Friday, December 30, 2011

Making Koláče / Kolache With the Grandaughters

We take the granddaughters home tomorrow.  Our last day with them we spend loving on the baby goats and teaching them how to make Kolache.  

Neither of them had ever tasted the delectable Czech pastry.  At least not that they can remember.  

We made cream cheese with blueberry kolache.  They were pleasantly surprised at the wonderful flavor.  Never again will a "pig in a blanket" be a kolache to them.  They now know what the real thing is.

They are taking some back with them to share with their Mom and Dad.  I am just smiling because it is yet another wonderful memory that we were able to make with them.

Cream Cheese & Blueberry Koláče

One Cream Cheese & Blueberry Koláč
Three Cream Cheese Koláče

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Owner-Built Homestead by Barbara & Ken Kern

We are very fortunate to have a library with some very interesting books.  Shortly after we moved here I found this book and read it with delight.  It helped with how we might want to layout our homestead for efficiency as well as gardening.  It affirmed what I was doing right and made me rethink a few things too.

If you are just starting to layout your homestead or looking to purchase land for a homestead I would recommend reading this book.
  It helps you evaluate the land for what your needs will be.  Since we live on family land that was not a need for us.  We just needed to learn to work with what we had in the best way possible.

While I had the book I scanned in many pages for reference later as there was ideas that I just wouldn't be able to apply until a later date. 
Like a Sun Pit Greenhouse

Or a Wood Stove

(Note:  All rights to the pictures go to the authors of the book.  I am using them here for reference only.)

Welcome To Hilltop Homestead - Mandyfarmer

Welcome to the homestead MandyFarmer.

I don't blog every day but I try to get several in a week.  That is if I can find something to blog about.

Our homestead is still in the infant stages but it is growing and we are learning.  Thank God for our blogging friends who we are able to share ideas and learn from.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Puberty to Menopause

It starts in puberty for all females and ends with menopause, our monthly cycle.  It is simply a fact of life as well as a right of passage.  We know when it begins we are becoming women and when it ends we are at the end of our production cycle and becoming wise women.

For me living green is the same as living sustainably.  Have you ever considered how much money is spend on the disposables we use for this common fact of life?  To much if you ask me.  There are alternatives however and if you are interested in being more green, sustainable, or you are just plain frugal then here are two options.

Cloth pads

You can either purchase these online or make them yourself.  What ever suits your needs.  I found a great site that can assist you if you wish to make your own, Make Your Own Cloth Pads - DIY

Top of Pad

There are also other resources online where you can purchase pads.  Some come with plastic sewn in for a leak barrier and some do not.  They are as different and vary as we do as women.
Underside of Pad
They are comfortable simple to clean.  No more buying those plastic things that simply eat away at our pocket book and fill up the landfill.

Menstrual Cups

 Another Eco method is the menstrual cup.  The cup is fitted around the cervix to capture the menstrual discharge.  The cup is emptied and cleaned then reinserted.  This is a real money saver not to mention safer than the disposable commercial methods.  You can read more about it at, Wikipedia on Menstrual Cup.

When deciding which one is right for you please do research.  There are many available in the US and outside of the US.  Some ship in and some do not.

Not only are these options good but they just make since.  I feel they should be a necessity of the BOB also.  (Bug out Bag or Emergency Bag)  Women, let's face it.  It is something we will have to deal with for a very long time.  It is better to be prepared.  I can only imagine what we would do if we didn't have these options.  The thought of no toilet paper is horrifying enough for me.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas - Happy Holiday

Our Children & Grandchildren
November 2009

These are our favorite people to hang out with.  We are on our way for a New Years Eve slumber part at our daughter's home.  I am looking forward to the conversations laced with sarcastic B.S. and the laughter.  Awe, I can already hear it and I am still two hours away.

Here at Hilltop Homestead we are wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas or Happy Holiday.  What ever the season you celebrate we hope it is a safe and merry one.

(Note:  Yes, there is one minor correction made to the photo.)

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Blessing of Good Neighbors

You know we take so much for granted until we either don't have it or it starts to give us problems.  For three or four days we have been having problems with the breaker to the well.  It kept flipping off.  I didn't know if the problem was electrical or just the well pump itself.  We have a submersible pump so I was praying that was not the problem.

I know little to nothing about electrical not to mention having to do anything with it scares the gibbers out of me.  Our middle son is a journeyman electrician so I called him.  I tried to describe stuff to him then finally just sent pictures as we were not talking the same language.  Let me note here that he lives 2 hours away.  He was trying to assist me in figuring out how the switch was wired so I wouldn't have curly hair.  Yesterday afternoon we finally deducted it was wired direct into the meter.

 So last night I get home after dark and commence to feeding and watering in the dark with "the flashlight".  (We'll cover that another time.)  I had checked the breaker before starting however in the middle of watering I ran out of water.  I went to flip the breaker on again to finish to find the breaker still on.  I looked to the meter and it wasn't moving as it would if the pump was running.  I checked the switch in the pump house.  Everything was good.  That wasn't good.  We had gone beyond the symptom to shutdown.  Great, now we are out of water and I still have no real clue what was wrong.

I tried calling a friend of mine 45 minutes away for advice but his line was busy.  I go a hold of another friend a hour away and got even further depressed and stressed.  He thought it could actually be the well pump.  Well we didn't even know who to call to service the pump.  Then I thought....  Why not call my neighbor.  He would know and possible know what might be wrong with the well.  He is married to a childhood friend of mine and they just live about a mile down our road.  So I gave him a call and tried to describe what had been going on for the past 3 to 4 days and how it all had come to a grinding halt now.  He said he would come on down and check it out.

The first thing we checked was the current at the breaker.  It was good.  Then we checked the current at the switch in the well house.  Each wire was receiving the correct current however together they were falling short.  This lead him to believe it was the wire between the house and the well which had been buried without first being placed in a pipe.

Fortunately I had some #8 wire so we rewired the well.  It now works great!  My next project will be purchasing some tubing and burying some wires.  He was really good at explaining things as we went along so I would understand.  Answering all my questions in a language I understood.

Last year I was able to replace the switch and the pressure gauge by looking it up online.  Here is a great site I found that has helped me out several times:  Inspectapedia

How to Replace a Water Pump Pressure Control Switch

Blogs, Inspectapedia, YouTube, and mostly friends have really helped me learn and continue learning.  Last night under pressure I was at a loss on where to start.  Thank goodness that Robby came down and help me gain perspective and learn.

I am happy to report that today we have water without having to go flip the breaker everytime.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Welcome To Hilltop Homestead - Texan

Welcome to the homestead Texan.

I don't blog every day but I try to get several in a week.  That is if I can find something to blog about.

Our homestead is still in the infant stages but it is growing and we are learning.  Thank God for our blogging friends who we are able to share ideas and learn from.

Sheri Has her Babies

Sheri, the last of our nanny goats to give birth finally kidded this morning.  We have two more beautiful baby girls.  The first has a white spot on her head.  She wasn't responsive when she first came out and we were concerned for 30 minutes or so but she seems fine now.  The second is black with brown sprinkled all over.  Both have blues eyes.

We are also pleased at the tits on Sheri.  Very milkable.

Sheri lick lick licking her new baby.
This is the first born who had a rough start.  Harriet had to
work with her to get her to breath.

Second born just out.
Born 10:50 am

Second born in the forefront.

First Born
Born at 10:15am

Good Momma Sheri

Mary had to come check it out.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Treasures Passed Down

My grandmother my Mom's side passed back in September 2001.  No, not in New York.  She passed from cancer that formed three tumors in her brain.  I helped clean her apartment after she passed and boxed up her things.  It was a solemn time for me but it was a loving thing I could do and spend just a little more time surrounded by my Granny.

I got several of her things.  One of which is a little sewing bag that folds open and stands next to you.  I was thinking the other day that I might like to crochet something but I didn't know where any of my hooks where.  By the off chance I looked into the sewing bag and this is what I found.

I just smiled when I opened it.  It was like Granny saying, "Here.  Use mine."  So I did.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Happy Birthday Teenager!

Happy Birthday to a wonderful granddaughter
who is now officially a teenager.  

Amazingly you have been at my side since you could walk.  Helping me with what every I might be doing.  Now that you are older you have even found your way into the kitchen to help Grandma Harriet.  We are very proud of the young lady you are growing up to be and our lives are richer for having you in it.
We love you baby girl.

As you well know we will be calling later on in the day to sing your happy birthday song!

Friday, December 16, 2011

ShaNayNay aka NayNay Gave Birth

NayNay gave birth to two creamed colored brown eyed little girls around 8:30 pm tonight.

Opal was the perfect midwife.  Both babies were almost totally cleaned off and they were standing by the time we arrived.

Now if we can just convince Opal to let them be to bond with their momma and learn how to nurse without any problems.  Opal wants to lick them to death.

Sugar, NayNay's twin checking things out.

Update:  Last check before going to bed at 1:00am

All is well with Momma and babies.

Opal is still on duty.

We had to put their sweaters on because they started shivering.  That is no way to spend your first night in the world.

Update:  December 17, 2011 am


My favorite starfish story.

adapted from The Star Thrower
by Loren Eiseley
1907 - 1977

Once upon a time, there was a wise man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work.

One day, as he was walking along the shore, he looked down the beach and saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself at the thought of someone who would dance to the day, and so, he walked faster to catch up.

As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a young man, and that what he was doing was not dancing at all. The young man was reaching down to the shore, picking up small objects, and throwing them into the ocean.

He came closer still and called out "Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?"

The young man paused, looked up, and replied "Throwing starfish into the ocean."

"I must ask, then, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?" asked the somewhat startled wise man.

To this, the young man replied, "The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don't throw them in, they'll die."

Upon hearing this, the wise man commented, "But, young man, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can't possibly make a difference!"

At this, the young man bent down, picked up yet another starfish, and threw it into the ocean. As it met the water, he said, "I made a difference to that one!"

Welcome To Hilltop Homestead - Jill Luigs

Welcome to the homestead Jill Luigs.  It is good to hang out with you again my friend.

I don't blog every day but I try to get several in a week.  That is if I can find something to blog about.

Our homestead is still in the infant stages but it is growing and we are learning.  Thank God for our blogging friends who we are able to share ideas and learn from.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Growing Indoors - Great Idea

(I think I might have put some links on here that have violated my agreement with adsense.  I have since hopefully corrected the problem.  At least I hope I have.)

Here is a great idea for planting indoors whether for winter food or because you simply do not have the space outdoors.

I originally put a link to the DIY site but I think it violated my agreement with adsense which I didn't mean to do.  I will say the project is for a window garden made out of clear bottles using a water pump to bring nutrient rich water to the top plant and allowing the water to drip back into the original water container to recycle through again.  It was designed for someone who moved to New York and missed their fresh vegetables.  You can Google yourself on how to make this project.  I think it is really neat.

I believe I might have a new project.  I am so hungry from produce since things didn't work out so great here in Texas for it this year.  I crave salad and the prices are so high in the stores.  Not to mention I would just rather grow my own. - Genevieve

Note:  Adsense won't reinstate my account so if the links were a problem then they aren't anymore.

Growing Salad in a Window
Window Farms

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

An Evening with the Animals

Here are some pictures and video I took this evening when we sat out back with the goats, sheep, and dogs.  Sometimes a chicken or a guinea or two.

Sheri - What do you have there?
Our newest kid - Laura Croft
Nanny's baby - December 13, 2011
Name may change in the future

Laura Croft
Tippy Toe
Penelope's baby - December 12, 2011

Pyrenees Love
She relaxed so much she fell to the ground.

Our Opal and Buttercup
What would we ever do without them.

I hope you enjoyed an evening at the homestead.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Nanny Gave Birth

Nanny gave birth to this beautiful blue eyed baby girl at 3:03pm today.

Welcome to the homestead little one.

Nanny cleaning up her baby.
Everyone like to watch
Nestled in the manger with momma, Nanny.