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Starting Seeds with my Aerogarden

I recently splurged and purchased an Aerogarden Farm Plus, which I put together on the kitchen table (…my kitchen really isn’t big enough for it, but neither is anywhere else in the house). The Farm Plus has two growing bays. In one side, I’ve planted a herb kit with basil, dill, and cilantro and two cherry tomatoes plants that I plan to keep in the Aerogarden system. In the other bay, I’m trying out the seed starting tray which allows you to start 85 seedlings at one time.

Goose and I found some older seeds in the house and decided to play around and see what would sprout. We planted tomatoes, peppers, swiss chard, Brussel sprouts, eggplants, zucchini, and cucumbers. Unfortunately, none of the tomatoes and peppers germinated (I think the seeds were just too old and had not been stored properly). What did sprout was every. single. eggplant, zucchini, and cucumber. Not only did they sprout, but they have become quite large seedings in a very short period of time. I am working to get them transplanted into 3″ Jiffy Pots.

This is the first time I have had any success with starting seeds. I’m afraid that I have started too early and these plants are going to be too big to manage before I can get them into the garden, especially since I don’t have a greenhouse to move them too.


I purchased another round of grow sponges and some new tomatoes and pepper seeds. I’m going to start them this weekend.

Please send your eggplant, zucchini, and cucumber recipes.


New Additions {Nubian/Savanna Crosses Born on the Homestead This Week}

Within the last week, our herd of Nubians goats has more than doubled. Our herd matriarch, Willow, was the first to freshen, giving birth to two strong bucklings in the wee hours of the night. Gypsy followed suit giving birth to triplets, two doelings and a buckling, the very next day. Small but healthy, the trio seemed to be doing well; unfortunately, at some point the next morning one of the doelings died (we believe that Gypsy may have laid on her…). The latest addition belongs to Marmalade who had a single doeling. We have one doe to go; however, we are not sure if she is pregnant as we have never successfully bred her before.

When we bred our girls, who are mostly brown, to the snow white Savanna buck I had no idea what coloring they would have. All five have been white with four having a little dusting of brown on their knees and backs. It’s interesting to watch them mature as the coloring is becoming more prominent each day. What I was pleasantly surprised about this kidding season is how fast these kids seemed to be up and moving after birth. In previous seasons, our full-bred Nubian kids seemed to take a while to get on their feet and needed some assistant; I would almost describe them as fragile for the first couple of days. In comparison, the Nubian-Savanna kids seemed to get up faster after birth and nursed much quicker with little assistance. At just a week old, they are strong, playful and healthy.

Our intention with the new additions is to utilize them in a browsing project to help eradicate invasive plants in the county. Amy came up with the idea of naming each of this seasons’ kids after the various invasive species.

Introducing Brome,








and Thistle.


Week 3 of 52 Weeks to Preparedness

Week 3 of 52 Weeks to Preparedness challenges you to evaluate your emergency medical supplies. To get started this week I went through all my supplies, disposing of outdated medicines and inventorying/organizing what was left.

This week’s list is pretty basic and I had just about everything on the list and more. I not only keep my regular medicine cabinet stocked but also have several pre-assembled medical packs that I have stored in my car, EDC, and 72-hour kits. I also recently invested in a basic first aid manual.

Ready stresses that a home emergency medical supplies kit should be customized for your family’s needs. Things that I noticed that were missing from the list were OTC medicines for children such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and calamine lotion. Other essentials in our home include insect repellent, sunscreen, and tools like dosage spoons and a thermometer. Check out for a good checklist of family medicine cabinet essentials.

I decided to purchase a new thermometer since the one I have has seen better days. I also purchased several cabinet locks; even though I store medicines and supplies out of reach, I like the added security of child-proof locks. One thing that I’m adding to my future purchases list is an extra pair of glasses; definitely a must-have but my prescription is a little pricey, so that purchase will have to wait just a bit.

One thing that I found odd about this list is it includes feminine hygiene supplies. I’ve never thought of these products as part of my first-aid supplies and, honestly, think they deserve their own list.

The most important action that I took this week was to sign up for a first aid / CPR class through the Red Cross. I have taken several first aid / CPR class before but none recently. I’m taking this opportunity to take an online class and refresh my training.

Until next time!

Week 2 of 52 Weeks of Preparedness

Week 2 of 52 weeks of preparedness focuses on obtaining basic tools for an emergency.

I thought this week was a big – and expensive – step from week 1. I would have predicted something more along the line of a 72-hour kit. This week’s items, if you don’t already have them, would be pretty expensive to purchase. Also, these tools require some experience to handle. While I have many of these tools because of my lifestyle and have people around me who know how to use them, I don’t think as a novice I would pick these tools up and start waving them around (hammer crowbar? wood saw? ax?).

Another thing about this week’s challenge is that it recommends you purchase a large trashcan to organize your tools in. While I understand storing emergency supplies in a dedicated space, it seems more practical to me to learn to use these tools and incorporate them into your daily life. I wouldn’t want to attempt to learn to use an ax for the first time in an emergency situation.

My first step this week was to inventory what I had and take the opportunity to organize it. To help with the organization component, I purchased a Rubbermaid Tool Tower ($39 Amazon).

I had a few of the bigger items including an ax and shovel. I also had many of the smaller items but I have them integrated into other kits. For example, I keep paracord and a multitool in my EDC. I also have a hand-cranked radio in my 72-hour kit and keep matches and lighters in both my 72-hour kit and pantry.

Some items that I need to invest in include new work gloves and a cordless drill.

Other useful items I think missed the list would be a tape measure, duct tape (check out these awesome “to-go” rolls on Amazon), and WD-40. Another item that I would include is an emergency gas/water shut off wrench. For a less expensive approach to this week’s challenge, I would recommend a household tool kit. I have gotten a tremendous amount of use out of the kit I recently purchased and kits are both affordable and compact and contain most of the basic tools that the average household needs.

Week 1 of 52 Weeks To Preparedness

In the new year, I have set myself a goal of following Ready Nutrition’s 52 Weeks of Preparedness. I have successfully finished the first week which focuses on setting aside about 72 hours of food for emergencies. I selected foods that have a long shelf-life, are (decently) healthy and is stuff that we already eat. As items approach their use by dates, I can rotate them into our daily pantry, use them up, and simply replace them in the emergency supply.

In brief, Ready Nutrition suggests water, peanut butter, juice, meat, soup, other non-perishable items, and beans.

To meet those suggestions, I purchased five gallons of Deer Creek water, Horizon Organic Milk, two boxes of Capri Sun (I couldn’t get the 100% juice locally), packets of tuna in water, Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup, and other non-perishable items such as oatmeal, applesauce, fruit leather, honey and hot chocolate mix. I also threw in some salt and pepper and hard candy.


I found an extra Coleman cooler in our basement that was the perfect size for storing all the items pictured above (because the water takes up so much space, I am storing it separately). The cooler will also be handy if for some reason we need to grab-and-go with our food supply.


I forwent the beans because those would be really hard to cook (especially if it was a situation where we didn’t have power) and I store beans in my regular pantry. I also discovered I only had one can opener in the house, so I decided to go ahead a purchase an extra one that I will leave in this kit. Even though nothing I currently have in my emergency supply requires a can opener, something I add in the future might and it never hurts to have a spare.

It felt good to accomplish week one. Looking ahead to week two, the focus will shift from creating a short-term food supply to investing in tools for the homestead.


Black Copper Marans Egg! The New Chickens are Finally Laying… or at Least One of Them Is

The temperature here on the hillside has dropped dramatically the past few days and the forecast predicts that extreme cold is here to stay through the weekend. The skiff of snow that we received on Monday has been packed into a sheet of ice and the ground is hard and slick. Fortunately, the biting wind has abated slightly.

While plowing through my evening chores (in an effort to get back into a warm house as quickly as possible), I threw open the hatch on the chicken coop and to my delight was a small, speckled, dark brown egg from one of my Black Copper Marans!


Christmas Bark Box Unboxing {And What Happened When Asterisk Got Ahold of the Goodies Inside}

I actually bought my first Bark Box on a whim after watching an unboxing video by Ally on YouTube. I purchased a single box as a gift for my sister’s puppy, Gus, when she first got him and she (and Gus) loved it so much she bought a subscription. I have been receiving emails from Bark Box about subscribing and have been successfully ignoring them until right before Christmas when they offered a $5 box just in time for the holidays. I succumbed and signed-up. While I think that it is ridiculous that my dog will be receiving gifts for the next several months, I am justifying it to myself that if I were to buy the toys/treats individually it would cost a great deal more.

Each month is themed which makes the boxes a lot of fun to open. Today, Asterisk and I unboxed his Christmas Bark Box and here is what was inside.


The box had two toys in it. A string of Christmas lights…


and a squeaky snowman head.


The box included two full-sized bags of dog treats…


and a dog chew (which Asterisk demolished).


Asterisk seemed to enjoy all the treats and loved the chewy. I gave him the snowman squeaky toy which he also seemed to really enjoy; however, it didn’t last long. Within about ten minutes, Asterisk had torn the outer “snowman layer” to shreds leaving behind a squeaky plastic ball which he seemed to have just as much fun with. Maybe tomorrow I will see how long the string of Christmas lights last.

Merry Christmas!

Most Important Piece of Homestead Equipment I Own (And Why I Stuck with Bogs)

If someone would ask me what the most important piece of equipment I own is, I would have to say my muck boots. Nothing else that I have, do I use every. single. day.

After probably around six years of hard use, my Bogs are ready to move on to a better place. It is time to do some research and get another pair of trusty boots. And since it’s Black Friday, I might even snag a deal.

What am I looking for in boots?

#1 is Water Protection. Half of the year, I am up to my knees in manure or mud; the other half, it is snow (or some variant of frozen precipitation). I want my feet warm and dry.

#2 is Safety. Now, granted I do not do work that requires features like safety toes; however, I do want a boot that has some grip. When working in the muck, I like to stay on my feet.

#3 is Comfort. I am in my boots every day, so I want something that fits well and is easy to get around in.

#4. Longevity. If I’m going to pay that much for a pair of shoes, I want them to last. I don’t stay in a pair of boots all day, but I can be rough on clothing so they have to hold up.

After much research and shopping, I decided to stick with Bogs and picked out a pair of dark gray Classic Talls. Bogs just seemed to fit my needs the best. Classics are water-proof, are insulated, fairly lightweight, and my last pair fit my feet well.

It’s time to say farewell to my beloved, old Bogs. A pair of shiny new boots is on their way. I hope this new pair knows that they have some big shoes to fill (tehe).

Blueberry Pickin’

Blueberry season has been in for a while and Amy and I finally got a chance to head over to my good friend’s farm, Frostmore Farm. We only had about an hour to pick but managed to fill up a couple of gallon baskets. Everyone in our household loves blueberries so they aren’t going to last long. I think they are going to be eaten before I even get them into any muffins or pancakes. I am hoping to make it back over to Frostmore Farm next week to pick enough to freeze for this winter.

If you get a chance to visit Frostmore Farm and pick some blueberries, be sure to grab some maple syrup to top off your blueberry pancakes!

What is your favorite way to use blueberries?

Winter Finally Decided to Show Up

With just days to go until spring, winter has finally decided to show up. The snow is forecasted to start falling within the hour and I’m hoping that this storm has been hyped up and we don’t get the forecasted 12 – 24 inches. The goats and chickens have been fed and watered and are hunkered down in the barn in fresh pine shavings.

This past weekend was a doozy. Over five Nubian kids were ready to be disbudded. Disbudding has to be the absolute worst part of owning goats. I hate it. Hate it! Thank goodness my sister and her finance are willing to do most of the dirty work for me. What is disbudding? It’s taking a hot disbudding iron and burning the area around the goat’s horns to prevent them from growing. Yeah, it’s as awful as it sounds. However, we’ve decided that it is necessary as we don’t want goats with horns for various reason and in order to register them they must be disbudded.

To top the weekend off, everyone has come down with the stomach flu. It’s been fun. I’m ready to get this snowstorm and flu over with and get on with spring.