Monday, December 31, 2012

The Goats Hate their Hut so.....

Belle and Lacie are 6 months old already!

So far this winter the only time I can get the goats into their hut is when it's raining or snowing.   I've tried locking them in at night but they hate it so much that the next night they won't come near me for fear of being locked in again.  Any other time they're right at your side.  It can rain all day or be snowy and if it's stopped at night, even though the ground is wet they sleep outside on the wet ground.   It makes me crazy.   

So today I drove a couple of T posts into the ground and hung a tarp for a little bit of shelter.   I figure it  has to be better than nothing.    I added an entire bale of hay on the ground for bedding and put their feeders in there to encourage them to use it.

They were sure that big green tarp was really some kind of toy.   I'm not real sure if it will last all that long but at least I'll know before I build another more permanent structure if they will actually use it this time.

When I was putting the feeders on the fence I was surprised that it was noticeably warmer under the tarp.   With all that hay to snuggle down in they should be more comfortable.

I put boards along the bottom and then covered it with 18" of leaves to help with the wind.  Lacie isn't at all sure about going in at this point.   On...yes.  In....not so much.

After we went in the house they decided to give it a try.    I think if they don't tear it down trying to  play on it they'll use this alot more than they have the goat hut.

Happy New Years!


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Missing blogger found and back on job

Soft leather covered handmade journal
I love blogging but sometimes I get caught up in life away from the computer and have a hard time finding my way back.    Hope everyone has had a great fall and Thanksgiving.

I have always had a love of books and lately that interest in has expanded to include bookmaking and bookbinding.   The journal above was my first experience in making a book from start to finish; choosing paper and cover materials, making signatures, deciding on the appropriate binding style and then sewing it all together.  

Scrapbook and some tags 

I've also been working on a scrap book for Malia.   I have been making it from an altered book and will share what  I we, did when it's done.  For anyone with kids I think you'll really enjoy it.   It took on a life of it's own and became a wonderful experience that let us relive the memories of pictures included while making it into something both meaningful and fun at the same time.  

Vintage photo of my grandmother and grandfather 

Sometime around 1920 my grandmother married a young man from Italy and being the great cook she was she took on the task of learning to cook all things italian as if she too came from Italy.  Thanksgiving tradition in her home, which was where I spent every Thanksgiving was based on vast quantities of scrumptous homemade italian foods.   Handmade raviolis & pastas, meats that had cooked in various italian sauces for hours and hours.   Side dishes, like more traditional Thanksgiving feasts, were plentiful and delicious but not what you would typically find on most tables.    Desserts were rum cakes and italian cookies and lots of pies.    

Some years I will still have italian Thanksgivings.   Nothing to rival my Nana's that's for sure.   This will as a rule leave me with the need to make a turkey a week after everyone else is finishing up their leftovers.   My 25 lb bird is in the oven as I sit here blogging.   I just can't pass up a good sale on turkey.   

Thanks Victoria for getting me here today!


Tuesday, September 4, 2012

A Tiny Homestead Hop # 2

Your Invited to join in on our second

A Tiny Homestead Blog Hop!

To join all you need do is enter your best homestead related blog post of the past 2 weeks below.  It can be any thing to do with your homestead; animals, recipes, gardening, tips, crafts, whatever you've posted about that will be inspiring to other like minded folks.     

 Entries will be open for 2  weeks.  

When we get enough involvement I hope to move them to weekly with a featured blog from each linky.

It's always fun to find new blogs to go visit and what a great way to get your blog more exposure and visitors and maybe make some new friends along the way.

Hope you'll join in!


Things to Think About if Your Kids Go Off in the Woods By Themselves

If you've been following the goat saga you know Malia's been anxious to take the baby goats for a walk through the woods to the creek.   We used to do it with our big goats and it was always fun.

I was in the middle of a project so she headed off without me.  About an hour after she left she came in and said she thought she had hurt her arm falling on a log.  She's never been a whiny kid about a scrape or a cut so I knew if she said she was hurt she was hurt.   The arm was swelling so to the ER we went.   Broken in 2 places.

I am not one to be afraid to let her go off to explore on her own within a certain distance from the house.   I think we live in a safe place and although anything could happen more than likely she's safe in the woods behind our house.  At least from human predators.    Snake bites and falls are another matter entirely.

I have a 3 rules about her going off by herself in the woods and I think they worth sharing.

1.   Wear boots.   If she wants to take flip- flops for when she gets to the creek, fine but we've seen more than a few copperheads and high rubber boots like English Wellies are fine.  She has an adorable pair of black boots with neon polka dots we got at Tractor Supply.  She wears them many times with a denim skirt when we go to town because they're cute.   With girls, not ugly, can be a biggie.

2.  Take a 2 way radio with you.   They can be bought pretty inexpensively today.   I think we paid about $30 for ours.  Amazon is my go-to place for checking ratings on things like that so I can buy inexpensively and have what I need and still get a decent product.

3.   Use something for bug protection.   We've been using the Cutter product that is a combination of Avons Skin So Soft plus some deet.   There is so much West Nile Virus in some places it's prudent to use something if you are off in an area that is sure to loaded with mosquitos.

Parenting today is hard.  "Don't be a helicopter parent but be involved".  "Let them make their own decisions; just be there to guide".  "Natural consequences are best".

It's hard to know when and where to make a stand sometimes but these are my rules for the woods.   The little girl down the lane doesn't have to wear boots in the woods but Malia' does.   Oh well.

Today could have been worse, much worse but she had a way to reach me even from a 1/2 mile away.  We never think these things will really happen, but they do.  And if you live near woods you know voices don't carry as well as you might think.

 In fact, she didn't call me.   She came home and penned up the goats before coming in the house to tell me.  Not a tear one.  An apology for making me have to take her to the ER.   I wished she had called me but I was so proud of her.  She's so level headed and she was anything but dramatic about it.   Still, had it been a leg and she couldn't get herself home she had the means to reach me.   And I am even more grateful we have the rules in place that we do.  We just never ever know.

Tomorrow we call the hand / arm specialist and she gets to go to school with a story to tell all the kids.


Thursday, August 30, 2012

Altered Book = Handmade Journal - Part 2

Completed cover for my altered book

I did a post on on this altered book a few weeks back but I didn't have the cover completed.   Finally got some time to do that today.

I work on the floor a lot.  I had a number of things I thought about using and didn't.

Here's what I learned doing this one today.   Lay out what you think you want to use and place it on the cover where you think you want it before you started sewing or gluing anything.  Take a picture when you finally get it the way you want it.   That way you can do things in the correct order because it's layered.  I forgot the order and did one layer too soon and it changed my final lay-out.   

After my cover was all sewn....I already had the book covered in burlap and just needed to sew the wrap of black material with the laces and fabric flowers etc... I attached it using pvc glue to the burlap.

I use these clips a lot to hold things together while glue sets and dries.  

I was happy with the finished journal.

This is another one I had shown in the last post about handmade journals.   I had the cover made but not put on the chip board yet.   I am using this as my budget book and needed it to be expandable.  I have pocket in it for bank statements, bills, I made checkbook registers the size of the book and as well as ledger pages.  The medallion on the cover has the serenity prayer on it.... fits with budgeting many months.

 After doing a book put together with rings and an altered book I prefer the altered book in the end.  Altered books are certainly more work but I like the finished product enough to do it that way again. 

I am going to start on the family album next as an altered book.  I am so excited to do that one with the amazing fabric and stones!


Edited 9/4/12  -

I'm including a picture of the original book as I've gotten a number of questions about it.   It was covered in burlap first and then the inner book was redone with new paper, pictures and embellishments that were meaningful to me.  The last step was the cover.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Eggplant Parmigiano


Eggplant Parmigiano

2 medium to large eggplants
8 eggs
1 - 1 1/2 cups of milk
3 cups bread crumbs
 oil to fry eggplant in
6 cups marinara / spaghetti sauce
3 cups mozzarella cheese
3/4 cup parmesan cheese
salt to taste

Put 2 eggs and some milk in shallow dish and wisk as you would for scrambled eggs
put a cup of crumbs in another

use remaining eggs 2 at a time, milk and crumbs to replenish each plate as you use up what is in them

dip eggplant in egg mix and then dredge in crumbs
repeat with the same piece of eggplant to get 2 coats of crumbs on each piece

heat oil 
fry each piece of eggplant, turning when browned until soft
place on paper towels as you take them out of fry pan

When all pieces are browned
Preheat oven to 350 

Assemble in a 13" x 9" casserole pan

pour or spoon enough sauce into bottom  of pan to cover it
add layer of eggplant on top of sauce
add another layer of sauce
add layer of grated mozzarella cheese on top of sauce
repeat layer of eggplant using all of it up
if you have pieces on top of pieces that's fine
Repeat layer of sauce and top with remaining mozzarella and parmesan cheese

Put in oven and cook until cheese has bubbled and browned some - about 40 min.


Monday, August 27, 2012

Ivy Corner Garden Center

This is Homer.  Homer is the official greeter for the Ivy Corner Garden Center.  

Saturday I visited the garden Center just to see what was new.   I always love visiting here.  You never know what new treasure you may find here.  Its one of those eclectic places that doesn't really fit any typical description.  Maybe a bit bohemian feeling.  It's situated on a corner and the building is attached to the Ivy Post Office in small town fashion.   On the roof the chimney has an extra large quarter moon and some stars made of wire and strung with lights to give a silhouette of twinkle lights at night.  

There is never a shortage of things to look at inside.  Although they carry some standard garden products and tools much of what they carry is local made and interesting because its not what you find everywhere else.    

The whole inside is broken up into rooms of various merchandise.    Outdoors in the back is where the shrub and tree inventory is along with miscellaneous pots, fountains and other garden ornaments.  It was pretty much pouring outside when we were there so I didn't take any pictures outside fearing my camera wouldn't like getting that wet.

I left empty handed save the few pictures I took but it was fun walking through none the less.   I love these sort of places that are unique and treasures unto themselves.


Saturday, August 25, 2012

It's Raining!

We are having a wonderfully rainy day today.  I love days that are just a steady rain all day.  No       lightening or thunder or pelting rain that just washes away topsoil and is over too fast for it to really sink deep into the soil where it's so desperately needed.  Just slow steady rain.  I love them not just because of the obvious need for rain but also for the opportunity to spend a day playing catch-up inside.  I always have the urge to make soup on days like this.   Rainy days are comforting days for me.   

Later,  I am planning a trip to the local garden center followed by an evening of cooking and working on journals.  I will take my umbrella and know even for a Sat. I will have the place pretty much to myself because most people won't come on a rainy day.



As you may or may not have noticed, I have missed the last 2 frugal Fridays posts.  I seem to have developed a mental block about this so am scrapping it in favor of just posting something frugal when it hits me.  I have never been good at boxing myself into something like that but felt the need to try one more time and hence, prove to myself I am still not good at it. 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

On The Homesteading Bookshelf

Some of my favorite Homesteading Books

Last night after my T-post adventure yesterday I went to look up something about fencing for animals and realized how many books on homesteading I had that I hadn't looked at in what seems like forever. I took a couple to read in bed last least thumb through before I drifted off.    I had forgotten about some of them and was pleasantly reminded of how much information I had at my fingertips.   

I've got tons of gardening books because of my career in horticulture but these are homesteading, animal and cheesemaking books.

Of the books above my favorite for inspiration is the Paul Heiney "Country Life".
Sheep, Goats, Cattle and Pigs by Carol Ekarius is great for learning breeds of farm animals.  
Homemade is a favorite for simple things to build around the homestead but if your already handy building it may be too simple.  It was perfect for me when I was starting out.  I have a How to raise Goats that isn't in that stack but it's great too.  It's like the How to Raise Poultry and How to Raise Pigs that are in the stack and by the same publisher.   It also had some good pictures of thing I wanted to build in it.  The Chicken Health Handbook was a help with sick or injured chickens on occasion.  How to Build Animal Housing and Chicken Coops were both fun to look at and maybe someday....

The Goats Produce Too! is one of my favorite beginner cheesemaking books.  I started out with the book by Rikki Carroll but found this to be more beginner friendly.

I pulled some of my old Mother Earth News, Hobby Farms and Hobby Farm Home magazines out too along with the random copies of Backyard Poultry, Dairy Goat Journals, Grit and Mary Janes Farm.
Magazines are always a source of inspiration to me.  Being a visual type the pictures give me so many idea's of things I want to do or could do around here.     The lot will stay in a pile by my chair to thumb through for the next few months whenever I have time.  I frequent our library regularly too and am able to check out many there as well.  

So what's on your homesteading library shelf.  I would love to hear about your favorite books so please share.


Lacie and Belle Featured over at Farmer's Daughter

If' you visit here much you know Farmers Daughter blog has been on the blog roll for a while so it was an honor to hear A Tiny Homestead's "Doelings Belle and Lacie  was chosen as her featured post this week in her Homestead Link-Up.   

If you've got a blog and haven't participated in a link up yet you should give it a try.  They are free, easy and fun.  We have one going here as well.  Ours started on Monday and goes for 2 weeks since it was our first one.

Link up's I know of going on now.


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

More Goat Business

The day was spent pounding in T-posts for the goats and hauling goat panels.  I had taken down all the goat panels from when I had goats before and put them in the back yard where the dogs are as an extra area for them.   The doelings are small enough not to challenge the hog panels yet but I thought I might as well get the fencing back in now before they need it.

While I was pounding in the T-Posts Malia was making a hay rake in the goat hut. She had remembered how I had made one from cattle panels last time and made another one just like it.   She also got a few cinder blocks, a big piece of thick plywood  and some hay and made them a raised bed.  It's so nice having her be old enough to be a real help this time.  She even pounded T-Posts for a while.  

When we picked the goats up one of them, Belle, was pretty skittish about being handled so we put up the hog panel area just out front of our house knowing we would give them more attention that way.  We put a picnic umbrella up in their pen that covered the dog crates we put in there and then put plywood on top of them with hay on it and a ramp up to the top and they've been pretty happy there.  With the umbrella covering it they have stayed dry even when it rained.  I don't think they've gone inside the dog crates since getting here.  The breeder had kept them in a dog crate at night so she could milk their mother in the mornings so they were used to them but they like being on top better.  

Yesterday putting collars on them was very traumatic for poor Belle.   She got herself squished between the railing and the nest boxes on the front porch trying to get away from.  Normally she does come up to us, she just doesn't like to be held.  And of course we had to hold her to put the collar on her.  Once she realized what we were trying to do she went into panic mode and got herself jammed in that corner.   I was afraid we had undone all the good we had accomplished in the time she has been here by cornering her to get the collar on but she seemed to be fine again 30 minutes later. 

Malia has been wanting to take them to the creek and I wanted to make sure they would follow us first and have collars on them too.   Maybe next week.   It was always fun to take our other goats on a hike through the woods to the creek.  We would pack a lunch and bring some books and spend a few hours there.   It's a short hike through the woods behind our house but it feels so remote and far away when we go.  And of course the goats have their own lunch along the way too which our older does always seemed to appreciate.   Something new to eat.

Hopefully I'll get the fence finished tomorrow and they can start sleeping in the goat hut tomorrow night.


Wordless Wednesday - Baby Goats & Their New Momma

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Prunus Serotina - Black Cherry or Wild Cherry


There is a lot of interest on this blog about the Prunus Serotina -Black Cherry, sometimes called Wild Cherry tree and how to identify it. Prunus Serotina is poisonous to animals when eaten when the leaves are wilted.  So when looking for a new area to put animals it's always wise to check carefully for these.   Where I am they are all over the place so they can be a nuisance.  

These are 3 tall black cherries in my backyard along the fence.  Scraggly and not very attractive.  

 This is a close up of the bark from one of the above black cherries.  Notice the bark on the trunk and on the branch sticking out on the right.

This is the Black Cherry in my front yard that was younger and much more attractive.  It's since been cut down because of the proximity to where the goats are.  You can see it was just loaded with berries when this photo was taken.

Here's a close-up of it full of berries.  It's also a fairly good picture of the leaves.

This is the bark from the tree in the front that was cut down.  It doesn't look all that similar to the picture of the trunk of the tall trees out back but it's the same tree.  They are both trunks of black cherries - Prunus Serotina

This was a limb from the one we cut down.  This is also how the trunk of a very young tree looks.  I think in real life they are tinged a bit more reddish.  Notice all the little horizontal lines on the bark.  Those are called lenticels and very prolific on young saplings.

This is a bit larger limb from the one cut down.  If you look at the picture of the first trunk above you'll see the limb sticky out on the right is marked just like this one.  And you can see all the lenticels still just like on the saplings

I suppose this shows how much the bark can change as a tree changes from a sapling to a young tree to an old tree.   You can see and learn the differences but it takes an observant eye. 

The leaves on the other hand stay fairly consistent.   They may be smaller or larger in size as the picture shows but the shape, color and characteristic serrulate (serrated) and incurved edges stay consistent from the saplings to the old trees.  These different sized leaves came from the same tree.

The berries are nice and I've made jelly from it that was amazing but I have no idea which recipe I used.  If I wanted to make some again I would modify another jelly recipe with somewhat consistent fruit to use because it was practically impossible to find a recipe specifically for black cherries.

I've also frozen some of the juice and used that for syrups and to flavor homemade ice cream.  The jelly, syrup and flavoring for ice cream were all delicious and well worth the trouble of collecting all those tiny little berries.   It seem like we went out every day with a ladder for 4 or 5 days collecting more to get enough to make.  The ones in the back are too tall to do that with and now we don't have the one in front either.  

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