Good bye city life! Our family designed and built an industrial but old fashioned farmhouse on nine acres. Now we are building our homestead ~ or is it building us? Grab your boots and join us on our journey to country living.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Goat shed progress

The milking shed is coming right along thanks to my hardworking guys this weekend.  We are waiting on the windows before we can finish the trim. I also need to make a barn door maybe even a dutch door.  Today we are trying to get the lean-to (the doe's new home) framed up and sided before a thunderstorm rolls in tonight.  It will be to the left of the shed and open on the pond side for them to go in and out.

The does are anxious to move in.
They've overheard talk about a couple of handsome young bucks coming to the farm so they are excited about that too!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Easter egg wreath

Need an Easter wreath for your front door?  This one is super cute and super easy. 

Here's how:
Gather about 120 plastic easter eggs, lots of hot glue, and a large straw wreath.  Lay the wreath on a table.  Glue eggs starting in the back (close to the table) on the inside and the outside of the wreath working in a circle.  Continue adding eggs in rows working your way toward the center.  Glue the eggs in a slightly random fashion.  Some of the wreath will show through but from a distance it won't matter.  I made this one for my mom several years ago.  It's still looking great!  I wanted to make one this year for myself but I'm busy building a house for my baby goats (yeah!) Maybe you can make one this year though.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Too close to home

It's never good when you wake up and one of the first words you hear is "Fire!"

view from an upstairs window
This morning that happened.  My husband woke moments after seven when he heard an explosion and felt it shake the house.  Immediatly we were all out of bed.  A huge plume of black smoke with leaping flames was directly to the north of our house.  Dark clouds of smoke quickly covered our property while the horses ran frantically. 

It was about a quarter of a mile away where a tanker truck and a small car collided on an expressway.  The tanker was full and and the fuel was dispersed on the road and grass.  It turned into a grass fire. Thank heaven for excellent firefighters!  The winds are out of the North today so it could have come straight towards us.  It has taken them two hours to get the fire out.  As I write this, the helicopters are still circling outside. Amazingly, everyone survived this accident. This was too close to home!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Cheep, cheep

I reduced my number of chickens to 10 (the perfect number) for a whole 24 hours!  Jared, my youngest, and I bought baby chicks yesterday at the farm store.

9 Production Red Pullets
At two weeks of age they are still so cute!

Our plan is to keep our Americana hens and sell the White Rocks and Buff Rocks when these start laying.  Did you know that chickens lay more eggs their first year than any other year?  After that their egg count drops.  This way we will keep a fresh flock going for maximum egg production.  Besides, raising baby chicks and spring just go together!

Linked up with Verde Farm today.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Goodbye Mr. Darcy

Yesterday some of our chickens went to a new home.  No, not the stewing pot, another farm.  Over the winter, seven of the hens became subject to hen pecking by the others.  I just couldn't bear it any longer.  So I sent an email and within a few hours they were gone.  All of the barred rock girls left so Mr. Darcy, our barred rock rooster, went with them.  Truthfully, I am glad.  Mr. Darcy and I had a love-hate relationship.  He was very proud of his girls and prejudice towards me.  I often told him that I had a hatchet and I wasn't afraid to use it!  I was bluffing.  My husband was fond of him.  He was mourning this morning at the absence of his crowing.  He may never forgive me for the injustice of separating poor Mr. Darcy from his grand home at Pemberley.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Barn Chicks who Blog Interview

Today, I'm being interviewed at Everyday Ruralty by Patrice.
She has a wonderful feature called Barn Chicks who Blog.
It's a favorite of mine.

Head on over to her place and pull up a chair!
If you want to hear me talk "farm" that is.

Monday, March 21, 2011

"Needing" the dough

Making homemade bread has been on my list of things to start doing for a long time.  I bought a bread machine years ago and used it a few times, but now it's out almost everyday.  It started with the cinnamon rolls a few weeks ago.  Then I began making loaves of white and wheat bread.  I love the wheat!  Now, I am addicted.  I really "need" the dough!  It's just soooo much better than store bought.  And since it goes for a spin the the bread machine and has it's first rise there, it's very easy to dump it into a pan for the second rise and bake in the oven.  I could just use the bread machine but I love the classic loaf shape.  You really need to try it if you don't already bake your own bread.

Same recipe as the cinnamon rolls except without the filling.  I almost have it memorized now:

Homemade Bread
1 cup water
2 T. butter
1 egg
3 1/3 c. flour (mix half wheat & half white for wheat bread)
1/4 c. sugar
1 t. salt
3 T. yeast

Hey, I do have it memorized!

Mix in the bread machine on dough setting.  Remove after first rise.  Knead once or twice to shape into loaf.  Put in pan to rise again for about 1 hour.  Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.  Rub butter on top. 

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Break from "posting"

Today we are taking a break from "posting" so I thought I would let you see what we have been working on this week.  As a family, we put in some long hours. 

We had a great job foreman (my hubby) that kept us motivated.

And the second horse shelter is constructed! 

This one is smaller at 24'x10' and just the right size for this pasture.  Again, we made the sides slatted so the wind would gently go through instead of whipping around it.  It's really amazing how well it works.  If you stand directly behind it, you feel a gentle wind but if you are a few feet away, it is the slightest breeze or none at all.  Being naturally claustrophobic, the horses love being able to see through it.  It's funny to watch them on both sides staring at each other.  We are hoping that the grass this summer will continue to grow under it since there is some light coming in. 

When we finished building this one, we made some needed changes to the first one.  If you remember, it was slightly experimental.

The roof was starting to sag slightly so we removed the entire top and replaced the 2"x6" support boards that run lengthwise with 2"x10"s plus used heavier bolts to tie it all together.  I think they will do the trick.  They certainly look much stronger!
  Next step is to paint (if the wind will quit blowing).  My job of course, since no one else around here likes to paint.  We also decided to put a metal roof on them to give the horses more protection from hail, since spring storms are much more dangerous to horses around here than winter storms.  The roof will go on after they've been painted.

Cowboy is always around when I have the camera out.

And then, as if that wasn't enough, we moved on to start the goat shed.

This is where the goat pen and milking shed will be.  The posts that you see were originally sunk to make a falcon "weathering" area for my oldest son.  They have been left unattended for several months and were therefore acquired by eminent domain by me!  My goats need a good pond view, after all.  And it was the last spot large enough to put their pen.

Despite what it looks like, I had lots of help.  I had the easy job of
holding the posts level while the boys mixed the concrete.

So we did more "posting" to make it bigger.  It will be a 12'x12' gabled roof shed with a 7'x8' lean-to on the side.  That bump out will be open on the east end for the goat girls to use as their house.   It should look similar to our farmhouse only lots smaller. I may even paint it red!

Today, there will be no "posting" because of a 25 gusting to 40 mile per hour wind (remember, we live "where the winds come sweeping down the plains").  It's a bubble bath, painting fingernails and toenails, Jane Austen movie kind of day.  After all, a girl can't be expected to wear leather gloves and work boots everyday, can she?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Spring Break Post

It's Spring Break so we are taking a break from our normal work and homeschool but we are still working.  It's just farm work.  We have a few big projects going on.  But first, posts...

Here I am digging my first post hole.  The first of many.

So consider this your "post" for the week.

A post with a cute colt.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Saturday cleaning

I interrupt my Saturday morning cleaning frenzy to ask one important question...

How do boys get a bathroom so filthy?!

Clearly I need to go upstairs more often.  Certainly I need to have inspections instead of just asking, "Did you get the bathroom clean?"  All I can say is Eewww!

Maybe our next building project on the farm should be an outhouse.  Would that be bad?  When visitors came over they would ask, "What is that out there?"  And I could say, "That's the boy's bathroom."  If they were moms of boys, I think they would wonder why they didn't think of that!

Sisters, can I get an Amen?

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Goat's milk soap

I'm really hoping to make some of this...

goat's milk soap

But to do that, I have to have some of this...

udders full

Which means I need some of these...


To come out of this...

I'm watching but not sure what I'm watching for

And in order to do that, I have to figure out how to tell when she is ready for this...

What a stud!  I mean, buck.

and then get her there within the 24 hour window.  Did I mention my breeder lives 2 1/2 hours away?

It's a lot more complicated than buying milk at the store!
But seriously, I have my recipe standing by.

Doe and Buck photos are from Dill's A Little Goat Farm (my Nigerian Dwarf goat breeder)

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Cinnamony Rolls

I'm dusting flour off my apron and diving headlong into the world of home baked bread.
I thought I would start by making something sweet (as if I need that for my post winter waistline)

Cinnamon Rolls
My recipe came from my amazing dairy goat breeder, Ellen.
She has lots of fabulous recipes.

I mixed up the dough in the bread machine.  So easy!

Rolled it out in a large rectangle.  Ok, really, can you roll dough into a true rectangle?
It seems to always be an oval!
Sprinkle with butter, sugar and cinnamon mixture.

Roll up from the small end.

And slice.

Let rise.


and ENJOY!
They are not going to last long around here.

Here's the recipe:

Ellen's Cinnamon Rolls
1 cup water

2 tablespoons margarine or butter, softened
1 egg
3 1/3 cups flour
¼ cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons regular active dry yeast OR 3 teaspoons bread machine yeast or quick-acting active dry yeast

Place all ingredients in the bucket of your bread machine. Select dough cycle. Allow machine to complete cycle. Then dump dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll into an 18x9 rectangle. Spread with 2 tablespoons softened butter or margarine mixed with ½ cup sugar and 3 teaspoons cinnamon. Sprinkle over entire surface of dough.  Starting with short side, roll up like a jelly roll. Slice into 9 - 12 equal rolls. Place in a greased 13x9 inch pan cover and let rise 30 to 40 minutes til doubled. Bake in a 350ยบ oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown. Drizzle with glaze while still warm.

Mix 1 cup powdered sugar, ½ teaspoon vanilla & 1 to 2 tablespoons milk until smooth & thin enough to drizzle.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Baby dish becomes jewelry dish

I don't have a jewelry box but I do have antique dishes.  I have found they are great to quickly toss your jewelry in.  I love how they look sitting around a farmhouse too.

Currently I'm using my grandfather's baby dish.  It's a chippy shallow bowl with a large crack in it.  Five adorable puppies sit outside their house ~ for dinner, no doubt.

I love how the picture is worn off from years of use by a little boy.  Truly, it is aged to perfection.
I'm thankful to possess it as I drop my earrings in it everyday.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Planting potatoes

Is it potatos or potatoes?  I don't know but here in Oklahoma I think they're spelled with an "e".  Anyway, it was planting day in the veggie garden.  We planted Texas sweet onions and beet seeds last week and we finally got around to planting those potatoes today.

Starting with seed potatoes from the farm store - Yukon Gold & (don't remember the name) Reds.  We set them in the cellar because it's cool and dark. They sprouted "eyes" in the dark after a few weeks.

I then cut the potatoes in sections making sure there was at least one eye on each piece.

J2 rototilled a row in the garden.

and J3 helped me plant them with the eyes looking up

in a neat little row, of course.

I love it when my boys help in the garden.

Hopefully, lots of those eyes will grow into nice potato plants and we will dig up little spuds attached to the roots in no time.  My new gardening apron will help them to grow fast, I am sure.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Gardening apron

Last week I started clearing the flower bed of last year's bloom and tilling the soil in the vegetable garden.  I kept finding myself in need of something to wipe my hands on.  Now, I love digging in the dirt with no gloves but I don't like getting my hands dirty.  Makes no sense, I know.  What I needed is a gardening apron.  A true workin' girl, get it dirty apron.  Off to the fabric store I went.  I found this brown flower printed canvas.  Durable + cute + on clearance = perfect!  1 yard was all I needed.

Now I've made aprons before.  Lots of them.  So I didn't dig around for a pattern this time.  I just started cutting and sewing.  It was easy.  Wanna see how I did it?

First, I started by cutting a rectangle of fabric 22" x 36" for the body.  Then a long thin rectangle of 5" x 36" for the waistband.  I used a dinner plate as a template to round the bottom corners of the apron.

Then I sewed double wide brown bias tape on the sides and bottom edges.  To do this all you do it sandwich the apron fabric in between the fold of the bias tape and sew closed.

Gather the top edge up a little to fit the waistband.

Now to make the waistband.  Fold in half, right sides together.  Turn one edge up and press. 

Slip a long piece of bias tape into waistband for the apron strings.  Sew all together.  Repeat this process on the other side and turn right side out.  Iron again.

Pin the non folded side of the waistband to the back of the apron front, raw edges together. Stitch.  Fold waistband over the front, pin and stitch again.

I added a few details...
The petite "brother sister" tag was made from the edge of the fabric where the maker puts it's mark.  My blog friend Carol gave me this idea.  She does this a lot on her sewing projects.  So creative!

I also added pockets being careful to match up the fabric pattern.  I used a decorative stitch just for a little whimsy.

You don't sew?  Aprons are a great first project.  Give it a go.  I bet you can do it!  Besides, you're just going to wipe your dirty hands on it, right?


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