15/52

IMG_2054

IMG_2069a portrait of my children, every week, once a week in 2013

Bridget: reveling in her mama’s hand knits

Piper: enjoying the outdoors and her new jacket

around the “homestead”

Well, I thought I would catch everyone up on what is going on around the homestead lately.

Chickens…

IMG_1982

IMG_1989

this is what happened to the chickens my parents hatched last summer! they ended up with 6 hens and 2 roosters, so 1 of the roosters had to go. the hens are laying eggs now and are averaging 3 dozen eggs a week. great job ladies!

Goats…

we are done with goats. unfortunately we realized that it was more work at this time in our lives than either Joe or I could put into it, especially while I was pregnant. thankfully we were able to pay forward the kindness of others by giving goaty gifts to others we know who are raising dairy goats. we feel horrible because of the kindness others showed to us in their giving and we are just unable to follow it through. thankfully others will be able to reap the benefits of their generosity.

Pigs…

IMG_1085

IMG_1594

IMG_1730

last years pig raising endeavors began and ended quite a bit later than usual. we got our pigs in May ’12 which was much later than normal (we usually get them in March or beginning of April), and they didn’t get slaughtered and butchered until February. thankfully though, we now have freezers stocked full of pork, and home made sausage, bacon, and rillettes.

Joe also was able to hire himself out as an amateur butcher this year. a person he works with raised pigs with friends and they’ve hired him to butcher, brine, and smoke for them. he is currently in the process.

Garden…

I’m really looking forward to our garden this year! our plan is to buy (very soon) a couple of apple trees and start an orchard for our parents. hopefully we/they can purchase a couple of trees a year, and it should take no time for a small orchard to become established.

we are late, as usual, with getting our seeds started. thankfully this year Joe was able to get himself a grow lamp and if that can be set up in the next week the seeds will be underway and not too late. i’m not entirely sure yet of all the plants we’ll be growing this year, but I know I can be sure we’ll have potatoes, garlic, and hops. we have our priorities.

more about the garden as the season progresses!

our first hatchling

We were surprised today by the arrival of our first chick having poked its way out of its shell late this morning! As we weren’t expecting them to start till tomorrow, it was a little surprise! So far we only have one, but the shells of 6 more have little holes in them where more little chicks are on their way out.

Piper is so excited to see a tiny little birdy in the house. Every time anyone even attempts to look in to check, she is quite vocal about being picked up so she can look as well.

I’m so proud to be able to raise my children this way – knowing right away where food and animals come from. That chicken and eggs don’t come from neat little packages in the store, but that they are alive. Life is given so that life can continue, be it plants or animals. Hopefully by raising children this way, they will develop a sense of respect for where their food comes from.

we’re really doing it!

Here’s a confession. Previously to this week in my postings I have felt like a huge fake at this homesteading thing. I’ve really tried to write posts that are homestead related, but a lot of the time I felt like I was a lot of talk talk talk and no action.

Not only did I feel this way in the blogging world, but also felt it with my husband. He gets pretty down on himself and says the same kind of stuff I just admitted to, “I just feel like I’m faking it,” and so I know I need to be the voice of encouragement in is life. I do this, not to lie to him, but to give him hope to keep plugging away at his dream to one day be totally self-sustained. In the beginning of a huge venture such as this there does seem to come a lot of setbacks and discouragement, and since I love him, I try to do my best to cheer his spirits.

Between the loss of animals (did I also mention we lost all the chickens to either a raccoon or a fox?) and unexpected physical ailments, it has been easy to get down on ourselves. But now I am looking out at our garden that Joe has dug and planted entirely by himself both from seed and from plants given to us by friends. I open my refrigerator and see that I have one shelf almost entirely devoted to milk that has come from our own goats that I milked myself. I am filled with a sense of pride in our work. I am overwhelmed with thankfulness to God that He has helped us every step of the way despite our weakness, laziness, and ignorance. We are really doing this!

Photos are:
one – compost heap / / two – hops / / three – broccoli / / four – huckleberry / / five – potato / / six – wheat / / seven – peas / / eight – corn

while I was away

Hello Monday!

We got my computer this weekend, and being able to blog again really feels like having an old friend back.

Here are some things you’ve missed while I’ve been away!

Our garden has taken off! If you ask him, Joe will tell you that it’s not much, but this garden is quite substantial in comparison to what we’ve had in the past few years. Currently we have growing :

  • Indian corn (good for cornmeal!)
  • wheat
  • tomatoes
  • onions
  • peas
  • beans
  • lettuce
  • broccoli
  • cabbage
  • brussel sprouts
  • eggplant
  • summer squash
  • cuccumber
  • 2 different varieties of melon
  • huckelberry
  • parsnip
  • a variety of different herbs

Today we got a new goat, Rosie May, who is currently still in milk! So starting this evening we will be milking 2 goats at once!

I feel enormously blessed in the goat department. From our point of view, Joe and I feel so under prepared and ill equipped to raise these beautiful and generous animals. Over the past year, we lost two goats. One was an unexpected and strange death, and the other was lost to sickness last month. We felt like terrible goat owners for not knowing enough to catch it in time. However, we have been blessed with generous friends who were willing to bless us with replacement goats for the 2 we lost, and we have been plunged into the world of milking!

I have found milking to be one of the most soothing things for me to do. I didn’t think I would enjoy it as much as I do. Our new mother, Belle, is a little feisty in the stand, and we’ve lost a couple of pails of milk due to her either kicking or planting her foot in the bucket, but I have learned to just keep a watch out for the hoof and be faster than her in pulling the pail away. Aside from that, she and her kid are very very sweet.

This month Piper:

  • started walking!
  • got to go to her first parade for the 4th! She was absolutely fascinated by all the sirens, cars, and marching bands.
  • turned 1-year-old last week! She had her first taste of cake and frosting, and she absolutely loved all her gifts!

That’s all for now. I hope to share with you a look at a few things that are exciting me lately, and also hoping to share some big news in the month to come (fingers crossed)!

computer issues

Just to let everyone know, I have not left this blog intentionally blank. My computer is dead, as in, not holding a charge. I’ve tried a different cord, and that is not the problem. So, until we can get to Portland to bring our computer to be fixed at the mac store, blogging isn’t happening. Today I am posting from my parents computer which isn’t convenient.

 

(Thrifted Nine & Co. shoes $6.99 and baby Levis sneaks $1.99.)

 

Lately we / /

  • Have gone visiting Joe’s family in Kansas (photos forthcoming).
  • Have gone thrifting, yard-saling,  and antiquing (there will be more photos, but see my and Piper’s new shoes!?).
  • Are getting ready for a Memorial Day weekend – Friday, Saturday, Monday (we don’t work on Sunday) – yard sale. Please contact me on facebook for an address if you’re interested in coming.
  • Are planting herbs and veggies and plotting out my herb garden.
  • Are taking care of a teething baby who isn’t feeling or napping well this week.
  • Are cleaning, cleaning, cleaning!

So until We get our computer back, sorry for the lack of posting.

found this in the backyard…looks pretty fresh!

If you can tell me where the line that I used for my title comes from you get a figurative gold star (my siblings are excluded from answering).

I’ve been wanting to do more foraging, and so I have a feeling you will see more foraging posts over the course of these warmer months.

Pictured above is plantain that I picked right out of my backyard. Much like dandelions, it is a “weed” that is also an herb. Plantain used to be a plant that grew only in Europe and central Asia, but came to America with the English settlers. Now it can be found pretty much everywhere. The native Americans would call it the “White-man’s footprint” or “Englishman’s foot” because it appeared wherever the white man went. The reason for that being because of how fine it’s seeds and it would cling to the soles of their boots, spreading the seed wherever they walked.

Plantain’s uses are beneficial both orally and topically. Young plants may be used for salad greens as they are the most tender. A list of the benefits of the plantain herb may be found here.

So, I picked some plantain, washed it and dried it in a paper towel, and added it to last night’s salad. I think that maybe my greens weren’t as small and young as they should have been, for they were a bit tough compared with the rest of my salad greens. The flavor was very good, though! I will definitely be making plantain part of my regular salads this summer. It’s local, and it’s in season!