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Posts from the ‘This & That’ Category

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?

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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.

Three Generations of Ripple Afghans {First Crochet Project}

I started “crocheting” several years ago. I learned one stitch from watching YouTube videos and have made dozens of wonky looking scarfs that no one wants to wear. Nonetheless, I find the act of crocheting to be extremely relaxing. I have always wanted to learn to crochet ripple afghans. I have two ripple afghans in our home; one made by my grandmother and one made by my mom. I’m pretty sure that both are as old as me.

Well, finally, this weekend I finished my first actual project and created a grey and purple lapped-size ripple afghan of my own. I found a YouTube tutorial that made sense to me and it just seemed to click. I’m tickled with the final piece and I think it’s neat to have three generations worth of afghans draped across the couch.

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Mr. Williams digs it too.

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Every Last Drop {Making Mother’s Milk Soap}

In a blink of an eye, my sweet baby girl grew into a bouncing, giggling toddler. Recently, when it came time to clean out the freezer, I struggled to figure out what to do with several storage bags full of breast milk since my little one doesn’t require expressed milk anymore. Throwing it out was not an option. As someone who struggled with breastfeeding starting out, every drop was like liquid gold. That’s when I stumbled across the idea of making Mother’s milk soap.

When making cold process soap you can use almost any type of milk. I selected my favorite recipe from Soaping Essentials and substituted in the breast milk to replace the water ounce for ounce. In about 90 minutes I had five pounds of rich, creamy soap gently scented with DoTerra’s Serenity calming blend of essential oils.

My experience making breast milk was extremely positive and it was great to find a way to use the excess expressed milk – especially one that can continue to benefit my little one. One recommendation I would make for those wanting to make their own batch of Mother’s milk soap is to keep this batch for your family only as it may be possible to pass along any impurities, etc., that might be in milk. Read more

I Ran For My Life Today {Healing My Health}

Ok, so it wasn’t that dramatic and technically nothing was chasing me. But I’m at a tipping point when it comes to my health. No longer can I mindless consumer sugar in quantities that are about five times the daily recommended value. Not only are my current habits stupid, I’m being selfish. My kids deserve a mother who can take care of herself, so hopefully one day they don’t have to take care of me.

So I ran. I ran for my life. I ran for better health. I ran to heal my body.

It was only twenties minutes. But I did it. I laced up my sneakers and forced myself out the door and onto the gravel road.

My body rejected every step. Once upon a time, I logged several miles a day on the old kicks, but try as they might my muscles could not recall the motion of running. My heart tottered on the brink of tachycardia. I snorted as my lungs rapidly breathed in the clean, crisp fall air. No in-through-the-nose-out-through-the-mouth for this girl. Nope, I gasped for air with my mouth wide open. The fifty extra pounds I have packed on since having two children made it difficult to pick up my feet. Everything jiggled and wiggled as my pants fell down and my shirt rode up. It wasn’t pretty.

But, I did it. And I’m going to do it again tomorrow. And the next day.

So, here’s to feeling better.

Summering Away {Farm Update}

In just two weeks school starts again. It’s hard to believe. It feels like summer just got started, especially with the rainy start the season got. May and June brought nothing but rain, with around 47 out of 50 days straight having rain. But the weather finally broke, and July has been sunny and hot. Here’s a quick round-up of what we have been up-to lately.

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Disappearing Chickens & The Egg Snatcher {Chicken Nuisances}

Mr Fox is brave. Even with the sun high over the mountains and all the activity around the homestead, he isn’t afraid to make his presence know to us. After cleaning up from dinner a few nights ago, we went outside to stroll around and check on the animals. From just below us in the field, he shrieked. The chilling “YOW” echoed along the tree line and down towards the creek before ceasing.

Just a few days later, again after dinner as the kids where taking their bathes, he made an encore. The evening calm was broken by the sound of furious clucking and flapping wings as the flock flew up in all directions. I grabbed a sopping wet toddler from the tub and ran to let our salt and pepper black lab outside. He bolted towards the lower side of the hill to the massive brush pile that the fox was so slyly using for cover as he stalked his feathery prey. In seconds, Asterisk had flushed him out and a streak of rusty orange fur raced through our wooded lot, topping over the hilltop and disappearing. Although rustled, all our hens were accounted for. The havahart has been set and now it’s a game of cat and mouse.

As of today, two of our hens have gone missing during the daylight hours without a feather of evidence left behind. I suspect Mr. Fox has had something to do with it, picking off the girls one by one while we are away from the homestead. I suppose this increases the urgency to get our chicken run built and the hens secured away.

While our lab has earned his keep, alerting us of and pursuing predators, he has become a bit of a chicken nuisance himself. As the hens are free to roam during the day, they have taken to laying their eggs anywhere but the coop, and we only find about half of them each day. The ones which are laid where I can find them are being snatched up for a mid-evening snack by Asterisk. I’ve caught him more than half-dozen times, gingerly sneaking through the yard with a delicate, freshly laid egg between his sharp canines.

Snow Melt and Hopes for Spring {Daily Reflections}

Finally, winter seems to be on it’s way out. The mercury climbed into the mids-40s today and rain is forecasted all week. In fact, many parts of the county are under a flood warning today and into early tomorrow as snow melt and precipitation are expected to cause the rivers and streams to crest about a foot above flood stage. On our property we have traded the snow and ice or mud… lots of mud.

I’m feeling somewhat worn out from a long, dreary winter and slightly energized by the promise of spring. I’m ready to spend less time locked in my office at work and more time on homesteading projects. I’ve got serious plans for the next three seasons. I’m thinking gardening, harvesting, canning, painting, fence building, soap making, and hoping to expand our livestock.

I might cry at the sight of the first bright yellow daffodil punching up through the soggy spring crust. Winter, please go out like a lamb.

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Wild Encounter {Daily Reflections}

It was a bit contrived. They wait alongside a driveway for the humans they know will give them food. Nonetheless, it’s always magical to come so close to nature.

The mountain was blanketed with several inches of fresh, white snow this morning. It insulated everything, making the world quiet. I got out of the truck, rustled a bag of Rainbow Goldfish and several sets of ears perked with curiosity. As I threw the treats on the ground, they came closer. Curiosity overcame fear and they tiptoed closer to retrieve their treat.

Getting this close to does around the resort isn’t hard to do. They know they will get fed. But I was surprised to see, just inside the tree line, a six-point buck bedded down in the snow. His coat was a perfect camouflage among the slender trees and branches and not until he rose to flee did I spot him. He paused for only a brief moment. As intrigued by me as I was of him, we stood there, feet apart in the still of the snowy morning. He then turned, silently trotted away and carried on his way.

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Icy, Slow Morning {Daily Reflections}

Mother Nature pounded the hillside with sleet last night. For hours it poured as the temperatures hung just below freezing, leaving the paths down or up to the animals’ pins almost impassable. The icy ground was topped off this morning with a couple inches of sticky snow and we are expecting another one to three inches over the next couple of days.

We are taking it slow this morning. The kids were up before dawn this morning, feeling a little under the weather. We enjoyed a big breakfast – eggs straight from the chicken, bacon and a Saturday morning favorite, from-scratch pancakes topped with a little butter and warm maple syrup from Frostmore Farm. Delicious!

Not sure what we are going to get into today. I’m hoping to get out of the house for just a bit; both the kids and I need a little fresh air and space today. Spring just can’t come soon enough. I’m might even start some sprouts.

Happy Saturday everyone.

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