18 posts categorized "Homesteading"

homestead update

Horseline

Dj

tilly

LIL ANNIE

Wow, I think it's time for an update on what's been happening on the homestead.  There is so much going on here.   We are the owners of 2 more cows, a Jersey milk cow and a Fleckvieh calf.  The Jersey and calf are actually at our Amish friends until our milk barn is finished which we are planning to have it done this week.  It's been hard around here to find a Jersey, and when we do find one it's gone and from what we have heard from the sellers they could sell the cows 5 times over.  Our friends milk cow hasn't freshened yet, so they are out of milk and for both of us it's a win-win situation, they house our Jersey and calf and milk her and they get the milk and we take some as well.  Our Jersey actually freshened early before the auction and didn't make it, so we were wanting to have her take an orphan calf and she has accepted the new calf as hers and has turned into a very good protective momma as well as gives some pretty good milk. 

The fencing is almost 100% done, but it's done enough that we can let the animals in the pasture.   The steer is out on pasture and with all the rain we've had he's not been able to keep up with it, so all is good.

While the livestock were being loaded into the trailer, I had to take a photo of all the horses lined up tied to the fence along with all the buggies parked.

The way this spring weather has been I wondered if we were ever going to get anything in the ground, but yay, we finally were able to work the ground and get some onions planted.  It's supposed to be nice and warm this week so what can be planted now will be.

For me it's been a long winter and the warm weather we are having is so nice to enjoy.


life on the homestead

Fencecorner

Fencepost

Noki

Suuvi

Sweetpotatoes2

Syrupb&w

So much has been happening here on the homestead.  We are putting up fence and we got a new puppy, an Australian shepherd who we named Suuvi which means, child of the summer.  So far, she's been a good puppy, but as you well know if you have ever owned a puppy, they are a lot of work.  But she's been a joy to have, the cats can't seem to figure her out yet and have been chased up the fence posts a time or two.

It has been very windy here on the ridge lately, and it has not been very warm either.  Seeds are started and I don't usually grow sweet potatoes, but I had bought some from an Amish stand last fall, I was about to throw the last few out and found that they were sprouting leaves.  So, I started some sweet potato slips.  We'll see how they do for me and how they grow, we have never grown sweet potato before, this is our first time trying.

Syrup season started off very slow, and boiling the sap was so different from years past.  We did end up with enough syrup which I use in cooking and baking in place of sugar.

That pretty much says all what we have been up to in 2022, it doesn't sound like much but with that and other things we have definitely been keeping busy.  Winter for me just has been very long, especially when the temps are just staying cooler than I would like and it's almost May and what's the old saying...April showers bring May flowers.  Let's hope that holds true :)


edie

Garlicsalve

Good afternoon, it's been a busy week here. 

On Monday, I did laundry and made garlic salve

I remember when I was a young girl and my dad wasn't feeling well, an older women Edie in our church told him that she has something that would help him and that was garlic.  I'm not sure how the garlic was used at the time, but my dad wasn't interested but thinking back I wish he had taken her up on her offer of help. 

I believe Edie did things naturally.  I remember seeing alfalfa drying in her home that she used to make tea with.  My cousin and I would ride our bikes over to her apartment to visit from time to time and walking into her small apartment you could smell that distinct smell of garlic.  Edie was my cousins grandmother and spoke her mind which I never minded as a young girl, my cousin and I would enjoy our short visits.  Though she wasn't my grandmother I would sometimes think of her as my grandmother too. 

I wish that my cousin and I could sit and visit with her again as adults.  Edie had passed away many years ago and I do think of her often, especially when I get a whiff of garlic I think of her. 

I would love to turn the clock back just for one more visit.


his name is dee-jay

Another month has passed and so much has been happening here on the homestead.  We lost one of the 3 pigs we are raising for meat, she developed pneumonia and we had to put her down.  We could have tried giving her shots but there was no guarantee that she would survive, plus we would not have been able to butcher her for a minimum of 30 days.  We got 3 on the chance of losing one, and even though she was going to be butchered it was still hard to put her down.  I will admit that I cried, she was a sick girl and it was hard to see her so sick like that, so I cried and when I was all done I pulled myself up and told myself it was okay to cry because as we don't want to lose any livestock like that I realize they are here to be butchered and fill our freezer.  So no attachment girlfriend.

When our Amish friends mentioned that they have this Devon/Jersey calf that was a bull but is now a steer and that they really don't want to sell him but just don't have the room to raise him until he's ready to be butchered as they had twins born this past spring, and would we be willing to raise him on our land and split the beef.  We of course said yes, so the day after thanksgiving Jim went and picked him up.  Once our fencing is done around the pasture he’ll be able to roam a bit more, right now he’s kept in a smaller area to help him feel more secure while getting used to his new surroundings.

DJ2

DJ1
We definitely did not plan on getting any sort of cow, milk or beef at this time.  Our plans were to get a milk cow this spring and raise a calf with it but the opportunity came for us to jump right in we just couldn’t pass it up.  He’s such a good guy and so far things are going well with him. 


what's been happening here on the homestead

I don't think I will be able to update you on all that's been happening here without having photo overload, so I'll just do the best I can.  Since sugaring we have been so busy here on our homestead.  We got pigs this spring and friends came out to help us put up the fence before they arrived which was a HUGE help and we appreciated it so much.  The pigs are definitely getting big since the day we got them.

J&r

J&J

Had to get a photo by Jim's old ford tractor which has been such a work horse here for him.

Ro

Pigs

I've been growing herbs and trying to dry them out but it's been so hot and humid lately it may take a bit longer than I would like.  I'm also making some infused herb oils that I will be making into salves when they are ready.

Herbs

Infused oils

I started incubating eggs from our hens on July 1st and we candled them last night and it looks like all 22 eggs may have something happening.  I'm crossing my fingers that we will have chicks by the 21st or 22nd of July.  Our rooster Rudy is such a good boy and really takes care of this girls.  He has 23 hens to look after and does a tremendous job.

I know some may think that is too many hens for one rooster and we did try out another rooster to see how it would work and maybe have two flocks going but Rudy would  have none of it, so this guy had to go, and he was such a beautiful guy too.

Roo2

So Rudy in the man around the coop.

Rudy

This is the first time we have hatched eggs on our own, we have always gotten chicks from the feed store in town.  We'll see how many hens vs roosters we hatch out.  I'm hoping to get some roo's so I can process them in the pressure canner instead of freezing them. 

Eggs

The gardens are doing great now that we finally have gotten rain.

Weeding

Coop and vines

Grapes

What's a homestead without barn cats or kittens :)  Meet Smoky and Noki.  Noki is a Finnish word for soot.  Jim started calling the top one Smoky and I thought the black one looked like soot so I looked up the Finnish word for soot and it was Noki (pronounced No-Kee).  They are both girls and just so cute.

Smoky

Noki

There is nothing like taking a break with some coffee, haymakers punch also known as switchel and wild berries that are growing in the back yard.  I add lemon juice and maple syrup in place of the molasses and brown sugar.  I use either Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar or my homemade ACV, just depends on my mood at the time.   Believe it or not the haymakers punch really does refresh you on a hot day, especially when you have been working outside in the hot weather.

Berriesandhaymaker

Acv (2)

My flower garden is blooming so nicely.  I look at this lily and always think of my blogging friend Ann who sent it to me after my dad passed away.  When it blooms I think of them both.

Flower

I think I have covered most of the stuff I wanted to share with you, like I said there is just so much that has been happening here I'm not sure I could cover it all in a blog post so I just gave you some highlights.

I hope your days are going good where you live, take care.


homesteading

Basketofeggs
CBCDF250-0E95-4FA8-8404-B464F3BBFD05
38B1CD0E-8A4B-4D35-BA21-375745F5EF99
57B72AA2-9120-4B0A-A17B-E11723E3B626

I seem to average one blog post a month these days, or even less than that at times. Maybe I did two last month, anyway, has life changed for you at all in the past year?  Well it has for us in many ways.  We are not retired yet, we are still growing and preserving as much of our own food as we can and I’m looking forward to getting my seeds started. I have big ideas and plans for the garden and I can’t wait to get started, tho it’s still a long way off yet.  The hens are laying great and did pretty good this winter even during our very cold snap we had. I think if I’m remembering right we had at least 12 days of below zero temps. I was away at a quilt retreat last month and we woke up to -21 degrees.  That was cold. 

Our electric bill last month was outrageous, even though we heat with wood and our furnace never turned on during the harsh cold, something smells fishy to me about that. So, I decided I’m going to hang clothes out on the line even if there is snow on the ground, plus I’m putting our oil lamps to good use instead of just collecting dust for me to dust later.  It’s actually quite quaint to read by the oil lamp and enjoy a cup of coffee. 

Sugaring has started up.  I’m thinking it’s a bit early this year so we’ll see how long the season will be.  The seasons seem to be just flying by so fast to me and I’m not sure I like that. 
The snow is slowly melting with the warmer temps we have been having, and now you could say it’s officially mud season, our 5th season. 


the home fire is burning

Homefires

This morning the temperature was -21 here on the ridge. We are definitely in a winter freeze right now and it’s probably going to last until the end of the week going into the weekend.

We are doing good embracing these cold temps. The animals are doing great and the coop we made is working out wonderfully.  

So far I’m not totally over winter, I embraced winter this year and so far that has worked.  Sugaring will be starting up in no time and life will again get busy.  Seems like we have a lull right now and I’m enjoying it. Our seeds are all bought and soon I’ll be planning out which to start first in the house and which ones can wait to be put in the ground. I’m anxious to see how the garlic is doing, since this was our first year ever planting it. Fingers are crossed. 

We have a rhubarb plant that hasn’t done very well. It was here when we moved here 10 years ago (wow did I just say 10 years) and I keep thinking I should move it to a different spot.  Anyway, I did order rhubarb seeds this year to plant, so we’ll see how those do as well.

There is so much we want to do here on our homestead, I get excited thinking about it. 


we got snow

Then we got more snow.  I started this post 5 days ago...huh!  I'm finally getting back to it now and a few things have changed a bit. We haven't had much snow up to the end of January, it snowed a little and it did drift some so Jim had to plow the drive so that we could get out of the garage and driveway.  Now the temps are falling and we probably have about 4 inches added to what we just got during our last snowfall.

Girlandwagon

Plowing2

Our wood pile is starting to go down some, we are heating our home solely with wood this year, our furnace has not kicked on at all and we are contributing it to our new stove.  We are actually burning less wood with the new stove so that is a huge bonus for us.

Woodpile21
In December 2020 just before Christmas we didn't have any snow, what snow we did have was pretty scarce. We try to burn our huge burn pile that grows over the year on Winter Solstice, sometimes we are here and sometimes we are gone to Texas, this year we are here.  So burn we did.

Bonfire

Since the temps are dipping down to well below zero here and the birds are going to have to be a bit more confined to the coop.  They don't like going out in the cold, and they don't like the snow, just to name a few things they don't like about winter.  So to keep them warmer and to keep them busy and not going stir crazy pecking each other to death (not literally).  They get bored, just like we do.  So I've been making flock blocks to help with that.

I found a few homemade recipes and this is the one I used from Lisa Steele over at Fresh Eggs Daily.

Flockblocks

Heading out to the chicken coop this morning to do our morning routine with the chickens, I was kicking myself for not having my camera with me.  It look like a frozen tundra, the way the frozen snow looked with the sun just coming up through the clouds.  It's a moment that I'll just have to savor in my mind.


hello

Thedonald

How are you all?  We are well into the month of January and it's been a few months since I've posted.  We stayed home this winter instead of going to Texas, Jim was hit very hard with pneumonia this past October and it actually had taken a few months to finally get his strength back and is finally almost 100%.

We got 15 chicks this past September and they are doing awesome and are 17 weeks.  When we got the 15 chicks Jim was hoping that one of them would be a rooster.  Well sure enough, I informed him after feeding them one morning that I think he got his wish, one was indeed a rooster, one of the Delaware's was a roo and he seems like a very nice fellow and should work out just fine.

Donald

We have gotten down to 0° during the night a few times and they did just fine.  I actually think raising chicks in the fall/winter months is much nicer.  We do not heat our chicken coop and don't believe in doing so, it's just how we feel about it.  If you do that's fine you have to do what works for you and your chickens. 

Feedingtime

We plan to integrate both the "bigs" and "littles" as we call them.  Right now they are separate, but they have been able to see each other on a daily basis looking at each other through the fence.

Feeding2

Last spring when we got our batch of chickens we got 6 roosters but one of the hens ended up being a rooster.  Our plan was to pick a rooster to keep so that we can hatch our own chicks and the others we would butcher and put in our freezer.  After seeing how the roosters did one-on-one with the hens we ended up with the rooster we have now and we named him Rudy.  Long story short, we cut up two of the roosters (they weren't that big) and I made chicken stock with what was left of the carcass.  There is nothing more tasty or nutritious than stock you make yourself.

Canning1

Chickenstock

Let's see what else has been happening since I've posted last.  Our cook stove isn't looking so new anymore and I will say it makes an awesome woodfired pizza.

Cook stove

I wanted to grow pumpkins so that I could either can or freeze the pumpkin to use later in the year.  I ended up with only 2 pumpkins and probably got 6-7 cups of puree, but I was able to make a couple of pies with it over the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, and still have some in the freezer to make something else with it.

Pumpkinpie

Back in August we drove to Iowa to pick up this beauty.  The top of the cabinet needed some work on it, and Jim with a little bit of help from me got it looking pretty nice.  We cleaned and oiled it and she runs like a top.  I couldn't believe how nice she sews and I can't wait to start sewing on her.

Treadlemachine2
Life is treating us pretty good here.  We have totally embraced winter and even read a Little House on the Prairie book called The Long Winter, out loud to each other.  That was quite nice and I couldn't imagine going through a winter like they went through.  I recently bought a t-shirt from The Prairie Homestead which is a place I love to visit, but the shirt reads Old Fashioned on Purpose, and that is how I live my life now, I'm Old Fashioned on Purpose.

You all have a wonderful day.


planting garlic

Garlicbed3

Planting

Garlicbed2

Garlicbed

Since Jim was starting to feel better we planted about 100 garlic cloves.  He stood there and made the hole for me and I crawled on the ground planting the garlic.  The weather finally warmed up enough for us to get out there.  I could have done it myself but I think the nice warmer weather actually did Jim some good.   I have a hard time believing Thanksgiving is next week already, well our October is nothing but a blur so it's totally understandable why Thanksgiving crept up so fast.  

I've not really done anything around the house for so long that when the warm weather came I opened up some of the windows and aired out the house and did some long overdue cleaning.  I also did some cleaning of all the photos on my phone, I knew my photos were adding up and I believe I deleted 7,368 to be exact.  I didn't totally delete them, I uploaded them to my laptop and now they are safe on an external hard drive.  It took me about 3 long days to do it all, but I did it...whew! 

Tell, me I'm not the only one who has that many photos on their phone ;)