Drum Roll Please!

I am so excited to announce what our family will be starting in 2021.  After much prayer and a crazy 2020, we have desided to simlify our life.  We have been building up to this point, so we are not totally unprepared for this.  Okay, let me step back and explain.

 We are a family that believes in the local food movement.  We believe that food that comes from more than a couple hundred of miles away should be a treat not a regular part of our diet.  We also want our daily living and buying habits to reflect our belief of respecting the planet that God gave us.  As a family, we were motivated by the book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle:  A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver.  The book is the story of her family eating only food that came from within 100 miles of their house.  We want to take it a step further; reduce our energy useage, our buying habits, get out of debt, reduced single use plastics and grow the food ourselves. Adding to that, our persute of a simplier life and to go back in time to before industrialization of America and the disposable society that we are surrounded by. Please dont get me wrong, there are a lot of modern inventions that I am very grateful for.  We do not want to discredit any of that, as I sit and type on a computer, we just want to make things last longer.  Not buy every new thing on the market and practice living with less.  I dont want to say minimalism because running a homestead is anything but minimalisitic. We are simplifiying and working on being less materialistic.  

What will this mean specifically?  We will only be purchasing things like grain items, some oils, raw ingredients I can not make myself, like baking soda for example.  We are going to drastially reduce our processed food consumption.  I will be making almost everything from scratch, sandwich bread and corn tortillas will be the exception.   There are a few things that are in our diet because of health needs, but we will source them as locally and environmently friendly as possible. Overall, we will be buying anything we do not produce as local as possible or we will be doing without.  Any food that I can not get locally, I will be getting from Imperfect Foods, to help reduce food waste as much as possible.  

This will go for clothing, bathroom products, cleaner and house hold goods.  As much as we can, we will make our own or use what we have.  We already make soap and have just started making vinegar.  If it is something we do not make, we will try to buy used first.  Then if we have to buy new we will buy local and/or no plastic if possible.  Significally reducing any single use plastic products or packaging. 

As far as energy, we have removed our dryer from the laundry room, all clothes will be hung on a drying rack or the line.  We heat our house with wood, we have sold our tractor and well be trying to use the animals more effectly on the farm.  I am sure we will be doing more posts about that in the future.  

Our goal is to do this for a year.  Document it, share what we are learning and the challenges we encounter.  It is not going to be perfect, it will be a learning process.  I would love for this to be a life long change for our family and it would be amazing to help others make the change as well.  

So here it goes, the start of this amazing journey!  We appreciate your support, your prayers, your comments and your questions.  Lastly, we hope you enjoy learning about our adventure. 

Menu Planning

https://unsplash.com/photos/HUiNRjXr-bQ

FAll is finally upon us. The garden has slowed down the bulk of our harvest season is over. Our freezer is full, the cellar is full, we are ready for winter.

During the winter months we still try very hard to eat seasonally. We do not buy a lot of produce from the grocery store. We use the fruit and vegetables that I have frozen or canned during the summer. This makes menu planning so much easier. During the warm months, my menu is 100% based on what is coming out of the garden. If we have a huge cucumber harvest, we will be eating cucumbers for lunch and dinner. When the watermelon and cantaloupe start coming in, that is a huge part of our diet for the weeks when we are harvesting them fresh from the garden. We try very hard to eat, fresh, local and to eat what is in season at that time. As a result of this, I make our menu based on what is coming out of the garden or what is in season. Now that fall is here, I know what is in my freezer and I can make a menu for months at a time. It is so liberating to not have to think about dinner for months at a time! So… this is how I do it.

Index cards! I bought a pack of index cards and harassed my family. I asked every family member to list their favorite meal. If they gave me just a side dish, I pressured them to give me a main course to go with it. After I got tacos and pizza 50 times, then I looked through my recipes and recent Pintrest pins. What are meals I have made in the past that were hits and what worked? I just wrote the name of the meal on an index card. Think about soups, breakfast for dinner, 100% vegetarian meals, beef, pork, seafood, chicken and favorite birthday meals of the past. Write them all down, one meal on each card.

I then went through my index cards and wrote whether it was a beef, pork, chicken, vegetarian, pasta and Sunday/crock-pot meal. Here are some of my index cards in their categories.

BEEF: Sloppy Joe, tacos, meatloaf, hamburgers, steak, beef and broccoli stir fry, stuffed peppers, meatball sub, shepherds pie, and fajitas.

CHICKEN: Wings, popcorn chicken, chicken wraps, grilled chicken on salad, garlic basil chicken, fried chicken, BBQ chicken, chicken stir fry, Hawaiian chicken kebabs, and chicken enchiladas.

PASTA: Mac and cheese, baked ziti, ravioli, chicken mozzarella and sun dried tomatoes, lasagna, cal zones, pizza, Alfredo, spaghetti, and hamburger helper.

PORK: Open egg-roll, pulled BBQ pork, ginger garlic pork tenderloin, ham, egg and cheese sandwich, pork chops, ribs, ham steaks, pork fried rice, sausage gravy, BLT’s.

VEGETARIAN: broccoli cheese soup, potato soup, grilled cheese and tomato soup, salmon, tilapia, pancakes and eggs, baked potato and salad, quiche, mix veg stir fry over rice, beans and rice.

Photo by Miguel Andrade on Unsplash

CROCK-POT: Turkey breast, tortilla soup, chili, pork roast, beef roast, chicken pot pie, roasted chicken, and kids pick.

Now, I just pick a card from each category. There are 6 groups, 6 meals a week and one night of left-overs or kid pick. On average I have 10 meals in a group, so that it 10 weeks worth of meals. Done! I fill everything into the calendar and if I need to buy something I add it to my grocery list for that week.

That easy! This system allows for you to plan two and a half months of meals at a time!

Next post we will talk about Lunch planning!

Weekly Menu August 16-22

KIMG1118What’s coming out of the garden?  Cucumbers, corn, peppers, okra, tomatoes, squash, basil, lettuce, potatoes, oregano, thyme, and cilantro from our farm. From Lewis fruit farm apples, peaches and pears.

My daughter is helping me with the menu planning and she wants to make each day have a theme.  It is important to keep the kids involved.  We are slowing building up to the kids cooking two meals a week.  If my husband cooks a meal I get three days off!!!  Wahoo!  As long as the meal incorporate the harvest from the garden I am flexible.

Monday:  Roasted chicken, tomato basil salad, sliced cucumbers and corn. I messed up making butter and had to make butter cream frosting.  So we will have cake for dessert because when life gives you frosting… you obviously have to make a cake.

Taco Tuesday:  With fresh pico de gallo, rice, corn mixed with onions and black beans.

Waffle Wednesday:  We do not have a waffle maker, we are keeping our eyes out for a good cast iron one!  So we will stick with the theme and have pancake Wednesday.  Apple compote with cinnamon.  Shredded zucchini in the pancakes. Pepper and tomato omelets.  Quick, easy and the kids help.  Winner all the way around.

Thursday: Steak on the grill with hobo packet potatoes, roasted okra and cole slaw.  Grilled peaches with fresh whip cream for dessert.

Fry  Friday:  This is a kid favorite, so we will have two beef meals in a row!  Burgers, fries with potatoes from the garden and cucumbers. We will have some fresh pears for dessert.

Saturday:  Calzones.  This week I will be making fresh mozzarella from our goats milk.  I will use the whey to make a dough.  They cheese melts beautify in these calzones.  I will stash some of the ground beef before it is seasoned from the tacos, perfect!  This will have all kinds of veggies from the garden in it and fresh tomato sauce that I have been cooking in the crock pot all week.  Cucumbers and tomatoes on the side!  We are keeping our fingers crossed for a surprise watermelon to be ready from the garden!

I hope this gives you some dinner ideas!  Keep growing, eat local, eat fresh!

 

Trying to Keep Up

God is good!  The garden is producing and the goats are producing.  We are doing the best we can just to keep up!  This is what we have been up to…

wp-1597543470233.jpg

Peaches:  We are trying to capture this summer gold for winter sunshine!  We have canned 12 quarts of  sliced peaches and 24 small lunchbox size jars.  I am so grateful for my mothers help with this.  It is so true that many hands make light work.  Everyone had a job and we were a well oiled machine.

wp-1597535256853.jpg

Tomatoes:  This week we are putting up diced tomatoes in their own juices.  This is an easy job, thankful for the break.  We were able to chop and process 18 pints of diced tomatoes.  I put chopped hot peppers in 9 of those jars so that it would be ready for Queso.

Peppers: Peppers are still producing like crazy.  We shared some peppers with a friend and we froze a gallon chopped.  Last year we did not freeze any peppers so we are thankful for the bounty.

Dairy Processing: We are almost out of yogurt so I made a gallon of that.  I am doing an taste test experiment, to see if we like cultures from our yogurt in the fridge or powder cultures.   I will drain at least half a gallon of this for greek yogurt.  I prefer greek yogurt for breakfast and regular yogurt for smoothies.

wp-1597543470360.jpg

I made a batch of cheese.  It is a farm cheese, kind of a mix between a cheddar and a provolone.  It is great in eggs and melted on garlic bread.  We use it like you would a cheddar cheese.

wp-1597543470304.jpg

We also broke down an cheese wheel that I made 3 weeks ago.  This way it would keep better in the fridge.  This cheese should have aged longer, but it is still good.

wp-1597543470393.jpg

With the whey I  made two batches of bread dough.  I will turn one batch into bread for the week and the other I will make pizza dough for a quick pizza night.

The Herb Garden:  I harvested basil which is in the dehydrator for cooking with this winter.  I also harvest lemon balm.  This is being air dried for hot tea in front of the fire! Tomorrow I jar up all the dried herbs that I harvested last week.  I think we will have plenty of everything for the winter except dill.  I replanted dill and cilantro.  There is nothing like fresh cilantro on tacos and dill in salad dressing!

The food cellar is filling up, the freezers are filling up, we feel so blessed.  It has been a great summer so far, thankful for the blessings we have been given.  We are getting closer and closer to raising all of our food, with a couple exceptions!

Thanks for catching up, keep growing!

Pantry Update

We are really working hard to become as food independent as possible.  We know that we will still need to buy grain products; flour, rice and chips. As well as, baking products, like baking powder and chocolate.

Here is an update on what we are doing this week to get closer to that goal.

The tomatoes and peppers are producing great which mean salsa!  We have put up several batches of salsa.  As of today we have 28 jars.  My boys love salsa so I am estimating that we will need 48 quart jars for the year.  This will be made up of 24 jars of HOT salsa and 24 jars of mild- medium salsa.

wp-1597010243327.jpg

So far we have canned 7 jars of beets.  This is no where near enough.  We are praying for a strong fall beet harvest.  We need at least 15-20 jars of beets for the year.

Peaches are in season.  We work with a local family owned orchard for all the fruit we do not grow on the farm, or we do not grow enough of.  We will have to plant several more blueberry plants to not have to buy those.  Peaches, back to peaches, free stone, yellow peaches are the only way to go.  They are amazing.  The only problem is while I am canning I believe I ate at least 5 peaches one slice at a time.  We canned 7 jars of peaches with two can in the fridge to get us through the week till we go to the farm again.  I see a peach coffee cake in my future! We also froze blackberries.  Can you say ice cream and smoothies!

Our onions did not do well so we had to get a bushel of onions.  I have been using them for salsa as well as freezing chopped onions for the winter. I have frozen 12 pounds of chopped onions.

Peppers have been doing so well that I have been freeing them as well as adding them to salsa.  We have frozen 5 gallons of chopped green peppers.  These are great in the winter for chili, omelets, sloppy joes, and pizza.  We easily can go through 10 gallons in the winter.

wp-1597010290155.jpg

Okra!  This is a new one to freeze for me.  I put away 2 gallons of chopped okra.  I am hoping to use it in stews, soups and sloppy joes for the winter.

There are at least 4 months that we do not milk the goats. So we freeze milk during the summer. Whole milk for winter yogurt.  As well as spun milk for drinking.  The cream from the spun milk gets turned into butter.  I have frozen several pounds of butter.

The summer squash is slowing down. So I am freezing some yellow squash for winter muffins.   I will freeze about 8 cups, which is four batches of muffins. I already froze zucchini for bread.  I may try to freeze zucchini noodles, but I am worried that they will be mushy.  I also froze some zucchini tortillas for tacos.

wp-1597010373892.jpg

Alright, back to chopping!  Happy Harvesting!

 

 

Menu for 5/3-5/9 and Farm Update(Sorry I never hit publish)

wp-1588646261884..jpg

Thank you to all our Front Line Workers!

Soup Sunday:  We had a very lazy day and I made a big pot of soup.  We had not electronics, other than church online and a book on tape while we played cards as a family.  A pot of soup seemed fitting.

Monday: Burgers.  The rest of the week it looks like we are going to have rain, so we had a fun night of burgers and fries.

Tuesday: Cinco De Mayo falls on Taco Tuesday!!!!  We will  be doing a taco feast!  Tons of extra veggies, like carrots and radishes, to add to the tacos just to take them to the next level. Homemade chips!!  It will be wonderful!  I can taste the lime and cilantro already!

Wednesday: This is suppose to be a cold day.  Turkey and gravy over rice with pan fried radishes and kale salad.  If you have never had pan fried radishes you have to try them.  Just a little butter melted in the pan. Half all your radishes or cut them up however you would like.  Top with pepper, garlic and onion powder.  Just let them cook in that heaven till they are soft and slightly brown.  It is really just heaven. One of my favorite things from the garden.

Thursday:  My daughters night to cook!  I think she is planing something with steak!  I told her to work in a ton of veggies.   If I had to guess, I would say she is going to do hobo packets on the grill with cabbage, potatoes and steak.

Friday: Breakfast for dinner.  Sausage, kale, onion and cheese quiche.  I make this recipe with kale or chard.  Goat cheese or cheddar.  This is such a flexible meal.  It takes the pieces that I have in the fridge and turns it into an amazing dinner.  I will probably make baked apples to go with this.  Just a simple farm dinner.

Saturday: Fried Chicken.  We save all the drum sticks when we butcher the chickens and we put them to the side.  We use them sparingly throughout the year to make them last.  Fried chicken is such a treat.  We only eat it every couple of months.  We savor every bite!  I am going to break tradition and make Brussels spouts instead of cabbage, might even make sweet potato fries.  I’m hungry!

Sunday:  Mother’s Day!  I am the Mother and my favorite food is pizza!  Or kale soup.. it will depend on the weather.

In the kitchen: Made Greek Yogurt, make cheese, churn butter, freeze butter milk and feed whey to pigs. Freeze kale for future soup.  Yogurt starter.  Kale chips.

wp-1588646114915..jpg

Garden:   In the garden we are harvesting kale and radishes.  Last week we planted potatoes.   We have planted the tomatoes and peppers outside under plastic.  The seeds we have sown so far in the ground outside are: beets, radishes, lettuce, carrots, peas, chard, kale, and onions. In the high tunnel we have started carrots, beets, radishes, peas, beans, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, and kohlrabi. Please feel free to jump in where we are!  Go out and plant the things we have planted outside!!!!   There is still frost to be careful of, know when the last frost is in your area and plan around that.  We are a zone 6.  We could still get frost for another 2 weeks.

wp-1588646261817..jpg

 

In the Barn:  We have 9 bottle baby goats.  They are all little cute jumping beans and keeping us very busy.  The vet visited today, took care of the goats and drew blood.  It was a routine visit.  We have 10 turkeys doing well in their new outside turkey yard and house.  We have 28 sustainable meat bird chicks in the brooding pen.  These are meat birds that will hopefully be able to provide our family with meat for a very long time into the future.  The chickens are not liking being locked out of the garden and they have stopped laying.  The ducks do not currently like the goat roommates.  We still do not have piglets but we keep hoping for a miracle.

wp-1588646261725..jpg

 

 

Menu Plan April 26-May 2, 2020

Today has been a crazy day.  I am thankful for the moment to sit at the computer and type out my menu plan for the week.   I also plan daily to-do lists, cleaning plans, (I follow FlyLady) and any farm projects.  I am a box checker, just in case you did not pick up on that yet.  Friday, I made a grand check list of everything I wanted to get done all day, went out to do farm chores and found a goat in labor, whole day took a different turn.  I like checking boxes better than “hello emergency!”  but farm life does not always work that way.

Sunday: Roasted Turkey, mashed potatoes, mac and cheese and beets.  Don’t judge me, we all have our thing, mine is turkey, mashed potatoes and mac and cheese.  They have to be made together.   It was fabulous.  I stuffed the bird with apples and onions.  It will be lunch meat for the next two weeks and I will get three more meals out of this bird this week.  I have no idea how big it was, maybe 15ish pounds.

Once I finish cleaning and picking the bird, I will put carrots, onions, celery, water and the bones into the crock pot. I cook this down for at least 24 hours, adding more water if needed.  I can or freeze the turkey stock when it is done, I get about 4 quarts.

Monday: Turkey sandwiches, chips or turkey on salad.  I cooked all day yesterday.  Today I am keeping it easy.

Tuesday:  Tacos.  When we make tacos we cook dry beans in the InstaPot.  Rice in the rice cooker, saute onion and hot peppers and cut up lettuce and tomatoes.  We also fry our own corn chips.  It makes the night extra special. This is also a night the kids cook and clean up.

Wednesday:  Pork Loin in the InstaPot, roasted acorn squash and Brussels sprouts. The pork loin is a complete cheat.  This I got on sale, it is not from our farm!  Gasp!  However, it is an easy night. The loin is fully seasoned and it goes in the InstaPot for 15 mins.  I cut up the acorn squash in slices and half the sprouts.  Roast 350 for about 10-15 mins. The squash depends on how thick I cut it. Easy prepare and easy clean up.

Thursday: Turkey enchiladas.  I take more of the leftover turkey from Sunday, cut it up really small and mix it diced onions, bean, shredded cheese and a little salsa.  Wrap in a gluten free wrap and lay the wraps into a baking dish.  Cover the wraps with a spicy white sauce and salsa.  Bake 350 for about 25-30 mins. Serve over rice or quinoa.

Friday:  My daughter is cooking, it is going to be a surprise she said.  Wants to make up a complete menu and present it to me tomorrow.  It will have beef on it, that is the only hint I was given.

Saturday:  Turkey drop biscuits soup with sweet potato gravy.  This is like chicken and dumplings or chicken pot pie but with whatever veggies I have around, and the left over pieces of turkey.  I will cook a sweet potato in the InstaPot to make a nice thick gravy that has that something special.

This week I will bake something with apples in it for breakfast or a treat after dinner.  I have a feeling the kids are just going to want the baked apples, like the filling of an apple pie with no crust.  It goes great on yogurt with almonds for breakfast!

 

 

 

Menu Plan April 19-25

Back to the menu planning!  Right now the whole world is cooking at home and working with what they have in the freezer or pantry.  The same thing happens on the farm, our freezer and pantry just look different.  We have a cold cellar in the basement.  This allows us to store all of our food from the garden for winter.  We also raise our meat and have 6 months to a year of meat in the freezer.  For our pantry items that we can not raise ourselves, we buy in bulk.   Sometimes buying in bulk means buying a month or two worth of a food at Aldi. There are some items where it is cheaper to buy the smaller packages at Aldi, than it is to buy at BJ’s or other bulk supplier.  I also shop at Aldi for our processed foods, I love chips. I am a salty food lover.  So we do have some processed foods in the house.  I would say we raise about 60-70% of what we eat.  I would love to see it higher, but I need a cheese curl every once and a while!  What can I say I’m human.  The kids also prefer store ketchup.

Something you can do for your family right now is to menu plan.  Keep it simple.  Below is our menu plan for the week.

Sunday:  Chili, cornbread and kale salad. It is still cold outside, so it is still “Soup Sunday”.  My husband will be making chili in the crock  pot.  We have whole frozen tomatoes in the freezer from last years garden, homemade tomato paste, chopped onions, frozen celery, and dried beans from the cellar.  He will also add ground beef. Corn bread goes great with chili and corn meal is a pantry staple for us.  He likes the Pioneer Woman’s corn bread recipe. It is low sugar.  Kale is fresh from the garden, so I will make a salad out of any veggies we have in the crisper.

Monday: Chinese Chicken, stir-fried cabbage and quinoa. The chicken is a mock recipe from PF Chang’s spicy chicken.  Start the quinoa in the pressure cooker, rice cooker or on stove top. Cut chicken breast or thigh off the bone, toss in corn starch, cook in a tbsp of oil or lard. When the chicken is cooked, add 1/4 onion.  Once chicken and onions are done add 1 cup chicken stock.  We use frozen chicken stock cubes. The sauce is 1 minced garlic clove, 1 tsp sesame oil, 1 tsp rice vinegar, 1 tbsp honey, dash red pepper flakes.  Add this to the pan and let thicken.  Add water if it is too thick.  In another pan cook 1/2 cabbage chopped with red onion, and carrots.  I add about 1 tbsp of soy sauce or aminos.  Cook till cabbage is al dente.

Tuesday: Tacos.  Every Tuesday is Taco Tuesday.  This is a day when one of the kids cook.  Then after dinner they fight of who has to do the dishes and who cooked most of the food. I go out and milk the goats!

Wednesday: Asparagus, in a butter garlic white sauce over pasta.  I just make the pasta al dente. Roast the Asparagus in the oven 350 for 10 mins or so with olive oil.  On the stove I melt a tablespoon of butter, minced garlic clove, table spoon of flour, a cup of milk and a cup or so of stock.  When the sauce thickens I add it to the pasta, slice the asparagus in bite size pieces and mix everything together.   Might serve a side salad if we have lettuce left after tacos.

Thursday: My daughter’s day to cook.  She has not decided on a menu yet, she likes to plan all week.  Right now she is thinking popcorn chicken bites with broccoli or green beans with baked potatoes.

Friday:  Hamburgers and sweet potato fries. I make gluten free hamburger buns, they are quick and taste great.  Bake sweet potatoes in the instapot, then fry in the fryer.  They are out of this world!

Satuday:  Calzones.  A simple no yeast pizza crust, add whatever left over meat from burgers, tacos onions, pepperoni, homemade sauce and homemade mozzarella.

Every week I try to bake a breakfast item. This week the item will have pumpkin in it.  I am thinking pumpkin oatmeal muffins.   I have not figured it out yet.  We freeze our extra pumpkin, ripe bananas, shredded carrots, shredded zucchini and berries. I use these to bake and it is cheaper than cereal.

Also we make a batch of goat’s milk yogurt for the week.  This is a great snack item or breakfast item.  There is a blog post on how to make yogurt https://shadesoflavender.wordpress.com/?s=yogurt

Let me know what your favorite go-to meals are!  Enjoy!

 

 

Farm Life

We are halfway through our kidding season! It has been an exhausting emotional rollercoaster.  We have had the joys of new life and the sadness of death. It is paralleling what is going on in the world right now.

We had a kid born this week with an intestinal defect. We did the best we could to save him but he passed in our arms. His twin brother was just not up to normal bouncy kid behavior so we took him to the vet. A low grade fever was easily treated and he is back to a normal hyper baby goat. The vet recommend pulling him off Mom, which as a dairy we normally do at about a week, so he is now an indoor bottle baby. Once the weather warms up he will go to goat daycare with one of our older does.

Sleeping baby goat! Nothing cuter.

Our family was very upset about the death of the kid, but life had to go on the other baby needed us. There are a lot of times in farming where you have to push your emotions aside and just keep going. The other animals on the farm need you and there is no time to sit around feeling sad.

This week we also received chicks for a new sustainable meat bird flock. We are going to start breeding and maintaining a meat bird flock so we don’t have to continue buying Cornish crosses. With the events happening in the world right now we are doing everything we can to be sustainable. That means we probably are going to add some sustainable turkeys as well. However, we are still researching the perfect breed.

Indoor chicken brooder.

Two of our does are due to deliver any day now. We know it will happen in God’s perfect time. Once kidding is over we can take a deep breath and transition into milking and bottling. It does not mean less work, just different. This time of year keeps us very busy!

I pray this post finds everyone healthy. Let me know how your seedlings are doing. They should still be inside and the cardboard outside on your garden plot creating perfect soil. Feel free to ask questions about this process in the comments below.

Baby Goat and Garden

This has been a busy week.  Spring is coming in with a long to-do list.  With the added stress and to-do of working from home, educating the kids and other COVID-19 stresses the farm is a source of stress relief.  We have been taking advantage of nice days and working inside early in the morning or when it is raining, in addition to having a modified “Spring Break”.  Many friends have asked, “what’s going on down on the farm?” I think this has just been a conversation starter to talk about anything other than the virus, but I promised to do a blog post with pictures of what we have been up to.

wp-1586469127791..jpg

I’ll start with the cutest thing first!  This is Captain Crunch, Crunchy for short. He is the baby boy born to Cherrio today!  He is super cute!  He arrived right on is due date.  My husband when back to check on Cherrio this afternoon and there he was, not a peep out of Mom.  The baby was all dried off and happy as could be.  Mom did a great job taking care of him.  We have about 9 more babies coming this week.  This is based off the ultrasounds at the end of January.  God willing, we will be posting a lot of baby goat pictures this week.  This also means there will be new babies for sale on our Sale page!

wp-1586396313682..jpg

In other goat news, we have a new milker on the stand.  We sold her kid so she is ready to join the milking ranks.  She did not think this was a good idea.  She does not want to be milked so she just sits down.  We have to train her with positive reinforcement that the stand and milking is a good thing.  It normally takes a week and lots of patience.   A stressful process for us all.

wp-1586396410252..jpg

Inside the high tunnel things are growing well.  We still have another week or so before harvest, but the kale and radishes will be right on time.  There is a hard frost warning for Friday night, so we will be waiting till Saturday to transplant tomatoes and peppers.  The average daytime temp in the high tunnel without the sides open is about 120 degrees.  With the sides up it drops down into the 80’s.  At night the low is about 40’s.  That is a huge temperature swing, we are looking forward to some warmer nights soon.

wp-1586396333193..jpg

Outside, we are shaping garden beds, mulching isles and laying down row covers when they are needed.  The garlic bed is at the bottom of the picture, all the logs and wood around it is holding down the wire we have to use to keep the chickens out.  Chickens are a huge frustration when we start moving dirt around in the garden, they are overly helpful.  We spent a whole day this week, re-fencing the chicken yard with 6 foot chain link.  This is in hopes to keep them out of the garden while we prep the beds and plant the crops. We are keeping our fingers crossed.  Until we know for sure we can keep them in, I will keep my garlic covered!

wp-1586396410397..jpg

When I am not working on the farm, cooking, teaching my kids, teaching for school or cleaning the house, I am making masks.  The Governor issued an order that everyone must wear a cloth mask when they go out in public.  This is like a step above “cover your cough”.  Other teachers at school have helped me gather supplies and now it is time to cut and sew.  I’m happy to be able to contribute to my community and help maybe slow down this virus.  The link to the pattern I am using is below.

https://tianascloset.com/index.php/2020/02/06/face-mask-against-the-coronavirus-epidemic/

wp-1585782715793..jpg

Lastly, I will leave you with this strange photo.  Can you figure out what we were doing in the kitchen this week?  We roasted the peanuts from last years garden.  I know we should have done it a long time ago, I normally roast them before Christmas, but I just never got the chance.  They still turned out great!  Growing peanuts is one of our favorite things.  There is nothing like the taste of a home grown peanut.  We all look forward to the day we can grow enough to make peanut butter.  Until then, we eat them plain, on yogurt, and in ice cream.  We roasted these in honor of all the baseball games we are missing.  It seems weird to be working on the garden without the soundtrack of baseball in the background.

So many things right now seem different.  We are trying to cherish the blessings, like the time together and online concerts.  We are praying for hospital employees and the sick.  Life is uncertain and seems like it is out of control, but we will hold tight to the truth that God is in Control.  We pray God’s will be done in our lives and that he guides us to be His hands and feet.  I hope you all have a great week.  Thank you for catching up with us.