Hewitt’s Shoes

I have five brothers who are still growing. Constantly. We’re always buying them new clothes, because as farm kids, they wear them out before they can pass them down to the next brother. Another thing we’re always buying is shoes and boots – you’d think those would last them a while, but they go even faster than the clothes, it seems.

One day, I noticed that Hewitt had worn through his shoes – the bottom was coming off the right shoe. I checked his shoe size and bought him a pair of new shoes the next time I went into town, leaving them on his bed for him.

A few weeks later, we were gathered in the office for a “staff meeting” at Goat Milk Stuff, and I noticed that Hewitt was still wearing the pair of shoes he’d had on several weeks before.

They’d gotten even worse.

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When I asked him about the shoes I’d left on his bed, he laughed. “Why would I wear those? These are more comfortable!”

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That night Dad threw these shoes in the trash, and the next morning, Hewitt was wearing his new shoes.

Do your kids try to wear shoes that are falling apart? My siblings have been doing it for as long as I can remember!

Brett

 

 

Goat Collars

We mentioned the new goat collars in the post about our goat photoshoot, but we didn’t explain why the collars all look different, and why that’s important.

When we were talking about getting collars for our goats, we realized that we could use them as a tool. We figured out a system, and now, just by looking at a goat, I can tell you who the parents of that particular goat are. The color of the collar tells us who the dam is, and the color of the words tell us who the sire is.

We began by taking the older goats and assigning them a color.  We chose pink for Zuzu – the matriarch of one of our goat families.  And made her letters brown because we like how that looks. LOL

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But other than the senior does, everybody’s collar color is based on their heritage.

For example, Tapioca’s collar is light blue, with green letters. The light blue tells me that she’s out of the Payton line (since Payton’s color is light blue) and the green tells me that her sire is Panini. (If you really want to get detailed, her Dam is Thalia, Payton’s daughter, and I know that because her name starts with a T.)  Tapioca is chewing on her twin’s collar, which is the same color as hers. The only difference is that her twin’s collar says “Tempest” instead of “Tapioca”!

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Now that you know what the different colors mean, take a look at this picture. Each group of collars is a different family. If you see a collar that is a different color, it just means that goat has an identical twin and we made the collar slightly different so we could tell them apart more easily. I’m holding our buck collars – see how they’re brown, with different colored letters? The letter colors tell us the buck’s color.

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What do you think of our system? Do you think it’s too complicated, or do you think it’s cool?

I love it, because all I have to do is memorize which color belongs to which of our senior does, and with a glance at a goat’s collar, I can tell you who they are. It’s really handy when we’re working on breeding plans, because we can see who the goat can’t be bred to with just a single glance.

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We’ve only had the collars on the goats for a few days, but it’s been great!

When people come on tours they can see the names of the goats, and call them by name. Both the goats (yes, they do know their names) and the people love it!

Brett

 

 

UPDATE: See the video and get a coupon code!

 

Washing the Beast

We’ve had the Beast for a while now, and it was getting really dirty. Because of the wrap (the pictures) we can’t take it to a car wash – not that it would fit in there anyway. So Dad told the kids one hot summer day that it was time to clean the Beast.

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“First you had to spray the Beast very gently, from far away.” –Indigo

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“When it was wet you took the sponge and wiped it down, being careful so you didn’t wipe the stickers off.” –Jade

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“After Jade wiped it down, I had to dry it.” –Hewitt

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“I got to use the ladder too!”

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“Washing the Beast took a long time, but it looked awesome when it was done!” -Indigo

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They did a great job! The Beast was sparkly clean – until the next day, when it rained. LOL

Brett

 

 

Meet The Goats – Ivy

Our dairy goats are not only foundational to Goat Milk Stuff, but they are a big part of our family as well. Each of them has a personality and during this series we’re hoping you’ll get to know more about them.

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Ivy is one of our biggest and strongest goats.  She is Colter’s favorite goat, and is very sweet to him.

But she lets everyone else know that she’s in charge and so the little girls (and me too) are very careful around Ivy. I was talking with the boys about her the other day and the conversation went something like this:

Brett: So, what can you tell me about Ivy?

Hewitt: She’s mean.

Colter: She’s not mean, she’s great.

Hewitt: No, she’s pretty mean.

Emery: Yeah, remember the time I was trying to fill the feeder and she wouldn’t let me? She kept getting in my way.

Colter: She just wanted to let you know that she’s in charge, and you’re mean to her.

Emery: I’m not mean to her! I just don’t like her as much because she’s bossy.

Colter: She’s bossy to you because you talk badly about her.

Emery: What? I don’t.

Colter: Yes you do, you stand on the other side of the fence and say how bad she is and it hurts her feelings. You have to be strong around Ivy – she only respects strong people.

Emery: Yeah, she thinks she’s the queen.

Colter: No, she just values strength. If you show her you won’t be pushed around, she won’t be what you call “mean”.

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The conversation went on for several more minutes, with Colter defending Ivy through thick and thin. Ivy has always been his favorite, and it shows when she’s with him – she is so sweet with him.

We also talked about how funny it was that Ivy showed her attitude even when she got sick. In fact, we knew she was better because she became ornery again.  LOL  Greyden mentioned that Ivy looks very different from anyone else in our herd, and Emery brought up the fact that even when she had single bucklings, she still gave us tons of milk.

In fact, every year Ivy has given us a single buckling.  Except this year!  She finally gave Colter the girls that he wanted from her.  We will probably be keeping Idina this year, and I know that Colter would like to keep more of her doelings in the future!

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Yep, Ivy can be stubborn and ornery, but underneath it all she’s a sweetheart.

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As long as you’re good (and strong) to Ivy, she’ll be good to you!

Brett

 

 

 

Kids Cooking – Sourdough Pancakes

If you’ve been following this series, you know why sourdough is healthy, how to feed your starter, and how to make sourdough bread.   Now it’s time to share what we do when we have too much starter.

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We make pancakes! I will include our measurements here, but below I’ll put a smaller batch size.

First, stir down your starter:

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Place 8 cups of sourdough starter in a bowl:

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Add 8 eggs:

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Add 1/2 cup sugar:

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Add 1 cup olive oil:

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Add 2 tsp salt:

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In a separate bowl, combine 4 Tbsp warm water and 4 tsp baking soda:

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Blend your ingredients (we use a stick blender*):

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Add any fruit that you wish (Hewitt wanted banana pancakes this day):

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When the batter is completely ready, stir your baking soda and water:

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Then add it to the pancake batter and stir gently:

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The batter will produce bubbles and rise some:

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Ladle onto a 350 degree griddle:

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We add flax seeds to our pancakes:

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Flip:

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And enjoy!

Recipe:

In a separate container:

  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 Tbsp warm water

We love these pancakes and make them about once a week.  You can also make muffins with your extra sourdough starter, but I don’t have any good recipes for that just yet – I’m still experimenting.

I’m glad that I didn’t give up on my sourdough experiments.  Sourdough pancakes and bread are so much healthier than their non-sourdough counterparts and the children and Jim all love them.

I’d love to hear if you do anything with sourdough or if you have any other sourdough recipes to share!

PJ

 

Ask A Jonas – Hewitt’s Thoughts on Running A Business

We get asked lots of questions when we’re doing farm toursselling soap at craft fairs, or simply running errands.  Since most of those answers are heard only by the person who asked, we decided to share some of the common questions here on the blog.  And of course you can ask a question of your own!

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Hewitt, what do you think of running a business at your age? ~Cindy

Running a business at my age? That’s a tough one. First of all, I don’t run the business, I HELP run the business. Actually, Mom runs the business and we all help her.

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I like helping running the business because then I get to spend time with my family, working hard with them, and playing hard with them. It’s pretty fun.

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Sometimes I get tired and Mom lets me go back to the house.  But sometimes I get tired and I just keep working.  Some day I might stop helping and actually run the business.  But Mom has to get really old first.

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Have a question for a Jonas? Fill out the form and send it in – maybe we’ll pick yours!

Happy Birthday, Hewitt!

My baby brother is now ten!

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Hewitt spent the day before his birthday counting down. “Ten hours, Brett! Ten hours until I’m ten!”

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He was really excited because, “I won’t be a single digit anymore!”

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He blew out the ten candles on his Breakfast Birthday Cake easily. When he started cutting the pieces and lifting them out of the tray with his hands, I asked him if he’d washed his hands after doing his goat chores that morning.

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He grinned sheepishly and got up to wash his hands.

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Hewitt was born a few months after we moved to Indiana.  So we always measure how long we’ve lived here by how old Hewitt is.

Happy Birthday, Hewitt. Love you tons.

Brett

 

 

Splitting Firewood

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).

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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*.

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Because he’s awesome, he came over and helped Colter learn how to use it.

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Hewitt spent the whole day moving wood.

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“It was hard work, but we got a lot done!”

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“There was a LOT of wood.”

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“But I’m strong enough to take care of it!”

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I’m really grateful that I have such strong brothers to take care of work like this, so I don’t have to!

Brett

 

 

 

*affiliate link

Colorful Bedrooms

When they painted our bedrooms, we were that much closer to living in our bedrooms. We still needed carpet, lights, switches, trim, doors, and a whole lot more, but the rooms were very colorful.

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Which made all of us beyond excited!

Brett

 

 

Footprints

Since we did our handprints in the concrete at the soaproom, Mom wanted us to put our footprints on the barn’s porch. (Mom also suggested we do butt prints on the porch of the house, but Dad said no. LOL)

First, Ramblyn put the “broom finish” on the concrete – basically, going over the concrete with a broom to give it lines.

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We got a bucket of water to rinse our feet in afterward because uncured concrete can burn your skin.

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Jade’s feet wouldn’t go into the concrete – they had poured that concrete first, so it was too hard (and she didn’t weigh enough even with Mom and Lucky pushing on her feet) to make her footprint. We decided that she would get a bonus set of footprints on the other end of the barn.

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Lucky helped us push our feet into the concrete evenly. His hands were cold.

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So was the concrete, actually.

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Lucky picked the younger kids straight out of the concrete.  It was harder for the bigger kids (and Mom and Dad) to step out of the concrete evenly.

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But overall, the footprints came out really well!  Mom wrote our names by them again.

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I’m glad we put our footprints on the barn – it’s cool to see how much our feet have grown. (Well, my siblings’ feet – mine haven’t grown at all!)

Brett

 

 

Happy Birthday, Jim!

Jim and I met at The University of Virginia, so Thomas Jefferson is very important to us.  Here is an interesting fact – Thomas Jefferson was born on Jim’s birthday (April 13) and died on Jade’s birthday (July 4).  I always post the children’s birthday photos, and they insisted that I post Daddy’s birthday photos as well.

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Happy Birthday to my incredible husband!

PJ

Disney Wild Africa Trek

While we were in Disney World, we decided it was time to do something we’d never done before. The Wild Africa Trek! Indigo and Jade were too young, so while we were doing it, they went off and toured Animal Kingdom with some of Grandma’s friends.

I can honestly say that this is one of the coolest things I’ve ever done. It was a three hour guided tour where we got to walk over the hippos and alligators, learn some swahili, get really close to some of the animals on the safari, and eat an african inspired lunch.  

First we got all suited up and took some pictures. 

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Then we set off into the wild. First we went through the bird section. While we were there Jess pointed out some birds, and we got a lot of really strange looks. Not that it really bothered me – I’m used to it. My family gets strange looks whether we’re wearing strange gear or not. 😀

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After we left the bird enclosure we left the set trail, heading into the woods. Colter told me, “It feels good to be back in gear, walking through the woods again.” I laughed and agreed with him. It was the first time I’d been in a situation like that since Outward Bound, and it was really nice.

We’d been hiking for maybe five minutes when Megan’s voice came over the headset that we were required to wear. She told us that we were nearing the hippo enclosure and told us the rules we had to follow. As we got closer we all unclipped one end of the harness attached to our vests. We handed them to Jess and she clipped us onto the metal rail along the fence, letting us walk past her into the enclosure (once we were securely attached). You can see our “tails” in this photo of us above the hippo enclosure. The vehicle in the background is one of the safari trucks. 

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 One of the hippo experts met us there. He had brought along a bucket of food for the two males that we were going to see, but since they were asleep we didn’t get to watch them eat.

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After the hippo guy (I don’t remember his name) answered all of our questions, and there were a lot of them, we moved on. We continued hiking through the woods and along the way, learned some Swahili. Twende (pronounced twenday) means “let’s go”, and that has become a favorite word around here. We also learned Asante Sana, “thank you”, and Karibu Sana, “you’re welcome”. 

 We made it to the bridges over the river, and it’s a good thing that none of us is afraid of heights. 

Because this is the bridge that we were going over. Well, this is one of them. 

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 Did I mention that we were walking right over the alligators? You can see them down below all of us.

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Don’t worry though – we were attached to a super strong cable above us by the harness on our vests. Because honestly, who wants to fall into this?

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Then you’d get crushed by an alligator’s mouth… oh wait.

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KIDDING. That’s just a model they had out there for us to look at. It was surprisingly heavy. 

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We also got to go into (but above) the alligator pit:

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We were so close we were able to see them really well as the alligator expert answered our questions.  And because we’re curious, we had a lot of questions.

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I think there are 27 alligators at Animal Kingdom.

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Our guides -Megan, Jess, and Hilary – were awesome.

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Once we were done with the first half of our tour, we took off our harnesses and had our own private truck for the rest of the tour.

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We were able to get up close to a lot of the animals and we each had our own pair of binoculars.

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The truck would periodically stop so we could get up and look around.

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We got to stop at a boma (safe place) in the middle of the Savannah and have our own lunch.

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It was African inspired foods and most of it was really good.  We all even ate the flower.

 This is what the Boma looks like from the Savannah:

After lunch, we got back in our truck to see some more of the animals.  Particularly the big cats which the boys love.

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Disney-Wild-Africa-Trek_48See the sleeping lions?

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Asante sana, Jess, Megan, and Hilary!

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The Wild Africa Trek is expensive, but if you at all enjoy animals and like to ask lots of questions, and get behind the scenes, we all agreed it was absolutely worth it.  Definitely one of our best ever Disney memories!

Brett

 

 

Ice Hockey

Since it’s been so cold for the past couple of weeks, our creek is frozen solid. (Yes, completely solid.) So the kids decided that they wanted to have a little fun.

What started as tossing an empty water bottle around on the ice turned into ice hockey, using an old water bottle and some sticks.

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They had so much fun, and though the creek melted, they haven’t stopped talking about it. I have a feeling that if the creek freezes again, I know where they’ll be!

 

Picking out a Christmas Tree

This is the first year in our new house and the children had their heart set on a HUGE tree.  So we went to a local tree farm where we first found a huge pile of geodes.

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We took a hay wagon ride to the field.

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And started looking at trees.

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Indigo kept picking out trees that wouldn’t fit in our living room!

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Once the tree was chosen, there was lots of time to play hide and seek amongst the trees.

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As well as playing on the hay wagon.

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While the farmer cut down the tree with his chain saw.

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And (fortunately) trimmed a few feet off the bottom.

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There were many hands to load the tree onto the wagon.

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And into the Beast.

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Since the tree barely fit into the Beast, I’d say they met their goal of a HUGE tree!  

What kind of Christmas tree do you get? 

PJ