Friday, August 31, 2012

Fairy Gardens...

There are lots of types of Gardens...

Flower Gardens.Vegetable Gardens. Herb Gardens.

Growing up in the 70's, my Stepmother even had a "Rock Garden" (Don't ask...)

At Brighton Park we have a large organic vegetable garden (no small feat in the heat of the Southwest), and potted herb gardens on our front porch, but my favorite?

Our fairy gardens...


Blueberry Bread Pudding with Maple Syrup and Blueberry Sauce

My husband and I love Maine. We would move there in a heartbeat if he could find a job up there. We love the cold snowy winters and the crisp fall days with the beautiful foliage. We love the warm summer days and cool summer nights.  We also love blueberries and maple syrup, two plentiful ingredients in Maine.  

This is a deliciously easy recipe to make for breakfast.  Since you assemble it the night before, you just have to pop it in the oven in the morning.  And you would swear you woke up in Maine !

My Seasons

Ever feel like being a farm chick makes you  experience the year through different seasons than other people?  My latest post explains how I view the yearly seasons.  Hope you all have a wonderful holiday weekend!  If you get a chance to stop by TimberCreekFarm, please leave me a comment!  I love to hear from all of you!  I am enjoying all the new blogs discovered on Farm Chicks Chit Chat! >>>>Read More Here>>>>

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Surviving the Heat- Easy to install misters

This summer was particularly hot! We had 7 days in a row with temperatures around 103', and many more days in the upper 90's. My poor little chickens were about to die in this heat! So, we went to Home Depot and found these systems that were sooo easy to install. Each set was $29.95, so we bought 2 sets, and a timer for the faucet. I used zip ties and attached them to the screen so they would be easy to remove when it cooled down outside. I set the timers to come on around 11am, while I am at work, and they ran until 6pm. The chickens acted much better when the systems came on. No more panting chickens!!! Once temperatures returned to the lower 90's, I stopped the system and let the coop dry out really well. Next year, I am going to try only using one set of misters, but I would rather have a messy coop and keep my chickens cool.

It was extremely easy to install, and didn't require many tools at all! The timer was a necessity for me since I am at work, but it wouldn't be required to set up the system!

Nature nurtures imagination

A Fairy House

Life should be filled with wonder and magic for children. Nature can provide that every day. At MAD Family Fun we love to get out and enjoy what Mother Nature offers. One thing I have learned being a mom is that it doesn't take money or theme parks to make memories.

The other day we not only explored nature, enjoyed its beauty, but also brought to life a spark of imagination. When was the last time you looked for Faries? Find out how to attract some to your yard here!

And for even more fun visit MAD Family Fun on Facebook!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Clicker Chick: Introduction to Clicker Training a Chicken

You didn't misread  that.  I really said ‘clicker training a chicken’ just now.  You may be familiar with the concept of clicker training a dog, as the training method has really taken off in the last decade.  But the connection to a well trained Fido and your backyard flock isn't that far apart!

For those of you who don’t know, or would like to become more familiar with the training method, here are the very bare bones basics in a nutshell.  Clicker training is a term for a variation in operant conditioning, a method of modifying behavior so that an action is specifically linked to a positive (or negative) feeling/sensation so as to increase (or decrease) the likelihood of being repeated.  This is not to be confused with classical conditioning, another method of modifying behavior so that a formerly neutral stimulus becomes coupled with a desired behavior after repetitive exposure to the unconditioned stimulus eliciting a desired response.  Confused?  Let’s give a few examples. HERE to read more...

25 handmade gifts under $5

Good Morning homesteaders!  We found 25 handmade and super cute gifts for under $5-go check out the handsome homesteader and get to crafting!!  Happy homesteading!

To read the post, click here

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

I Can Can

"Ahh, August!  It's the month for canning!"  Here was an experienced canner as thrilled in anticipating her project as I was for the first time.  How encouraging!

Canning is something that I've always wanted to do.  Married for 36 years now, I somehow never found the time to give it a try.  I did a lot of sewing, cooking and baking, and I did do some freezing of fresh foods, but I never did any gardening or canning.  Now that I am retired, I am finally finding the time to do some things I've always wanted to do.  Canning, for one. I deided I wanted to start with tomato sauce and canned tomatoes.  To find out how I did, CLICK HERE.

Join us on Facebook at Maple Grove for daily posts, photos and anecdotes for raising chickens, gardening, DIYing, crafting and just plain living simply.

Make your own Burts Bee's liquid soap for bath time.

Tired of spending a lot of money on an all natural soap for our kids to use at bath time, Emily shows she gets more by using less. Now we don't cringe when the kids get ahold of the bottle and dump half of it in the tub!


Stitching Together a Handmade Life

Visitors to 1840 Farm often comment on the family heirlooms we have on display throughout the farmhouse.  The collection ranges from an antique oak wall phone and century old canister set in the kitchen to the handmade quilts that decorate the bedrooms and keep us warm during the cold winter months.

The collection isn’t limited to the farmhouse.  Our circa 1840 barn holds tools from grandfathers and great grandfathers alike as well as an antique garden spade that my grandmother used when planting her garden.  I have vivid memories of her well into her seventies with spade in hand, tending her tiny garden.  Now I find myself using it to do the same, producing food for my family’s table.

I also spend my mornings much like my great grandfather did, milking in the quiet of the barn.  True, he milked cows and we have dairy goats, but the task and reward are the same.  Spending a few moments at the milk stand provides my family with fresh milk and all the delicious recipes that follow.

Some of these heirlooms were given to me from family members after decades of use.  Others were handmade and given as gifts.  It doesn’t matter to me how they ended up here.  Somehow, they all seem to fit together.  They transform this house into our home and surround us with sweet memories of a time and place that might otherwise be forgotten.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Selling Poultry (Chicks)

So, you finally have a few hens laying and a rooster getting the job done. You’ve hatched out your first chicks, but realize…ehhh…I don’t wanna keep them! I gotta sell these guys (and possibly more in the future)! Here’s some tips on selling poultry from my personal experience.

  • Sign Up On Craigslist
When I say sign up, I don’t just mean post an ad. I mean make an account. You can keep track of all your past and present ads. Plus, everytime you make a new ad, you don’t have to fill in your e-mail address everytime or go through the e-mail verification thing. It’s just easier to have a Craigslist account (it’s free, don’t worry).

It's Cheese Week at Iron Oak Farm!

Hi to all at Farm Chick Chit Chat! I'm excited to start sharing and learning with all of you fellow farm girls! I am posting from our farm in Fenton, Michigan where we raise rare breeds of chickens, fiber goats, fiber rabbits, dairy goats, ducks, heritage breed turkeys, bees and all sorts of heirloom veggies.

The theme to our blog lately has been cheese making. We've been putting to good use the delicious goats milk that our Alpine doe Esther has been sharing! We've been working our way through the Ricki Carrol book, Home Cheese Making, and so far we've made mozzarella, a simple goat cheese, whey ricotta, and two wheels of hard cheddar. To read more about all the fun we're having check out my post Goat's Milk Ricotta. Tomorrow I will be sharing how we waxed our cheddar wheels, and I also see a batch of Parmesan in the near future!

Visit Iron Oak Farm  

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Easy Mozzarella

This was our dilemma. What to do with all this goat milk? Farmer's Cheese is amazing and so is chevre, but we were wanting to try something different - something that was a little more challenging.
Mozzarella intimidated me a little, I'll admit. In my research for a good recipe I heard a lot of horror stories. We finally settled on one and took the plunge. I first picked a recipe that took a little while. I figured that maybe taking our time would somehow make it come out better instead of being rushed, but it failed. Horribly. My first mistake going into it was that the recipe was done as a 'I put about this amount in there' instead of a clear amount. My second was all the confusing 'techniques' they had. 
When that failed, I looked for another recipe and came across this gem. It isn't a 30 minute recipe, technically, but the total time you actually spend on it would equal about that. We have made this three times and never once botched it up and this last time, we doubled the batch to make sure that you could too before I blogged about it.

Green Circle Grove Green Tomato Relish

This has been a terrific tomato summer!  All that hot, dry weather is just what our tomatoes need to grow and grow.  My canner is working overtime for sauces and juices, and that little “ping” indicating a sealed jar is one of my daily delights.  I like to use some of the green tomatoes, too.  This easy recipe for relish is the one my mom used in her farmhouse kitchen fifty years ago, but it’s still our favorite for spreading on hot dogs, burgers, and even baked beans!


2 quarts ground green tomatoes                                 5 green peppers
1 red(sweet) pepper            7 onions
Grind all together and add ¼ cup salt.  Soak overnight.  In the morning, drain well.  Add 1 pint vinegar, 3 cups sugar, ½ cup prepared mustard, 1 Tablespoon flour.  Cook slowly and stir until mixture is almost transparent, about an hour.  Seal into hot cans and process 10 minutes for half-pints and 20 minutes for pints.  Makes about 5 pints.

Follow Green Circle Grove on Facebook, too!

Homemade Coffee Creamer

Good morning homesteaders!  A few weeks ago I wrote a post on how to make your own coffee creamer.  I love to make my own, it tastes better and you have total control over what goes in it.  To read the whole post and get instructions on how to make your own delicious creamer, click HERE and as always, Happy Homesteading!

French Copper Marans

RUMOR: Did you know it's rumored that some French chefs will ONLY cook with French Copper Marans chicken eggs, claiming they are superior in taste and quality?

FACT: Marans shells have smaller pores in them making the eggs far less likely to contain salmonella and stay fresher longer than eggs from other breeds.  

Maybe those French chefs are on to something!

This post is featured at Katie's French Language Cafe.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

How to Make an American Wall Flag from a Picket Fence

My husband and I enjoy the creative challenge of turning trash into treasure.  We look for the opportunities.  We had one such opportunity this summer when we tore apart a picket fence.  To some people those weathered, twisted boards may have been destined for the burn pile, but we saw their potential for country style decor in the form of an American wall flag. We loved experiencing the transformation of old wood into art, as well as the savings.  This type of wall art starts at $80, but it cost us nothing.  To read the full story with step-by-step directions CLICK HERE.

Join us on Facebook at Maple Grove for daily posts, photos and anecdotes for raising chickens, gardening, DIYing, crafting and just plain living simply.

To Goat or not to Goat...

Have you ever thought about adding goats to your homestead? Two years ago, we added the two cutest, mischievous little goats to the Brighton park Barnyard. Let's just say there were some lessons learned...

<<<Read More

Homemade Butter

Homemade Butter

Eating well need not be expensive!  My husband and I are fortunate to live within easy access of a local dairy that provides excellent quality milk and cream from grass fed cows.  We have learned that with just a little bit of extra time in the kitchen, and a little bit of good ole' fashioned elbow grease, the cream can be churned to produce beautiful butter superior to what can be purchased at an upscale grocery for just a fraction of the price.  Whether you have a local dairy in your area, own your own dairy cow, or purchase your cream from the grocery you should be able to enjoy homemade butter at your table as well.   Read more about it here.

Follow the Black Fox Homestead blog and Facebook page for more recipes, gardening tips, and simple country living. 

Meal Worm Farming

Meal Worm Farm

Meal worms

As we all know, meal worms are a great feed supplement for all poultry flocks, and it is very easy to "grow" you own!  Over time, depending on how often you like to give your birds meal worms, it can indeed get quite pricey.  In a time where the "name of the game" is to spend as little as possible and be more self sufficient …

>>Read more

Friday, August 24, 2012

Fun fashion at the county fair!

Summer mean county fair time! Cotton candy, elephant ears, chickens, and homemade pies. These are the memories every child should have. I know when I was young, going to the fair was amazing and showing at one was even better.

Home School?

Eddie at "home" school

Although home schooling is not technically a Farm Chick Chit Chat topic, I wonder how many of us out there home school?

My take on homeschooling has drastically changed over the course of the last few years.  When our son, Eddie, was born in 2005 it changed my life.  It makes sense that his birth was the foundation of change that was soon to envelope me and pave the way for the home-centered life we are now embracing.

What people are reading