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Posts from the ‘This & That’ Category

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.

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.


Mr. Williams digs it too.


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.

IMG_1295 IMG_0129 Read more

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.