Broody Silkies

I never really thought that I would keep Silkie chickens. They are cute and all, but not really what you would call farm birds.

But a friend of mine called me. She was discouraged. She lives where she is not supposed to have chickens, but she bought some silkie chicks. One grew to be a rooster and though he was sweet; he was loud and going to get her into trouble.

She asked if I would give him a home on the farm. So I did. I did not have a separate cage to put him in, so I put him in with a couple of Americauna chicks that I had been given. I watched in amazement as he went over to the chicks and spread his wings over them. Daddy!

He raised those girls. I thought that if a male would do this, then how broody would a hen be. So I bought Zeuss a matching black mate. Helena lays 5-6 medium sized eggs per week. Zeuss loves her and snuggles with her on the perch every night. The two young pullets lay on the ground beneath their papa.

Helena recently went broody and is sitting on some eggs. We will see how it goes. It is pretty hot outside. Sometimes a broody hen will abandon

the nest when it is too hot.

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The Future Lies in the Hands of Our Youth

Well of coarse it does. But why am I thinking about this particular thing right now?

Here is why. Yesterday I went to meet a friend for the first time face to face. We met on line through a goat forum. I could not wait to see her place, because not only  does she have goats, but she also has a breed of sheep that I am interested in. I wanted to see them and ask her questions about them.

During our visit, I asked about all the plants that were in pots. She told me that her 17 year old son was quite the propagator and would love for me to meet him.

It turned out that he was indeed home. So when we stepped into the kitchen; he was there and we got to chat. He was a tall good looking kid who looked me in the eye. He seemed excited to meet me, and to share with me what he is doing.

I was really impressed when he told me that he and his Ag teacher did not see eye to eye. My new young friend is anti GMOs and his teacher teaches that Monsanto is the answer to all the world  hunger issues. He said that regardless of this disagreement, he wrote his final paper for class on the evils of GMOs.

He walked me out to my car and showed me his propagation bed where he started some fruit trees from trimmings and several boysenberry plants that he propagated. He would like to be able to be in a position to sell these items. So I was his very first customer. I bought two plants, and invited him to our garden exchange.

I will encourage my other friends to purchase from this young man in order to fan the flame of his passion of raising non GMO food.

It is true that the future lies in the hands of our youth. I just hope and pray that there are more out there like him.

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Like Chocolate and Peanut Butter

My favorite all time flavor combo is chocolate and peanut butter. Ice cream, cookies, cake, pie, shakes, brownies and candy. But that is not what I am talking about.

Tonight Steve and I went to visit some new young (er) friends. They too bought an acreage last year. They too, have been working hard to make their dreams come true. He (the husband) is more like me; with thoughts of sustainability keeping him up nights. He has built some lovely garden boxes, and planted some young trees in his already established orchard.

She is a creative artistic type. She loves horses, dogs, goats (so she can’t be all bad) and wine. Her passion is rescuing abused horses. I love the heart that must go with that.

I taught them how to make ricotta cheese in my kitchen last week and in return, she invited us over to teach me about wine and to tour their place.

She shared her knowledge on Arizona wines with me and introduced me to her horses. I asked her how in the world can she afford to care for all the horses, dogs, goats and pot belly pig. She said “I work my butt off”. Well then. That my friends is passion.

Her husband gave us a tour of his projects. His gardens, his compost pile and his orchard. I loved it all. What I really loved is that the lady and I talked about how her passions are different than his; but they encourage each other. It seems that they are each better for having the other one in their life.

Steve and I drove home and talked about how inspired we were to go home and continue working towards our dreams. His-to beautify our property, mine to create as much food sustainability as I can with what we have. Together we will create a beautiful farm.

Like chocolate and peanut butter. Both are very good by themselves; but together…amazing!

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A Big Fat Thank You.

I have been going to school to become a nurse; it seems like forever. I took my prereqs one class at a time, with the same goal in mind, to enter and pass the program.

After I finished my pre-reqs; I went on the wait list while completing my co-reqs. The wait list was 2 years. Today, I passed my final-final. I still have more clinicals to do, but I passed, and will be pinned as an RN in May.

There are so many people to thank. My new farm neighbors have been such an encouragement. My student friends made it fun to go to school, and helped me with the techy stuff. The instructors pulled me off of the wall, when I climbed it; from test taking anxiety. I was the class representative for our co-hort and got to meet with the department chair more often than they thought necessary I am sure, but they were respectful.

My friends walked me, talked to me, hugged me when I cried over  tests that just did not go my way. They fed me chocolate, and drank wine with me when I needed to whine. They prayed for me and sang to me (I really liked that).

My family was patient with me. My kids and step kids understood when we could not do all the family stuff that we used to do. I love cooking big meals for them, but just could not find the time. My mom came and helped as we packed up one house, and moved to the farm.

Then there is Steve, he promised to support me in everyway as I went to school. He has. Not only has he supported me by being patient, but he helps me with the farm. The farm was my dream, not his. But watching him fall in love with this place makes me so happy.

Oh yeah, back to the school thing. I am almost done and want to thank everybody. You all know who you are.

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Baby Bunnies Born in my Garden

Here is a video of the nest

A few days ago I mentioned to Steve that some of the lines in my strawberry and herb bed were cut, and wiggling like worms when I turned on the irrigation system that we built together.

He being the handsome hero that he is, went out and took a look. He came back in and said “Donna, come out here and take a good look. I bent down and saw that there was a nest of baby bunnies. We had disturbed the next, but covered it back up hoping that mama would  come back.

Well she did not, so now I have a little box with shavings in my living room-yes- right next to the chick brooder and incubator.

Because I have been raising domestic rabbits for over 3o years and have had to keep orphaned kits alive- I knew just what to do.

These babies are about a week old. But their eyes and ears are not open. I am using a kitten bottle to feed them goat milk.

I would never give these kits to one of my domestic rabbits to raise, because they could have parasites or some disease that I do not want transferred to domestic rabbits.

You see, domestic rabbits are raised in cages and separate. So there are fewer issues with parasites and communicable diseases. That is why it is important to buy healthy stock and keep them quarantined prior to putting them in your bunny barn.

Oh wait, I went to far again. Back to these bunnies.

Steve is so cute at night, he tries to feed them and talk to them. I know he does not like animals very much.

Oh well, just one more chore for me to add to my list.


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The Power of Networking

It is so easy that a nursing student, farming, gramma can do it.

It is so easy that a nursing student, farming, gramma can do it.

You have heard me say it before, I believe in the power of networking. I love helping and encouraging others. I know that there are moms who would like to be stay at home moms, or just make some extra money. I know that there are families that need help with bringing home the bacon, and do not want to go to the government for handouts. I also believe that I should not be taxed so that someone else can be paid to stay home, watch TV and talk on their free cell phone. Maybe I went a little far with that one, but whatever.

I have lots of friends, all kinds of friends. Rich friends, poor friends, stay at home mom friends, student friends, and then there are the ones who both parents work to scratch out a living and come home exhausted to take care of all the caring of children, shopping cleaning house, and all the multitude of chores that take up our time.

I get it, I am  busy too. I am a new gramma to two handsome little boys, I am a supportive wife, and a full time nursing student, who just happens to be in the process of building a farm.

So when my friend Tiffany asked me to look at a networking business, I  slumped in my chair and said to myself whilst rolling my eyes “Oh no! Not another one.” You see I have enrolled in home based businesses before. I have experienced the magic of how you can earn commissions by helping others be successful. I have used those businesses for 3 out of 5 years to claim office equipment, and travel expenses on my taxes to keep from  paying additional taxes at the end of the year. Steve makes a very nice income and pays lots of taxes out of every pay check. To pay more after a year of being taxed to death, just does not seem fair. He works hard for that money. So I keep the records and help him out.

I recently had a discussion with a friend about starting a new home based business, but I wanted to be very picky. I have been a Melaleuca customer for about 4 years. I do quite  well with it, but I can no longer claim it as a loss for our taxes.

I believe in keeping my home clean without toxic chemicals. So I agreed to look at Norwex, because Tiffany is my friend, and she is so excited about the products. She said that it would go hand in hand with what I am  already doing.

The videos on Facebook made sense to me and gave me hope about keeping up on the dust and dirt around here, so I made an order. But Tiffany told me that those very items were in the kit; that I could get for free if I enrolled. I told her that I was too busy sitting at my computer studying to do a party, or help my friends earn an income right now. She said “not to worry, this can all be done on Facebook.” I am not very techy, but she described how easy it was to invite all my friends to a party. She has helped me before with other things, so I trust her.

Today is my birthday and I am opening up my kit for the first time. I have been enrolled for only a week and I am already helping friends earn commissions.  Hooray! That is my favorite part.

But I will do some more videos to show you how I am coming along with this new endeavor. If you are interested in allowing me to help you, please let me know. I will invite you to one of my Facebook parties. Hooray for networking!

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Magical Ricotta from Goat Milk

% cups of whole milk ricotta from one gallon of goat milk.

5 cups of whole milk ricotta from one gallon of goat milk.

Now that Elsa the Good Goat is giving us milk, and I have very little time to make cheese (because of nursing school), I make ricotta.

Why? Because in my opinion, it is the quickest cheese and a great way to use the milk. About 30 minutes. I know, right?

Elsa is a Nubian. Steve and I have found that we prefer Nigerian milk for actual drinking. But the Nubian milk is still delightful. It is great for making kefir, yogurt and cheese.

To make ricotta, I just heat one gallon of milk to 195 degrees. Then I slowly stir in 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar. Then I increase the heat to 205 degrees. It is now ready to strain. I line a colander with muslin or a tea-towel and set it over a larger bowl (to catch the whey). Now I pour the whole thing into the colander.  Then I gather the edges of the towel and hang for a minute. You do not want it too dry. Ok now, open the towel and scoop out the rich goodness of whole milk ricotta made from Elsa the Good Goat’s milk. My yeild was 5 cups of ricotta and still over a half gallon of whey.


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