Wednesday, May 8, 2019

I can't believe it's been close to a month since my last post! It has been a busy few weeks here on the homestead. We have had several nasty storms blow through with damaging winds and torrential rains. A lot of time has been spent cleaning up the mess they have left behind.
We had a window last week and were able to drop some hay and get it baled before rain came again.
On the critter front the babies are growing like weeds, Violet is still giving almost 2 gallons of milk a day and we had a duck start setting on her nest.
Sadly something got in the pen, destroyed her beautiful nest and ate the eggs. Hopefully she will try again!
We have also gotten a good bit of the gardens in. The beans and cucumbers are up and the plants have settled in nicely.
Strawberries are beginning to ripen. We are picking daily. Jam is definitely in the near future.
One rainy day I poured 11 blocks of soap.
Lastly we have been dealing with the loss of a dear friend. My husband's best friend since the third grade was tragically killed in an accident on Easter Sunday. A brother to him, like a brother to me and an uncle to my children. It has been a hard loss to handle.
Life goes on...on the homestead.

Friday, April 12, 2019

Yeah... No Mulch

Oh boy. The heavens opened up today. We got about 1 1/4 inches. The only ones that were happy about that were the ducks!
On the up side a friend came to visit and she helped me line all my soap molds. It is a time consuming job. If they are already lined, I can get a wild hair and make soap on a whim.
Another wet day on the homestead!

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

The Start Of Spring Clean-up

Our farm intern arrived this morning and we tag teamed the first of the flower beds that needed cleaning out. It took about 3 hours but the final result was beautiful. I have a load of mulch slated to be delivered Friday, weather permitting. Another rainy weekend is in the forecast. ;-(

We also planted some more edible landscaping. Globe artichokes were put in pots and spaced throughout the flower beds. I am looking forward to see how this works.

Monday, April 8, 2019

I finally got all the soap sliced from last week. It turned out nicely. Even the grapefruit scented one is going to be ok. I wish the scent was a little stronger but you can definitely smell an essence of grapefruit.
I froze the homemade bacon Dad had cured for us. Some of it he had sliced so I froze it on wax paper and then dropped it in a freezer bag. The other piece was a big chunk. I will slice as needed or cut large pieces to cook with dried beans for seasoning.
This afternoon I was super happy with Miss Violet! Her milk production had dropped to a little less than a gallon but with the new Spring grass it has jumped back up to 1 3/4 gallons!

Sunday, April 7, 2019

A Quiet Sunday Morning

Hubs headed out early this morning to shoot in a skeet tournament. It was a cloudy foggy morning and I am nursing a pulled hamstring so I decided a morning of kitchen therapy was in order. I pondered what to fix for our weekly family supper tonight and decided meatloaf sounded good. The boys are usually big eaters so I laid out 3 pounds of meat for that. Then I hung another batch of clabbered milk for cheese. What I have left will get wiped out tonight for an appetizer.
I made a test batch of biscuits using clabber milk instead of buttermilk and found this to be a great success! Chalk another one up for being more self sufficient. No more store bought buttermilk!
I set another half gallon of milk to clabber.
I noticed yesterday I was running low on canned deer in the 8 ounce jelly jars and had laid out several packs to thaw. I got those jarred up and processed.
The chickens and ducks have been laying up a storm and I had quite a pile to wash and sort. I packed 6 dozen up to be sold. I hard boiled another dozen for egg salad later this week and made a bacon mushroom crustless quiche with yet another dozen! I used the bacon my dad had cured and smoked from our Kune Kune pork belly and home canned mushrooms from the pantry. So yummy...that was lunch.

Lastly I fed the sourdough. I'll be making bread for the week tomorrow night.
 A lovely productive quiet morning on the homestead!

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Kidding Season Is Done

The last of the goats kidded late yesterday. A beautiful set of twins, a doe and a buck. I love the moon spots on the little girl!
Earlier this week an unexpected little girl arrived. She was born to a tiny mama that was not supposed to be bred. Both are doing well though.
Our final count this year is 9, 3 bucks and 6 does. Now comes the part I hate. Deciding who stays and who will be sold. I will be posting pics and descriptions on our sales page soon. Link is to the right!

Friday, April 5, 2019

I unmolded the soap today. All of them turned out nicely except the grapefruit. I am deeply disappointed in that one. I guess the essential oil was not strong enough and it actually smells more chemically than grapefruity. Darn. You'll have those days. I'll see what happens after curing out but as of now it looks (or should I say smells!) like a looser.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Taters and Onions

We have finally had enough dry days in a row to get the garden ready for spring planting and thankfully yesterday's mist was not enough to get the ground too wet. With the help of my mom and our farm intern we cut up 75 pounds of seed potatoes and planted about 350 onions! We planted purple, red and yellow potatoes and a sweet yellow onion.
We also weeded the strawberry row and found a few are starting to bloom.Yum! A lot of the baby plants have hopped out of the row so next on the to do list will be to dig up and transplant them.
A good day on the homestead.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

It is a misty moisty morning here on the homestead. Thankfully it is not supposed to amount to much since tomorrow's chore is getting some things in the garden. After my morning coffee I got an urge to make some soap. This tends to happen on gray days! I poured 7 blocks before running out of lye. The story of my life ;-( 
Today's scents were lavender/lemongrass, grapefruit, russian tea and one called "the garden" which is a custom blend of frankincense, blood orange and vetiver.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Not Too Pretty..But Hopefully Productive

We have been impatiently waiting for enough dry weather to get our early spring crops in the ground. Sis has been lovingly tending several types of broccoli, cabbage and purple kohlrabi in the greenhouse. It is past time to have planted because these plants will simply not make anything once the weather gets hot and they need time to grow. Earlier this week I checked on the small sandy plot we have on top of the hill.Though wet, it looked like we could possibly plant by digging between the rows left from last fall. Our thinking is once it is finally dry enough we'll just till the existing old crops in the ground. So that is what we did!
Using a shovel we dug holes and planted around 215 plants. We'll keep you posted on this experiment!
Purple Vienna Kohlrabi

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Finally some nice weather has arrived. Today one of the interns arrived to help deal with the berry patches. First we cut all the old canes out of the blackberries. They should have been long ago pruned but that just didn't happen. We will just have to see what happens this year.
Next we weeded to raspberries and transplanted quite a few that had hopped out of the row. They will need to be staked up very soon.
I had hoped to get to the blueberries but we ran out of time. They are covered with blooms. Mother nature willing with no more heavy freezes, we should have another good crop this year. I hope so since we are down to two bags in the freezer.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Three Little Pigs...Oops I Mean Goats!

The bottle babies are growing like mad! They have also been escaping and though everyone that comes over fawns over them and says how cute they are, for me their cuteness factor wears off around 8 P.M. after the last feeding. That's when after 3 or 4 times of chasing them back to the barn when they insist on following me to the house my patience runs a little thin!
Well hubby has fixed that! He overlapped another panel along the bottom of the fence and it cut the holes they were able to sneak through in half.
My sanity has been restored... for now.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Clabber Milk

The new love of my life is clabbered milk. It is basically an old form of letting raw milk naturally ferment. It is a bit tangy, a little like kefir but easier to do in my opinion since you can make on an as needed basis and not have to feed it constantly like kefir.
My first jar took about 4 days to clabber, I used that as my starter jar. Sometimes the first round can be a little strong. I used that clabber to start the next round that clabbered in about 36 hours. This was much sweeter smelling and quite delicious.
Taking a spoonful of the second round I stirred that into a half gallon of raw milk and put in in my laundry room because that is the warmest room in the house.
It was ready in 36 hours. I poured in in a bag and allowed to drain for 24 hours.
I then added salt and let drain another 24 hours. After that I rolled the cheese into balls then Italian seasonings and drizzled with olive oil. It was divine on crackers and warm sourdough bread! For long term storage I dropped the balls in a jar and covered with olive oil (making sure all the cheese was under the oil so it won't spoil!) It will keep several months this way either in a really cool place or the fridge. 
I am now keeping several jars of clabber on hand for using in the place of buttermilk, yogurt and of course for making more cheese!