Thursday, February 28, 2013

Wednesday goats

Today was a good day on the farm, one of those days that you think, this is why I do this. My daughter's pregnant doe Babylynn was getting very close to having her babies on Tuesday night so I went out and checked on her every hour or 2 and then set my alarm to get up every couple hours to check on her through the night. Of course she didnt have him until Wednesday afternoon. He is a big baby and she is a small doe so she had a hard time delivering him but momma and baby are both healthy. My daughter Caitlyn is his official owner because his momma is her goat. Caitlyn has decided to name him Wednesday because he was born on a Wednesday and this big boy weighed a whopping 10.4 pounds at birth! He is gonna be a big buck.

My chickens are starting to lay again, I got 6 eggs yesterday, I was so excited. I am planning on putting 30 eggs in the incubator this weekend. If it goes like last year then almost all 30 will hatch, lol. If I put only a few in it seemed like only 1 or 2 hatched so I put 23 in the last time I incubated and all but 2 hatched, it was crazy and loud with all of the chirping but this is my life and I love it. My chickens can drive me a little crazy too. I like to let them free range for at least a few hours a day and for some reason I have 2 chickens that will not willingly go into the chicken pen to roost. I have to go to the barn and get them and carry them back up to their own pen. Then again, maybe they are the only smart ones, there is more room in the barn.

My husband Doug got a procedure done on his back on Monday and we are praying that it worked and he will soon be without pain. He is still hurting now but we think that might be normal and it takes some time for the pain to go away. Your prayers would be appreciated. Doug doesnt do well with being sedated. He acts crazy for a few hours and then after he falls asleep, he will be his normal self when he awakens. One time after he was sedated for a test on his back he saw so many deer on the way home, the only problem is that he is the only one who sees them, lol. This time it took longer then it usually does for him to fall asleep after we got home and I think it might be because he was laying on the couch saying "I cant let myself go to sleep". Well, it is time to go milk the goats so hoping everyone has a blessed day!


Sunday, February 24, 2013

Sunday morning cheese alarm

Woke up in the middle of the night last night to pour my cheese into the cheesecloth to drain because I never ever think about what time it will be when I have to drain it whenever I am starting the cheese, it isnt hard to figure out either. It has to set with the culture and rennet in it for 12 hours so if I am a dummy and start it at noon then it is gonna be midnight when I have to hang it to drain! Well this dummy doesnt think about how she is not even awake at midnight. I was trying a new recipe and was excited to see how it turned out even though I felt a little silly having to set a cheese alarm. Well, to my disappointment whenever I poured the milk into the cheesecloth lined colandar it was all milk, it did not seperate into curds and whey. Does that remind you of a nursery rhyme? It always does me. Little miss muffet sat on her tuffet eating her curds and whey. Anyway, I dumped that out and decided while I was up anyway I should go out and check on my pregnant doe. She was in the barn and barely looked up at me from her sleepy state to acknowledge I was there. They must all think that I am some strange farmer lady who comes out and just looks at them in the middle of the night occasionally. Well, if they arent used to this crazy lady by now they never will be. Decided there was nothing excited going on so I went back to bed. Since today was Sunday I went to church and got to spend most of the day with my grandson. It was a pleasant day, I dont do alot on Sundays because it is a day to rest from our labor and to worship the Lord, I decided to cook some venison steak for dinner to put on salads and I will crochet the rest of the evening while checking on my doe every hour or 2 to see if her babies have arrived yet. Just another fun day on the farm. I have also decided to start keeping eggs to put into the incubator. My chickens are still not laying good so I will probably put them in next weekend. I have spring fever already and cannot wait until I can go outside all day and enjoy the sunshine. Happy Sunday all!!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

cheese, crackers, yogurt and vinegar

I was in the mood for cheese and crackers the other day and like most stuff I had to make it if I wanted some, the crackers were successful and are sitting in my cupboard waiting for me to make some cheese because my last attempt was a flop. The culture was bad, it looked like it got wet somehow and was all stuck together in a big glob. Oh well, there is always tomorrow. The crackers came out nicely though and I will post my recipe on the recipes page. I will also share my cheese recipe there when I get around to making some more. One thing that I did a couple days ago was make yogurt and it was a big success, I was so excited. I made it in a slow cooker. I have tried making it a few times before but it always came out like milk but this time it thickened up nicely. What I really wanted to share with you today is about how I like to clean. Sometimes I do get out commercial cleaners but I dont like to, I really like my homemade cleaners. My favorite cleaner is to use lemon or orange scented vinegar cleaner. Whenever I use a lemon or eat an orange I put the peels into a quart sized mason jar and when it is full of peelings I pour vinegar into the jar and fill it to the top, then I let it sit on the counter for about 2 weeks. You will know the cleaner is ready because it will no longer smell like vinegar but will have a nice orange or lemon scent. Then you just dump it into a spray bottle and get to cleaning. I usually use half water half vinegar solution but you can use just the vinegar if you would like. I used to throw the peels away after this but then I learned that if you sprinkle some baking soda into the sink, you can use the vinegar covered peels to scrub the sink. It works great! and the peels stay good for a long time because of all that vinegar on it. So, get to scrubbing! Have a blessed day!

Strawberries in yogurt, yum!!

Monday, February 11, 2013


Today was a very nice and beautiful day outside. It was pretty windy but the temperature was warm for this time of year and all the snow was melting. I really enjoyed it. Spent some time with my goats, was able to get the rabbit pen clean because everything was not encased in ice anymore, and some of the time I just sat outside and looked around at God's beautiful creation. It got me to thinking about how if we didnt have the really cold days then we wouldnt truly be able to appreciate the warm ones. Just like if we dont know sadness then we wouldnt be able to experience joy, and if we didnt go through hard times, do you really think we would enjoy the good times so much. Sometimes we take life for granted and want things our way all of the time but God has a better plan for us so I am gonna let him take the lead and see where this journey takes me.

The baby bunnies have opened their eyes and are starting to wander out of the nest. I love watching them run around when they are this tiny. That is one of the things I love about raising my own animals, I get to see the bunnies and kid goats at an age where I wouldnt get to if they werent born here. I think the most special time with them is when they are really young. Especially the goats. It is the best time to bond with them and get them used to people. Rabbits are prey in the wild and they have a natural instinct to be on edge but I believe that mine trust me. They dont come to me for pets and hugs like the goats do but they dont run and hide when I go into their cages and they will let me pet them especially when they are young. I have another goat due to have her kids soon, I am not 100% sure about when she got bred so it could be any day now. I will keep you updated and will share pics after they are born. This is my daughter's goat and she is excited for them to come also. I hope everyone is having a wonderful and blessed day! Oh yeah! I forgot to mention I made some chocolate goat milk fudge today, cannot wait to eat some!!


Saturday, February 9, 2013

See the duffel bag hanging from the clothesline? That is where a mama bird likes to build her nest.
This is what I see when I look out the window. Snow as far as the eye can see. While I was out being a maid to my goats, what else can I call myself when I am cleaning up their poop, I realized just how much I cannot wait for spring to get here. It seems like the closer it gets the more anxious and tired of the cold I get. I thank God for the warmth inside our home but sometimes I wish that warmth would spread to the outside.  I cannot wait until I can share a picture of a nice sunny day with a wonderful, thriving garden in ithe picture.

As I was out milking the goat today I started wondering what to blog about today. You see, I dont really know why anyone would want to read about my life but that made me start thinking about my life and how truly blessed I am and I want to share it with everyone else and hope to maybe inspire others to slow down and take it a little easier. I love the ideas of the Amish about living simple. I wish I didnt always find it so hard to not  hurry along what I am doing to get to my next thing I need to do and to just slow down and enjoy what I am doing now.

Another thing I am trying to accomplish is to rely on the grocery store less. I want to start making everything from scratch and relying on what I can grow more and going to farmer's markets instead of the grocery store, I believe that what they sell at the store is not healthy and we would all feel better if we bought in season, grew more and preserved what we grow. I know isnt possible for everyone to grow a large garden and put up enough stuff to eat the whole year but I think that most people could take babysteps toward this goal and plant a couple things like tomato or pepper plants. You can even plant these in containers.

You should head over to our simple farm and check out their challenge they have started for replacing the grocery store, I for one plan to accept this challenge. Below is the link to their page.


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Aaaaa aloe!!

I bought an aloe plant last year on clearance. It was only a couple dollars because it was almost dead and I dont think they wanted to care for it anymore. The plant did survive even though it is ugly as all get out and it was starting to get out of hand so today I decided to extract some aloe from it.

Here is the ugly ugly plant. It definitely gets no points for looks. Now, to get that ugliness out of your mind here is a picture of my handsome son with my full of cuteness grandson.

Ok, now back to the aloe. First, I had to cut off a leaf of the aloe plant at the base of the leaf.

Cut the end off and then cut the leaf into 3 pieces, I cut some of them into 4 because they were huge!

Next, you cut the sides off and carefully cut the top off in a thin layer trying to only get the green layer. I have heard that you can eat the aloe and that the aloe in the middle is tasteless and the green part is bitter. I do not know the reason for eating it, I figure it must have some kind of medicinal value but have not discovered that yet. I only use it for topical purposes now. I am planning to learn about natural remedies so I may know the use for aloe before long. Oops, I am rambling, here is pic of cutting sides.

Now, scoop the insides out with with a spoon. BEWARE, the aloe is very slimy.

Lastly, put it in a container, preferrably a glass one and then viola! you have your aloe. Easy peasy!

Have a wonderful and blessed day and enjoy the many benefits of aloe. It is great for the skin, I use it on burns, including sunburn and sometimes just rub it in my hands to help keep them healthy.


Monday, February 4, 2013


One of the things I want to be able to do on this journey to a more simple, self sufficient life is to start making my own products and this weekend I decided to start making my own soap. It ended up being fun and not as hard as I thought it was going to be. I used a very simple recipe. It includes 4 cups lard (I didnt have lard so I used solid vegetable shortening but I plan to make it with lard next time because that is something you can make), 4 oz lye and 1 1/2 cups goat milk (frozen). I made vanilla on Saturday and Rose scented on Sunday. The vanilla turned out wonderful but the rose didnt turn out so well. The rose scented soap started to harden before I got it into the molds and was a mess. I did get it into the molds but I do not think it will turn out as nice as the vanilla. The picture above is of the vanilla soap in the mold before I took it out and cut it into bars.
This is a picture of the vanilla bars after I took them out of the molds and cut them into bars. Now they will sit for 4 weeks before I will use them. I cannot wait to try them, they smell wonderful and goatmilk soap is supposed to be very good for the skin.
Another great thing that happened this weekend is that we are beginning to get more eggs from the chickens. They dont lay as well in the wintertime and we were usually getting no eggs and would be happy when I found 1 but now we are getting 4 or 5 a day. I consider that to be a good sign that spring is coming! Hooray!!

Sunday, February 3, 2013


This is a picture of my doe half stash (original name isnt it, she has a half mustache so I named her half stash), she was due to have her babies on January 30th and rabbits are usually on time so I wasnt expecting them until the 30th. On January 29th I looked in the rabbit house and found this.
 I know this looks like a pile of cotton but what it is actually is a nest. When a rabbit is about to give birth her fur will get loose and she will pull lots and lots of fur out to make a nice warm nest for her babies to keep them warm.
I dont usually bother the babies except to count them and check to make sure they are all alive for the first week. After they are about 10 days old they will open their eyes and start to move around and that is when I like to try and get them used to being handled and it makes it easier for me when I move them to the grow out pen until they are old enough to be butchered. We raise rabbits for meat so we try not to get to attached to them but it is hard.
I raise my rabbits in a colony setting so they are all kept together. I keep them in a dog pen that has chicken wire around the bottom of the walls and fence underneath the dirt on the bottom. Hopefully in the summer I can get a better pic for you. This picture was taken when it was raining and it is muddy and the tarp on the top is weighted down. In the spring I will add some more dirt to the bottom of the pen and make it look pretty again. There is a large box connected to the back of the pen with a hole big enough for the rabbits to go in and out, this is their house where they go out of the weather and have their babies in it. This set up works well for us but might not work well for everyone.
Rabbits are easy to feed. A 50 pound bag of rabbit food lasts us at least a month for 5 rabbits and they also get hay and veggies from the kitchen. In the spring and summer I also give them grass, they love it. You can see in this picture one of the spots that need dirt over top of the fence. The rabbits love to dig and they dig in the dirt down to the wire, which makes more work for me but that is ok because they are worth it. Raising animals and having food that comes right off my farm is great and I love knowing where my food comes from and what all is in it and I know that my animals were treated wonderfully while they were on this earth and that is a great feeling.