Thursday, December 13, 2012

A Farmstead Dinner (or Breakfast) with Eggs


I posted earlier about all of the eggs the *girls* have been laying for us. Since we are getting an average of 9 a day, I want to make sure that every egg counts and doesn't get wasted. One of the easiest and fastest *egg* meals I know is breakfast tacos or burritos. I use a dozen eggs to make this and 1 lb. of sausage (also homegrown.)
The following is a simple farmstead meal that feeds a family of 5 easily. Enjoy!

About 3 days worth of eggs. 

A dozen freshly layed eggs all cracked and ready to be scrambled.
I LOVE the deep yellow that the yolks are when the chickens that lay them are allowed to free range. A HUGE difference in taste and color than the store bought eggs.
One dozen eggs scrambled.
1 lb. of fresh sausage cooled and drained.
Add eggs to sausage.
Mix completely together.
Looks yummy!
One soft taco shell heated and ready to be filled.
Spread with sour cream (if desired.)
Add egg/sausage mixture.
Add shredded cheddar cheese.

Roll up and enjoy!
These can be made ahead and wrapped in clear plastic wrap to be frozen for future consumption. Good wholesome *fast food.*
A great homegrown farmstead breakfast or dinner.
Have a blessed day in THE LORD!
Happy Homesteading!
Matthew 6:33
Blogfest Favorite

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Homestead Chore # 5 Couponing (Yes! I said Couponing!)

Couponing? A farm chore? On this little farmstead it is.

This past summer I took a class on couponing and learned so much. I never realized that stores (some of them) will double and even triple coupons making them worth more than their face value. Add that to an already lower sales price and you have a win- win situation in saving money on your groceries.

Now, I know a lot of people say that couponing is for worthless convenient foods. True and false. It really depends on what you are using your coupons on. I for one will NOT condemn a person for using coupons to save money on their grocery bills (convenience foods or not.) Food is expensive whether you grow it yourself or let another one do it for you.

I personally prefer scratch made foods made with what we grow on the farm. I also know that there are times when my *coupon foods* tide over a hungry family when the farm chores and just life in general gets away from me. Not to mention the items that I can get with coupons that can be used to donate to those who are in need.

 THE LORD has definitely blessed me in many ways and as long as HE keeps showing me ways to save money and help others, I will do my best to be the steward he wants me to be.

The above picture is what I purchased today. I ended up spending $9.59 for all of those items with sale prices and coupons combined. It averaged about .46 per item. Not bad considering those cheese blocks are regularly $4.19 for half a lb.

Yep, couponing is definitely a farm chore around this little farmstead. Besides, all the coupons I use really end up helping me manage those animal feed bills which just keep getting higher and higher. Cutting costs where ever I can keeps this little homestead going.

Now, if only I could find some cow- chow coupons ;- )

Have a blessed evening in THE LORD!

Matthew 6:33

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Homestead Chore #4 (Eggs)

Farm chores NEVER end. When you have animals there is always some kind of work that needs to be done daily. Owning chickens is no different, just not as much work as owning a dairy cow.

We have had many chickens over the past 10 years. It started with a few given to us by my husbands co worker and a few more given to us by a family from our church. Many different breeds and many different colored eggs ;- )

We have never eaten any of our chickens. Hubby has an aversion to chickens (eating them that is) so we use them for egg consumption only. If we ever needed to get rid of any because they were not *doing their duty* we simply gave them away for free.

We have also had many roosters. My favorite has always been the Rhode Island Red. They seem to have the loudest crow of all the other breeds we have had. I even have one now (a banty mixed breed) that will crow on demand. All I have to do is say, "Crow Cup" and he commences to crowing for me. (Awesome rooster.)

We got a whole new batch of hens this past April. They are all Buff Orpingtons. I chose those because they are suppose to be the broodiest of all the breeds as well as dual purposed birds for eating and laying.
I would like to be able to reproduce chickens without having to buy them. That way we could sell a few and even eat them if we needed too. We'll see how it all works out come this spring ;- )

This is about 3 days worth of eggs. We are getting an average of 10 eggs a day. (We have 12 hens) that's really good for this time of the year.

Here they are drying after a washing. I usually just let them sit on the counter until they are needed but the *girls* have been making *messes* on them so they need to be washed immediately. Most of the time the *messes* is the mud from the coop and sometimes the *other.*

Washing is important ;- )

Empty egg collecting basket that my son (13) got for me several Christmas's ago. It's a treasure to me.

Here are all of the eggs after they are washed and placed into old egg cartons. I have been blessed by many people who have given me their old egg cartons instead of throwing them away. They come in very handy when I give some eggs away.

10 eggs a day! What do I do with all of those eggs?

To be continued........

Have a blessed day in THE LORD!

Happy Homesteading!

Matthew 6:33

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Homestead Chore #3 (Skimming Milk for Butter Makin')

We get ALOT of cream from AnnaBelle's milk. She is a full blooded Jersey and they are known for their rich cream. It makes the BEST butter there is. Don't be fooled though, there is a lot of work that goes into getting that rich creamy butter.

After letting the milk sit for about 3 days in the fridge, the first part of the butter making begins.It is easier to *collect* after the 3 days because it has started to thicken. I use a turkey baster to skim every drop of cream the milk has.

This above picture is a half gallon mason jar of milk. The black mark on the jar is where the cream stops and the milk starts. If you look closely, you can see the different coloration between the milk and cream.

This is the same jar after it has been skimmed with the baster.There was about 2 cups cream in that half gallon jar. That's good for this time of year.

This is the inside view of the jar that was skimmed. It's hard to tell but the *swirls* are where the cream ended and the milk started.

Once the jars are skimmed of the cream they are dumped into a bucket to be fed to the animals. That means the pig, chickens, dogs and cat. Do they ever like it;- ) I have also made skim mozzarella with it before and its so good. The skimmed milk is best for mozzarella because it shreds easier.

After all that is done, the jar washing begins. I usually skim when I have 4-5 gallons of milk in the fridge. That means there are 8 to 10 half gallon mason jars filling the fridge and taking up way too much room. That's a lot of washing that takes place about every 3- days ( as long as I am in need of the butter and the pigs not getting it.)

Then the butter making begins. That's another post altogether. ;- )

Happy Homesteading!

Matthew 6:33

The Chicken Chick
Wildcrafting Wednesday

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Keeping Potatoes Without Canning Them

Ok, here it goes, I HATE canning. There I said it and now I feel better. If there is another way to store foods for a long shelf life, trust me, I'll find it and at least try it out once ;- ) Having  300lbs. of taters to store this year (excellent crop- thanks to AnnBelle) Hubby and I decided to find out how we could successfully store potatoes here in hot and humid southeastern NC with no root cellar. This is what we came up with.
I asked several older people I knew from church how they used to store their potatoes. They said they stored them under the house. (Simple and to the point.) I asked myself how that could work through the HOT and HUMID summer months around here. Again, you just put them in a crate under the house. Simple. Oh, do I like *simple.*
Now potatoes around here are usually ready to harvest by July 1st. That pretty much goes for the corn too. After that the heat just sets to killing everything off. So again I asked myself, "Is putting them under the house really going to keep them well preserved, at least until January?" It's now December first and we are still able to eat the taters we grew. Happy Dance! Thank you LORD!
(The first picture is the side of our mobile home. It's where the potatoes are stored.)
This is a picture of the taters in the crate Hubby made to place the taters in. We knew that after losing a few in the first several weeks that we needed to find a way to keep the air moving in there. So he hooked up a small personal fan that we kept on during the hottest part of the day to keep the air circulating. It worked!
Here are some of the potatoes, now starting tho sprout. We still use them by picking off the *eyes* and washing well. I do have to cut the potatoes in half to check for black rot in the middle. We haven't had too many with that problem this year, which is a HUGE blessin'.
As you can see, we are about out of potatoes. I figure I have at least a months worth left if I stretch accordingly. Before you know it though, it will be time to start thinking about next years potato patch ;- )
So to sum it up, the potatoes were dug the last week of June and laid out to *rest.* They were then put under the house. We had about 300lbs. but lost about 150lb. to rot and what not. There was a lot more we could have done to *save* more of the taters but that's what ya call learning and we will apply that to next year's tater crop.
The best part- I didn't have to can a single one ;- )
Have a blessed week in THE LORD!
Happy Homesteading!
Matthew 6:33


Friday, November 30, 2012

Homestead Chore #2 Manure Management

Manure. If you have a dairy cow, you have a lot of it and it has to be dealt with daily. Every day after the evening milking, the cow pen has to be *mucked out.* Each cleaning gets a wheel barrow full of old hay mixed in with manure. It's an average sized wheel barrow. This gets done every day. Rain or shine, heat or cold. Life or no life ;- )

I'm sure your asking, "Where does all of that *stuff* go?" Well, during the winter it gets dumped into the garden. The garden is HUGE. When the spring weather starts coming on, Hubby then tills it all into the garden. Does it ever make a garden grow!!! Best natural fertilizer there ever was ;- )

During the summer months we kind of scatter it throughout the 5 acres we live on. (Most of it goes into the woods.) Believe it or not, the smell is just about nonexistent. Once it has been in the sun for a few days it all dries out.

As you can see from the above pictures of *the girls* they LOVE it when a new pile gets dumped into the garden or woods. They will make a run for it once they are let out of the coop. They pick and scratch through it looking for bugs and grain. They are sort of our little composting machines. They know what they do are are really good at it ;- )

Farm chores and manure control, they go hand in hand when you own a dairy cow ;- )

Matthew 6:33


Monday, November 26, 2012

Homestead Chore #1- Reality (Keeping A Dairy Cow)

 Yep, AnnaBelle, ALWAYS the cow in every one's business. Anyway, long time no post again. So much to write but not a lot of time. Farm life along with life in general just keeps ya busy.

I thought I'd start the day by telling you what my daily farm chores are. I would hate to think that anyone would look at my blog and romanticize farm life. It's a lot of hard work yet rewarding as well. I'll start with keeping a dairy cow. Keeping a dairy cow can be downright disgusting at times. Yet, that is the way it is with animals.

Here we go:

Milking starts at 8:00 in the morning and again at 5:00 in the afternoon (winter schedule.) Rain or shine. HOT or cold. Life or no life ;- )

The mornings milk goes to the pig and the chickens as well as the cat. The evenings milk is used for butter making and milk use in general. That is as long as AnnaBelle is having a good day and doesn't decide to *release* her bodily fluids during the milking. (That is the most irritating thing that she does.) If she does decide to do that, the milk then goes to the animals again. No, I am not giving my other animals the milk with urine in it. I have gotten quite good at *sensing* when she is about to *go* and jump up really fast with the milk pail to get it out of the stream (more like a flood.)

When that does happen, I have to stop milking, go get several buckets of water to wash away her mess and then wash her teats and udder down again. Then the milking continues.

Once the milking is completed (morning) I put away the dirty dairy rags and sweep floor of the barn. At this time the *barn* is a four sided structure with a tarp placed over the top to keep me dry if it rains. It has no sides and does not keep out the elements. (Still working on it.) I am not going to complain though, as long as I don't get rained on while milking ;- )

Milk is then taken to the pig and chickens. The new Buffs absolutely LOVE AnnaBelle's milk. It has also been great for making their egg shells hard. So hard that it it really takes a *whack* on the side of the bowl to crack them ;-)

After all of that is done, I go and make sure that all of the animals have plenty of fresh water. In the winter time, such as yesterday, you sometimes have to break the ice to get to the water in their bowls. And yes, some of the water pumps freeze and you have to find one that is not frozen through and use it to haul water back to the cows. I mean LOTS of water and is it ever cold.

That's the morning milking schedule......

The evening is pretty much the same except I take the milk and strain it and then chill for our consumption. It's usually a gallon.

The cows have to have their water checked at least 4 times a day more during the summer months. You could get one of those self watering bowls, but I prefer not to spend money on something that can be done on my own.

Tomorrow's farm chore post - managing the manure. Romantic ain't it?

Matthew 6:33

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Eggs and Autumn Activities

Yes, its autumn and not spring. Yet here I am dyeing eggs. Why? Well we had a Fall Fest at church last night and  Angel needed some colored eggs for a game. Now this is NOT the time of year one can find egg dye. So Angel went online and found a home made concoction that worked beautifully. Only the red eggs looked more orange but the blue were so beautiful.
Did you notice the azalea in the glass? I picked that off the bush in the front yard the same morning. Still not sure why it was there. It was a one of a kind so I picked it to enjoy and it just happened to go with the egg coloring. Strange I know, since we only see azaleas blooming in the spring.
Now this is what it is really like outside. So absolutely beautiful. We had a lot of leaves fall off through the night due to some bad wet weather. It just made the scenery that much more beautiful.
Angel was in charge of the face painting at the church fall fest last night. Richard even got his face painted. A southern flag of all things ;- )
Father and son. I love them all so much and am so blessed!
Grace was Queen Esther and Noah went as Shamgar for the fall fest. Who is Shamgar you ask? HE was a judge in the book of Judges who slayed 600 rebellious Phillistines with an ox goad. Interesting character ;- )
And last, but not least, Angel and Justin went as Ruth and Boaz. An awesome biblical couple I might add ;- )
Well, I need to get off here and get a roast put into the pot for tonights and tomorrows dinner. We will be having Pot Roast with carrots
Cheese Taters and Broccoli with biscuits and an apple cobbler.
Have a blessed LORD's Day tomorrow!
I Corinthians 5:7


Friday, October 26, 2012

Starting Again

We are at my favorite time of the year once again, beautiful autumn. Cool refreshing autumn. A time to relax after the hard HOT summer. A time to enjoy GOD's beauty.
I went out the other day to get some pansies for my fence line. I was expecting to see the usual yellow and purple. I found beautiful orange pansies instead. I have never seen orange pansies before but immediately fell in love with them. They fit in so lovely with the fall landscape. So I lined the fence with them and are they ever beautiful.
Well, here are some pictures of the farm. We are all still here and doing much better after the HOT summer.
What's a farm without an orange tabby cat? Meet Harold, Carlos or Kitty Kitty (depending on whoever is calling him.) He showed up in August as a kitten and made his way into our hearts.
The new flock we got back in April. They are starting to lay (FINALLY.) Only gettin' 2 eggs a day now but its a start ;- )
Happy Dance! We're gettin' eggs again!
AnnaBelle. We thought we were going to lose her after she calved but praise GOD she came through and is doing just fine now. Getting about 3 gallons a day from her.
AnnaBelle's calf, Juliet. She'll be 5 months on the 1st of November. Sweet and sassy!
Last but not least, PIG aka sausage, bacon bbq & porkchops. YUMMY! Due to go to the processor very soon ;- )
Well, that's just a small update for now. There's so much more to share. GOD is so good and ever to be praised!
I Corinthians 5 :7