We love our chickens!
There is always fence work to be done!
Throwback Thursday: Indigo sorting the garden peppers by type (yep, that counts as homeschooling!)
Jim Bob and Jason are our very friendly barn cats.
Throwback Thursday: Hewitt sorting eggs (what a cutie!)
Early morning on the farm.
Emery’s iris are blooming in October!
Throwback Thursday: Baby goat Izzy is hanging out with Baby Indigo and Little Guy Hewitt.
Fletcher is enjoying some time with the dogs!
It’s October, but we’re still getting peas from the garden!
I’m not a big fan of our chickens in general, but I really don’t like roosters. Our biggest rooster is a Barred Rock and he is particularly annoying. He likes to run, as fast as he can, towards anybody that he thinks is inferior to him. Basically, anybody other than Dad and Colter.
I recently discovered some photos on our camera. When I asked Emery about them, he grinned his signature grin and laughed.
“The Barred Rooster was being annoying, running after the little girls, so I distracted him by crowing. He came running at me.”
“I kept crowing, and moved around the outside of the pen.”
“He wasn’t very happy with me, but it was really funny!”
As I listened to Emery, I couldn’t stop laughing. It was funny picturing that annoying rooster charging at what he thought was another rooster, only to not be able to find him.
After I stopped laughing, I also told Emery that I was proud of him for coming to his sisters’ aid!
Every year we have lots of new baby goats born. Lots of baby goats drink lots of milk.
As baby goats get bigger, they drink more, which makes them get bigger, which makes them drink more. It’s a never-ending cycle! At least it’s a never-ending cycle until the babies are weaned.
When the boys finish milking the goats, we send some milk to the house for drinking, send milk to the soaproom for soapmaking, and feed the rest to the babies. Because we give the babies as much milk as they want (more than their Moms would give them), we sometimes run out of milk. This year we retained more baby goats than we normally do, so once the babies finished all the milk, the boys could tell they would still drink more if we offered it.
We drove to the store and got a couple of gallons of whole milk for them. The babies do very well with whole cow’s milk from the store (Mom won’t feed them milk replacer because she doesn’t believe it is good for them).
The next week, when those gallons were gone, we went and bought some more.
And the next week, we did it again.
As the babies got bigger, we started going to the store every three days. Then every two days. Then every day.
To keep our cans from overflowing with milk jugs, Greyden got some baling twine (from the hay the mama goats eat) and strung the bottles up. It was a brilliant solution because now they wouldn’t blow away in the wind.
The next day, he got another section of baling twine.
By the time the garbage/recycling truck came, he had used over twenty pieces of baling twine, stringing up over 250 empty gallon milk jugs.
I think Mr. Sweetland (our coach, good friend, and garbage/recycling man) was “impressed.”
Have you ever seen that many empty milk jugs?
We heated our old house exclusively with wood. We have a fireplace insert at our new house, but we also use gas heat (which is good because my bedroom is at the opposite end of the house from the fireplace).
We have a lot of downed trees from the construction on our new farm. A couple of weeks ago, Dad said it was time to start splitting the logs that were too big to fit in the fireplace. Colter was prepared to split it all by hand, but fortunately we have a neighbor who has a hydraulic splitter*.
Because he’s awesome, he came over and helped Colter learn how to use it.
Hewitt spent the whole day moving wood.
“It was hard work, but we got a lot done!”
“There was a LOT of wood.”
“But I’m strong enough to take care of it!”
I’m really grateful that I have such strong brothers to take care of work like this, so I don’t have to!
When we lived in Charlestown, Farmer Frazier would bring us our hay as round bales, deposit them in the pasture, and we’d be good. Here in Scottsburg, we have our own hay field. Because we don’t have a tractor to move round bales, we have Farmer Todd put up our hay in square bales. First he cuts the hay, rakes it into rows, and then bales it.
As the hay is baled, we load it onto the pickup truck and bring it back to the barn. The boys sit on top so no bales fall off, so they don’t have to walk, and because it’s cool.
Then the hay is put onto our borrowed hay elevator…
where it rides up to the hayloft…
and someone takes it off the hay elevator.
Once the bale is on the floor, the “pushers” push the bale over to where it’s being stacked up.
You have a couple of “stackers”, bigger guys who are taking a break from riding the truck, who take the hay bales and lift them up to their place on the stack.
And last, but not least, you thank all of your friends who came and helped you, before you sit back and admire your full hay loft.
Hay is exhausting, but it’s pretty important to keeping the goats happy and healthy all year-long!
In years past, we have spent many hours canning, dehydrating, fermenting, and freezing our fruits and vegetables. Lately, the children are eating more and more of the produce straight from the garden, so I find there is less need to preserve.
Strawberries almost always go straight into everyone’s mouth.
If there are extras, they get brought into the house and cut up and put directly into our goat milk yogurt or kefir. If you have extra strawberries to put up, our favorite methods are to freeze them in ziplocs or make jam.
We grow sugar snap peas, so they get eaten whole straight from the garden.
Extras are shelled and frozen in ziplocs for use in homemade chicken pot-pie.
Lettuce is eaten in large quantities in salad.
Cabbage is shredded for homemade sauerkaut which is a really fun project for the children and a very healthy way to preserve the cabbage.
The children generally eat all the brocolli straight out of the garden. They love it! Any that makes it into the kitchen is steamed and served with dinner.
Swiss chard is used in our spanakopita casserole recipe. It is SOOO good!
Tomatoes are turned directly into tomato sauce and then frozen for use all winter.
Basil is served fresh in tomato salad or it is made into pesto and frozen in ice cube trays for use all winter.
Peppers are diced and frozen in ziploc bags. We generally use this all winter for chili or taco soup.
We also love to use peppers and tomatoes for homemade salsa.
If you’re new to putting food up, my best advice is to experiment with canning, dehydrating, fermenting, and freezing – and find what works best for you. Preserving your veggies for use throughout most of the winter is a lot of manual labor, but it isn’t difficult.
So start putting up some food, but don’t let it become a burden. For me, I now preserve what I want and feed the rest to the chickens and rabbits. And I don’t let myself feel guilty about it!
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