Thursday, February 28, 2013


Come explore some of the lost arts of homesteading in this permanent homeskills link-up.

This series of link-ups is a collection of posts about homesteading skills, including canning, sewing, building, soap making, cooking, etc.  You can find great, first-hand information on relevant topics for the modern homesteader.  Stop by The Backyard Farming Connection and check out these links, or share some posts of your own!

Know they neighbors

It is so sad to me these days that fewer and fewer people take the time to know the people who live around them. Why should you invest the time to know your neighbors? I'll tell you why..... Here


Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Crock Pot French Dip Panini

Click here for recipe 

Farm Pals Program

Have you checked into Lally Broch Farm's "Farm Pals" Program?

Designed for children ages 4-10, it provides your child enrichment through fun farm crafts and activities. Additionally, your child can write to the animals living at Lally Broch Farm, ask them questions, and receive back a personal letter.
For complete details or to sign up, visit "Farm Pals".

~Sonja Twomby, Lally Broch Farm

Canned Roast and Carrots

 Store your pantry with convenience food you've prepared yourself!  Then dress up that convenience food and use it as a base for something a little fancier.  Here is a tutorial for canning up a chuck roast and carrots followed by a recipe for a quick and easy beef bourguignon.

 Follow the Black Fox Homestead Blog for more canning tips, gardening hints, and simple country living!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Brooding Baby Chicks

Baby Chicks! I love them! This is the month that I just have to go into the farm stores and see the baby chicks in the brooders.  I'd love to take some home with me, but I don't need to add to my flock this year.  I was nervous the first time I brought baby chicks home, but I found out it wasn't so hard.  To read about brooding chicks and to see photos of my developing flock, visit Maple Grove.

Branching Out: How to Force Spring Blooms.

Do you need a bit of spring cheer? Why not force an early spring appearance...inside? Here are some tips on forcing spring blooms.

XO ~

Julie, Growing Days 

Why the same nesting box?

We have 3 nesting boxes. Identical in size, shape, location. You can see them here: Now, don't get me wrong, I love to come out and find all my eggs neatly arranged in a single nesting box, but why? What is too funny, is hearing them fight over one box. 

It is like a line of ladies waiting in the bathroom, but refusing to go in the empty stalls!  They are walking around, clucking, getting upset, and I look up there and find two empty boxes. What are they doing, they are all trying to fit in one box, and when it can't fit any more, the others wait till they can get in. What I love, is finding an egg in the tray in front of the nesting boxes, you can see in the photo above. This happens when they have waited too long. 

Miss Bella likes to have the box all to herself and not share. She perches outside the box on its ledge till she is just about ready to lay her egg, then she jumps in. You can tell that Buffy is not too happy with this situation!


How to Make Granola in a Crock Pot

For years, I've tried making granola for my family. And for years, I've burned it beyond edibility. And you know what? That is not only frustrating; it's expensive. Sure, making your own granola costs less than buying the boxed kind. But nuts and dried fruit don't come cheap.

So, imagine my delight when I was introduced to making it in the crockpot. Sure, you can burn it in the crockpot, but it's a lot harder. And if I can handle this, you can too.

So, if you want a delicious recipe for a healthy alternative to those store-bought, boxed cereals that is easy-peasy, hop over to Everything Home with Carol.


Monday, February 25, 2013

Tea and Scones at the Library

The library in our village is right on the town square. It’s a beautiful old, brick building, and has housed the dreams of young readers for over one hundred years.  In the early days of the last century, when my dad was a boy, the top floor of the library was used for town and village gatherings—wedding receptions, funeral dinners, dances, guest speakers and traveling road shows.

Our small town has changed from those day, now, once a year the Library Directors host an afternoon tea--to encourage the community to visit the wonderful old building and to help with upstairs renovation expenses.  There's a program, some readings, plenty of tea and scrumptious delights--including my blueberry scones.

Come over to GREEN CIRCLE GROVE for my easy scone recipe (and learn a bit more about the library, too).


Farm sitting

Wishing you could trade in your subway tokens for a tractor? Find yourself daydreaming of green pastures, mudboots, and gentle grazing creatures filling the peaceful quiet of life in the country? Ready to toss out those video games and smartphones and introduce your kids to fresh air, vegetable gardens, and farm chores? Why not try farm sitting for a weekend?  You can read about our recent experience here.

Chick Feeder Candy Dish

What a cute and inexpensive candy dish in time for spring and Easter!  Buy and wash a galvanized chick feeder from your local Tractor Supply or farm feed store.  Fill a mason jar with candy and attach it to the feeder.  What could be more simple?  Brought to you from Maple Grove.

Gourmet Cupcakes

For delicious gourmet cupcakes, through and through, try these easy steps to delight your family and guests! Get directions and recipes at Maple Grove.


(almost) 1 hour cinnamon rolls

The yumminess to be had in a cinnamon roll should not be scheduled for a later date due to a shortage of time. Swing by From a Montana Front Porch today and pick up our recipe for our almost 1 hour cinnamon rolls! Aren't you excited?!
Don't forget to find us on Facebook

A Perfect Day for Shearing

Fiber Harvesting

We had such a good day at Timber Creek Farm.  The sun was shining, the air was warm and the fiber on the goats was ready to be sheared.   Do you want to see how we shear and the beautiful pile of mohair we harvested from our goats?  Stop over on our farm blog and read all about a perfect day for shearing.

My Little Pony...

My little pony....

Saturday we went over to Millennium Quarter Horses so Katzya could take her riding lesson.  When we got there, Tammy (the owner) showed me a little pony she had for sale.  I tell you it was the cutest damn thing I had ever seen!  I was talking to the pony while he was in his stall, and asked Tammy if I could get him out and take him for a walk.  I am not big on riding horses because I am just old enough to be a little afraid of them, and they sense it.  I do love to brush them, feed them, and clean stalls though.  I just find it comforting to be around horses, I don't have to ride them to enjoy them.  With that being said, I do sort of like to ride.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

What's in a word?

These days, one can hardly surf the web or cruise the grocery store without seeing the word "Organic." Farmers' Markets are expanding with those official-looking signs, and there are some, even, that are allowing only organic growers to sell at their market. 

What's in a word? 

Do you avoid conventionally grown produce? 

Or, do you buy what you can afford regardless of a label?

It beams at us, this word, this phrase, invoking a sense of safety, security, and that we might be doing our planet some ecological good by supporting it and all that it represents. But are we really safer, more secure, and ecologically sound for it?

Last summer, I wrote an essay about what "Organic" means to us as small-timey farmers in the southern Piedmont of North Carolina, come on over to Hope Farms and read it. Then tell me what you think.

Head Tilting In Chicks

I've read a lot of things about chickens and hatching out eggs and when I came across a chick last year that would tilt its head so far back that it was actually resting on its back (then proceeding to walk backwards in a 'moon walk') I hopped online to find all the information I could.

Click HERE to read how I fixed this chick and give us a visit on Facebook!

Homesteading Skills Link Up

Join me for the special homesteading skills link up.  Come explore and share posts on sewing, canning, woodworking, baking, and much more.  These posts will remain on the site as permanent resources for people looking for great first hand information.  You can check it out at The Backyard Farming Connection.

Sprouting Giveaway

I recently wrote about sprouting as a way to quench your gardening itch during the winter months.  I am excited to announce that Handy Pantry (by Living Whole Foods, Inc)  has very generously donated several items just for YOU to enjoy!  Come on over to Fresh From Home and join us for a chance to enter!
3 Tray Stackable Sprout Garden
The Sprout Garden compete starter kit: the Grand Prize in this giveaway!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Candling Eggs~ Hatching & Incubating Eggs Part 2

Candling Eggs~ Hatching & Incubating Eggs Part 2     Days 7-17
In my first incubating post I talked about setting up your incubator properly and starting your eggs. Around Day 7 for white or light eggs and Day 10 for brown and darker eggs you'll want to candle the eggs to check for fertility.
To find out how, why, and what you're looking for hop on over to The Egg Basket.

Apple Crisp, anytime!

Yes, apple crisp is a fall favorite, but trust me, it is good ANYTIME!!! There is nothing like warm apples over some ice cream.... yummy! Everyone makes apple crisp different, but this is how I make mine, easy, yummy, and full of love.


Chickens: How It All Began

It's February, the middle of the Winter. It's cold outside and there's a blanket of snow. Now is the time when I plan for the future and reflect on the past. In this article, I take a moment to look back at how my love for chickens began.


Pumpkin-Apple Harvest Delight Muffins

If you have learned anything from looking at my blog, it's that I love my animals dearly.  Some folks might think that it is a bit overkill to bake for birds and if you would have asked me a few years ago, I might have been one of them.  But day by day, these feathered creatures have shown me that they have as much personality and capacity for love as the traditional family pets I was raised with and found it commonplace to give treats to.  They beg for goodies, jumping and racing around at my feet to make sure they are at the very front of the line.  Their eyes look up, shining and expectant, waiting to see if I have something special with me.  Oh, and the delighted little noises when they receive even simple scraps of vegetables or fruits!  Who am I to deny them this pleasure?  Who am I to deny myself this enjoyment in watching their happy antics? here to read more about the recipe for Pumpkin-Apple Harvest Delight Muffins...

Visit The Anderson Family Farm Project on Facebook

An Interview With A Farmer

Being involved as a homesteader has got me thinking. What is it like to be a farmer? Well, so I asked.

The Whimsical Feather

Friday, February 22, 2013

DIY Cat Repellent Using Orange Peels

I was disgusted last summer when we realized that there was not only a cat loose in our yard, but it had obviously been someone's pet. Not only was she friendly, but she was a bit on the heavier side and very healthy. I'll never understand why or HOW someone can dump an animal like that! At any rate, she ended up as another member of our family.

We love her to pieces but unfortunately, none of our other cats do. We had a couple accidents in the beginning when they were letting us know that they did not like to share the litter box! Which is how I came across this DIY cat repellent.

Click here to read the easy recipe and don't forget to visit us on Facebook!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Sewing Tutorial: Gathered Dust Ruffle

Today at Black Fox Homestead we are enjoying the first, (and probably the last) snow of a mild winter.  It is days like these that make one want to stay inside and work on quiet projects like sewing.  Here is the perfect tutorial for just such a day.  Click here to make a gathered dust ruffle!

Follow the Black Fox Homestead Blog and Facebook Page for more homestead hints, gardening tips, and recipes! 

How do Weather Sayings help Predict the Weather?

For thousands of years, farmers relied on weather sayings to help them forecast the weather.  How do these sayings apply today? Do they still work in different locations?  Here are some thoughts on the truth behind some of these sayings.  This is part 3 in a 4 part series on Weather and Climate for the Backyard Farmer from The Backyard Farming Connection.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Herbal Cold Remedy

Cough, Cough, Cough, Sniffle, Sniffle, Sniffle...

That is what we are all doing here at our house. I thought we were in the "Home Stretch" and not going to get ill this Winter. Ha! But I am prepared with my favorite herbal remedy.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Product Review- Manna Pro Egg Wipes

Manna Pro Egg Wipes

A Product Review

Duck eggs are so much dirtier than chicken eggs!

Do you   purchase a commercial product to help you clean up your fresh eggs?  I tend to just use water and a soft scrubby pad.  But I had an opportunity to product test the Manna Pro brand wipes.  Here are my every day, woman on a mission , testing results. 

First calf of the year!

The first calf of the year marks the beginning of a very busy season on a cattle ranch. However, busy or not, the cuteness of these little guys is unescapable! So pour another cup of coffee and get ready to 'ooh' and 'aww' to your hearts content!

Visit From a Montana Front Porch to see more,

Make Your Meat Go Farther in a Meal

A couple weeks ago, I wrote a post on how to get 18 meals out of one ham. Well, after boasting about what I could do with a ham, I figured I better share a few of my recipes for stretching meat.

You have to understand that I’m not talking about having sliced ham and sweet potatoes for 18 nights in a row. The key to saving money on the grocery budget, and stretching a ham, is to use the meat as a compliment to the meal, not the focus. Therefore, in the following recipes, the meat is just another ingredient.

Also, I wrote about a ham. I do the same thing with turkeys and chickens, too; although the most I’ve gotten out of a chicken is 4-5 meals. But it’s still stretching.

If you'd like to see what I do, hop over to Everything Home with Carol.

Blessings to you,

How To: Cat Proof Grow Station

Well, this project won't get any points for beauty, but it might get point for ingenuity!  Last week I posted a project that showed my readers how to make an affordable grow light station, and let me tell you it worked like a charm.  I had zinnias germination in 12 hours and tomatoes in 72 hours.  It was amazing!  The only difficult was the cats kept getting into my seedlings.  I added some foil sides to that grow station and the cats stayed out of it for the most part.  

My seedlings quickly outgrew that growing station, and I really wanted to start some different plants so I decided to move my seedlings somewhere else.  The problem was that my cats are everywhere and I needed a place to keep them safe.  It then dawned on me that you could basically make a grow station in a very large dog crate with a few moderations.  

We pulled our dog crate out of the basement and set it up in the dining room.

Then we hung our lights on chains from the inside.  (I am going to hang 1 or 2 more fixtures, but my bulb wasn't working so I need to return it tonight...)    

I then added the magic cat proof barrier to the outside of the crate.  9Magic cat proof barrier is also known as aluminium foil.)  I put this on with the shiny side facing inward toward the crate so that the light hitting the foil will reflect back in on the plants.  (My cats, which are pretty bold, HATE aluminium foil!)  

Finished product!  Happy seedlings!

If this is going to be your only grow station then I would recommend having the foil come off the sides of the light fixture, making a tent so that you can keep some of the moisture in for the seedlings in the beginning, otherwise I think my contraption is going to work like a charm until I can more these plants outdoors.  Then I will be squirrel proofing them, which is a whole different ballgame!   

Featured in “Chickens®” magazine!

Another Farm Chick blog is being featured in a National Magazine!  Better Hens and Gardens and Bramblestone Farm are featured in the current issue of Chickens magazine - read all about it here. 

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

Sunday, February 17, 2013

It's tapping time, get ready!


Taping your own maple trees is not only easy and fun, but now it is affordable too! Just follow along and MAKE your own equipment!!!!


Saturday, February 16, 2013

Chicken Cacciatore

Looking for more comfort food for these cold days ahead? Try this delicious Chicken Cacciatore over pasta. Your house will be filled with the delicious aroma of mushrooms, peppers, onions and tomatoes.


Friday, February 15, 2013

The mad skilled Olive Egger.

I am floored! Have you ever seen something like this? Our Olive Egger, Luna certainly has some skills when it comes to laying her eggs. THIS IS NOT A JOKE!

My mind can get over this...

Raising Peafowl - A Quick Guide -

Raising peafowl may seem “too exotic” and impossible, but it’s a fantastic hobby with many rewarding results. Most peafowl are not what you would call tame. They tend to be fairly wild in temperament and are more difficult to keep than chickens. Peafowl come in a vast variety of colors from White to Emerald. The easiest coloration to find is India Blue. Peafowl can live up to 40 years in captivity (zoos, breeding facilities, etc.), but only about 20 years in the wild. If you’d like to know more about raising these incredibly beautiful birds, follow along as we go over the basics of peafowl keeping.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

For the LOVE of Seeds: DIY seed starting mix

I LOVE starting my own seeds and can hardly wait for this time of year to come rolling around.  Seed starting is something I long for during our cold Colorado winters, but I LOVE the process of garden planning and seed starting.  Want to start with your own seed starting 'dirt' mix this year?
Hop on over to Fresh From Home to read the rest of the story...

Seed Starting Article Round-Up

Here's my personal goal for you (yeah, you heard right):
  • I want to inspire you to plant your first garden.
  • If you already have a garden -- grow more this year.
  • And no matter where you're at in your gardening venture, I'm hoping that every season you'll plant something you've never grown before.
(And deep-down I hop you'll try growing food)

Read Seed Starting Article Round-Up at A Suburban

Photo by Urban Food Warrior

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