We are a christian homeschooling family of 4, living the farm life in north central Alabama. rWe are trying to live as simply and purposely as possible. Follow along as we pilgrim along this wonderful life!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Little Mr. Guernsey

He's just a little shy....
He doesn't understand where he's at. He knows HIS mother isn't anywhere to be found.
He's scared too, he told me so.

Are you my mother? You don't smell like my mother.

Are you my mother?

 I can't find her anywhere and I'm getting hungry!

I'm going to wait right here until she gets back from whatever important business she is taking care of. I'll wait RIGHT HERE till the cows come home if I have too.

I'll do some grooming while I'm waiting.
I need to look my best when my mom comes back to feed me.

I'll nibble on some grass while I'm waiting.

I guess I'll have to drink THIS instead. Maybe my mother will come soon. I know she has a big job making lots of good milk for people to enjoy. I know I like it a lot.


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

UpDaTe for you ~~

Just a little drop in to see how you are.

We are busy as always. Not hardly get a chance to sit down, and when I do, it doesn't take me long to drift to sleep, ha ha!

Our garden has exceeding our expectations! My 6 rows of beans worked overtime, and gave me 110 quarts canned and several fresh meals, PLUS, I gave a whole picking to my mom, which gave her over 50 jars! The cucumbers did great also and we put up lots of jars of pickles, which I have requests for more.

The tomatoes aren't doing too good because we have some free range rabbits running loose, and they help themselves to lots of nibbles of this and that, and have destroyed them. We've got to catch them soon. They got loose and we have a terrible time trying to get them! One is a beautiful silver, and I really want his fur for a project I'm thinking on.

Missy is in heat again so we will breed her soon! Like ~~~ TODAY! Mr. Darcy is at a friends house, so we will go get him and see what happens! That means winter babies, which creates extra work for us, but I'm ok with that.

I have lots of pictures and tales to share, but we have been extremely busy.


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

We are Growing!

I have been searching on Craigslist for pigs and goats for a while. Well, I finally found the goats I have been looking for. (and a pig, but thats a different post!) They are beautiful! I was looking for spots and I found them!

I had to drive 3 hours one way to get them. It was completely worth it. They are full Nubian, not registered, but I don't care. The lady I got them from had a beautiful herd of goats. They were the prettiest goats I had ever seen. She had 2 more doelings for sale, but I was already dipping in the budget buying these two already. :)

One of the mothers of these gives 2 gallons daily at her peak! 2 gallons! I think that might be a record or something.

This fall they will be bred to Mr. Darcy. He's going to make the sweetest babies!


Sunday, December 15, 2013

Dreaming the days away....

Hello! Just a quick update on the going ons here on the farm.

It has been COLD. We do have a few warm days scattered about though. I feel badly for the animals outside that have to endure the cold breeze and temps. They are making it just fine and probably much better than I think because of those nice, thick, fur coats. We have 2 litters of older rabbit babies that are several weeks out from butcher and we have 2 pregnant (I think!) does that are due on the 26th of this month. This will be the second or third time I have bred them without any babies, so we will see. I am hoping for large litters, because they go through a 50 pound bag of food a week! With no greens to eat, they eat extra pellets and I detest pellets! There really is no telling what is in that stuff.

I have spring fever very bad!

I found the new Baker Creek Heirloom catalog at Sam's Club last week and I have been pouring myself over it! So many choices, so little time. :) I am going to try to start a lot of my own seeds this spring if I can find somewhere to put the trays. We haven't got the greenhouse up and going yet so finding a place for the trays with seedlings presents to be a problem every year. I usually get them started and they are growing and look beautiful, then I wake up one morning and every one of my seedlings are dead!
I NEED a greenhouse!

But for now, I am happy pouring over the seed catalogs and dreaming of sunny, happy days! :)


Thursday, November 7, 2013

Rainy morning

It rained last night and it felt and sounded wonderful.........

I slept soundly to the fall of it outside my french doors and I awakened this morning to a cool breeze and more and more leaves falling to the soppy~soaked ground.


It's a little slow going this morning, but after my coffee I shall pull myself together and get this day started!

I want to get to work in my new garden plot. I tried yesterday, but the wasp were too bad. They were flying around everywhere and I just decided to wait on the work. So TODAY, should be perfect!

Lots to do!~

I have some plans on gift giving that I will be sharing here soon. Herbal healing, recipes and other cozy, homey things for the homemaker.

Homemaking is such a JOY!

Let us always thank Our Father, up in Heaven, for the blessing of all days. In rain or shine, we should always thank Him for His loving kindness, grace and courage He blesses us with daily.


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Gleanings from September and October~

Well, the season has officially changed along with the time, and I have yet to decide if I like it.

I usually love fall and the approaching chilly weather. This year though, I'm just not ready for it. I have already had a cold that lasted the whole 10 days, and wasn't so bad, but just annoying enough to keep me awake at night coughing and sniffling. I wasn't on top of the game with my herbs, and just trudged through it.

We finally started our school year and it is going well. I switched to Teaching Textbooks Math and I am soooooo glad I did! It is like a weight has been lifted off my back! Brody's loving it and I'm loving it because he's loving it and I. don't. have. to. teach. it! Which has allowed me to cater to some other subjects that we've been lacking in. :) History has become one of my favorite subjects now and I'm learning so much! I think I am filling in all those gaps from my own school lessons way back when. I think that's one of the best things about homeschooling is we get to learn right along beside our kids!

Hailey is spending her days crocheting a~ way! (and helping me of course)  I think she is most addicted and for that I'm pleased! She crocheted a DRESS and it is awesome! She finally got to wear it. She always has those sticks in her hands making up something! She is quite the rabbit keeper also and helps tremendously on the farm. I love having her home. I know it's not what the "world" would see as politically correct, but I really don't care. She is learning and thriving being home. She will one  day be a wife and mother, and I think she will excel, and in the mean time~~ she is gaining all kinds of skills they just don't teach out in the world these days.

Missy, our goat, was taken to our friends farm for breeding and should be having our first doeling on the farm in March! She is Nubian/Boer and the buck is Kiko/Boer. Should be an interesting match. We really need to get more does, but the budget just didn't allow us to grow the herd like I wanted this year. There is always next year and I can keep dreaming.....

Missy with her wonderful head gear on. Gotta love duct tape!

We are now down to 4 chickens! YES, I said 4. We had narrowed the bunch down to 10 with the help of the hawks and coyotes. It's a sad thing indeed. My favorite chicken, Mabel, was one of the 6 massacred. And yes, it was a massacre. We went on vacation and we come home to a yard full of dead chickens and feathers and my Mabel was one of the casualties. She was given to me by one of my very dear friends, Sally, and was a very special chicken. I did keep some of her feathers for a special keepsake along with Roscos, who was killed while eating merrily under the mulberry tree by a coyote. I was really wishing I had put up the deer camera while we were gone, but I have learned my lesson. You know, I don't think it matters how old you become, those lessons are going to keep coming at you!
My sweet Mable.

The cows are doing well, and I am hoping for spring babies this year! I hope Bucky Burger did his job and we will have precious baby calves playing in the pasture and of course rich, creamy spring milk! This spring is going to be such a busy, glorious time. Who doesn't love spring babies?

We have butchered our first batch of rabbits. I know this can be a touchy subject for some people and I certainly don't want to scare anyone off. If this is a sensitive subject for you, I would like to share how I dealt with this task.
                        When we started raising them, I had the "cute, bunny syndrome." I was worried about the time to come, when we had to do THE. DEED. How? How on earth can we take this little bunnies life? They are cute, soft, adorable, funny and have sweet personalities to boot! It was hard! We are not raising these rabbits as PETS. They are raised for FOOD and you just have to keep that in mind.

~I ~ had to keep that in mind.

 When you WORK everyday taking care of them, day in and day out, you come to appreciate what they are for and for us, that is food on the table. AND, very good food at that. We were very happy with the results and the taste was delicious! Rabbits are very great to have on the homestead, easy and fun to take care of, and are a wonderful source of low-fat, high protein meat. I would encourage everyone to try to raise these sweet creatures!

Well, the woods are turning in for the winter, leaves are falling in the autumn breeze and all signs of summer are now almost gone. I sure do miss her. I didn't go enjoy it nearly as much as I would have liked! I do have a stack of firewood started that I hope to enjoy soon with a nice cup of hot tea.

Holidays are almost upon us and we will be busily crafting~creating~cooking up a storm!


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Canning Sauerkraut

I've been spending a lot of time canning and putting by things for winter use. One of the things I try to make sure we have on hand is sauerkraut. I've been doing it this way for about 2 years now and have only had one jar go bad.

This is raw, yet it will keep for a year or even longer if you store it properly.

First, round up your supplies and get to cutting!

 You will need cabbage, sea salt or pickling salt, a sharp knife or food processor, cutting board and a large bowl.
Remove outer leaves and wash cabbage.
I usually cut my cabbage into small strips by hand because I like the finished product better this way. You can do it however you would like. It is easier in the processor, but I have a smaller mess when I do it by hand~~~ go figure!
You need a good estimate of how much your cabbage weighs. I usually weigh it in the store then, after I remove the core, I take a little off the weight. I need a kitchen scale badly! I have a tough time weighing out lye for soap too! I do small batches at a time usually. For 5 pounds of cabbage, I will add 3 Tablespoons of sea salt.
When you get your cabbage cut up in your large bowl, you sprinkle over your salt.
I mix the salt in good, then let it sit for about 10 minutes. The cabbage will start releasing its juices. After that, mix the cabbage really well with your hands by squeezing it and working it. It will release more juice and reduce down to about 1/2 the size when you started. At this point, it is ready for the jars!
Reduced down
 Pack tightly in jars, but not too tight. It's not rocket science, but I have added too less before and too much at times. I got these just right!
Fill each jar, leaving about 1/2 inch headspace.
 After you finish filling your jars, put on a lid and ringer. You can use used lids for this and it works just fine. I save a lot of my lids just for making sauerkraut.

 I place the jars in a plastic wash pan and sit out of the way. Or you could place on a towel on a surface that can't be damaged by liquids. They will leak out for about 3 days. They are fermenting! You will see bubbling in the jar, and that is a good indicator that it is doing it's job! After 3 days, the bubbling will lessen, but it may continue to leak some. At that point, I rinse each jar very carefully under water to get most of the juice out from under the lids, which keep it from opening good when you go to use a jar. Do not take off the lid because it is sealed! You will have to refrigerate if you remove the ringer.
After 3 days, they are ready to eat or use in your favorite recipe! It does taste better when it sits longer to me though. This is by far the easiest way to put by sauerkraut. It is in it's raw state, which means it has all those probiotics and enzymes that are great for you and your digestion. If I cook this in a dish, for instance kraut and sausage, I add the kraut at the very end and heat minimally.
I have only had one jar go bad and like with any home canned product, you need to check each jar well before using. Look to make sure you don't see any mold or discoloration. This will usually happen at the top of the jar. After opening, how does it smell?  Honestly, this sauerkraut has an odd smell. Different from store bought kraut. After refrigerating, it smells much better.
Well, this is it! The easiest sauerkraut on the planet and the most nutritious!
Happy canning,