This is the story of a homeschooling city girl, trading in her Saks 5th life of luxury for farm tack and homesteading! My family, new farm critters and I will share our successes, failures and crazy stories during this new chapter of life!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

There's Life!

This is one our eggs, being candled, to show a vein that is supporting the tiny life inside!

Astro's shelter is finished!

Sometimes, You Just Have to Get Dirty.

Playtime on the Farm

Cold Frame Garden with Repurposed Windows!

A homeschool friend of mine has been SO amazing to me.  She invited us into her home, fed us an incredible homemade healthy snack, and taught us SO MUCH about gardening, homesteading, planting, cooking... you name it.  As if that wasn't enough, she collected about 20 magazines and catalogs, and sent me home with them!  She has been such an incredible influence on me.  I couldn't wait to build my own cold frame and harvest some wintertime treats!

We went to Target for some plants, then Home Depot to gather some landscape timbers and buy more plants.  These kids can really pile into a cart.  =)

See what I mean??

It was a LOT of work, but it came out GREAT!!!  The "roof" of the cold frame is made of the windows we replaced from our old house.  I put a thermometer inside the middle window, and I crack it each day when it reaches around 70 degrees.  One day, I forgot to crack it.  I was very surprised to see that the temperature had reached 124!

It has really worked well, however.  This week, I picked Rosemary and Basil, and marinated the most delicious turkey in the spices!

The Chicken Came First!!

We had our 8 little Bantams, and we made them into pets.  We love them, as we do all our animals.  I decided we needed many more than 7 (one of our little roosters fell over dead.  We're still not sure why!).  We went and bought 13 more, for a round total of 20 Bantams.  Then, they started laying!  It was so exciting to collect that first egg.  We allow our hens to socialize with our roosters, so we hoped for some fertilized eggs, and thought we'd end up with more eggs than we can use next Spring!  So far, that plan is working out well.  It helped that I bid on 3 different sets of eggs on eBay... and won them ALL!  At the current moment, we have 57 eggs in our incubator, and our neighbor's incubator that he let us borrow!

This is a picture of our incubator, full to standing room only! =)
When they hatch (IF they hatch), we should have a variety of birds!  In the incubator, there are:
12 free range ducks
6 turkeys
13 bantams
24 silkie chickens
and 2 game chickens (from the neighbor)!

I really, really, really hope the silkies hatch.  They are so insanely cute!  If you've never seen one before, here's a picture of one...

Grinding Wheat

I am FINALLY grinding my own wheat.  It is due in FULL to help from amazing friends who care about the health of their families.  I am so blessed by those that surround me in this new house.  My new homeschool group seems to have been literally knit together for me.  I am so thankful for every move God orchestrated in my life to get me where I currently am.  What a blessing!

If you have ever thought of grinding your own wheat and making your own bread from scratch, message me.  I will be so happy to pass on to you what others have shared with me!

I don't yet have my own wheat grinder, but it is on my *PLEASE, HONEY!* list.  <3 <3 <3
At the current moment, we travel to Harry's Farmer's Market to buy and grind our wheat.

This week, I made these banana and millet loaves!

Next week, I will try some new recipes and share them with you (if they're good!).
For now, this is the recipe I used for the banana and millet loaves above!

Original Recipe Yield 16 muffins


  • 2 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/3 cup millet
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup honey


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Grease 16 muffin cups or personal loaf pans.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the whole wheat flour, millet flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, mix the buttermilk, egg, vegetable oil, and honey. Stir buttermilk mixture into the flour mixture just until evenly moist. Transfer batter to the prepared muffin cups.
  3. Bake 15 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.

Donkey's New Pen

Well, you all know what kind of a delinquent my mini donkey can be.  We decided he needed a pen of his own. We set out last weekend to build him one, and we were able to finish it the same day! 
The next day, we shingled the roof...

Then, we hung Astro a feeding basket inside.

Astro is very thankful for his new pen...

and for his horsey therapy ball!  =)  I love this little guy.

Elderberry Syrup!

Wanna stay well this season?

Brew up some Elderberry Syrup! 4 cups water plus 3/4 cups dried Elderberries. Bring to boil. Reduce to simmer for 30 minutes. Strain and press. Reserve strained berries. Add honey to liquid. Jar in refrigerator for up to 6 months. Take 1-2 teaspoons a day!
Add flour and honey to dried, reserved berries and keep as an additive to muffin recipes!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Farmhouse Renovations!

Yesterday afternoon, I decided to make a hole in the wall.  I knew there was a fireplace behind it.  What I didn't know was the condition of it.  I couldnt' take the suspense any longer.  I was pleasantly surprised at the condition of the fireplace!  It needs some work, and I had to clean it for a few hours, because it was pretty dirty and soot-filled behind that wall.  But the brick is really cool.

My son's room has much more character now!  We'll add a mantle, and he can mount his guns over it.  For now, his cowboy hat looks great there.  :)  We had to rearrange his room since we opened up this wall that his dresser used to be on, so this is a pretty messy picture of his unfinished room, but you can see the fireplace well!

We uncovered this tiny "toothache drops" bottle under the concrete.  I'm trying to figure out how old it is!  Isn't it cute?


YAY!  Our first eggs!  Grizzabella (Ashlyn's chicken) just laid her first eggs!  So far, she has laid 4.  I ordered an OVASCOPE online so we can see if the eggs are fertile or not.  Click on the word Ovascope to see how cool it is!

Meanwhile, we just bought 13 more chickens, so we now have a total of 20!  Chickens lay less in the winter, but next Spring/Summer, we should have LOTS of eggs!  We'll have to separate some of the hens from the roosters so we can have unfertilized eggs.

Barn Painting Party!

I set out to paint the barns that my husband and I worked so hard to repair.  I thought it would be a fun job in comparison to repairing them, but I was surprised at how quickly paint soaks into raw, untreated wood!  I might be 20 gallons of paint deep before I'm finished!

I had quite an audience as I painted.  Astro kept nudging me, and he ended up with bright red ears.  The chickens are insatiably curious, and they all gathered around my paint tray to stare in it!  The goats would lean around the buildings, two on each side, and just watch.  I felt like I was being critiqued...

I do like the end result, though.  It really is quite an improvement!

More New Animals!

When we went to pick up Bacon Bitz, we got her from a farm that specialized in "mini animals."  We fell in love with Astro, and had to bring him home for my sweet daughter (and horse lover) Courtney's 10th birthday!

Astro is a sweet boy.  But the trouble started the day we brouht him home!
He is not only a stubborn little donkey, he is ungelded (not neutered).  So he has lots of ... um... pent up frustration.

A couple days after we brought him home, he bit off one of my baby goats' tails!  I had to haul that baby goat inside, clean up the nerve and cartiledge that was left exposed and sticking out from the skin, wash it in neosporin, bandage him up, and take him to a vet to get it sewn back together!!  That baby goat slept in a bunny cage, in my house, for 2 nights until she could heal.   Stoney stared at her forever, then finally curled up beside her for the night, and growled at us when we tried to move  him.

I couldn't leave her in the goat pen with the other goats, because animals have a strong sense of "survival of the fittest."  It's not pretty, but it's true.  The other goats (even the mama goat/herd queen who takes care of everyone) started butting her relentlessly when I tried to reintroduce her after her stitches.  They knew she was weak, and were likely trying to put her out of her misery.  After a VERY slow reintroduction, they're all playing together again.  Little Narnia is still gun shy after such a horrible experience, and she still thinks I'm her care taker (she runs to me to give me kisses and nuzzle her little nose under my chin when I come to see them), but I rather enjoy that! :)

But that wasn't the end of the Astro trouble.  He also ran away, and ended up three houses down... not once, but TWICE.  The first time, the neighbor boy came to tell us, and we went to retrieve Astro from their barn.  The second time wasn't so easy.  Astro broke into their stallion fields and started a ruckus.  The stallions can never be together when they are ungelded, and Astro managed to get 2 stallions together in a field, and chasing him.  The worst part was, Courtney saw him, went in to get him, and Astro ran to Courtney.  This meant that a crazed and scared donkey was chasing my 10 year old daughter, while 3 angry horses were on the donkey's tail, planning to kill him.

Thank GOD Courtney hopped a fence after quite a bit of running, and she was OK.  At one point, however, the horses had Astro down and were biting, kicking and stomping him.  He rolled over on his back to "give up" just before we were able to get  him out.  Thank GOD for protecting all the kids that were there (3 of my 4 kids were there, and all 4 neighbor boys were there), and for allowing us to get Astro out in time.  That would have been an ugly thing for the kids to witness.

Needless to say, Astro needed a more secure pen.  My husband and I spent the next morning building this:

Astro's a little frustrated with us for penning him in so well, but we haven't had any other incidents since he has been secured better!

More new animals!

I have always loved piggies!!!
My husband has told me I was crazy from day one.  He used to work on a pig farm, where the pigs were made into dog food.  Ew.  The farm was pretty nasty, with ridiculous amounts of pigs everywhere.  They were the huge kind, and would ram people into fences for food.  Sounds fun, right??

Anyway, I like pot bellied pigs.  So, when we decided to buy this farm, two animals came to mind... Pot bellied pigs and scottish (highland) cows.  I found out about scottish cows about 6 years ago, and I've loved them ever since!  I haven't bought one yet... but rest assured, I'm looking.

Meanwhile. meet Bacon Bitz!!!!!
Shortly after we bought her, we got her a piggy boyfriend.  Meet Hamlet!

These little piggies are SO SMART!  We've already taught them to roll balls across their pen to get food out of them.  Check this out...

They snuggle up together to keep warm at night.  They also wag their little piggy tails like crazy when I tell them, "They're such good piggies!"  Waaaayyyyyyy too cute.