Saturday, November 28, 2015

Book Review: A Foxfire Christmas

I really like Christmas. Not so much the plastic Santa type stuff, but a good ole' fashioned Christmas. Anyhow, the latest book I read is called " Foxfire Christmas" Edited by Eliot Wigginton. It's wonderful. First of all it's a super easy read, I read it in no time at all, then gave it to my 9 year old daughter who also read it in a span of just a day or so. We both loved it. It's really about a group of high schoolers in Rabun County ( Appalachian Mountains- North Carolina) that interviewed old timey residence about their Christmas experiences.

There is a section about making their own decorations, about their typical menu, their "serenading" ( a form of caroling) and about gifts and Santa. Yes the classic apples and oranges and nuts and peppermint stick. Every once in a while a father would whittle a toy or the mom would make a fabric scrap dress or something similar. The book talks about the overall excitement of the day, and really many didn't get a toy, but loved the food, fellowship and family.

It was a light read, but one that I couldn't put down. I found myself smiling when recalling simpler days and some really insightful Christmas cheer.

I'm sure you could find it at your local library, I found mine though on Amazon for less than $5- shipped! I'm glad I went ahead and bought it though because I see us reading it again and again.

I hope the holidays are shaping up nicely for you all,

Happy Homesteading y'all!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

What's happening around the homestead?

Oh my goodness, with school starting ( which also means back to work for me) I just haven't been doing well keeping up with the blog. So what's been happening on the homestead lately?

We are still getting muscadines, grapes, pears and peppers.

I have in kale and mustard greens. That is probably going to be the extent of the fall garden this year, with the exception of some turnips perhaps.

Getting one goat ready for show, as well as some of the chickens and rabbits.
Getting between 14-16 eggs a day.

They are getting the animals ready for fair ( which is next week) and are also showing some of our peppers, muscadines, pears, eggs and some of their artwork and photography in the fair. We are all pretty excited.

I'm working on my PhD, I'm not sure that I have mentioned that, but it is certainly in full swing so not as much time for pleasure reading now. But I am in the midst of three good books.
Blessing the Hands that Feed us by Vicki Robin ( expect a review soon)
Laura Ingalls Wilder Pioneer Girl - The Annotated Autobiography by Pamela Smith (editor)
Playing for Pizza by John Grisham ( because I love him and had somehow missed this book).

Utilizing the eggs in a lot of dishes lately, that is helpful in keeping our food costs low (and local). I have been stocking up on some canned goods for the winter also, things like canned corn, green beans and soups. These are all things my family likes and even though we aren't in the NorthEast where winters are brutal, most of our winter storm damage is from ice, and we can be out of electricity and out of commission driving for days on end, based on where we live in the country. So I like to keep the pantry a little fatter in the winter months than normal. 

What has been keeping you busy this fall around the homestead?

Friday, August 14, 2015

Of Chickens and Pears...

Just wanted to update you all on our chickens. And I just added pears in there also, because they are about ready to start chowing down on.

So we have 8 adult chickens, of various breeds. My daughters will show some in the fair. The hens are giving us about 6 eggs a day. Thanks girls!

The little ones are heritage bantam breeds and we may try to start selling some eggs for folks to hatch. Or we probably won't, but they are super fun to play with. They have a small run that we can move around, with an enclosed roost and nesting boxes, but then during the day when we are home we let them out to free range. Chickens are fun. If you are thinking, should I get chickens? I would say YES!

You do need to have a place for them, and they need to be free from predators, but honestly a few hens don't even take that much feed. They love watermelon rinds and greens and things like that also.

We have two large pear trees on our property. Every year they bless us with beautiful fruit. I normally can some preserves and pie filling, and we just eat a lot of fresh pears. I also make cobblers and crumbles and sweet bread ( oh my) . They look to be on par to deliver again.

 What's going on in your neck of the woods? Are you seeing the signs of Fall? ( To me pears signify the approaching Fall season).

Thursday, August 13, 2015

What's going on around the homestead?

It's HOT here. Like many days over 100 degrees, plus our humidity.

We still have some peppers. Not as many as we seem to normally do, but plenty.

Tomatoes are slowing down. I've put up quite a bit of pasta sauce, pizza sauce and salsa, but again, not as much as we seem to normally have. Lots of little guys still, but the bigger ones are dying.

Still getting squash. Plenty for a mess for supper, and some to share. I love squash. I just sautee it in a skillet with olive oil with a little onion. Look at those beautiful squash flowers.

Now to my pride and joy. My muscadines and grapes. These will be ready within the week.
We have the normal white ones, and then we have purple Concord Grapes, which are perfect for jelly. All of them are really great for jelly, and I try to put up as much as I can. It seems to be a little later this year coming on, and since I start back to work soon, I'll stay busy. But maybe I can get some in before school starts back.

 They are huge! And so sweet. They do have a seed in them, and the white ones skins are a bit tough, but the purple are just perfect.

The muscadines and grapes just do well for us. We live in Zone 7, and just look at these. So they are in a funny L shape. The right of the picture, then it stretches way back and goes across the entire back of the photo. We always have tons and tons. I put up jelly and juice, others buy them from us to make wine. We don't drink, but apparently nothing beats muscadine wine?

I'm wishing you all a happy harvest and hopefully you are staying cool!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Our goat saga

Not really a Saga I suppose. But a somewhat sad story, with an ending that could have turned out much worse.

We have 4 goats. Three Nigerian Dwarves and 1 Spanish Boer. The Boer is a show goat my daughter *was* going to show at this year's fair.
 This isn't the best picture, but shows three of the four goats. The black ones are sisters and the brown and white one, we've had for about 4 years now. Clifford.

We live out in the country. We have one tiny little fluffy dog that stays inside. No outside dogs. Two Saturday mornings ago, we wake up to a crazy racket. Dogs barking, the goats were making whatever noise it is they make. It was just about daylight. My husband and I run outside and find two large dogs running from our property. We go check on the goats and find two injured. One ( the little showgoat Lizzie) quite injured. She was crying like a baby, bloody and overall just pitiful. The other one just acted like his leg hurt and wouldn't walk, and had a few small knicks on him.

 ( Cupcake)

So over the last two weeks I have given antibiotic shots, cleaned the wounds twice a day, given them topical antibiotic, and for the first week we put an umbrella over Lizzie because it was so hot and she couldn't walk to get shade.

You might not can tell by this picture but they have about 3 brushed acres fenced in. There is a small shelter they normally sleep under, but we added the dog pen with the barrels for Lizzie , because if the dogs were to come back there is no way she could protect herself.  We also added another row of barbed wire around the top.

So, the good news is that Lizzie is recovering. She can now stand up to pee (YAY!!) and can walk a few steps at a time to get into better positions, go to bed etc. The vet said nothing was broken or dislocated and she was likely just sore from having her legs and tail pulled on by the dogs.

So we set up a game cam and saw the dogs again the next night. They didn't bother the goats this time. I have no idea who the dogs belong to, and have asked around and no one seems to know. But maybe someone did know because it's been about 10 days with no sign of the. Crossing my fingers.

Lizzie may not be able to be shown this year. But we all learned a lot through this, we love our pets. We took turns giving her shots, sitting with her, petting her, holding the water bucket up to her mouth to drink. Positioning the umbrella so this silly goat would have shade. Rubbing her down with a cool rag. No, perhaps my daughter isn't going to show her this year, but in my book she has learned a lot about life, about living on a farm..

Happy Homesteading Y'all!

Monday, August 10, 2015

Get those summer memories into something memorable!

This post may contain affiliate links.

I'm terrible at getting my photos developed. I love taking pictures and have all of my photos arranged nicely in little folders on my computer, but I am really awful about getting them developed and into a usable form for my family, so I can display them nicely.

Cue Shutterfly!

50 free prints

Sign up to get 50 free prints. Put those prints into a nice little photo album, let your kids decorate a scrapbook or choose a few for a nice picture frame.

I also have made them into photo books. We have a goal to visit all 50 states before the kids graduate and on each photo book I put the year and the states we visited.

Shutterfly Photo Books 300x600   I know you won't be disappointed, I just urge you to get all those fantastic pictures that are on your computer and get them out there for the world to see. We only have one more week left before school starts, and that's what I'm doing. I'm making a photo calendar for my parents for their Christmas present, I'm getting some updated prints of the kids for my office desk at work, as well as some new pictures for my husband.

Happy Homesteading Y'all!