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

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



211)pot lucks


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


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).


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,


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...


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.

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 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.