Country Craziness

Geez!  I just don’t even know where to start.  I suppose if I had been keeping up with this whole blogging thing the whole time that I wouldn’t have this problem!  But, this is me we’re talking about.    So….

I guess the biggest thing is that we are preparing to move.  Not far, actually the next driveway over.  Life is funny the way things work out.  Our landlords finally decided to move back home and we were doing a mad search for another farm so that we wouldn’t lose our animals and this lifestyle that we have grown quite attached to.  Our wonderful neighbors offered us their house that just happens to sit on 200 acres with all kinds of outbuildings and barns with water and electricity for our animals.

Barn and chicken coop on farm

Yes, angels are real.  I won’t get all mushy with details and such but they are truly awesome people that we are blessed to be able to call our friends.  The farm hasn’t had animals on it for around 10 years so there is some serious work to do – all new fencing for the pastures, leaky roofs, stalls, nesting boxes, animal-proofing, yada, yada, yada.  Not to mention the packing, downsizing (the house is half of what we have now so bye-bye shoe collection), and cleaning.  Yikes, the cleaning!  I always thought my house was fairly clean until I started packing things away and uncovered dust bunnies and cobwebs.

To top that off, Nik is away on a farm down in Texas.  A sort of working vacation if you will.  He’s gone for 2 months learning all about animal care and plants from the former personal botanist of Lady Bird Johnson.  Lucky boy, I know.  He’s having all kinds of exciting adventures and making great contacts that he can use in the future.  If you thought he could talk your ear off about seeds and farming before, ya better watch out!  It was really stressful sending him off on a plane by himself halfway across the country.  I keep forgetting that he’s almost 18 and no longer a child.  This summer away is a good step towards him becoming an adult though.

In the midst of getting ready to move we had our first baby goats born!  Thor was born on June 2nd and Athena gave birth to twins 2 days ago.  They are Atlas and Ares.  All males.  Way too much testosterone if you ask me.  But they’re too cute for words.  And thank God for Google.  Why don’t any of the goat books tell you that baby goat poop is going to be a thick yellow pudding for the first week?  I had no clue what-so-ever.

Tennessee Meat goat buckling

Tennessee Meat goat buckling twins








Thankfully and regretfully (oxymorons?) we didn’t plant a garden this year.  We weren’t sure when we would be moving and didn’t spend time planting something that we wouldn’t be able to use and enjoy.  So we have a huge wild area that has all kinds of volunteers.

Overgrown garden with volunteers and herbs

And a bunch of beautiful poppies (thank you Nik!).

Poppies in the garden

If you search you’ll be able to find radishes and kale, dill,  lots (seriously LOTS) of chamomile, and a few squash plants.  I even think I’ll be able to see the sunflowers come up before we leave.

Ellie May loves the all-you-can-eat salad buffet that used to be the garden.  Oops.  I don’t think I’ve introduced you yet.  Ellie is our mini potbelly pig.  The one that was guaranteed not to go over 30 pounds.  Dirty breeders.  Or shame on me for not buying one elsewhere.  Anyway, she’s ours and she now weighs a mini 60 pounds.  The vet told me to restrict her food and she wouldn’t grow as large.  I no longer go to that vet.  Ellie also loves to clean up after our guinea keets.  She goes around the brooder and “cleans up” all the food bits that they kick out.

Potbelly pig with guinea keets

We bought a bunch of guineas to help with the ticks around the property.  We used to have 6 but ended up getting rid of them because they attacked our chickens.  Now with a larger property and no more red chickens, hopefully the problems will be over.  We also heard they do better in larger groups.  We have 15.  Keeping our fingers crossed!

Gluten Free Peach Coffee Cake

As the winter weather rages on I have taken to baking with one of my favorite summer ingredients….  fresh juicy peaches.  Of course it has to warm me up on the inside so what better way to use peaches than in a coffee cake?  And of course my peaches weren’t fresh off the tree either.  But I still love the taste of peaches and it reminds me of warm, sunny days.  I’m grasping at anything to save me from these crappy snowy bitter-cold days that never seem to end.  I did happen to see a groundhog the other day running under the trees out back.  Spring is surely on its way… it’s just taking its sweet ol’ time!!  I promise this coffee cake will make you feel better (at least for a little while)!! Continue reading

DIY: Making Wool Dryer Balls

This is one of those projects that has been on my “must/want to make” list for some time now.  So during our latest winter blast, I stayed in and played.  I don’t know why I didn’t get around to these sooner, they really took no time at all to make and so far I’m loving them!

What are wool dryer balls?

Wool dryer balls are made from 100% wool and can be made in any size you want.  They go into the dryer with your wet clothes and help to separate and fluff them so that it shortens the amount of time you have your dryer running.  They also help to get rid of wrinkles and static.  And if you use some essential oil, make your laundry smell good without any use of chemicals.

Shorter dry time, no wrinkles or static, and pretty smelling.  Yay!  With wool balls you can use and reuse again and again!!!  Saving you money.  Yep, that brings a smile to my face.  A penny saved is a penny earned… I’m earning some serious pennies with this one!

How to make your own dryer balls…

The first thing you need is 100% wool yarn.  It can’t have any cotton or acrylic or anything else in the yarn.  And it can’t be pre-shrunk.  The wool has to be able to felt.  I wanted to be able to make quite a few balls and didn’t want to spend a bunch of money on the yarn.  So… I got really cheap (or thrifty) and bought some wool sweaters at a garage sale for a quarter a piece.  Then I bought a couple of skeins of yarn at the fabric store.  You’ll also need some old pantyhose and a crochet hook.  Don’t worry, you don’t need to actually know how to crochet (whew!) you just need it to pull the final piece of yarn through.

Wool Dryer Ball Supplies

Since you wanted to save money on yarn and are using a junk sweater, you need to cut the sweater into strips.

Wool Sweater Strips for Dryer Balls

Then you take two strips of your wool sweater and knot them together to form the base of your ball.

Knotted Wool Sweater Strips for Dryer Balls

Now you can take and wrap more of your sweater strips around and around until you get it to about the size you want.

Medium Wool Dryer Ball

Once you have a decent size ball, take your yarn and wrap it around the sweater strips.  This holds all the sweater strips in place and makes your balls pretty.

Start of Wool Dryer Ball

When your ball is the desired size, cut your yarn, take your crochet hook, and weave the yarn into the ball.  I made my balls the size of a large orange.  The bigger, the better.  Or so I hear.  The larger the balls, the more they bounce around and separate the clothes.  Just felt I had to clarify that a bit for those of you who have wandering minds.

Large Wool Dryer Ball

Now, I’m not sure this next step is necessary, but I thought it might help since I have a front-loading washing machine and wanted to make sure my balls got adequately soaked and shrunken.  So I filled my sink with really hot water and a bit of hand soap and soaked and swished my balls for a little while.  Okay, so I really just let them soak while I went about and made lunch.

Soaking Wool Dryer Balls

Before you pop them into your washing machine you want to enclose them in the pantyhose so that they don’t unravel and create a really big mess.  I suppose you could do this before you soak your balls in the sink too.  I did have one that I made earlier and never got around to finishing floating in the sink.  Doesn’t matter as long as you do it before they go into the washing machine.

Place a ball in the stocking, tie a knot in the stocking, put another ball in, tie another knot and so on.  You won’t be able to reuse the pantyhose once the balls are felted.  The pantyhose get kind of hairy.  Not a pleasant feeling.  So buy really cheap ones or use some old ones that you’ve had hidden in your drawer for 10 years.  I don’t wear pantyhose too often to go out and feed the animals here on the farm.  Although it might be kind of entertaining to the neighbors!

Wool Dryer Ball Worm

Now you are ready to throw your wool ball worm into the washing machine.  Wash in high heat with cold rinse.  Then pop them into the dryer and dry on high heat.  Now might be a good time to wash your sheets and pillowcases.  Just an idea.

Take them out of the dryer and run your fingernail over the stocking/ball and see if the yarn threads have “felted” together.  You may want to put it through the wash/dry cycle one more time to be sure.

Your finished balls will look similar to this.  You can make them in any colors you like.

Close-up of Wool Dryer Ball

I made 7 of them using one and a half skeins of yarn.  The sweater insides really helped to save money on the yarn.  I put mine in a basket on top of the dryer with a bottle of lavender essential oil.  Place a few drops on the balls before popping them in the dryer and you have a healthy alternative to the chemical-laden dryer sheets sold in stores.  Much prettier and reusable too.  Be sure to use essential oil, not fragrance oil.  Fragrance oil will leave greasy spots on your clothes.  Pure essential oil will not.

Basket of Wool Dryer Balls

Now that I’ve had fun telling you all about my balls (tee hee), go out and try to make some of your own and let me know how much you love them!  Hmm, how do you use dryer balls when you hang your laundry on the line during the summer?  I’ll have to ponder that one!

If you don’t feel like making them, you can always buy some online at Etsy or Amazon .


Pickle Canning Day

Nik has been in charge of the garden this year.  The whole kit and caboodle.  All the tilling, planting, weeding, and harvesting.  I think I helped him weed once.  His main focus was on beans and peas and saving seeds.  So I didn’t expect much if anything to have for canning and putting up.

One morning Nik brought me in a small basket of cucumbers.  Too many to eat, too few to can.  I figured we could make quick refrigerator pickles.  Two, maybe three jars tops.  I took my time cleaning up the kitchen and piddling around for a while.  I suggested that he go out and make sure there were no more cucumbers because I only wanted to do this once.  So out he went with a basket.  Next thing I know he’s coming to the door with a full basket and tells me to empty it because he’s going to need it again.  And again, and again.  His grin got bigger and bigger with each basket he brought up.  I swear he was basking in my misery!  I didn’t plan on spending the day doing a full blown canning session!  His giddiness was disturbing.

We ended up with a giant pile of cucumbers for pickling.

Pile of pickles

So much for 2 or 3 jars and quick refrigerator pickles.  But I wasn’t about to waste them.  I gathered my handy dandy Ball Blue Book Preserving Guide and my trusty Bread and Butter Pickle recipe and got busy.

I gathered supplies for dill pickle spears first.

Pickling Supplies

I didn’t have any pickling spice so I mixed up some of my own.  You can get the recipe here.

Homemade Pickling Spice

I had quite a bit left over so I put it in a jelly-sized canning jar for later use.  Or maybe I’ll use it on the woodstove this winter, it’s woodsy and aromatic.  Sure hope it tastes as good as it smells.  I’ll have to let you know on that one.  I’d sure be really disappointed to find out I spent all this time on dill pickles to have them turn out grubby.  Not going to think about it.  I love pickles, they couldn’t be that bad!

Once the pickling spice was made I sliced the washed cucumbers up into spears.  I used all the larger-sized cukes for this.

Dill Pickle Spears

I combined 4 cups of sugar, 4 Tbsp salt, and 12 cups of vinegar in a large pot.  I tied my spices in cheesecloth and added it to the mixture.  I brought it to a boil and then let it simmer for 15 minutes.

Place the spears in a quart-sized canning jar, fill with hot vinegar mixture, add a fresh (or dried) dill head, and leave 1/4” headspace.  Remove air bubbles, wipe around the rim, add lids, and Walaa!!!  You are now ready to process for 15 minutes in a boiling-water canner.

Dill Pickle Spears in canning jar

I made 14 quarts of dill pickle spears.  With that done, I was ready to move onto the Bread & Butter slicesHalf way there.

I cut my smaller cucumbers into thick slices.  Then I added some thinly sliced onions,1/3 cup of pickling salt, and a few sliced garlic cloves to a large glass bowl.  Mix it all together and let it chill in the refrigerator for a couple of hours.

Bread & Butter Pickle Slices

Drain well.  In a large Dutch oven, combine 4 cups of sugar, 4 cups of apple cider vinegar, 2 Tbsp of mustard seed, 1 1/2 tsp turmeric, and 1 1/2 tsp celery seed.  Add your onions and cucumber slices and bring to a boil.  Pack into quart-size canning jars, leaving 1/2” headspace, remove air bubbles, wipe your rim, add lids, and process for 10 minutes in a boiling-water canner.


By dinnertime I had 30 quarts of homemade pickles.

Finished Jars of Homemade Pickles

Not too bad for one days work.  I figure we have enough pickles to last us a good year, maybe more.  If things get really bad, we always have something to eat.  What’s for breakfast?  Pickles with a rice cake.  What’s for lunch?  Duck and pickles.  Dinner?  Duck and pickles with beans.  Snack?  Leftovers.  Yep, we’re good to go.  Oh – to mix it up I still have some beets from last year!  Woohoo!!!

I almost forgot – thank you Nik for our bounty of pickles!  Couldn’t (and wouldn’t with the price of cucumbers) have made them without you!

Turkey Tuesday

There’s been so much going on around here!  Which is a good thing, it keeps us busy and out of trouble… well, it keeps us busy.

The kids are back in 4H this year and Nik is raising turkeys to take to market.  He tried Broilers last year.  They were quite tasty but definitely have an expiration date.  We had to take time out during the fair to slaughter because they couldn’t walk anymore.  Not a pleasant thing.  Since he’s planning on raising heritage breed Chocolate Turkeys next year, he figured this would be good practice.

We have heard that turkeys have a high fatality rate and the birds aren’t very bright.  He has to have at least one turkey to sell at auction and he can have two birds in his pen.  So we decided to get 6 turkey poults so that maybe we can have a nice home-raised Thanksgiving turkey on the table this year.  Cover your ears, little turkey babies!!

Nik did some research and learned that if you raise turkey poults with baby chicks that the chicks will teach the poults how to eat and drink on their own.  I thought it made the turkeys sound really dumb, I mean how can a bird not know how to eat or drink?  But we went ahead and bought 6 Partridge Rock chicks to raise along with them.  We’ll be butchering the chickens this fall to put in the freezer.

Turkey Poults

At first the chicks were afraid of the poults, but they all warmed up to each other.  Good thing too.  Turkeys are STUPID.  We brought these cute little yellow balls of fluff home and put them in the brooder and showed them where the water was.  Yep.  Turkeys darn near drowned themselves.  This one little bird ran to the water and stuck his whole head under the water.  Then was sort of sputtering and making weird noises, I thought I was going to have to do turkey CPR.  Then the brain-dead bird did it again and again!  So, we filled the water bowl with small stones (not small enough that they might be able to eat them, cuz they would) so that they could only get little sips of water at a time.  They fared only a little better at the food.  They’d pick up pieces of food and drop them back down.  Pretty soon they were taking after the chickens and learned all they needed to know.  You’d even catch them scratching the ground trying to dig up treats!

Pretty soon they were big enough to move into a larger brooder to give them some running room.

Turkey teens

We ended up losing two turkeys.  One we’re just not quite sure what happened, Nik thinks it might have choked on his food (I can see that happening) and the other broke his legs trying to fly into the side of the metal brooder.  They seem to be getting smarter with age (yay!! still keeping our fingers crossed) and are looking more and more like turkeys.

Turkey teen 2

They are all feathered out now and doing great.  We moved them into the chicken coop with the enclosure since they no longer need a heat lamp for warmth.

Big Turkeys

I know some people say you shouldn’t raise turkeys with chickens because of Black Head and other diseases that can spread between them.  We haven’t had any issues (knocking on wood!) and we supplement them with vitamins and apple cider vinegar.  We give them fresh greens and will eventually move them into the main pasture and yard once they get too big to fit through the coop door.

Big Turkey 2

They are definitely getting smarter (double yay!!) or maybe the chickens are just teaching them a thing or two.  Every evening before nightfall, the chickens and turkeys go into the coop and roost for the night.  And to think that a couple weeks ago they didn’t even know how to get in the door!

Turkey Roosting

Fair isn’t until August, so we’ll see what the summer brings us with the turkeys.  We know that turkeys don’t tolerate the heat well so we put a large tarp over the enclosure to provide them with shade.  Even though there’s a giant fir tree right by the coop, duh. 

Pretty soon they will look like our neighbor’s turkey which we call Tom.  They call him Roger.  Oh well.

Tom Turkey

Sweet Potato Casserole

Well, I figured I’d better get this posted before another holiday comes and goes.  I’ve been promising my Grammy to send her this recipe since last Thanksgiving and again since this Easter.  What can I say?  Time flies when you’re having fun, cleaning out chicken coops, planting a garden, mowing the grass….  living life.


This is one of those recipes that can just as easily pass as a dessert as it can for a side dish.  No marshmallows necessary!

For a printable copy, click on the link below:)

Sweet Potato Casserole

Melt 4 Tbsp butter in a 9×13 baking dish.  Add 3 cups of mashed sweet potatoes, 3/4 cup sugar, 1/2 tsp salt, 2 eggs, 1/2 cup milk, and 1/2 tsp vanilla.  Mix well.  Lumps are just fine.

Sweet Potato Casserole

Combine 1/3 cup flour, 1/3 cup melted butter, 3/4 cup brown sugar, and 1 cup chopped pecans in small bowl.  Sprinkle over the top of the sweet potatoes.

Sweet Potato Casserole 2

Bake in a 350 degree oven for about an hour.  Real technical, I know.

Sweet Potato Casserole 3

Allow to cool for at least 15 minutes.  Trust me.  Burnt tongue during a holiday feast is no fun.  But you’ll want to make this for more than just holidays.  An easy way to get your daily dose of veggies.  And a great way to use up all those sweet potatoes that we canned!  MMMmmm!!

Flat Tires and Farm Conferences

Okay.  I know, I know.  It’s been a while and I haven’t been writing like I said I would.  I’ve got a bunch of great excuses (at least to me they’re great) but that’s all they are…  excuses.

If something is truly important to you, you don’t put it last on your list and let everything that comes up get in your way.  It’s called priorities.  And obviously mine are a little skewed.  I’ve always been this way though (yet another excuse).  The house would have to be cleaned, laundry done, bills in order, yada, yada, yada before I’d consider “me” time.  Not today.  Go play little dust bunnies, I have better things to do!

We’ve had a few vehicle fiascos lately.  Luckily at least one truck was running while the other was down.  I think we had a truck down for at least  a week or two.  Stupid sensors go out and your truck quits running.  You have to pay for a computer to tell you what’s wrong.  Gone are the days when you could fix the truck yourself.  Not that I personally ever worked on a truck, but you get my point.  Todd could fix all our old vehicles, but these newer models you need a college education to repair them.  Or that handy dandy computer.  Front ends start shaking and tie-rods and struts need replaced.  Exhausts are due to be replaced.  Does it ever end?  I love the fact that at least one of our trucks is paid off, but it’s starting to get a little old and needing some TLC.  Then one night you are shopping and go out to see your truck leaning heavily to one side.

Flat rear tireFlat front tire     

You have not one, but two flat tires!!!  Not to mention a trunk load full of groceries.  But on the bright side, it was during that polar vortex so the temps were in the negatives.  No chance of thawed ice cream!  So almost a month after we replaced all the tires, we had to replace two of them again.  Argh.

On a brighter note, we attended the OEFFA conference in Granville this year.  Lots of different classes to choose from, lots of networking opportunities, and all kinds of farm stuff. 

OEFFA entry

I was the lucky one who got to attend all the “business” side of stuff workshops.  Agricultural easements, diversification and success of your farm business, marketing your farm, and federal farming programs.  I learned a few things that may help us out.  Nik hung out with me on the second day and attended the federal farming program with me.  It was hosted by Kathleen Merrigan who served as U.S. Deputy Secretary of Agriculture from 2009 to 2013.  She was named as one of Time magazines “100 Most Influential People in the World” in 2010.  While we were in the class, there was a heckler!  At a farming convention, really?  But it made for a little bit of excitement and we both got a laugh out of it.

USDA conference 

Nik was in charge of attending the workshops focused on food production.  He said that he pretty much knew all that the instructors had covered so he figured he’d take my classes with me because that was stuff he didn’t know!  This kid knows his seeds and plants.  Ask him a question, I dare you.  That’s why we’re leaving him in charge of the garden.  It’s in good hands.  But we still have to help with weeding and harvesting.  Although we have to be careful because he’s got it all planned out so that he can save seeds to exchange with other seed savers, preserve some heirlooms, and to create his own seed lines.  Guess that could be a whole story on its own!

Todd and Lexie attended the “fun” classes about heritage poultry and a sustainable flock.  Okay, maybe it was serious business, but anytime you’re dealing with animals, it’s fun!

Todd and Lexie at OEFFA

And of course one of the best things about conventions is the exhibit hall!  All kinds of information, farming books (yes, I’m a non-fiction/documentary geek), t-shirts, tools, food samples, livestock products, and seeds.  You know where Nik was.  Hanging out at the seed booth.  Those ladies were ecstatic to see him coming.  I think he almost bought them out!

OEFFA Exhibition Building

Lexie got to meet Jim Adkins, who started the Sustainable Poultry Network and knows Dave Holderread of Holderread Waterfowl Conservation and Preservation Center in Oregon.  Dave is her hero and she wants to raise poultry like he does when she is out on her own.  But since meeting Jim, she says she’d be good going around and talking to people about preserving the heritage breeds of poultry and being a poultry judge too.  She’s going to be a busy girl! 

Both of my kids are pursuing their dreams.  Makes a momma proud!!!  I guess we are really lucky because all of our dreams seem to tie together.  Which is wonderful for our little family farm!♥♥♥

Little House on the Prairie Days

Brrrr!  Mother Nature is MAD!

This has had to have been some of the craziest weather that we’ve had in a long, long time.  According to the National Weather Service, we haven’t had temperatures this cold in over a century.  Ugh.  I am not a cold weather person.  Which I find hilarious because up until we moved here, we were looking at moving to Michigan or South Dakota!  Not quite sure what I was thinking.  Oh, I remember.  That was right after summer when I swore I couldn’t handle the heat anymore.  Some day I’ll look back at all this and laugh.  But not until spring arrives, at the earliest.

Bundled UP for cold weather




It’s difficult to laugh when you’re wearing numerous layers of clothing.  Two pairs of socks, jeans, Carhart bibs (padded), sweater, another sweater, heavy jacket, FOUR hats, giant scarf, and two pairs of gloves.  And I’m still chilly.  Those ducks better appreciate this!




The other night we had an unusual weather phenomenon occur.  Frigid temps rose to about 40 degrees.  Then around 3 in the morning, the wind blew like crazy, rain came, and temps dropped to 20 degrees within minutes.  I thought for sure we were in Kansas.  In the morning, the fields were littered with these:

Snow Rollers

Snow Rollers!

It looked like giants were out bowling all night with snowballs!  I guess these only happen during certain conditions – kind of like the perfect snow ball storm.

The next day brought us more winter surprises.  NOT the good kind.  I crawled out of bed around 5 a.m. to a freezing house.  The furnace went out!  Luckily we have a wood burner that we use as our main heat source.  Love, love, love that thing!

We started about our day as usual.  Suddenly, everything went dark.  NO POWER!!!!  After a brief moment of panic I became quite excited.  No balancing the checkbook, no washing the dishes, no laundry, no vacuuming, no computer work.  Just quiet.  I could sit on the couch wrapped in a toasty blanket and read.  ALL DAY LONG!  I was ecstatic!!!

Thinking ahead, I put on a big pot of beans.  I would use the wood stove just like they did in the old times!  I filled my pan with beans, chopped some onions and garlic, and added enough water to cover all the beans and then some.  At least we’d have a warm dinner.

Dried beans cooking on wood stove


Aaaah.  I love being unplugged.

But just as I was getting ready to get settled in with a book… the gosh darn power came back on!!!  NO!  NO!  Nooooooooo!

So much for that.  Now I felt guilty even thinking about putting chores off.  I lost my greatest excuse ever.  Bummer.  But at least dinner was cooking and the house smelled warm and inviting all day.

Is it selfish of me to hope for another snow day with no power?  If only I could be Laura Ingalls just for a day… everything seemed just a little simpler back then.  No, not easy.  Just simple.

It’s gonna be a great year….!

Okay, now that I’ve finally come out of hibernation… !  Not really.  Wish I could say that was true, but I’ve actually been very busy.  The good kind of busy.  The kind of busy that lets you know that you’re alive and good things will come of it.  I recently re-entered the work force after a dozen years of being stay-at-home mom.  Part-time, but it still gets me out of the house and feeling like I’m a real person again.  Yay!  So I’ve been working on finding my footing, trying to balance all the things I did before with working a “real” job.  I’m sooo not going there today!

Is it too late to talk about New Years Resolutions and such?  Nope.  This is my blog and I can talk about whatever I want to.  It’s all about me.  Me, Me, Me!!!  If you don’t like it, don’t read it!

Ha! Ha! HA! (my version of an evil laugh)  Where are my minions?!

Ahem!  Now, that I’ve had my little fit…

This year is going to be a great year.  Really!  We are in for a lot of changes.  Good changes.  When we first moved here we weren’t really sure what we were doing and not sure of the path that we were on.  We had a good idea of where we wanted to be.  A year and a half later, we get it.  Really get it.  We moved here taking things as they came along and not planning too far ahead.  We’d had a few setbacks and were a little gun-shy.   We leased this farm for 2 years (which seemed like ages back then!) and were hoping to buy it and make it our home.  We were meant to take a different route.  By September we will have to move again.  I really, really hate moving!  But that’s okay.  Because we are going to find our forever farm.  None of us can imagine life without animals, a large garden, or any of the things a farm has.  Farming is what we were meant to do.  Now that we know this, we know what to do.  Kind of… the path to getting there might be a little tricky, but that’s okay.  Life is an adventure and if you’re bored, you’re not really living.  So, our time has become consumed with researching how to make a living off of a farm.  Todd would love to be able to be a stay-at-home farmer.  Someday.  Both of the kids want to have farms when they grow up (which isn’t far off).  And I want to have my goats, ducks, geese, chickens, and fresh garden goodies.  They say the best job is to get paid doing what you love.  So this year we make it happen!

So that’s kind of the direction that this blog will lean to.  The path to becoming farmers.  But that will still include things like lots of recipes (I hear farmers are really great cooks!), crafty projects like making soap, knitting, quilting (still working on my first quilt Grammy!), health tidbits (one of the reasons we want to grow our own food is to avoid GMO’s and all the bad things they fill up our food with these days – your body only functions as good as the fuel that you put into it), special diet recipes (gluten free, sugar free, corn free, soy free), animal care, and the list goes on.  I love learning and I can’t narrow this blog down to just one topic.  And I certainly don’t have the time to write more than one blog!  So this is just about life as an up and coming farmer.  The good and the bad.  Hopefully more good than bad!

From time to time I’ll pass on the blogging to one of the others (Todd, Nik, or Lexie) and let them tell you things from their perspective.  That should be interesting!!!  I’m really really really going to try to post on a more consistent basis – maybe once or twice a week.  Crud.  Just by posting that it makes me have to do it.  Don’t want to be that person who says one thing and does another.  Must be responsible and reliable!  Set a good example!

Thank you for letting me vent, preach, or whatever you want to call it!  I am stoked, excited, anxious, and all kinds of other adjectives for this year and what it will bring to our family.  And if you want, I’d like to invite you to come along.  Farmers are big on community.  That’s another reason to farm, meeting all kinds of great people with similar interests and cares.  I’ll try to keep the rants to a minimum but I’m making no promises.  I am what I am and that’s all I can be.  Was it Popeye that said that?


Here’s to a fantabulous 2014 and a having a sense of humor!  A little humor is necessary to get through the struggles of life.  That’s a word of wisdom from someone who used to take life waaay too seriously! 

Gluten Free Pumpkin Muffins and a Batch of Really Bad Beans

Well, the holidays are in full swing now.  I hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving!  Ours wasn’t too bad.  Except for that about every dish I made turned out grubby!  Really, holidays are not the time to try out new recipes that you’ve never made before!  Luckily it was just the four of us and I didn’t embarrass myself in front of lots of family.  I tried to make homemade baked beans.  I figured I’d get creative and combine 2 different recipes that I had.  The first was for plain ol’ homemade baked beans, the second was for a four bean medley that calls for a big can of baked beans.  How can you possibly mess that up?  Leave it to me.  Not even Nik would eat those beans.  This kid eats EVERYTHING!!!  That was my first clue as to how bad they were.  At least we got some laughs out of it.  I took all the leftovers out for the chickens and ducks. They’re still out there.  Composting.  Chickens won’t touch them.  Ouch!

We also skipped the turkey and roasted a goose.  I’m sorry, but Thanksgiving needs turkey!  The goose wasn’t bad, just not the same.  The rice stuffing was a tad too wet or juicy or whatever you want to call it.  Sweet potato casserole is a no-fail dish so I was spared with that one!  So our feast was a semi-dud but at least we were together and everyone was happy and thankful and healthy!

Sorry, I had to break away and chase the chickens and ducks away from the road.  Trouble makers – the whole lot of them!! The weather is warm (for December anyway) and we let them out to forage for grass and any other goodies they can find.  I wish you could hear them chattering because they are so happy!  There’s a group of Pekins right outside my window making all kinds of happy racket!

I thought I would share a pumpkin recipe with you.  Since I have all this pumpkin to play with.  Don’t worry – this one has been tested and tried many times and it’s a keeper!  Trust me – if you make it and don’t like it, just ship it off to me and I’ll eat it.  No questions asked.

Here is a link to the original recipe.  I made it gluten free so that we could all enjoy it.  And I don’t bother with all that “bowl for wet, bowl for dry” stuff either.  I make things simple – the less dirty dishes, the better!  Dump it all in and mix it up.  They still turn out delicious!

Gluten Free Pumpkin Pecan Muffins

Pumpkin Pecan Muffins

  • 1 cup sorghum flour
  • 1 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/2 cup tapioca flour
  • 2 tsp guar gum
  • 3/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1/4 cup sunflower oil
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans

Combine wet ingredients in large bowl, mixing well.  Add dry ingredients, mixing well.  Fold in pecans.  Fill muffin cups three-fourths full.  Make topping in same bowl.

Crumble Topping

  • 1/3 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped pecans
  • 1/4 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/4 cup cold butter, cubed

Combine sugar, pecans, and flour.  Cut in butter until crumbly.  Sprinkle over batter.

Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes.  Cool for 5 minutes before serving.  This will make 12 or 13 regular sized muffins or 6 jumbo.


So, anybody have any good recipes for homemade baked beans that are tomato free and low in sugar?  I know, what are baked beans without all the “good stuff” added?  Help!