Around the Homestead

Summer Foraging

With all the cultivated fields and pastures being grazed by cattle, there isn’t always an over abundance of foraging where we live. However, every few years the sand plums make their appearance and it’s important we take advantage of the opportunity because it may not happen again for a few years.

We tried to come up with creative ways to use the sand plums rather than just jelly. Our girls are really adventurous when it comes to food and drink which is so nice. We ended up juicing some of them, which tasted similar to apple juice.

I made a half gallon of Bounce. Here’s what I did:

Sandplum Bounce

11/4 lb. sandplums with seed

1 lb. organic sugar

1 lb. non-GMO vodka (ex:  Absolut, Kettle One, etc.)

Pour into glass jar with lid.  Place in dark cool place for at least 6 weeks or longer. 

We tried running them through a cherry pitter and dehydrating them to replace cranberries in our baked oatmeal, but the fruit didn’t separate from the pit well enough and we were left with mainly skins and juice.

So for now, Bounce and jelly is all we have. We may try making fruit leather with the sand plums in the freezer.

Around the Homestead

Homestead Update for 2021

Lexi and her baby, Tina, one day old
Our registered Jersey calf, Tina
Willie Nelson
1112 and Jericho

Lizzie, Scottish Highland-Hereford cross, and Joshua

Tina, Lizzie, and Becky

Our farm has changed a lot over the past few months. We have sold lambs, acquired calves, a billy goat, and a rooster. We hope to continue to grow and diversify our farm and resources allow.

Around the Homestead

A Simple Winter Rhythm

We are just enjoying the slower season of life we are in right now. On the cold days we nestle up with books and warm drinks. On the warmer days we play outside and enjoy the beautiful weather. These are just a few pictures from our lives taken this past week.

a day at the park
after church snack
things I am loving
Ready for the girls to wake up
morning devotions
for the tree
The girl’s fort, built all on their own.
Willie Nelson inside the girl’s fort

I love every season. I think living a lifestyle that adjusts with the seasons adds an appreciation for each one I never had before. Our mornings are slower and later, are school days longer. Our days are dictated by the weather. On the nice days we head outdoors to play and work. On the cold days we snuggle up with a stack of books and something warm to drink. It’s a time to recover from the work of summer and prepare for the coming spring. It’s a time of creating art and learning new skills. Winter is what we make of it and for us we seldom grumble about the cold, but use it as a time to rest. A nice day is sure to come along eventually and the work will still be there waiting.

Around the Homestead

Early Winter…

Nearby Christmas tree farm
Cooking off turkey stock on our wood cookstove
The fruits of our labor
We left our carrots in our raised beds and seem to be storing well there.
Saving okra seed
Preparing for snow

Dad set a round straw bale in our sheep shed that we rolled out and used in our chicken coop for everyone to nestle down in when the snow came.

The next day

We have had more snow this year than usual which has been really nice.

But everyone stayed warm and dry inside
Yes, it is a baby mole saved from our cats.

We used this experience to learn and read all about moles. There was actually an entire nonfiction book about moles out our local library. Who knew!

Around the Homestead

Meat Birds, the last of the garden, and anticipating winter…

post for rebuilding our sheep chute and feed for our Cornish Rock Slow Growers
Good help
The last of the jalapenos for the freezer.
Maria
Willie Nelson
Jing Orange Okra-Seed Saving

And that concludes fall at our homestead. I still have some carrots in a raised bed waiting to be pulled. Other than that everything is pretty much ready for winter. Soon I will have to start filling the raised beds with manure and compost to breakdown over the winter and be ready again come spring.

Now, it’s time to curl up with a cup of hot chocolate and a good book (First We Have Coffee is my favorite). When work follows the seasons you gain a new appreciation for winter and the downtime that accompanies it.

Around the Homestead

Firewood season is upon us

We love to cut firewood and try to make it a fun experience for the girls also. We grilled out and had a makeshift campsite before cutting and loading up a tree the guys had taken down by the pond.

We forgot our chairs and had to improvise.
We actually liked the stumps so much we left them behind to use again.
Taking a snack break

Then all three of the little ones took a swim in the pond to cool off. It was a fun relaxing day with a little work and the reward of a truckload of firewood.

Around the Homestead

Another day at the pond

We try to go to the pond at least one day during the weekend to hang out if not more.

Canyon kayaking

Laila loves it too. She likes to run and wade in the water. She’s not much of a swimmer, but still loves the freedom she has there.

Laila
And then needs to rest from her adventures.
And then gets nervous from the camera clicking.
Laila
Canyon
Aspen

It’s just such a fun place where we can get away, get dirty, and enjoy nature. There are no cars, no cell phone reception, and no demands. Just us and about 10, 000 frogs!

Around the Homestead

Girl’s First Kayaking Experience

We are in the process of having a pond dug, so we thought even though it isn’t finished, we could take the girls out on the kayaks they got for Christmas.

Because goggles are essential when you kayak…to know Canyon is to love her

The girls had a great time. The frogs were all over the pond, so they got to see them up close. We had a little picnic lunch when we were finished kayaking before heading home.

The pond in progress

We still have a long way to go, but hopefully by next spring it will be complete.

Around the Homestead

Baby Goats…A Real Birth Day

We went to my parents on Sunday for my birthday dinner.

The girls frosted my cake.

While we were there three of the goats decided to have babies. While Canyon was less interested and went upstairs to play with magnet blocks and read, Aspen was right in the middle of the whole thing. She was so excited to actually see a baby animal being born. She has seen lambs before, but was so little she doesn’t remember it.

She had her camera out taking pictures, asking a bazillion questions, and was glued to the scene the entire time.

Aspen and Dad checking on the new mamas and babies.

It was a pretty exciting day for her. It is so nice when all of us just take a day to spend together when we aren’t working on a farm related project. Kidding doesn’t count!

Around the Homestead

We are officially a “real farm”

According to our girls, we are officially a “real farm” now that we have a cow. The llamas, sheep, chickens, cats, and dogs have not officially qualified us, but the cow has done it.

I truly can’t believe we actually took the plunge for a milk cow, but even through all the struggles of introducing her to our farm I have not regretted it.

She is a registered Jersey named Lexi, due to calve (a girl) in February 2021. She has come leaps and bounds since we brought her home. She still hasn’t adjusted to life in the same pen as the sheep and llamas, so for now she can only visit them over the fence. In all honesty, the sheep are the ones scared of her. They start running and in turn get her excited so she runs after them and causes problems.

We hope to sell her calf (once she is old enough or possible bred) as a family milk cow. That is a long way down the road. So for now we are just enjoying getting her used to us and looking forward to milking season.