Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Homestead Busy

Life on the homestead just keeps going and keeping us busy
our doe, Snowflake is still eeking out some milk...
but, she is slowing down in her production

it's about time to give her a date with the buck, Phillip

Snowflake thinks it's fun giving ear nibbles while being milked

about a quart was what she gave this time

but, still good and sweet

now, Queenie, is another story
she is an ornery goat
and hates to be milked
she sits on her hind legs whenever someone reaches for her udders

after we tried to make her stand for it...
it's decided she is good for breeding and nothing else

the stinker

neither does she like to share her bucket of grain treat
if someone else comes around it...
Queenie will pick it up and move it away
yep, and we didn't teach her that

ah well, she keeps it fun for us

a wee update on the cottage over at yonder new homestead

we have decided the look of natural wood floors will be nice
it will just get a few coatings of varnish

this photo shows the den from the kitchen area
it is a 10 by 25 ft area
the atrium which connects this part to the bedroom and bath part...
will serve as our living room
the far left window is where the kitchen sink will go

the painting is still going on
and this photo below is the kitchen area with it's back door at the end

that will access the herb garden I will be putting at the back of the cottage
the vegetable gardens will be further back
the spring creek runs about 50 feet from the kitchen door

the photo below shows the back of the cottage with the kitchen door on the left
the concrete slab beside the door will be the laundry area

the covered part to the right is a "mudroom" of sorts
an outside sink beside the laundry will help us to clean up before stepping inside
it's always a good idea to have a clean up area when living on a homestead

For by grace are you saved through faith;
and that not of yourselves:
it is the gift of God:
not of works, lest any man should boast.
For we are His workmanship,
created in Christ Jesus unto good works,
which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
Ephesians 2:8-10

May your day or night find grace in the Lord.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Safe and Secure

The other morning, I went to the coop and took down one of my hens from the roost
she had been sick for the last 3 days with something I could not figure out
she was a layer hen and we bought her at one of the agriculture stores in town
first time and last time I would do that
(I'll post on the whys of that another time)

these hens are not bred to last very long

I much prefer the local "mut" chickens that run around free
I have not had any local chicken get sick on me...
and they are hardy and smart

we keep chickens mainly for eggs...
and one of my local hens that we've had for a few years now...
still lays eggs

this little hen did not respond to medication...
but she wanted to be with her close-knit siblings...
so I let her sleep one more time in the coop with them

when I went into the coop to check on her the next morning...
she was trying to support herself on the roost with one wing on the post
I took her gently in my arms and cradled her
I wanted her to feel safe and secure, knowing she was dying
within two minutes, she peacefully and quietly passed away

she was buried down the hill below the cottage
and I got to thinking about how safe and secure the child of God is
in a world full of sorrows and wickedness...
how beautiful it is to know that I am safely cradled in the arms of my Saviour

The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed
and bring me safely into His heavenly kingdom.
To Him be the glory forever and ever.
2 Timothy 4:18

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Re-potting Future Food

Sometimes, I do believe there is more fun in container gardening...
and this past week I got busy with re-potting some seedlings that outgrew their pots

because we have dense soil here...
I usually add sand to the dirt that will be used for the re-potting
this will give the seedling roots looser soil for growing

and with the good composting the chickens have been doing in their coop...

there is wonderfully rich soil ready to give plenty nutrients to my young plants

I take the shovel and turn over the newer grass cuttings to get the soil underneath...
from older cuttings and chicken manure that turned into food for the last 3 months... 
and has been waiting for just this job of rejuvenating my seedlings

with the composted chicken coop manure, sand and dense volcanic soil...
my re-potted plants should be quite happy to grow into future food for the new farm

this little soursop seedling below (minus the weeds) should start smiling in it's new pot

two seedlings are sharing this pot below and need to be taken out carefully

once I have them out, the two soursop plants are divided and the weeds pulled out
and that is a pretty bushy weed that was taking over the soursop pot

sometimes, the ants like to make their homes in the soil of my potted plants...
and that usually happens if I put the pot directly on the ground
those ants can do some real damage to the plant roots that way

so, I put a few rocks on the ground...

then, put the pot on top of the rocks
I don't know why, but, it has worked quite well for me
the ants don't go live in my pots and that makes me smile

the plant below is a new ginger root growing for the new farm...
and it sure needed some nice loose soil to grow the rhizomes properly
this ginger will go into a much bigger pot once we get it moved to my new herb garden 

and I would say my newly re-potted soursop definitely look better already

of course, because soursop trees grow very large and tall...
these will be replanted into the ground in the next few months

in the back of the cottage...
I have a black barrel that catches rain water from the gutter above it
this is the water I use to wet my container plants with

the vine you see behind the barrel is a black pepper (aka peppercorn) vine
it is about 3 years old and was a lot bigger until I had to cut it back...
because it had gotten to the point where it was more like a jungle anymore

I am still waiting for it to fruit
we will take a few cuttings from it for the new farm

in the past, I would found a frog and a lizard in my water barrel...
and because I don't like for creatures to unnecessarily meet with drowning...
I put the screen on top and used clothespins to hold it down
so far, it does a good job with keeping out the little creatures

after I did my garden duties...
I had to take a peek at Ms. Ruthie Moo Moo
she is such a lovely, gentle cow who gives us milk I so enjoy...
it's a wonder we ever did without her before she came into our lives
the Lord has been gracious to bless us with her

and of course, she does love her treats
she's never passed up on one of her favorites, bananas
she highly deserves them

come on over, Ms. Moo Moo
I've brought bananas just for you

I planted, Apollos watered,
but God gave the growth.
So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything,
but only God who gives the growth.
1 Corinthians 3:6,7

May your day or night grow in God's grace.

Friday, February 27, 2015

He's Okay Now

This is what Big Red, my main rooster looks like in good shape

he's a handsome rooster...
very gentle and while protective of his hens...
he is never aggressive towards humans
my kind of rooster

then, one day, he started to look like this
his feathers and tail became droopy

not interested in much and straying from the flock

his comb, wattle and face started to pale considerably...

till they were a pale grayish pink
even his eyes lost their luster and alertness
not good

his comb fell over to one side

I could not figure out what was wrong
whatever it was didn't seem to affect the other chickens

when the other roosters started to pick on him...
and he was taken to sitting down and hiding...
I knew I had to do something for him

I really didn't want to lose such a good tempered rooster...
so antibiotics in a broad spectrum was in order
something I do only in an urgent time

whatever he was down with...
the medication worked
I suspect it may have been an infection

in any case, after two weeks, he now looks like this again 

and he is doing this again

keeping watch over his hens for me

and yes, he now makes sure all know he is once again king of the flock
I was even quite elated to hear him crow once again in the wee hours of dawn

yeah, Big Red
I'm happy, too

For the Lord, the Most High, is to be feared,
a great King over all the earth.
God reigns over the nations;
God sits on His holy throne.
Psalm 42:2,8

May your day or night find grace in the Most High King.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Roasted Tomatoes and Soup

Big Red and I wish you a good morning
after nearly losing him...
I'm quite happy he is still with us
maybe next post, I'll tell you how we nearly lost him

he is looking brightly cheerful and red here after his bout

another cheerfully red view are the tomatoes in the veggie garden

they have been doing quite well this year
last year, we had some pest problems

this time, my husband used Neem oil to spray the plants as they grew...
up until they started to bud and we never had any pest problem...
insects or leaf diseases
and Neem is a natural repellent...
so we didn't have to concern ourselves with chemicals on our plants

if you google Neem, you can find info on this plant oil

our tomatoes are juicy and sweet and...
because I don't want them going to waste...

would love to have canned tomatoes at this time but...
because we will be moving soon and...
don't want to carry too many heavy jars of canned foods over the river and...
through the woods for almost a half mile, literally... 

it behooves me to think of any way I can to use them up

recently, I discovered just how much roasted tomatoes taste good
so a good many of them have been getting cut into quarters...

laid on parchment paper...
drizzled with olive oil, salted and peppered...

and roasted in a 400 degree fahrenheit (200 celsius) oven for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours

can't beat the taste of this yummy stuff
it would make a nice roasted tomato soup

I don't mind the skins at all...
they get eaten, too

after these were done, I couldn't help it...
just had to have a plate of roasted tomatoes topped with capers

if I hadn't run out of my homemade farm cheese...
would've put some of that on top, too

the tomatoes are also going into soup pots

2 onions, chopped and sauteed in 2 TBsp butter till soft

add cauliflower florets and young cauliflower leaves
I snip the leaves with scissors

add salt and pepper...

add a cup of tomato sauce and...
enough meat or vegetable broth to cover...
and cook at a low simmer for about 30 to 40 minutes

at the end of the simmer, I like to add minced garlic and chopped fresh basil leaves

sorry to have forgotten to take a photo for a better end view result after cooking

homemade cornbread is really good with tomato soup...
and I like lots of butter on mine

here is a quick update on our new cottage
the walls were made a tad higher than they were supposed to be...
making the windows look smaller than I wanted
we may add ventilation windows above them to add some height

the paint on the cottage is a primer...
it will have a different color than white in the end
we are a way off from finished but, close enough to think about moving

May your day or night find grace in the Lord