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.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

An Explosion of Playfulness Yesterday Evening

We were in town most of the day yesterday so the animals were not able to free range as they are accustomed to.  Shortly after we arrived home and were settling in we noticed a running frenzy in the backyard.  It was the goats, sheep, and dogs all playing and running all over the place!  We couldn't believe our eyes.  We had never seen them doing this before.  They were having a blast!

I finally thought to get the camera to record it and half of them decided they were done playing.  I still got some fun footage.  Even my three legged Barbado Sheep "Momma"  was playing.

This is the best kinds of entertainment.  We are simple and we are easy.  Life is good.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Welcome To Hilltop Homestead - Kris

Dyane our Welcome Duck

Welcome to the homestead Kris.

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.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

We Got Rabbits!

It is funny how things work out.  We were discussing the possibility of getting some rabbits for the homestead and the blog world exploded with blogs regarding rabbits.  Then a friend of ours who had four rabbits needed to find new homes and gave her's to us.  Here is the newest additions to the homestead

Buck - Harlequin Male
Wikipedia - Harlequin Rabbit

Alice - Rhinelander Female
Wikipedia - Rhinelander Rabbit
"T" - Female Offspring of Buck and Alice
Tara - Thrianta female Rabbit (We believe)
Thrianta Rabbit

I haven't been blogging lately because I have been busy building a rabbit hutch.  I found there wasn't a whole lot of useful information on the net to assist in building one so I just winged it.  At first it was a sad sad thing.  I am glad I didn't take and post pictures.  It is also a good thing that I can make something out of junk.  Once again using mostly or at least 50% salvage material I was able to complete a two hole hutch.  I could have never done it without Harriet's help.  Thank you again Harriet.

Last night was their first night in their new home.  I have two more hutches I have to complete.  Another two hole just like the one I completed and another one that is a single hole that we will probably use for the ones we plan on selling or using for meat.

If any of you have the same twisted sense of humor that we do you may recognize the names.   We have been watching United States of Tara on our Netflix streaming account.  We have almost completed the series and love it.  It is about a Mom/Wife with multiple personalities and how it not only effects her but those around her.  The rabbits are named after Tara and her personalities.

Welcome To Hilltop Homestead - Peggy

Welcome to the homestead Peggy.

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.

Liebster Award

The Liebster Award Blog award is being passed around and my friend Modern Day Redneck nominated me for it.

 Here are the rules:

1. Copy and paste the award on your blog.

2. Link back to the blogger who gave you the award.

3. Pick your favorite blogs with less than 200 followers, and leave a comment on their blog to let them know they have received the award.

4. Hope that the five blogs chosen will keep spreading the love and pass it on to five more blogs.

Picking five blogs is a bit of a challenge.  Every blog I follow I do so for different reasons.  They all provide me with something and I am richer as a result of the connection.  What would we do without our blogging friends?

Here are the five Blogs:
1.  Livin' Simply An Lovin' It - She is has just started blogging about her life and experiences on the homestead.  I find her style of writing to be both informative as well as amusing.

2.  Wish On Shooting Stars - This young lady may not post very often but I like what she says when she does.

3.  Ideas And Opinions-Rusty - This guy is from my hometown and is doing some amazing things both here and in the Big Bend area of Texas.
4.  The Farmers Compound - Here is a place where Mandy speaks her mind.  Her blog stirs me to passion or warms me inspiration.
5. Texan - She has a lot of good stuff on her blog.  Anyone who can provide produce for themselves last year in the Texas heatwave / drought is someone to follow for sure.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

I Don't Know What to Do

To understand this post you will first need to read Buttercup Our Pyrenees.  I just simply don't have the heart to go all into it myself as this has been a very long story and I am really starting to greatly dislike my neighbors across the street.  I will take it from where it stops.

Continuation of the Story

Buttercup as well as her sister Opal have been contained to the backyard for a week today.  Since this time our neighbor has put up a game camera which came up missing although it was later found in their backyard.  They have put out traps with dog food without any success.  They are down to 4 geese.  Also let me note that during the time of all the killings Buttercup was sick and contained in the backyard until she felt better.

Their dogs still run free while mine are kept up.  I called down the day after he came up to apologize for "over reacting" to insure that they would not shoot my dog if I let her out to protect my goats, chickens, ducks, and guineas while they free ranged.  I let them know that we had full intentions of putting the dog up at night as that was when the fowl were being killed.  The wife stated that I could do what ever I needed so long as I kept my dog from coming down to their place.  I told her that I could not keep my dog from coming down and visiting her dog no more than she could keep her dog from coming up here.  (That was my way of hinting that if you shoot my dog then I can shoot yours too.)  She said they were doing everything they could to keep their dog at home and would continue.  Of course they are. [apply sarcasm]  That is why they asked me months ago to chase her back home if I saw her up here since they did not want her crossing the road.  I do chase her off when she comes up here because we have caught her chasing our fowl and I don't trust her around them.  Yes, I have told them about that since this incident.  They stated that their dog also chases their fowl into the water.  Hum, and you don't think there could be a problem there?

Harriet got a good look at the the fowl that the neighbor found Buttercup with.  He never saw her chewing on the carcass.  He simply saw her picking it up and putting it down.  By the time I went to see the carcass it was missing.  I believe the neighbor's dog came and picked it up because that is her spot on our property where she knows I won't chase her off because it is far enough and almost off the property.  Anyway what Harriet noticed regarding the carcass was the head, neck and crop were missing.  After much research we know this to be signs of racoons.  It is also common for racoons to kill multiple birds in one night as they sometimes hunt in family groups.  

We have given this information to the neighbors and they feel it just can't be racoons.  "We have always had racoons."  "Racoons can't take down more than one bird."  They simply will not listen.  I feel like beating my head against a wall when it comes to this issue.

Another neighbor (neighbor B) had a great suggestion.  To call them and nicely let them know whenever their dog is on the property.  Well this morning we went to town and noticed their dog down at that neighbor's house chasing her goats.  When we returned from town about a hour later she was still down at the neighbor B's with their GP.  We saw the neighbor A and let them know where their dog was.  The wife stated she was just in the back yard.  When was the last time she looked?!  I say this because we saw her when we left and when we returned and she wasn't in their yard at all.  The husband did go to retrieve their dog.

Here is my problem.  They once blamed my dog so we feel she is still an escape goat in the back of their minds.  If we let her out she can always be blamed again.  In the meantime our animals are not being protected as we would like for them to be.  Also their dog is still able to run about as she please without any problem.

Does anyone have any suggestions?  Our homestead was working well until this happened and now it seems kinked up.