Journey of a skinny goat. Day 1

Our search for a 2nd goathas ended! After much back and forth and undeciveness on my part, we chose our new goat. She is a beautiful, albeit skinny little Alpine-Nigerian dwarf doeling. I was not especially thrilled with how skinny she and her herd mates are, but am chalking it up to the very bare pasture they were in. I hope I am correct in that asumption!

When we arrived home and I put a leash on Magda, she quickly reinforced my suspiscions by diving into the tall grass, taking huge mouthfulls! Poor girl looked starved. Wanting to avoid any potential bloat, I kept her moving along so she could sample a bit of everything, from luscious grass to wild peas, weed flowers, poplar, apple, and pine branches and weed trees. At first she wws extremely relunctant to move away from where she was eating, but she quickly realized that each step brought a new delicious mouthful. At the end of about a half hour of grazing, I was delighted to see that she looks much better with a belly full. She was dewormed prior to leaving her previous owners farm, so Iā€™m hoping to see solid improvement by the end of one week with some intensive brush clearing duties.

She is a very sweet little goat, so I hope everything works out and I look forward to watching her settle in, get comfortable, fill out, and really become a part of our homestead!

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Growing memories in the garden

I have a lot of childhood memories in and around my moms garden. From the little patch she gave me(and I did not maintain very well) to eating cucumbers freshly plucked from the vines to that time I got sent to my room for using the carrot rows as jumping obstacles one too many times. Of course theres also the countless tedious hours we all spent picking potato bugs, but even that I remember somewhat fondly(from the comfort of my for-now pickingless comfort). I think it comes as no surprise to anyone that it brings me such joy to see my own little daughter spending so much time out in the garden with me!

We had such a lovely morning out there together earlier this week! It was a gloomy morning, threatening to rain, so we dressed in our raincoats and boots to go do the chores and by the time we were done taking Gracie the goat for her breakfast walk, it had started to sprinkle. Not ones to shy away from some rain, I took the opportunity to get some seedlings in the ground and E was delighted to help dig the holes for them. I decided to get the last of the peas, corn and beans into the ground and when she found out I was planting peas, Oh my! Was she every excited! Peas are her favourite, so after I’d planted the whole row, I gave her the remaining seeds and showed her where she could plant them. I may need to do a lot of thining out later, but she was just so happy to help mommy!

Yesterday while I was weeding, she cane over and sat in a milk crate beside me and watched and asked questions. She’s only 2 so we agreed that mommy would be the one to take care of weeding for now! I’m constantly being amazed at how much she takes in! She knows where the spinach is, how to pick the chives and which plants are tomatoes! I know these are simple things, but they are big for a 2 year old! I just love when she reaches for my hand and we walk through the rows checking on progress. It may not last forever, but it sure makes my heart sing right now! I hope someday she will look back at her childhood and have lots of wonderful memories in the garden with her mommy just like I do!

Strawberry dandelion jelly

I should have known that setting out to make a simple dandelion jelly would take a spin. I am notorious for frollicking off the simple beaten path, in life and in recipes! So, this is what happened. I found a fun and yummy looking recipe for dandelion jelly on teaspoonofspice.com. The recipe promises a nice honey taste and consitency, so off I went with a bowl in one hand and my tiny tots hand in the other. We picked to our hearts content, and then I did the tedious task of cutting away all the green and keeping just the petals. Still on track, I put the pot on the stove, brought the water to a boil, popped in the petals and then took the first step astray with lime iuice instead of lemon. Next thing I knew I was deliberately keeping some petals in “for the look”, adding a few bits of dried orange peel and tossing in some fresh diced strawberry. If I had had mint on hand it would have been in there too.

While sometimes my cooking adventures lead down some funky paths, this one seems to have turned out really good! I am still waiting to see if it will set to a good jelly or not, but I hope it does. If it doesn’t it will still be a nice syrup to drizzle over waffles. Mmh!

If you’d like to give it a whirl, here’s my recipe. I tried it once, so I can’t make any promises!

3 cups loosely packed dandelion petals

4 cups water

2 tsp lime juice

Boil these together for 5 minutes, then turn off the heat and let steep for 15-20 minutes.

Strain out the petals and squeeze out any extra liquid. Keep a bit of petals to have float around the juice if you want. Add some orange peel if you want, but remove it before you add the strawberry. Return to stove. Add 1 box no-sugar pectin, bring to a boil and add 2.5 cups of sugar. Dice 4 to 5 large strawberries and add to the boiling mix. Continue to boil for about 10 to 15 minutes.

And we’re done. Had I had mint or mint tea, I would have added it during the last boiling stretch.

Let me know if you give it a try or have experimented similarly!

We got a goat!

It happened!We got a goat! Her name is Gracie and she is a monster!

She came to us a little over 3 weeks ago at the ripe old age of about 6 hours old. Mama goat had had a very young surprise breeding and as with many goats bred young, she did not want to have anything to do with the kid. She also didn’t want anyone to touch her udder so it was a job and a half to get a little colostrum for the kid. Anyway, long story short, we were given Gracie free of charge as long as we were willing to take on the responsibilities and costs of bottle feeding and raising her. She is an Alpine, Nubian cross which is not at all what I originally wanted( Nigerian Dwarf, or at the very least Nubian X Nigerian dwarf), but I am so pleased with her and if she takes from her mother, she should still have a high butterfat content. Our days are now filled with a bleating kid doing tricks and stunts on everything and anything. It is both adorable and overwhelming, but she’s such a cutie!

Just look at this little face!

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Here’s to a future filled with milk, cheese, butter and yogurt!!

The bridge is up!

It has been 9 months since we moved into our little homestead, five of which were solid winter and not much was getting done , and yet I am seeing so much progress. The coop and run are up, the garden is tilled, the house is coming together well..and now the bridge is up! The bridge was one of our big goals because without it, we are partially cut off from the largest part of our land and with that, most of our wood. What was in place of the bridge was a washed out section around a large cut out drum. We could still get across by walking through the stream or jumping over it when it was running low, but we could not get across on the 4 wheeler, therefore couldn’t really haul firewood back. Even if we wanted to really put our backs into it and use a small sled and pull it ourselves, it would mean going down a steep embankment, across the water, and up the steep and rough other side. No thanks.

Anyway, there’s no need for that anymore! The Mister spent several days cutting and hauling large logs to lay over the washed out area and across the old drum, then cut and lay really old 2 inch thick floor boards we had in the garage and now we have a bridge!! There is still work to do, railings to put up, some sort of protection to put on the wood and smooth off the ends where we would drive onto and off the bridge, but the most of it is done. I am so happy and proud of my Mister! His hard work has paid off beautifully!

It especially looks great from the end of our backyard when we look down into the gully through the trees and see the fresh bridge below! Have I mentioned how excited I am about this yet? šŸ˜›

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Isn’t it great? What big projects do you have going on on your homestead?

Me and my breadmaker

I’ve always been one of those people who goes on way too long missing a crucial piece of information but somehow still getting by. It’s a blessing and a curse and it struck again in the form of a breadmaker. I just didn’t get it. How does it make bread for you and whats the point? Then hubby came home with another thrift store find. Can you guess? Yes you can. A breadmaker! It’s one of those little ones that makes a tall load with a small cap, almost like a funny looking mushroom.

Well! I was curious. I looked up the model for instructions and a recipe and got going with a basic rapid bake bread. It was SO. EASY. I felt dirty it was so easy. Just pile the ingredients in, close the lid, press the button and it does it all. What. the. what? It took me a few loaves before I stopped feeling dirty using this super simple contraption and started to feel like a superhero. Make a loaf of bread while my little peanut finishes her cereal? Why sure! It’s that easy!

Now I know I get that weird little paddle indent at the bottom and sometimes the crust isn’t the best…but it sure beats the invisible bread I was making before. HA! The best part is that it rises every time, regardless of the temperature in the house. I still sometimes feel like a cheater cheater pumpkin eater, especially when I remember my mom kneading away at a half dozen loaves of bread in the kitchen while I ran around being my little snot nosed self, but in general I’m loving this super easy way.

Do you use a bread maker? What are your thoughts on them?

Canning debut!

I grew up watching my mother can food. Well, not really watching..more like, I saw her canning in my peripheral vision while I played! Either way, you’d think having been exposed to it all my life, I’d feel confident tackling the task myself right? Nope! I am days shy of being 29 years old and today was my very first attempt at canning. So exciting! So..scary!

The Mr. often picks up reduced-to-sell produce when he happens to be in town and as I was psyching myself up to try canning, I asked him to have a look for some tomatoes. Walmart had a large produce bag full for 2$, so he brought that home and I made my first 4 bottles of canned tomato sauce! I was nervous, but I set myself up a work space with everything I would need and got to work. It took a significant amount of time to get my large pot to boil with only 4 small bottles in it, but I’ll know for next time to make a bigger batch or use a smaller pot.

 

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About to begin

Even more exciting than the 4 jars of sauce I made is the fact that the ice is now broken! A whole new world of possibilities just opened up to me and I am eager to create a garden plan that involves canning surplus and not just veggies that store well or can be dried/frozen!Bring on the 2018 harvest season!..In you know..8 or 9 months..

canning
Finished result