Sunday, February 28, 2010

good quote

"To many, goat raising is an adventure in pioneering. One does not ask a pioneer, 'Is there any money in it? when he is answering the challenge of his soul to prove he deserves the room he takes up on earth. Rather he pities those who see no brighter goal then gold."
-Frank R. Coutant
The ABC of Goat Dairying (c) 1941

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Seriously? Grasshoppers? Now? In my Kitchen???

Weird. Just. Plain. Weird! I walked into the kitchen yesterday and found 3 little baby grasshoppers in my kitchen near the sink and I thought what?! Well this morning I found a few more. As weird and whatever as this is, I'm not really surprised, Andrew is constantly bringing things into the house to add to his "Life Science/Nature Collection." In fact since the majority of our snow is now gone it has exposed half of a deer carcass on the side of the road about which he said, " Man I wish I could take that home for my Life Science Collection." (I just kept driving.) I'll question Andrew later about the grasshopper but right now I'm too busy chasing them down so I don't have anymore cycles of them hatching in my kitchen.....

Friday, February 26, 2010

It's not gonna be a good day Tater...

...when you have to start off the day by nailing part of your ROOF back on! Augh! I woke up last night to the sound of "wind gusts" as our rather chipper weatherman likes to call them and the roof being blown off. I knew there was nothing that I could reasonably do at o dark thirty in the storm by myself so I decided to stay put and pray, as that seemed the safe and right thing to do. So to start off my day I climbed up onto the roof and tried to fix it the best way I could and hopefully it stays put, at least until we replace it with a standing steam metal one. Mind you I'm not a roofer, just thought with would work.

No, the kids were not on the roof, Faith was just taking pictures behind Andrew and his head was poking out through the window, although he really wanted to be out there with me helping!

You should have seen the look on Dakotas face, like he was thinking "Crazy human do you realize where you are? I really don't think you belong up there!!" Poor D.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

It's a great day to be a duck!

No, this is not a beautiful little stream near my home, it is my driveway! It's raining like crazy here and running through my driveway like bulls through the streets of Pamplona! I've got to keep an eye on it because it's not supposed to stop for a while and one winter it flooded out the barn. Not good, not good at all.

Morning Greeting

Thought I'd share my morning greeting with you. I love my goats! The Nubians always run over to greet me and vocalize that they are glad to see me! Occasionally Katie and Buckley jump on me and are reminded that that is not acceptable, but they are babies still so I cut them a little slack. The Pygoras are not as friendly, that's not to say that they are un-friendly, I just happen to think the Nubians are more pushy and have told the others not to bother as we will get attention first!

Mom and daughter
Katie looks as if she's enjoying breakfast!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Poor Man's Fertilizer

Yuck! But a welcome sight, at least it's not another foot!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

We have SYRUP!!!!

Last night I was able to finish off the first batch of Maple Syrup!!!

This is nearing a point of being done, I do not own a hydrometer, so I cannot tell exactly how many brix it is at, but I can tell by the way it behaves, ie does it act like syrup? is it syrup-y? you know...
Out of the pan and into the jars, I filter mine, but it is not absolutely necessary. It is common practice to do so to remove 'tree sand' See picture below.

This is why I filter, that filter was absolutely pure white and brand spanking new. You can see the sediment that has been filtered out. I think I'll go back to what I used last year for filtering, felt as it did a much better job. When I checked the product this morning what hadn't filtered out had settled to the bottom. Harmless, but just makes it look bad.

Finished product, dark amber, maple deliciousness! Waffles anyone?

Monday, February 22, 2010

Drawing Off

In a matter of an hour or so after the evening barn chores are finished and the animals are tucked in for the night I'll finally be able to draw off the sap that has been boiled down almost into syrup. This is where it needs to be more closely monitored as it can go from nearly finished to burned on instantly. Just ask Ron....

And let me tell you it is not a pleasant job chipping burned maple sugar off the bottom of your best pot! I'm expecting to get about a quart of syrup, but we'll just have to see since I cannot float a brix.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

good quote

"One of the greatest assets of a farm is the sheer ecstasy of life."

Joel Salatin

Simple Pleasure

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Does it get any better?

Today was the first of many I hope that we could boil down sap. I cannot describe how much I love that smell. It's a seasonal thing which is why I think I treasure it so much. Last year we boiled it in the house, lesson learned; even if you think you won't get that much sap because you get you taps out late, DO NOT BOIL IT INSIDE!!! Every thing was damp and coated with a very sticky layer of wet! We had condensation running down the walls, windows, everything! It's just not fun. Delicious and totally worth it, but not fun to deal with. We ended up with just over a gallon of syrup, which means we evaporated into the house roughly 40 gallons of water! So I knew this year we were definitely doing something else. I was reading on another blog that one fellow homesteader used a propane fired deep fat turkey fryer. Knowing that the large deep fryer would not work as well as a shallow pan, as you need more surface area to evaporate it faster. I figured out what might work for me. I had a large shallow oven roaster and the guy at the feed store told me he could order the fryer part for less without the pan, perfect! I ordered it and set it up this afternoon, works great! As of right now I've done seven gallons of sap. Obviously if I were commercial this would not work, regulations, man how did those pioneers ever make it with out all those regulations?? But for me with the amount of taps I have I think this will be fine. So I spent the day outside in the sunshine, surrounded with wisps of maple steam, watching the goats kick up their heels and feel that spring in really just around the corner. Talking to the kids and Ron, watching the kids play in the yard and perusing a seed catalog dreaming of planting and tending and harvesting good healthy, organic food for my family by the armful. Does it get better than that?

As the sun went down Buckley decided he was cold and wanted to sit in my lap. Not that I really minded though, the temperature dropped quite significantly after that.

Andrew really enjoys the smell of the boiling sap as well. Licking his lips in anticipation of the golden syrup that is to come from the hours of boiling. and boiling. and boiling.


They just seem to "get"each other.
*The kids want to change her name to Holly Holstein because they think her face looks like a Holstein. I have an idea that Andrew had cow's on the brain, again.

Friday, February 19, 2010

tomorrow it begins

Tomorrow I get to start boiling the buckets of sap the kids and I have collected into that golden maple nectar that most would call maple syrup and I'm thrilled. I'll post pictures later because I'm headed to bed as tomorrow it begins!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

good quote

...actually I think this is a perfect quote....

"Happiness is understanding you don't want to be, can't fathom being, anyone else."

Jenna Woginrich
Cold Antler Farm


The animals here at From the Country Farm DO NOT care that you are sick with the stomach flu as you schlep your fever ridden body to the barn and hope that you've left enough time between ....ah, well, urgent trips to the bathroom.... so as not to....well, urgently need the bathroom while you're in the barn, as it's a long way back to the house in that condition! I'll add that it's not even all that rewarding to milk and collect eggs and do barn chores while in that state, it is however soul satisfying to the nth degree when you are not in that state. Be well all and I sincerely hope you are not visited by this stomach flu.

Conclusion: Farmers, homesteaders and Moms cannot get sick!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Good Quote

You can use most any measure when speaking of sucess. You can measure it in fancy homes, expensive car or dress. But the measure of your real success is one you cannot spend -- It's the way your child describes you when speaking to a friend.

Martin Buxbaum

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

More taps out today!

I'm so excited to have the taps out! I love seeing the buckets hanging on the trees, makes me feel nostalgic and part of a secret society nobody talks about except at this time of year.
I'll need to pick up a few more taps next time I go to the feed store as some of the taps I have have seem better days and are past needing to be replaced. The sap is running really well today, but I doubt I'll have enough to seriously boil, but I might try it, just to do it, even if it's just a quart or so. We'll see.

Monday, February 15, 2010


The sap pail is up, (only one for today, broken drill bit, dead drill, sick child, wild goose chase, etc....) will put the others out soon, likely tomorrow. For today part of my angst is lessened, I've tried really hard waiting for sap season this year and now that it's here I'm psyched! I hope it's a good one and that it's fast and furious!
Also waiting patiently for those first few drops...

more patient waiting...

Sunday, February 14, 2010

I Love Stripes!

.....and Toile! Together what beautiful things can be made. I've been thinking about making another handbag/life toting bag type of thing and was inspired by a couple other blogs I read to try this type of bag, so I did. I've got a day planner thing-y that is too big to fit in the bag I currently carry, (I know, I know I'm outdated, they've got these handheld wireless things now, but I'm just not that into those, I'm not a techno geek.) besides, when I wear that one I always have to readjust the straps. It's as aggravating as loose bra straps! I made the yellow one first and liked it but wanted more pockets, and needed them on the inside so I made two outsides out of this fabric and sewed them together, WAY better. Besides I liked this fabric better anyway.

Lined and with oh so many pockets!
A yellow version, just needs a liner or to finish off the inside seams, cannot decide.
Another project I finished up (except the hem) this weekend. I've had this fabric for over a year now, because I bought it when I saw it but couldn't quite decide what to do with it. I made the shirt first and finally found a zipper that matches for the skirt. The original hemline on the skirt won't work for me, I've got crazy legs and need the hemline in just the right place for it to work. I'll probably have my mom help with that as it's hard to do that myself and have it come out straight.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Fresh, Local, Delicious

Homemade Hamburger Buns......

Fresh Local Grass-fed Beef, Onions that I grew, Homemade relish and Homemade Buns...

Homemade Bread, and oh so delicious!
Fresh Bread, Farm Produced Milk, Eggs and Maple Syrup. (I'll admit that the butter is store bought, I have made it from the goat's milk, but not this time...)
Perfect ingredients for French Toast! *

*After all, these vegetarians don't eat beef.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Tatted Treasures

These are some tatted Valentines day decorations that my Great-Grandmother made many years ago. I only wish that I had been interested in learning to do this sort of thing when she was alive, but I was in Jr. High at the time and was never going to be doing what I am now, I was a "Big City" type of girl and had no need of or interest in this type of thing......of how I've come to my senses!

However, I did just find out that a lady I just met this past fall knows how to do this. So maybe I'll see if she'd be willing to show me.... She'll have to have the patience of a saint because I tried once before and was frustrated beyond belief.... hummmmm. Worth checking into at least.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Good Quote

"Life takes care of those who dare to live it."

Maya Angelou

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Coconut 'Cameroons'

What to take to tomorrows Stitch n' Bitch......humm?? I know, I'll whip up a batch of Macaroons, or cameroons as Andrew calls them. (Give him a break, his mothers named 'Twistie' ... that should explain some of it!) Macaroons make me laugh, all my life I'd avoided them, simply because of the name; I couldn't get past it. Last year I had an uncontrollable craving for coconut, so I bit the bullet and made a batch. Much to my surprise I loved them and realized that it was a good thing that I hadn't eaten them all my life as I'd weigh a ton by now!

Can you see the orange-yellow of that egg yolk? That's what they are supposed to look like! Now that's fresh!
I added slightly too much vanilla I think, fortunately it doesn't effect the stiffly beaten whites, the brown vanilla faded, much to my relief!

Added coconut, tried really hard to stay out of it....

fresh out of the oven, cooling on a rack, again tried really hard to stay out of them...

Andrew always like to 'Kick it up a notch!" yes, he's a huge Emeril fan. So I melted some chocolate.... drizzle over the top!

Finished product! Out of this world delicious and as light as air!

Red Wiggler Update

I wanted to update you on the Red Wiggler process. We started this process at the end of November and as you can see they've already got a fair start on the "black gold" as it's called. I do believe there are a few more from when we started. This has to be the easiest thing we've done on the farm!

A Creative Break

I enjoy knitting socks, most of the time. Now I'm a practical woman, I figure nobody but me, (or you if I made them for you.) will actually see these so I don't spend time making them all fancy, no cables, twisted stitches, (although one day I might make myself a pair of those, just for namesake.) argyles etc. So I make them stockinette, well knitting in the round, it's just knitting and mind numbingly boring! I'm currently working on a pair for Ron when I just had to stop, I could not take one more stitch! I needed to take a break and do something creative and different, like the hats, needle roll or this:
I found this pattern and fell in love with it but wasn't sure my knitting skills were up to the task, after all the pattern said it was for intermediate knitters, and it looked intimidating. I have a couple nieces who are all girl and play with their babies all the time so I figured I could make this in a much smaller size to see if I could knit it or stand doing it and if it worked out give it to one of them for their doll. Turns out it was not nearly as bad as I figured and totally manageable. Now to find a yarn that I love as much as the pattern will be another thing, I'm considering Dakotas wool I've got.... That would be so neat!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Buckley's Bellyache

Yikes have I had a day! It's been so nice here the past couple days I've let the goats out to wander around in the yard and unsupervised. Meaning, yes, the kids were out there 'playing' with them but essentially they were unsupervised. None of them took off, I guess that they've realized the grass is not always greener considering what they've come from. Well, the young squire that is Buckley decided to eat all the pine needles off a tree in the back of the barn, all those he could reach at least. Today, I paid for it! During the night and early morning he'd been "painting" the walls of the goat pen and what didn't end up on the walls dribbled all down his backside. Thankfully he's not a fiber goat, all that wool to deal with would have been a huge disaster! He does however have his long winter coat on and actually has very long leg hair. Well folks, you have not lived until you've spent the afternoon washing a bellyache off the backside of a goat!

Monday, February 8, 2010

What?! Does this seem weird to you?

Just an ordinary day, out walking the herd. All 5 goats and Garlic. Seems strange? Huh?
* picture taken by Andrew

Sunday, February 7, 2010

A New Skill!

As you know I'm not a knitter. I will also say that I'm not a crocheter either. I did want to try to learn to crochet but have not had anybody show me, most of the people I know knit. So I had the opportunity to have somebody show me the other day so I took it. I'm glad I did. I stayed up until almost 2am this morning making this, albeit I had to take it out 3 times! I'm not even really sure if it came out right, but I kept doing the same stitch over and over until it was a size I liked.

Love Conquers All

Yes, she was abused in her former life, but I think she's overcome that.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Sailors Delight

On my way home from town tonight I was absolutely gobsmacked by the beauty of this sunset. I was fortunate enough to have brought along my camera to capture it.