Saturday, March 30, 2013

Glitter Eggs

We're getting crafty for Easter and this year's egg decorating project is making Glitter Eggs!  See how to make this easy, beautiful Easter decoration here at Keep Your Memories in Your Shoes.  Happy Easter!!-  Renee

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Gardening Methods: Traditional and Organic

Over the next month or two, I will be delving in and exploring some of the different gardening methods.  This week I'm discussing traditional and organic gardening over at the Backyard Farming Connection.

Breakfast Recipe Week & Asheville Girls Vanilla Giveaway

Chalkboard Paint Planter

 Has winter been sticking around too long, where you live?  Are you waiting and hoping for warmer temperatures so that you can get into your garden and put some dirt underneath your fingernails?  Today I am sharing a quick easy way to bring some gardening into your life right now.  It combines two of my favorite things into one project.  Read on to see how I made my cute planter boxes.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

It's foaling time here on the homestead, we are anxiously awaiting the arrival of our sweet baby from momma Denira.

Read how we prepped here

Spring Cleaning Detailed Checklist

Spring is FINALLY here and if you're anything like me, you are anxious to throw open all of the windows, light a little Nag Champa incense (actually...this may just be me) and begin your spring clean!  This year I decided to be a little more organized with my clean and developed a checklist to keep myself on track. Now don't get too overwhelmed.  Most of these tasks are small, do not take long to complete, but doing them will make a huge difference in the appearance of your home.  Focus on tackling one room per day, if you are up to it move to the next room, if not, take a break and start up again the next day.  You should be able to get through this list within a week or two and your house will thank you for it! Click here for your free printable! 

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

One Potato, Two Potato...

Tomatoes get all the love...but growing potatoes opens up a world of varieties and flavors. Plus, you don't need a huge garden--you can grow them in containers on your patio. Want to give it a try? Here's how. ~ Julie, Growing Days

Generations of Swedish Potato Bread

I've heard it said that recipes that have been handed down throughout generations of family members are the best ones you can find.  I can actually say that this is the best bread recipe I have ever had!  Of course, I am a bit biased since this is our 'heirloom' family recipe passed down through many generations.  This recipe is straight from my Swedish heritage.  I am proud to share this story and recipe with you!  Click here to travel to Fresh From Home where generations of family recipe secrets will be revealed! 

Pork Fried Rice

I absolutely love fried rice! I used to have to wait until I could go to a Chinese restaurant to enjoy this lovely dish, but lately I’ve been making it at home! If you love fried rice, but don’t know how to make it, continue reading HERE!
The recipe does not have EXACT measurements, so be ready to experiment a bit!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Preparedness just got cooler....

Preparedness Just Got Cooler....

Tonight it is snowing here on the farm, and currently we have about 4 inches of snow on the ground.  We are supposed to get a lot of snow, as the forecast is calling for 7-10 inches of snowfall starting tonight and ending Wednesday.  It was such a gray day today and the world outside felt so drab and depressing, much like my heart felt at the mere mention of more white powder!

Yesterday we were at my nephew's birthday party and it was a lovely 48 degrees and sunny.  Another guest and I were talking and she said, "Think about how it would have been to live before news forecasts and technology.  You would have no clue, based on the weather today that you were going to get 7-10 inches of snow tomorrow!" 

I thought about this statement all night long.  She is right.  You would have no clue about the weather if you didn't have access to the technology that we have now.  That is why being "prepared" was so important to homesteaders.  It was a way of survival.  If you weren't prepared for whatever life threw at you then you couldn't just drive down to the Quickie Mart and grab a gallon of milk.  If you didn't have supplies, you and your family were in jeopardy of dying.

I realize that we don't have to "prepare" for much anymore.  We live in a world of convenience, where everything we need to survive is at our disposal.  Perhaps that is why people frequently ask me, "Why do you do all this homesteading stuff?  Is it really worth it?!"  

I don't know.  I am sitting in the comfort of my warm home right now, planting seeds and listening to my chicks contentedly chirping in the background, while you are fighting rude people at the grocery store for the last gallon of milk.  You tell me, is it really worth it?!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Cute Coops

With spring now less than a week away, chicks are speedily making their way into thousands of homes across America. These fuzzy and adorable new additions will be turning some folks into first time chicken owners and we remember all too well the excitement and planning that comes in the weeks following their homecoming.  We know it's hard to imagine now, but your chickens are going to quadruple in size over the next few months. That brooder box they're in now that fits ever so nicely in the corner of your living room floor? Well, it wont be long before they begin planning their great escape, standing on top of their dishes and leaping over the edge into freedom.   Before you know it your chicks will need a bigger and more permanent home.  

I think I know where Cadbury Eggs come from....

Once upon a time, Blue Hilda had many friends. One was unlike any other as he had not feathers, but fur.

Oreo & Blue Hilda

They dined together often. Which made me wonder, is THIS how Cadbury Eggs were made?  

Spring Surprises

For the past few days, I have had a horrible, sinking feeling that I have been unable to shake. I actually thought that something was going to go wrong with the goats. It got to the point that I confided in Sean that I have him turn on the lights and check the stalls each morning before me because I am afraid of what I will find. It is an unfounded fear and irrational, but perhaps understandable in the wake of Sapphira and Pepper's shocking deaths last month. Sean assured me that everything was fine and it was. I still couldn't shake this feeling.

Something sure happened, but it was not at all what I expected. Come on over to Lally Broch Farm and I'll tell you all about it.

Sonja ♥

Easy Craft Idea

Hey everyone, I just ran across this really easy craft idea that would be great for young kids. Or...., with Easter right around the corner, they would make great stuffers for the easter baskets!

All you need is a bath poof! Get those cheap at the dollar store or drugstore. Some craft felt, and a needle and thread or hot glue gun. You can easily do a bunny with the same idea and a white poof!
(photo courtesy of

Friday, March 22, 2013

DIY Bunny Crayons

 Here is a great way to use old crayons and create a cute gift to give just in time for Easter and Spring! See how Here

Happy Spring!!!!!

Heather at The Whimsical Feather

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Kidding Supplies and Preparation

It's spring and that means Nigerian Dwarf goat kids on the farm (we're expecting at least a dozen).  They are absolutely adorable, but there are supplies and preparations that need to be taken care of before kidding starts.  Continue reading here to learn which supplies to have on hand (and what they are for) as well as how to prepare for goat kidding!

Lesa (Farm Website) (Farm Blog) (Facebook)

Mending Things

Do you "mend" things, or just toss them away?  I think there's still a lot of value in having a sewing kit and using basic stitches to repair those items instead of throwing them in the rag bin.  What's in your sewing box?   -  Renee, Keep Your Memories in Your Shoes.

What's Stopping You?

There are few guarantees in life. Stability, certainty, and financial soundness aren't any of them. What is a rock solid theory, though, is that life is a high percentage what you make it. I don't think I fully comprehended the "attitude is everything" cliche until I was well into my thirties. And some lessons are still hard to fully learn. Some, still, are not learned yet.

Aspire to make a difference...not just a living.
Explore, with me, what that means.

What do we want? And then, when we have figured that out, we need to ask ourselves one. more. question. What is stopping us?

Come on over to Hope Farms to read the rest of my essay.  I'll meet you there.

Welcome Spring and a New Chick

Welcome Spring!

Welcome Spring! We welcomed Spring here at The Egg Basket with some new arrivals yesterday! We're still staggering hatches indoors using our incubators and hatchers but we also had a great Spring surprise outdoors! 

Click on over to see our newest, most beautiful arrival!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Homemade Dishwasher Detergent Cubes

It's no secret that I love making things from scratch if I can. That goes for food, cleaners, toothpaste, laundry soap.. just about anything. We were recently having a lot of trouble finding a good dishwasher detergent that got our dishes clean because nothing else was working. We actually had to wash things by hand - but then, what's the point in having a dishwasher right??

I set out to find my own way to make some and I had a few duds before coming across this one. I tweaked it a tiny bit to fit what I was looking for and this makes a great little cube for washing! 

Click HERE to check out the recipe and don't forget to give us a visit on Facebook!

An Early Spring Walk in the Woods

One recent winter day, the temperatures felt quite spring like.  We decided to take a walk in our woods.
On first glance the property seemed brown and desolate.  So much brown to be seen. Where was spring?  Continue reading >>>>>>>>

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

GIVEAWAY! Brinsea EcoGlow Chick Brooder

Happy Poultry Day everyone!  We are giving away an EcoGlow Chick Brooder to one lucky reader!  Enter HERE for your chance to win! 

Talking about Learning and Extracting Honey

Have you ever jumped into a project without being fully prepared.  This weekend we unexpectedly extracted honey from our hive.  Come hear about our mistakes and ultimate success at the Backyard Farming Connection.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Caption Contest!

Let's have a little fun and see who the funny and creative ones are out there!  Help me out here, what should the caption be for this hilarious photo taken during a lovely backyard evening at Fresh From Home?  I can't WAIT to see what you creative folks come up with!

Newborn Goat Kids

Rudy has been showing "sign" of impending delivery for weeks. Each day we check her at breakfast, mid-day, and dinner. We run out hands over her spine and under her growing belly. We check her udder, look for indications that today might be the day and wonder, "Is she ever going to kid?"

Sunday, was the day! Pop over to Lally Broch Farm to read about what happened and see our adorable baby goat kid pictures- if we do say so, ourselves!z

Sonja ♥

Living Prepared


 Living Prepared

I've always been a bit of  a prepper.  Of course we didn't call it that back in the day.  My reason for prepping was not economically driven.  It was not related to political reasons, or the feeling of impending disaster. Do you want to know why and how I live prepared?   Read more here>>>>>> on Timber Creek Farm

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Chick Photo Shoot

I love new chicks. I love the peep, peep, peep sounds they make. I love how they are awake one second and sound asleep the next. I love to cuddle their fluffy goodness. Smack in the middle of doing the work I was supposed to accomplish today, I had the unquenchable urge to take pictures of the little balls of fluff.

If you are looking for a little "awwwww" in your day, come on over for a visit to Lally Broch Farm and see our new little peeps. :)

Sonja ♥
Lally Broch Farm

Goat Kidding and Emergency Kit

Being stuck in a sticky situation without the proper emergency supplies makes things much more stressful than they need to be. After an emergency where my doe went into labor 3 weeks before she was due, I learned the hard way what supplies we should have on hand all the time. 

Click HERE to see the supplies that you should have and check us out on Facebook!

Friday, March 15, 2013

A Giveaway & Being Imperfectly Perfect: What a Chicken and a Dog Can Teach You

We are all well aware of the standards of perfection that are impressed upon us on a daily basis.  How we measure up, quite literally and figuratively  from our newborn days til the last of our lives somehow become an unnecessary definition of who we are.  These concepts have lead to increased incidents of bullying in our schools, lowered self esteem and higher rates of depression and anxiety.  In short, we are so worried about being perfect that we are letting it control our lives.  But what is perfect?

I had the opportunity to examine this exact question from a unique and unexpected angle after visiting the Ohio National poultry show in November.  No, it wasn't the striking plumage of some rare breed or the shining display of trophies that put my mind in action.  It was a chance meeting there with a wonderful man who has accomplished many things.  While pursuing the vendor tables and club displays, a table set up caught my eye.  A book, but not just any book.  A brightly colored, vividly illustrated children's book beckoned to me from a few stands away.

To read more & to learn about our giveaway come visit today!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Sweet Citrus: How to Avoid a Sour Experience.

Are you ready for a gardening challenge? I thought I was...and then I committed the ultimate crime. You can read about it here.


Julie, Growing Days

Chick Days!

Chick Days!

We have been flipping back and forth on our plans for a spring flock for several months now.  Originally we were going to skip chicks all together this year and wait until next year to start an entire new flock, but there is that 4-5 month window where you have no eggs if you wipe out all of your laying hens and replace them with younger hens.  (I don't think I can deal with the Reluctant Farmer whining about no eggs for that long ever again!)  Then I made plans to teach a class at the cultural center and decided that we would buy chicks when I placed an order for my classroom, however I caved tonight and could not wait until summer to get chicks. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Vote for Your Favorite Heirloom Seed Varieties

I grew my first heirloom tomatoes back in 2006.  I wondered if they would taste differently than the tomatoes I had grown before.  As I took the first bite of a Black Cherry still warm from the sun, I wondered why I had waited so long to plant heirlooms in our garden.

Since then, I have tried heirloom lettuce, radishes, onions, potatoes, squash, beans, berries, and anything else I can get my hands on.  They have all amazed me with their taste, production, and vigor.  It's no wonder that these seeds have stood the test of time.

I love heirlooms so much that I am going to offer a collection of our favorite seeds for sale in my Etsy shop so that you can give them a try in your own gardens.  All of the seeds will be non-GMO, heirloom varieties. 

Each packet will arrive with its own historic profile and a recipe that we enjoy at our family table here at 1840 Farm.  There will be opportunities for you to share photos and news from your garden throughout the growing season with me and the other members of The 1840 Farm Online Community.  

I have chosen some of my favorite heirloom varieties to be considered for our 2013 collection.  Now I'd like to learn about your favorite varieties.  So, take a moment and visit and cast your votes for the seeds you would like to see included in this year's collection.  Your answers will help shape the collection.  If you have a favorite that you would like to see added to the list, leave me a comment.  I can't wait to see the results!

Visit 1840 Farm and cast your vote or view the current results of the poll.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Dress up your seed flats

Nothing more boring than a row of black seed trays with nothing growing in them. Right?

Since most people use the 1020 trays which are purchased most everywhere, I will be using these for this article however, this will work with different sized trays.

Basic seed flat with tomato seedlings Urban gardening, backyard, wood lathe
The basic 1020 seed tray with micro greens all "dressed up".

I used scrap lumber in my project as there always seems to be some laying around.  The first piece to mark out and cut to length was the side pieces.  This can be done with either a miter box or a power saw.

Continue Reading  >HERE<

DIY Sidewalk Chalk/Paint

I came across, and shared, a post on Facebook the other day about making your own sidewalk chalk and got so many questions about it that I wanted to try it out for myself so that I could actually help. This was so much fun!

Click HERE to see the recipe and give us a visit on Facebook!

Waiting for Spring? Try a new hobby!

Spring is around the corner. To avoid the "Winter Blues" I tried a new hobby.

Homesteading is Not Simple

Homesteading may come from the idea of simple-living, but there is nothing simple about it.  There is hard work, everyday, all year long.  So why do we choose this lifestyle.

Come join me for some thoughts at the Backyard Farming Connection.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Featured Farmer at Local Hens

For a short time, we're (Bramblestone Farm/Better Hens and Gardens) the "Featured Farmer" at Local Hens, a website that promotes local farmers connecting to consumers through their Local Hens website.  To find more about listing your farm (it's free) or finding local farmers near you, continue reading here.  You could be the next featured farmer!

Lesa (Farm Website) (Farm Blog) (Facebook)

Yummy and Pretty Tea Eggs

Here is a fun project that you can eat! Tea eggs are both delicious and beautiful. It can take as little as an hour and as long as a day to prepare – it’s up to you! Read more for ingredients and instructions!

Our Geese Take a Bath

Freezing water or no, Justin and Caitlin did not mind some time to get their feet wet and give themselves a nice bath. It was so much fun to watch them play, even if they only had 2 inches of unfrozen waters in which to do it! Come on over for a visit and see them in action.

Lally Broch Farm: China Buff Geese

Sonja ♥

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Flourless Chocolate Cake WIth Chambord Glaze

My beautiful and wonderful Mommy asked me to bake her a flourless chocolate cake for her birthday.  I had never made a flourless chocolate cake and for the first time I chose a recipe based only on the appearance of the finished product.  Once I started baking, I became immediately intimidated and worried I had made a huge mistake.  I am happy to report that the cake turned out beautifully, it was edible and my mom was impressed! Click here for the recipe! 

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Purification-it sounds better than detox

Like wine?  Coffee?  How bout a great big steak?  Well for 21 days I won't get any of that!  I'm trying a purification program.  I'm on day 5 and feeling great-read all about it over on the homestead-

Happy homesteading detoxing!

Laundry Day

I'm trying something new here today- hanging laundry out on the clothesline while there is still snow on the ground!  Do you use your outdoor lines during the winter months? Does it work?  Let's see what happens here at Keep Your Memories in Your Shoes.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Cheddar Beer Lime Crock Pot Chicken

I recently had a conversation with my best friend where she told me how busy she was and could not seem to get anything done.  Her house was suffering, she was exhausted, and most nights she just could not manage getting dinner on the table.   Sound familiar?  I asked her if she ever used her Crockpot, her response.... no....I said "No!? Girl....the crockpot is your FRIEND!! Use it!  And to make life even easier, prep your meal the night before (because seriously who has time to be prepping food during the morning kitchen rush hour).  Put everything in the crockpot, put it in the fridge and in the morning, pop it in turn it on and dinner is served!  This is one of my favorite lifesaving crockpot recipes click here for the directions.  

A Childhood Meal Revised


In this article I went back to a favorite childhood meal and revised it to an adult version. Read here for more of this exciting story.


Thursday, March 7, 2013

A Month on our Homestead

At Black Fox Homestead, we've been keeping a journal of the first twelve months of life in the country; sharing the ups as well as the downs, our challenges, successes, and failures.   
Click here to read about our fourth month: the month my husband and I decided to homestead full time. 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

DIY Jell-O Play-Dough

My kids adore play-dough, and although most of it ends up ground into the fibers of my area rugs, I still continue to buy it. Today I took the insanity a step further and by made our very own homemade play-dough.  I found a lot of recipes online and after I had settled on my favorite, I starting reading the (mixed) reviews.  Comments that the dough was too sticky and others that said the dough ended up covered in mold after a few days (although apparently refrigeration will keep the dough mold-free for two weeks) were enough to turn me away.  I began to question if the reason for the sticky and moldy results could possibly be due to the high content of sugar in the Jell-O mix. So, I decided to carry on with my play-dough journey using sugar free Jell-O and crossing my fingers that I don't open a jar full of sticky moldy play-dough.  I have not confirmed this theory by the way, but will update when I have. Click HERE for the recipe and directions! 

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Growing Uncommon Vegetables

Growing your own garden means you have an amazing opportunity to try crops that aren't commonly sold in the grocery store.  This year don't stick to the staples, try some of these ideas from the Backyard Farming Connection.

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