped me put here.




***Note from Mom***
There are so many fabulous homeschool opportunities in nature! This was a terrific opportunity, being able to safely watch these hornets working inside their nest. Wow!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Counting Blessings #108 - 124

108) camp fires on cool nights, fall hangs in the air while heat glows on the cheeks

109) Good times with little Sis.

110) New babies (1 doula baby this past week and two nieces had babies this week too)!

111) Crisp fall leaves. They smell wonderful, and I love the crunching sound as the goats munch on them.

112) pasta with chopped fresh tomatoes

113) hot tea

114) little girls giggling

115) hugs from half grown son

116) water with fresh lime juice

117) humus (Why are they all food? I must be hungry.) Actually, I am very thankful for healthy food in such abundance.

118) beautiful night sky

119) plenty of wood waiting to keep us warm this winter

120) apples turning red, hanging heavy on branches

121) red kuri squash turning a reddish orange, beautiful splashes of color in the garden

122) moon bathing earth in cool beauty

123) children gathered close

124) barefoot days and quilted nights

Friday, September 9, 2011

An Absolute Must See Film

Today I came across this absolute gem of a film called A Farm For the Future. It just has to speak for itself. If you're interested in sustainable agriculture, you're going to get so much to think about from this. I hope you're inspired by it as much as I was.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Unique Doula Role and Experience

I haven't rally written about my doula experienced on this blog much, and decided I wanted to introduce you to that part of my life today. On Tuesday AM I got to play a unique role for me doing a very different type of doula work. It was a GREAT experience!
I was asked if I would be interested in attending a home birth in order to help the family's two daughters be a part of their new sibling's birth. Wow! Would I EVER! I have long wanted to attend a home birth, and I was thrilled to be asked to be a part of this one. It was by far the most low key, peaceful birth ever. The midwives were fantastic at their job; very knowledgeable and had a peaceful, supportive presence.
My little charges were a delight! Their parents did a super job of preparing them for the labor and delivery. They each had some special jobs they wanted to do and were able to be kept occupied with them when needed. They weren't frightened by the birth process, and were thrilled when baby arrived. Four year old daughter got to tell everyone the sex of baby. :)
I dearly hope that I get to experience more home births in the future.
I know this post is short on details, and there's oh, so much more I would love to say, but this is a small community and I want to allow the families I serve their privacy. That's one reason I don't blog about this too often. It is nice to share with you all this part of my life though! :)

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Counting Blessings #98 - 107

98) abundance of tomatoes

99) health all around (It's been a while since we've all been healthy at the dame time, and I'm SO THANKFUL for that!)

100) reaching 100 blessings to be thankful for :)

101) community youth soccer

102) clean goat barn and trimmed hooves

103) great first week of school

104) My Father's World curriculum, for holding up a high standard for my children, and giving them a schedule to follow that wasn't created by me. My children don't try to bargain as much when there's a nebulous "someone out there" who created their assignments. It's working well so far!

105) The guys at Math Teaching Textbooks for creating a wonderful program that allows me to successfully teach increasingly difficult math effectively.

106) all the wonderful things to discover and learn about - it never gets old!

107) Baby niece Bundle of Joy - her enthusiasm and joy are so infectious!


Saturday, September 3, 2011

Tomatoes

I had no idea when I was lamenting over my tomato plants what I would be blessed with come late summer/fall. I've been able to make pasta sauce with my tomatoes with the intent to can it for the first time. I had two lovely quarts of sauce made, and both jars broke in the canner. :( I know what I did wrong though, and next time I won't make that mistake. I didn't have the sauce in the jars hot enough to go into the canner that I'd just taken the beans out of. The water in the canner was too hot for the jars and the bottoms broke off. I didn't catch my mistake until after I'd "canned" the sauce. When I opened the lid, I could nearly have cried.
I've got almost enough for another batch if I stretch it with carrots, yellow summer squash, onions, basil, green pepper and garlic that I grew. In fact, if I wait a couple more days I think I'll have more than two quarts this time. Oh, I can't wait! :)

Friday, September 2, 2011

First Week of School

As mentioned, this was our first week of school. We had a really productive first week, but I'm exhausted! This is going to take some serious getting used to.

On Monday we had a patriotic red, white and blue snack (since we were talking about the U.S. Flag and the Pledge of Allegiance for U.S. History/Geography. I love this picture! They were so excited to eat this yummy snack, and it shows in the photo. Fun, fun, fun!