Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Staying Maybe 1/2 Step Ahead, If That

Our First Sunflower
Things have been busy around here.  I seem to be staying maybe a half step in front of the critters if that much.  Building and maintaining seems to be all I can do lately.  Let's just say we are on hold with any new additions that are not already in progress.  I need some catch up time.

We did have a week and a half with our wonderful granddaughters.  They are great help around here for anything we might need.  Not to mention some of the best company.  It sure is quiet around here now that they have gone back home.  I hope they come again soon.

All the babies are doing good.  We didn't really have a good hatch rate or survival rate on the coturnix but that could be human error.  We do the best we can.  So far we are not happy with the A&M Coturnix.  They just seem to have the most problems.  Probably from all that inbreeding to get what they wanted.  The Pharaoh are our favorites so far followed by the Golden.  When you open the cage to feed or water it is like tribbles falling out of the ships compartment.  They are funny little creatures.

We have our momma hen raising the surviving guinea keets and we added 5 Muscovy ducklings.  She sure is a good momma.  She gets special treatment and is housed in the chicken tractor in the back yard.

We have some Peking duck eggs in the incubator that we are hatching for a friend.  We get half of the hatch.  We are also hatching out chickens for one of our neighbors and we are hatching out more guineas to sell.  I think that will about do it for me this year.  Although there were some geese at the sale barn last night I wanted really really bad.  They fell under the category of "we don't need them".

Here is our daughter and granddaughters with a baby bunny and a Muscovy duckling.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Pictures of Our Coturnix Quail Chicks

We still have a few stragglers hatching out.  The are so tiny and cute.

About 53 of the 129 have hatched.
Counting them while they move around
is not very accurate.
Newly hatched Golden Coturnix Quail
Golden Coturnix Quail Chicks
Pharaoh Coturnix Quail Chick
A&M Coturnix Quail Chick

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Coturnix Quail

The first Coturnix Quail to hatch
Our eggs started hatching late last night.  The first one to hatch was a Pharaoh quail.  As I have said in previous blog we are hatching Pharaoh, Golden, and A&M quail.  So far we have 26 that have hatched as of noon out of the 129 eggs incubated and they are still hatching.

The first two.
The one on the left has been out a short while
the one on the right is brand new.

In our brief experience we have found the babies do better if you do not leave them in the incubator for an extended period of time.  When we were hatching our chickens the ones that spent a few hours in the incubator after hatching seemed to be weaker and sickly.  As a result we decided to remove them and place them in the brooder shortly after hatching.  We also had a problem with a chick rolling eggs in the incubator causing one to drown in the egg in mid hatch.  Sad since it was already on it's way.

I created this little 5x7 wire mess box where we can place the newly hatched until they dry off and get some sort of bearings and for any that may seem a bit week and just need time to rest and recoup without getting trampled or pecked.  It has worked really well for us.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Expecting - Coturnix, Rabbits, Guineas, Ducks

We have had two neighbors and one friend lend us incubators and we are rocking.  We have 22 chicks that we incubated and hatched on the 10th of this month that I blogged about earlier.  Well we also have Muscovy duck eggs and 129 Coturnix quail eggs due to hatch along with now some Peking duck eggs we added to the incubator last night.  This is new and exciting territory for us.

Coturnix - Pharaoh, Golden, A&M
The Coturnix quail are a mix of Pharaoh, Golden, and A&M.  They should be hatching starting tomorrow.  It is good I finally got that quail brooder finished.  My next project will be building pens for those we will keep for eggs and grow out pens.  I don't want to mix the breeds for grow out either as I am going to take advantage of the egg laying with them too.

From everything I have read these birds fully mature in 10 weeks and start laying at 6 to 8 weeks.  I just hope we like how they taste.

Coturnix Brooder

Muscovy Duck Eggs
The Muscovy duck eggs were given to us by a guy who's hen was killed.  These were the eggs she was laying to sit.  I feel good knowing we are finishing the job for her.  It is so cute to candle them and see their feet stretch or a beak.

The guy also ended up giving us his Muscovy male as he was afraid something would get him too.  It is a good thing because it looks like someone permanently clipped his wings and he would not be able to fly to safety.  We added him to our flock and call him Jedediah.

Last night the same guy gave us some Peking duck eggs.  Well the deal is we hatch them for him and we can have half.  It's a good deal if you ask me.

We also have 3 new baby rabbits as of last night.  They are from our mini Rex Tara and our lion head mix Bugsy.  We believe "T" is laboring as we speak.  Talk about getting another project completed down to the wire.  I just came in from adding the nesting box addition to her hutch.

I like the addition of a wire nesting box on the back of the hutch instead of in the hutch as it does not limit the space of the doe.  I also like using wire since we do live in Texas and it is starting to get pretty hot.  We are off in a hour or so to get fans for both the coop and the rabbits.  Last year it got so hot our hens stopped laying.  We are going to try and be ahead of the game this year.

We have a black Australorp hen that has been broody for 4 months or so.  Bless her heart she just kept breaking every chicken egg.  So we finally gave her 10 guinea eggs.  Those are tough little boogers.  They are due to hatch the 29th.  Wish this little girl luck because she has been trying so hard.  She deserves to hatch and raise some babies.  Hopefully it will mellow out the natural instinct of those crazy guineas.

Our duckling Dyanne, from last year is now sitting on her own clutch of eggs.  She started actually sitting the 19th.  We are looking forward to our little one being a mother.

There you go.  Now you are all caught up.  See you guys next time.  Until then live hard and full.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Homemade Buttermilk Pancakes

I decided the premix packages/boxes are full of stuff that I don't want to eat.  Figuring homemade was easy enough for my ancestors who cooked on wood stoves I thought I would learn how to make them homemade.  I am no wimp.  For the most part that is.

My first step was to scour the internet for recipes.  They were all kinda sorta basically the same with the exception of quantities for the various ingredients.  With about a month tweaking the ingredients this is what I finally came up with that works for us.

Wet Ingredients:
2 3/4 - 3 cups Buttermilk
2 Large eggs
1/4 cup Butter (melted and cooled)

Dry Ingredients:
2 cups Flour
1 Teaspoon Backing soda
1 Teaspoon Salt
1 1/2 Tablespoon of Sugar

Combine the wet ingredients and set to the side

Whisk together the dry ingredients.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry.  Do not over mix as it cause you pancakes to become tough.

I use an electric griddle set on 375 degrees.  If you cook them on heat that is to low it will cause them to be dry.  I have found this setting to be perfect as I don't have a doughy middle nor arid pancakes.  You might have to find what works best for you.

Why do I use an electric griddle.  I use it because I like the way it cooks pancakes as well as french toast.  They come out pretty and I like pretty as well as tasty.

Some options you might want to try:

In my last batch I included chopped walnuts and flax seeds to the dry mix.  This batch as been my tastiest.

An option I have seen on the internet; added 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract as you combine the wet and dry ingredients.

I hope this helps those of you that like me want to do things the more traditional way.  I find they taste much better and they look prettier without all those preservatives.  Trust me, you will see and taste a difference.

I will have to note that unfortunately we can no longer produce the quality that our grandmothers were able to.  That is a result of changes in how our food is now produced.  I won't go into that but those who remember what tomatoes use to taste like as well as beef know that our food has lost 3/4 if not all of it's flavor.  Not to mention nutritional value.  I can use my Granny's recipe exactly to make her homemade buttermilk biscuits and it still doesn't taste like Granny's.  It is a sad fact and a sign of our times.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Babies Hatching in the Incubator

Our neighbor was nice enough to allow her broody hens to sit and hatch some of our guinea.  Then another neighbor loaned us a Styrofoam incubator.  We loaded it up with some of our price chicken eggs and the adventure began.

We have enjoyed watching the embryos grow and move.  We thought we had lost them when we had a power outage during a storm that lasted 5 hours.  Fortunately they just kept on growing.

Tonight before going off to bed we checked on our little babies and noticed one is starting to hatch.  Of course I took a picture and video.  Gosh, you have to hear the baby peeping from inside the egg.  I mean how many people really get to do something as cool as that?  Since I was blessed with the opportunity, I wanted to share it with you.

Friday, May 18, 2012

The New Males in Our Life

Meet Boudro. 

Meaning:  Boudro , boudro meaning , definition of boudro , what is boudro - Friend, Term used to describe a buddy or pal in lieu of their name. Particularly in Louisiana, Texas and surrounding states.
Some examples : Hey Boudro, let's go grab a beer after work.

He is a year old, Nigerian Dwarf / 12.5 % Lamancha buck.

Ratz - Lionhead buck

We look forward to breeding him with our Tara.  They are going to make some pretty babies.

This big buy doesn't have a name yet.  We have been throwing around the idea of Bucky.  He is 1/2 Dutch & New Zealand.

We are going to mate this big guy with our big girls.  We are planning on eating the offspring of the large rabbits.

I am to soft to kill them but the neighbor kid said he would do that.  We can clean them after that.

Homestead General Update

Looky what hatched a few days ago.  Now it takes us about a year to tell the sex of the Muscovy Ducks so we'll have to get back with you on this one.

We also have 11 guinea chicks down at the neighbor's house.  They were nice enough to let us slide eggs under their broody hens.  There are still a few more eggs we are waiting to see if they will hatch.

We also have 8 eggs under our single broody Australorp hen and & eggs under a Muscovy hen in the coop.  If we can keep the snakes out we should be good to go.  We have quite a few guinea eggs in at least one nest that I can find.  I wish those girls would go ahead and go broody.

Other than that I have cut, dried, and stored some hay in the barn.  Some of you may not know but I do this by hand with a scythe.

We also purchase 25 square bales at $4.00 a bale from the field just to our south as our land is leased out for hay production.

We finally went down in the back to see the results of the logging.  Let's just say we no longer have woods.  We have some trees.  There were many areas my father had clear cut.  There are piles of debri in several places and what once was beautiful is just ugly now.  All I keep thinking is that is was a rape.  The area I considered by sacred place is pretty much destroyed.  It is sad and I am not sure when I'll go back there again.  I knew it wasn't going to be a pretty site.  I was right.

We have also been working in the garden some.  We got a late start which might hurt us this year but last year's early start hurt us too.  Sometimes you just got to do the best with what you got.

So now you guys are kinda caught up and I have to go work on a rabbit hutch.  After seeing Randy's hutches I am changing my design for the better.

Apology for My Distance

I apologize for being distant lately.  The loss of Billy really knocked the wind out of us both.  I just didn't have anything to post and I just couldn't bring myself to read others post.  You would have thought we lost a child when we lost Bill in the way we have mourned him.  We still do not know what happened to him.

With that being said we are picking ourselves up by the boot straps.  My next post I'll introduce you to the new males in our life.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Snakes In The Coop

Nothing hacks me off worst than snakes eating my future babies out from under the momma hen.  That is what has happened to our duck and chicken that are sitting.  Not to mention the lack of eggs we have been getting lately.  That always lets us know we have a problem in our coop.  That is when we wage war.  We go snake hunting in the coop and we take no prisoners.

Four foot and a six foot rat snake
May 9, 2012

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Update On Billy

Billy napping with me.
We finally decided a week and a half is enough time for Billy to get settled with his original herd.  Yesterday we ventured down to see him in his new home.  

Only, he wasn't there.  We searched and called to no avail.  Today we went back down there and tried again.  Our calls met with silence.

Little Pooter Bill, we don't know where you are but know that you are loved and missed greatly.

Monday, April 30, 2012

How to Speak Texan

Ok, I found this on a social network today.  I thought it might help those of you who are not Texans to understand us folks down here a bit.  Actually, I really just thought it was funny and wanted to share.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Pooter Bill aka Billy Jack

Well our little Billy aka Pooter Bill went home to his herd today.  It is sad for us but we knew the day would come.  We were helping raise him for our neighbors since his mom was unable to nurse him.  She was a retired dairy goat and her teats were blown.  Another words they were to big for him to get his mouth around to nurse because of the milk machines they had used.

We got rather attached to this handsome little guy.  He is by far the easiest animal we have ever helped raise.  There were times we even forgot he wasn't a boy and was a goat.  His mom is Saanen and his father was probably Boer.  That explains that handsome roman nose.

Anyway this is his first night on his own without a foster momma.  The lamancha we are milking for them was his foster mother.  They would lay together and both sleep in the dog/goat house.  So little Billy will probably be a bit scared.  He never did learn to be afraid as his foster mom doesn't know it either.  It may sound silly but please keep this little fella in your prayers.  He is adaptable and charming.  I am sure he will be fine.  Still I love what I love and I love this little fella.  Milking around here is not the same without him that is for sure.

He now can stand on off the stand to nurse on our Pygmy/Nigerian Dwarf nanny goat.

He learned he can just lay down and nurse.  This little guy takes it all in stride.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Passing It On / Paying It Forward

What I noticed since joining the blogging community is we are very good about passing it on.  I first learned about "passing it on" or as some call it "paying it forward" in the mid 80's when I first sobered up in a 12 step program.  I had a friend that had more time than I and was much more financially stable than I.  Sometimes when I would leave her home she would give me a ten dollar bill because she knew that I didn't have much money and I never asked for help.  I would tell her that I was not able to pay it back.  She would always reply with "pass it on".

Since that time I have been given the opportunity to do just that.  I remember once I was saving for my first leather jacket that I had on layaway.  It didn't cost much but it was more than I could afford in one lump sum.  I saved little by little to get my leather.  Then a friend of mine needed his naturalization paper in order to get work.  It was going to take most of the money I had saved and he knew what I was saving for.  When I gave him the money he asked where it came from.  I replied, "From God".  He looked at me disbelieving but finally responded with a humble thank you.  This man is not one that asked for help and I know that it was hard for him to receive it.

You see, I know that we work to make money.  But isn't everything really God's?  I feel that God give us what we need.  Those extra things like the wants, we can do without to provide someone else what they need.  To me it is just that fluid.  Sometimes we are God's messengers to pass on his gifts.  What a honor it is to pass on these gifts.

Receiving gifts is also a difficult thing for most of us.  I had a sponsor once teach me a lesson when I felt like someone was giving to much to me and I didn't want to take advantage of them.  She asked me how I felt when I was able to help someone?  I told her good.  She then replied, "Why would you want to take that feeling from someone else?"  I have always remembered this lesson.  It has not always been easy but I always try to remember not to push away gifts out of pride but to accept them in the light at which they are given.  The spirit of giving is a much stronger light.

Needless to say I am proud to be a part of this community.  A community of people who may not have met face to face yet carry each other in their heart.  People we may never meet and some we will travel to meet.  All of which we will share a journey.  What a beautiful journey it is my friend.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Welcome To Hilltop Homestead - Kymber

Howdy and welcome to the homestead Kymber with Framboise Manor.  We'll make a Texan out of you yet.

Our homestead is still in the infant stages.  We have been slowly building since 2008 and loving every minute of it.  We love sharing about our experiences here on the homestead and getting helpful input from our follows/friends.  We are glad to have you join us and look forward to hearing from you.

 Check Kymber and her hard working loving husband at Framboise Manor.


(By the way Kymber I went and got Big Tex to welcome you personally.)

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Season Is In Full Swing

This is the time of the year when those of us who are blogging homesteaders start to drop off on our posting and get behind on our reading.  The good news is the stuff on our "to do" list are getting done.

We have been busy hear helping raise the neighbor's kid (goat), milking goats, making cheese, and yogurt.  We have been working in the garden.  That is a post all of it's own and we are excited. 

All those branches I cut this past summer to feed the goats and sheep are now becoming mulch for the garden.

I am still working on fencing.  Have I mention that I really don't like fencing?  Well, I don't really care for having to build a fence.  I like them when they are already there and in a good place.  As for building from scratch.  Well, let's just say there are other things on my list I would rather do.

Day before yesterday our neighbor let us clean up his quail pens and keep the poop.  It was a nasty, dusty job but now we have quail poop.  We have some already in the compost and can't wait for it to turn out.

Speaking of compost.  Our compost this year was great.  We didn't have much but what we did have made us do a little happy dance.  I hope it does the same for our plants.

The grass is as high as my waist so I have been cutting it with my scythe and drying it for hay.  It is hard work but it makes pretty hay.  It is also nice to be out in the sunshine and the breeze listening to the birds as you cut grass.  You can't do that from a tractor or a lawnmower.  Last year it was a struggle for us unemployed people to have enough food for our livestock.  This year I am getting a head start.  As the Boy Scouts say, "Be Prepared".

I am sure there is much more going on then again only those of you who closest to us will even care about this update.  I'll post more later on the details of what we are up to.  Until then enjoy this beautiful weather.  Spring is in the air.  Take a walk.  Enjoy a picnic.  What ever you do get outside!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Caddo Lake - Like Participating In A National Geographic Movie

The view from behind Billy & Dottie's home The Wildfern
I talk a lot to various people about the rare treasure here in Texas known as Caddo Lake.  I have vacationed there twice and now visit periodically as I only live an hour away.  Nestled on the border of Texas and Louisiana in the Piney Woods.  It is like a pocket of swamp in the middle of the pines.  The bald cypress trees with their Spanish moss.  Turtle crossing in May so you have to drive with care.  Quiet peaceful setting.

When we vacationed we stayed in a wonderful cabin called "The Waterlily" with Spatterdock.  Billy and Dottie have a way of making you feel right at home.  As a matter of fact when we go out to visit we always stop by and we are always welcome to sit on their pier and enjoy.

Billy and Dottie have also purchased Johnson's Ranch a few years ago and have really cleaned it up.  It went from a dilapidated over grown mess to looking like a nice place to stay and fish.  We like to go out on the deck and see the old honky tonk that is featured in the opening of the HBO's True Blood.  You didn't want to get to drunk there and have to swim back.  There are alligators in that there water.

Billy has a wonderful touring and fishing service.  Billy took us out on a 1/2 day and 1/2 evening tour of the lake.  He knows the place better than the back of his hand.  We saw the sunset and enjoyed the moon light all from Billy's Go-Devil tour.

Here are a few pictures I have taken on my visits there.  The pictures do not do the place justice.  If you have a chance I recommend checking it out in person.

The old Honky Tonk featured on True Blood
Baby Hawks
Behind the Waterlily Cabin
We watched the parents feed there while staying the weekend.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

God's Gift to You

Someone gave me this in paper form many many years ago at a 12 step meeting. I lived in the faith of what this writing taught me. I lived it with my whole heart.
I am happy to say that the promise was fulfilled when I found my wife. My love for her is nothing I could have ever imagined. I am glad I had faith and allowed God to give me my precious gift rather than demanding what I believed I wanted. I would have sold myself way short.
God's Gift to You
Everyone longs to give themselves completely to someone-

To have a deep soul relationship with another-

Be loved thoroughly, and exclusively.
But God, says:

I want you to be satisfied, fulfilled, and content

With being loved by Me alone-

With giving yourself totally and unreservedly to Me-

With having an intensely personal and unique relationship

With Me alone.

Discovering that only in Me is your satisfaction to be found,

Will you be capable of the best human relationship
That I have planned for you

I want you to be united with another after you are united with Me-

Exclusive of anyone or anything else,

Exclusive of any other desires or longings.

I want you to stop planning, stop wishing,

And allow Me to give you the most thrilling plan existing-
One that you cannot imagine.

I want you to have the best-

Please allow Me to bring it to you.

You just keep watching Me, trusting Me-

Keep experiencing the satisfaction that I am.

Keep listening and learning the things I tell you.

You just wait.
That's all.

Don't be anxious.

Don't worry.

Don't look around at the things

Others have gotten or that I've given them.

Don't look at the things you think you want.
You just keep looking off and up to Me,

Or you'll miss what I want to show you.

And then, when you're ready, I'll surprise you with a love

Far more wonderful than any you would dream of.

You see, until you are ready and until the one I have for you is ready,

(I am working even at this moment to have both of you ready at the same time),
Until you are both satisfied exclusively with Me and the life I prepared for you,

You won't be able to experience the love that exemplifies your relationship with me.

And this is the perfect love.

And dear one, I want you to have the most wonderful love.

I want you to see in the flesh a picture of your relationship with Me,

And to enjoy materially and concretely the everlasting union of beauty, perfection, and love that I offer you with Myself.

Know that I love you utterly.

I am God.

Believe and be satisfied.

-author and original title unknown

Friday, April 6, 2012

Hay Day - Delivery

(The purple really should be white.  We have an old camera.)

My friend let his grass grow all winter after last year's drought.  When they tried to mow it the grass just laid down.  So I took my scythe over there and had a "hay day".  Today they were kind enough to deliver it so my goats could enjoy it..... and they did.

I went ahead and spread it out to allow it to dry out further and the goats went to town.  The chickens and guineas were having a good time too.  The goats just laid down after a while and ate.  It was funny to watch.  I am so very easily entertained.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

My Cheap Shading Idea - I Hope It Helps

The Monmouth show to grow 7 to 12 foot tall.  The Skyscraper shows to grow 12 foot tall.  I plan on planting them on the inside of the garden around the fence to help shade the plants.  I know it will only shade so far but with our limited income this will have to do.  I thought about planting beans to grow up to them.

Originally I was planning to use cattle panels to create a frame for plants to grow over the lower plants like cucumbers.  I also thought that might help with those squash bugs we detest.  No, I am not squishing them with my hands.  I draw the line there.

Anyway cattle panels are a bit pricy for us at this time and the ones we have are slotted for use elsewhere for the livestock.

Texan passed on some advice to me that was given to her.  "When the package says full sun it doesn't mean Texas sun."

I'll let you know how this goes.

My Little Red Wagon

Yes, my little red wagon.  I actually have two of them.  I use them all over the place.  They may be small but they are able to hold mostly what I need for projects around the homestead.  This is my load for my fencing project.

I did have to extend the handle because I am a bit taller than a child.  This one I extended it with a coat hanger and the other with a rope.  The coat hanger works much better and you don't have to bend so far to reach it.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

New Milk Stand With Modifications

Billy aka Pooter Bill
is modeling our new milk stand

I promised to make a friend of mine a milk stand.  What I ended up doing is making another for us since there were some changes we needed to make and I am cleaning up the first milk stand for her.

Originally we were only planning on milking pygmy/Nigeria mixes so the stand was built to size.  However since then we have started to milk the neighbor's lamancha and the stand is a bit small for her even though it does work.

The new stand has a taller head gate and a longer platform.  We are also planning on milking Barbado sheep at some point.  I know some of you think we are crazy but then again if we were not then what kind a life would we be living... boring.

We have also added a jar holder on the front as well as the back leg of the stand since we are milking with a hand pump.  This will make it much safer as some of the goats still put up a bit of a struggle since they are not milked daily.  We are still working on training a few of them.

Another modification that we have made is instead of using a latch to lock the head gate we use an angled board that we slide down between the head piece and the frame of the stand.  This keeps is secure no matter the size of goat that is on the stand.  From small kid to full grown.

Current summary of the milking.  We are enjoying the milking.  It takes dedication as you must milk every 12 hours.  It keeps you pretty tied down but you just have to set your priorities.  We have been excited to finally have milk and milk products again.

We have made, buttermilk, yogurt, and cheese so far.  We plan on also putting some milk back in the freezer for when we are not milking.  This will keep us from having to buy the soy milk were were having to use.

Are we saving money?  Probably not with the feed purchase and all.  It is good to know where your milk comes from though.

Things we have noticed.

1.  When the grass is wet the milk production improves.
2.  Dairy feed improves milk production.  (We have only been able to find cattle dairy feed at this time but we are still looking.

Our girls free range during the day and are put up at night with their babies.  Those nannies that still have nursing babies are milked once a day when we do milk them.  We milk them just before putting them in the evenings.  The babies are big enough to wean however we do not have the accommodations at this time to separate them.  Another thing to add to the never ending to do list.

Note:  Check out the pretty green grass in Texas.  I am so excited to see green after last year's drought/heatwave.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Welcome To Hilltop Homestead - Encourage One Another & caterina serra

Welcome to the homestead Encourage One Another & caterina serra.

I am sorry it has taken so long to welcome the two of you.  Our homestead is still in the infant stages.  We have been slowly building since 2008 and loving every minute of it.  We love sharing about our experiences here on the homestead and getting helpful input from our follows/friends.  We are glad to have you join us and look forward to hearing from you.

Sunset - March 22, 2012

I know I haven't been blogging lately.  To be truthful it is such a challenge for me to come inside and sit a a computer when there is so much to get done and the weather is beautiful enough to enjoy getting it done.  We have been doing so much and I hope to get caught up sometime soon to let you guys know what we have been up to.  Until then I wanted to share this picture of the beautiful sunset we had here this evening.  I will say it is a blessing to live in such a beautiful place.  This is my dream come true.

Sunday, February 19, 2012


Perspective is an interesting thing.  It is where people can have different points of view and still be right.  I figured out a long time ago that no one truly believes as another does.  One may believe they do but in truth they do not.  We all process what we experience with filters that have been set from past experiences.  Since we all do not share the same exact experiences as those or individual experiences then we can not believe the same.

adj. 1. that agrees with what is demanded by law, one;s conscience, ect.; just and good.  2. that agrees with the facts; correct or true.  3. proper or suitable.  4. having a careful finish and meant to be seen.  5. healthy, normal, or well.  6. in good condition or order.  7. on or to the side that is towards the east when one faces north.  8. closer to the right side of one facing the thing mentioned.  9. not curved; straight.  10. conservative in politics.
(You get the point)

adj. 1. not right, just, or good; unlawful, wicked, or bad.  2. not the one that is true, correct, wanted, etc.  3. in error; mistaken.  4. not proper or suitable.  5. not working properly; out of order.  6. having a rough finish and not meant to be seen.

1. the way things look from a given point according to their size, shape, distance, ect.  2. the art of picturing things so that they seem close or far away, big or small, ect., just as they look to the eye when viewed from a given point.  3. a certain point of view in understanding or judging things or happenings, especially one that shows them in their true relations to one another.

(Webster's New World Dictionary and Student Handbook 1971)

Why am I thinking so deeply today?  Well, I'll tell you.  Come this March it will be four years since I have been employed.  In that time I have searched for employment filling the other space with a means to support us food wise.  

We moved to some family property and began our homestead.  We first attempted to grow a 20 x 20 foot garden with little experience.  Dang, I should have paid more attention to my grandparents when they were gardening instead of always off playing somewhere.  Gardening is a dying art you know.

Within the first year we cleaned up a junked up chicken coop and built a door for it as well as a run.  Our neighbor gifted us with a few hens and her father with a rooster.  The second year we were able to expand our garden to 60 x 50 ish.  We produced enough food to dehydrate, can, eat, and share with neighbors as well as a local food bank.  The third year due to the extreme drought in Texas we were not able to produce much beyond the beginnings of summer.

We added goats our second and third year and recently added four rabbits.  I feel the homestead is now complete with occupants and now it is time to maintain that which we have.  It sure does take a lot of effort to build things up.  I will be grateful when it is all built up and we are just at the maintaining stage.

Recently I had a member of my family tell me they did not have any respect for me because I didn't work.  They saw what I did around here as piddling.  It is sad because that is something this person will never be able to take back.

The Happy Homesteader on Facebook

Homesteading is like self employment.  It is 24/7, 365 day a year.  You don't get a break.  You have responsibilities.  Ones that demand more of your time than simply 40 hours a week.

What about job security?  Is there really any job security?  I use to work for a large company in Dallas, Texas.  It was finally that dream job/career where you have a good work environment, good pay, with the promise of a good retirement after your devoted years of service.  Then one day the layoffs began.  It was then that I learned the only job security is one you make for yourselves.

How have we lived this long being unemployed.  We did just as  I stated above.  We made our own security and it has paid off so for. 

Now, I don't know what tomorrow will bring but I do now what I have today.  I have the love of my family.  I have the love of my friends.  I have wonderful neighbors for the most who I can reach out to.  I live in a place where people still care about each other.  The kind that have fish fries at the local church to raise money to pay hospital bills.  The kind that make you proud to be a part of and not long to be a part from.

Today, I am rich.  Not in material but in way that material can never provide.  Some may think I am poor and for them I feel very sorry.  They don't know what it means to truly be rich.

Our Children & Grandchildren
November 2009

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Milking Lilly aka Lilliana

I wanted to get a better video of the homemade hand pump milker as I was so excited when I made the first one.  I also wanted to capture the entertainment of Lilly heading down to the barn.  She gets very excited.  As a matter of fact she was 1/2 down to the barn before I ever got started down there after letting her out of the gate.

Here is Lilly heading to the barn yesterday morning for the AM milking.

There is our favorite lamancha helping us demonstrate our homemade hand pump milker.  She is such a good goat.  She gives about 1 quart a milk each milking.  We milk Lilly twice a day and sometimes three times.

Lilly's AM Milking
February 10, 2012

As for our Pygmy/Nigerian cross goats.  They all are not quite as good about the milking.  I don't think they are doing to bad for having never been milked before.  If we can have them free range all day then milk them before we reunite them with their babies for the night then we can get 1 quart from 5 goats.  We do not milk them all out as they are still nursing their babies and we only milk them once a day.

Pygmy/Nigerian Dwarf Cross PM Milking
February 10, 2012

Friday, February 10, 2012

Helpful Homesteading Information

I use to love Mother Earth News magazine.  Then I realized they were expanding to broad and had what I considered a lot of useless information.  I don't care about a solar car that can do 100mph.  A solar car would be great and one that can do the average speed limit for a prolonged period of time, that would be interesting.  Anyway, I use that just as an example and yes there was an article on that very thing a year or so back.

My favorite magazine is Countryside & Small Stock Journal.  They time their articles it seems just perfect.  Each time I received my magazine it was just what I was working on or about to work on.  I have found they are also good to refer back to for research.  When I got the one on rabbits I sadly didn't even read the rabbit articles because we didn't have any intentions on raising rabbits.  Now look at us.

I finally had to not renew my subscription last year as it was time to apply what I learned and quit just reading about it.  I still watch for it on the stands to insure there isn't some information that I feel "I just can't live without".  We are trying to watch our budget that is outgoing and not incoming at the moment.

I found that they also have  a wonderful Countryside Library full of even more helpful information.  Besides our blogging friends I feel this is and invaluable tool.


I blogged not to long ago about another book Owner-Built Homestead by Barbara Ken Kern.  It is a great start up book for anyone wanting to homestead.  I found it particularly helpful in the layout of my homestead.

Another good book that my mother got me is Country Wisdom & Know-How.  I looked everywhere online for good information on building a rabbit hutch and yet this is the best source that I found.

On the above link there are currently 43 reviews with the majority being 5 stars which is the highest.