Friday, May 31, 2013

Where are all the Bees?

The last year saw a record number of bee deaths across the country.  What's causing these deaths and what can we do to help?  The Backyard Farming Connection digs a bit deeper into what's happening to the bees.

First one!

What could surpass the excitement of owning our first chickens?  Why, our first egg of course! 

Visit us at First One! at Pasture Deficit Disorder to read all about it.  

Thursday, May 30, 2013


Keeping your flock and herds comfortable during a heat wave takes a little bit of time and some preventative measures.  We are sharing some of the tips we have learned to keep everyone comfortable at Timber Creek Farm.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Foraging for Burdock and Making Carduni

Are you interested in learning to forage to feed your family? I like knowing how to find food in the wild that can be prepared and eaten for a boost of nutrition and great taste. Learn what burdock looks like and how to prepare it!

Posted by Lisa Lynn, The Self Sufficient HomeAcre.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Barn and Property Fire Prevention: Fire Breaks

Photo credit:The Daily Herald
Fire prevention starts with safety precautions inside your barn and home. But, what if the fire comes to you? If your barn and property are surrounded by grasslands or woods, creating a fire break is one simple way to place some distance between your property and a moving grass or forest fire. Dry summer heat is approaching, so read more about what preventative measures you can do from a former first responder, The Horseless Housewife

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Adding Beneficial Flowers to Your Vegetable Garden

There are so many ways that flowers can benefit your vegetable garden.  Not only will flowers add bursts of color, but they can help deter pests and attract pollinators and are often edible as well.  Stop over at the Backyard Farming Connection to hear a bit more about adding beneficial flowers to your edible garden.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Meet the Flock- Our Blue & Splash Silkies

Meet the Flock ~ Our Wonderful Blue & Splash Silkies
It's been awhile since I've introduced you'll to the chickens that make it all happen over at The Egg Basket.  We've really been moving things around, adding new Exhibition birds to our flock, hatching a TON of chicks, and making decisions on where we want to go with our lines.  I think we're finally where we want to be (for now ;)) with our breeders, layers, and lines.  Want to meet them all?  Come on over to The Egg Basket!

Orally Medicating Your Chicken

You've just gotten back home from the vet and for whatever reason, you find yourself holding a syringe and a bottle of medications. Somehow, you’re supposed to use this syringe to orally medicate your sweet chicken. This may seem like a difficult task, but with a little advice and a bit of practice, you can quickly medicate your bird and get back to enjoying some quality chicken time. Read more of my guest post here -->
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Welcome to our Blog Giveaway!

Welcome to all friends, new and not so new.  We are so happy you are sharing our journey through our writings and pictures here on the community blog.  In a normal neighborhood situation, we would just invite you all over for cake and coffee.  But here in blog land we like to welcome friends with a great big old giveaway!  Joining together enables us to bring you a diverse selection of goods, writing styles, photographs of different farm animals and tasty recipes.  This giveaway brings all that together in two distinct packages.

We have decided to put together two different prize packs. The first one has a single winner and consists of hatching eggs from a breeder of unique, quality, chickens.  Use the RaffleCopter directly below to enter to for your chance to win hatching eggs and don't forget to scroll down to the second RaffleCopter app to enter for your chance to win one of nine fantastic prizes!

Tiffany, from The Egg Basket has a dozen hatching eggs for one lucky winner.  You will be glad to win this selection from one of the most meticulous breeders we know! Retail Value $70.00

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Then in other prizes we have quite an assortment.  

Sonja has donated a one-of-a kind Mosaic Eggshell Pendant hand pieced from the shells of her own hens eggs. Lally Broch Farm, located in Maine, sells the beautiful jewelry on their Etsy shop but you might win your own unique piece. 

Description: "Crimson & Clover" Our layered diamond inspired pendant measures approximately 2.5" x 2.5". The base diamond is hand painted in shades of emerald green. I painted the top diamond in a varigation of rich garnet red. . This piece is painted black on the back and signed. The ornate silver toned bale is secured with a jump ring fastened through the top of the diamond. This pendant comes with a 24" inch, silver tone, link chain that closes with a silver tone lobster clasp. Retail Value $25.00
Another reader will win one creamy, 5 oz, Goat's Milk Soap bath bar from Lally Broch Farm. If you win, which scent will you choose: Lavender, Baby Powder, Peppermint, Citrus-Mint, Cinnamon, or Jasmine? Retail Value $7.25

Marissa has painstakingly blown out some gorgeous eggs.  This is truly a  breathtaking art form from Abundance Farms.

Description: 6 blown eggs. You will receive a colorful assortment of three Black Copper Marans, one Yokohama, one Easter Egger, and one carved Pekin duck egg. Each egg has been collected from our various breeds and blown out for your decoration or crafting purposes. Eggs are blown out by using a needle to poke two holes at each end of the egg and then the egg is cleaned out. Very rarely do I make my Easter Egger's (her name is Waldo and she was my first hen ever) eggs available for purchase. She lays one of the most beautiful green eggs I have ever seen. So, why not take a little piece of Abundance Farms with you?

Janet raises  sheep and the wool is locally spun into yarn.  The Border Leicester yarn from Timber Creek Farm is 2 ply and knits and crochets beautifully.   The 150 yard skein is plenty of yarn for a long scarf or maybe a pair of hand warmers or mittens.

Gretchen, not only raises everything from kids to garden vegetables to farm animals but also paints!  This absolutely stunning painting from Gretchen at The Backyard Farming Connection is on 6 x 6 canvas and sure to be a favorite with any chicken lover.

Lesa from Bramblestone Farm is donating a beekeeping book.  Many people  have recently realized the benefits of owning bees and harvesting honey.  This book will be an often used resource in your homestead library.  Read more from Lesa on Better Hens and Gardens, too.

Our FarmHousewife, Sheila made a rustic rag rug for the giveaway.  I don't know about you, but I love these rugs.  The workmanship that goes into something like this makes it all the more valuable. Visit Sheila at Hope Farms.   (the rug color and pattern may vary)

The Handsome Homesteader, Marlana makes some lovely jewelry.  Nothing like a handmade necklace to add just the right touch to your outfit.  Or maybe share with a friend, as a special birthday gift?

And to sweeten the pot a little more, we have donations of  Chris Mclaughlin's book Vertical Vegetable Gardening and two seed packets from Page Seed Company. 

The two giveaways are running at the same time so enter one or both.  Winners will be chosen on June 1, 2013

(Please use a valid email that you check frequently.  We will contact the winners twice by email, announce the winners on the facebook page and blog page.  If we don't hear from the winners within a week we will choose a runner up winner for that prize. )  All prizes must be sent to a valid street delivery address and not a PO box.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, May 19, 2013

What is your "Plan A"?

There is a young lady that I work with, who is an amazing young lady.  She has a personality that can light up a room, determination that most people could not muster, and an attitude that is absolutely refreshing.  You can tell in the first 5 minutes of engaging in a conversation with Elizabeth, that she is going to do amazing things with her life.  She omits success, and her positivity is something  that I admire.

Several weeks ago, she and I were standing in the front office at work talking to a student.  The student was asking Elizabeth about her decision to go to med school, and how things were going for her.  I had my back to the two of them while they were talking, but was listening to what they were saying giving my input every once in a while.  Elizabeth was talking about her MCAT scores, what universities she had applied to and who had she not heard back from yet.  While this conversation was going on, all I kept thinking was the someday, she is going to make a fabulous doctor!  They compared notes and suddenly the student says:  "So, what's your plan B?!"  Elizabeth quickly answered, with conviction: "There is no plan B, there is only plan A.  Medical school!"  This really touched me, and for the last week I have been mauling this conversation over in my head.

Do you know what we could accomplish if we never had a "Plan B"?  That's right, anything and everything we set our mind to!  My question to you is, what is your "Plan A", and if you have not accomplished this yet, what is holding you back?

Saturday, May 18, 2013

How to propperly clip wings

 Sometimes, it's not possible to cover your run.  Or maybe you have a gal who likes to fly into your cover.  We had a HUGE run at one point and I was not sure how to cover the whole thing so I clipped some wings. 

If you chose to clip-this is how ya should do it. 

Friday, May 17, 2013

Catching Up With Lally Broch Farm

Life is busy for everyone regardless of where you live and whether or not you keep livestock, grow gardens or raise children. Sometimes, the days seem to fly by and that is the way it has been here for us lately. We've accomplished a ton of necessary work, but we've been too tuckered out to post about it. When that happens, it feels good to set aside some time to catch up with friends and share what you have been doing.

Come over for a visit to Lally Broch Farm and let's us catch up some.

Sonja ♥

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Growing Rhubarb

As we were enjoying our first rhubarb crisp of the year (recipe here), I was reminded again of how 
easy rhubarb is to grow, and it seems to me that every backyard and homestead should have a few plants.  It's a perennial, so once you get some plants going, they greet you in early spring every year.  To find out how to get started, click here. (Farm Website) (Farm Blog) (Facebook)

Monday, May 13, 2013

What To Consider Before You Buy An Animal

There are lots of matters to consider before you buy an animal as a pet. I don’t just mean a horse or a goat. I mean chickens, rabbits, sheep…I mean ANY animal at all. I constantly hear about how “it just didn’t work out” and “I don’t know what I’m doing”. Sometimes, I applaud individuals for selling an animal that they can’t control or keep to a more appropriate home. It’s better to be safe (for you and/or the animal) than to be sorry. Other times, I have to wonder “well, why did you get the critter in the first place?” In today’s post, I’m going to give you some things to think about before you buy an animal.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

New Perspective

With spring bringing new life and growth to our gardens, I am reminded of the the many ways my own perspective has grown and changed as I've embraced the homesteading mentality.  For me, homesteading is a different way to see the world, one that is built around the process of bringing food and resources from the backyard to the table.  Stop over and hear a few others ways that homesteading has changed my perspective at the Backyard Farming Connection.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Farm Driveway Monitor

Like many farms, we have a long driveway, and we've complained for years that when vehicles come
up the drive (depending on where we are in the house) we've got no idea that someone is about to arrive.  I'm happy to say we recently solved that little problem, and you can find out how here

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

Millie's Day at the Spa

Millie the Sheep, takes over the blog today.  Read about Millie's account of her day at the spa.  A new haircut and pedicure does wonders for a girl!  Click here for the full story

Train up a child....

"Train up a child in the way he should go, and even when he is old he will not depart from it."
Proverbs 22:6

I am a firm believer that we are so far removed from our food source, that if we do not start educating the current generation of young people about what they are eating and where it comes from, we are in trouble folks!

Several years ago, I remember talking to a group of ladies at work while we were eating our lunch.  We were talking about their children going for kindergarten examinations, and some of the questions that the educators asked along with their children's answers.  There was one answer that made my skin crawl.  The question was:  "Where do milk and eggs come from?"  Several of the children remarked: "Kroger's!"  This appalled me!  How as a nation, have we become so far removed from our food source that our children only know their food comes from the grocery store, and better yet, how can we fix it?  

Here on my homestead and on my blog, we fix it one child (or adult!) at a time.  If you are interested, and passionate, children will want to learn!  If you guide them, and show them how to create something merely out of dirt and seed, they will want to participate.  How could they not?!  Look at the pride on me neighbor girl's face below.  You can't buy that look in a grocery store, or get it from a box.  That is a look that only comes from the amazement of creating something yourself.  And you know what?  I still as an adult have the same look of pride, and that same sort of amazement every time I look around my garden and homestead.  It is an absolute miracle, that never gets old.  

I encourage you to help teach your children where their food comes from.  Teach them how to sustain themselves.

Grab a bag of potting mix and start some seeds together.  Raise a few chickens in your backyard and marvel over the eggs that they lay.  

Don't have a backyard to work in?  Scout out an elderly person who has a backyard that they can't enjoy any longer and plant a raised vegetable bed that you can all enjoy.

Replace your flowers with vegetables.  Tomatoes, strawberries, and potatoes are gorgeous and add beauty and functionality to your flower beds.  

Whether it be your own child, your nephew, or your neighbor kid, you will greatly impact the life of that child.  Remember when I said that the miracles never get old around here?  Well, being the person that teaches someone how to sustain themselves is one of the greatest miracles you will ever be part of, and that never gets old either!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Chicken Feeder Troubles

We've raised chicken for several years. We started with some adult, 2 year old, Rhode Island Red hens procured from someone who didn't want to eat them when they began slowing their egg-laying and we got the chicken keeping "bug". We added 8 "battery hens" later. Having succeeded with these, we began raising chicks. Eventually, we bought ourselves a rooster and started hatching our own chicks. We have dealt with spraddle leg, chicken colds, and bullying. We learned to watch for signs of disease and how to care for sick or injured birds. More importantly, we learned how to prevent many problems before they could start in our flock. To date, we care for nearly 100 birds at our farm. And I would have sworn, we were not easy to shock at this point in the game.

And that is when something unexpected happens. You just scratch your head and wonder.... HOW ON EARTH... Well, don't stay there, come and see for yourself! Click the link and see what happened next... Lally Broch Farm: Chicken Troubles

Sonja ♥

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Learning To Walk: The Story of An Ex-Racehorse (Part 3)

Luzia Minera. Off the track Thoroughbred mare. Great Granddaughter to Secretariat and daughter of Aljabr. Formerly an underweight, poorly taken care of mare. Exchanged between over 6 previous owners. Luzia Minera. Finally settling in.
In this entry, I'll tell you about my experiences with trotting on the lungeline, getting over a fear of sticks, and some of my own horseback riding fears. Read more --->

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Not the usual type of strays....

Nearly every night during the summer, I sit outside and watch the chickens run around the yard.  Sometimes I eat my dinner out there, sometimes I read a book, but most times I just sit quietly and watch the girls run around chasing bugs and scratching at the earth.  I love this nightly ritual, and it centers me like nothing else does.

Tonight I was sitting outside eating my dinner, when the neighbor girl comes over and explains that her friend found a bunch of baby ducks walking down the street with no mama duck in sight, and she wanted to know if I knew of anyone who could help with the situation.  I followed her back to her house, and there in a little make-shift nursery, were 6 little ducklings.  They couldn't have been more than a day or two old, and they clearly were either separated from their mom or someone dumped them out after purchasing them from the local feed store.  (We have a local feed store with ducks for sale, and you are required by state law to purchase 6 at a time, so perhaps it is just a coincidence that there were 6 mother-less ducklings walking down a busy street, but I am guessing not....)  Regardless, I took them home with me and we got them warmed up with a heat lamp, fresh food, and water.

Because my brooder is currently full and because I have no desire to have ducks with no pond or large water source, I quickly called a friend of mine who came out to take the stray ducklings to his farm.  I must say this is the first time I have been asked to assist with a stray duck situation, and I am glad that they went to such a great home!  I did feel somewhat bad though because the Reluctant Farmer really only wanted ducklings for her birthday yesterday, and by the smile on her face you can see that she thought for a minute her birthday wish had come true!  

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