March 31, 2011


You never know what you might find in the hen's egg boxes. I am assuming this is a young pullets egg. They have all just started to lay.

My boys thought this was absolutely hilarious!

It only had white inside! No yolk!

March 28, 2011

Building a Greenhouse

Girls can build stuff too!
My clotheslines turned out great so I thought I'd go a step bigger. I have always wanted a greenhouse so I decided to build one. I already had my spot picked out. It's an 8 x 8 pad that a building used to sit on. The building is now in the field for the donkey or goats or geese, whatever needs it. But the pad is mine! I had a picnic table on it for awhile but I think a greenhouse would be much better here.

I hopped in the truck and went to True Value. I spent approximately $100 for 29 - 2 x 4's.

Grabbed the saw horses, a hammer, some power tools, tape measure, nails and screws that I already had in the building and started working. I occasionally had to stop to give Luke a push on the tire swing but swinging aside I managed to get this much done before my husband came home from work and I said SURPRISE!

I have a big roll of plastic just waiting to be added but I have to wait until my next day off which is Friday! I don't know if I can wait that long. I am so excited!

March 27, 2011

Hop in Our Buggy

Well okay it's a truck but we saw lots of buggies! And you can still hop in and come along on our trip with us.
We took a trip out to the Amish community yesterday to pick up feed for the chickens and goats.

We made a few stops in town first. I needed 2 more 4 x 4's to finish my new clothes line poles. My clothes line was a little longer than I planned and needed a middle pole.

We grabbed a few things at the new Dollar General.

Had bite to eat at DQ,

then headed for the country...

Everything is turning green and the trees are on the verge of bursting forth with life.

The Amish folks are busy preparing fields and planting already.

I love the barn pictured below.

The old boards have been replaced on the original support structure of the old barn and it looks great.

You can see the feed mill in the distance in the photo below. It is owned and operated by Lester Stutzman and his boys. They also raise pigs, sheep, cattle, chickens and guineas. I also get my strawberries from them a little later in the year.

On our way out we stopped and said hi to these beautiful ladies...
Miss Holstein

Miss Holstein #2

and Miss Brown Swiss

The roads were busy with buggies on Saturday afternoon.

We saw them coming...

and going...

We turned on this road and stopped by the greenhouse which is also side by side with the bakery. No trip to the Amish community is complete without a stop at the bakery!

I didn't buy anything at the greenhouse but the bakery was a whole other story. These doughnuts followed me home.

Well some of them followed me home,

some of them didn't make it all the way home! They are SO good! If I knew how to make these I would weigh 500 pounds!
I also picked up seed potatoes and onion sets yesterday!
The temps have dropped again but all the green and the flowering trees let me know that Spring will be here very soon!

Hope you enjoyed taking our trip with us!

March 26, 2011

Taking a Trip

out to the Amish community today to get some chicken and goat feed.

I need to stop by the greenhouse and see what they have in. I promise to take my camera along!
I'll be picking up my seed potatoes today. I am thinking of trying the "barrel" method this year so if anyone has any pointers on this, I'll take 'em!

We have had a recent death in the family. My great uncle passed away last weekend and although I did not know him well, I worry about my grandmother and how this will effect her. So between time at the funeral home, time at work with both jobs and time at the barn with my still very pregnant goats, I haven't been in here much. I am so sorry for neglecting my wonderful followers!

Red, my big gentle Rhode Island red rooster is sick. I have a sneaking suspicion that Daddy Gander goose got a hold of him. He's being very protective of the Momma goose sitting on her eggs. Red is in "rehabilitation" right now and seemed a little stronger yesterday. He's the rooster in the header pic up there and the one above. I love Red, he's the perfect rooster. He takes care of his hens but will let the boys pick him up and carry him around which earned him top spot with me. I don't like mean roosters!

I thought,
thought being the key word here, I had a big surprise for you all last weekend. I had plans to go see a Jenny and her baby and had every intention of buying them but the owners decided they couldn't part with them. I was so sad because they were so cute in the photos I saw and I thought they were just perfect for Mr. Dimple but alas our search continues for the "perfect" lady for my gentleman.

And we will find one! I promise, Dimple!

I have 42 eggs in the incubator due to hatch in about 2 weeks.

Spring tried to spring but we got cast back in to cold, dreary temps and had some sleet and ice pellets yesterday. A big change from 5 days of 75 degree temps last week! I am so ready for Spring weather and planting and clothes drying on the line.....Spring, please come back!

March 18, 2011

Spring Day!

I had every intention of spending today working in my yard and cleaning leaves. I wanted to get a lot done in the barn while waiting on the baby goats to get here, was wanting to make some soap and some more homemade yogurt BUT.....

SOMEONE got me all sidetracked and I spent the day laughing and fishing with Angie, my little sister (and best friend even though she caught more fish than I did)! Sometimes you just need "that" kind of day!

March 14, 2011


I spent Friday building a new clothes line all by myself, even poured the concrete for the posts and what happens?? It rains....and rains....and rains! I promise pics and a post when I see the sun again! While we are waiting, I thought I would share a little "blog improvement" something I found this weekend.

Maybe I'm way behind but I just found this widget yesterday and I am loving it! It is so easy and simple to install and leads people to other posts like the one they are reading. Just one way to make your blog a more popular place!

It's called LinkWithin and adds clickable thumbnails to the the bottom of your posts. Like this.....


Just follow the steps on the website to add it to your blog. It uses your labels to find related posts.

Oh and I have a new addiction....
Homemade yogurt flavored with pear honey....somebody stop me!

March 12, 2011

And The Winner Is.....

Linda from Pine Ridge Handwovens!! Please email me with your address using the Contact Me link in the right sidebar with your pick of the give away books!!! Congratulations!!!

New Laundry Room Savings post to come shortly!!!

March 6, 2011

Green Living Give Away

Well, it is March!!
I'm thinking leprechauns, shamrocks and pots of gold! Something green seems appropriate for a give away this month! I am also working on my "Laundry Room Savings" series so this fits right in!

If I pick YOU, you get your choice of one of these books (also available in Kindle edition).

Click on each book cover to see the details.

Photos are property of

All you have to do is follow me and tell me one thing you and your family have done (or are planning to do) to "go green".

I have also added a Green Living Tips button to my left sidebar. It's a great little site where you can get green living tips and add your own! I spent an hour looking through tips last night. There are so many things that are so simple to do that I never even thought of.

Green Living is taking one step at a time to make a better place for us and our future generations to live a happy, healthy life!

Give away will close on Saturday, March 12 at 9:00 a.m. Central time with winner announced shortly thereafter! Now, I'm heading over there to order both of these books for myself!

March 5, 2011

Homemade Fruit-on-the-Bottom Yogurt

As soon as the rain passes I'll be doing another Laundry Room Savings post but for now let's make some yogurt!!

Strawberry and Blackberry Homemade Yogurt

Homemade yogurt is so easy to make! I have tried two different methods and if I'm not in any hurry I use the regular Crockpot method. If I am in a hurry to get things going, then I use the "quicker" method!

I like to make this yogurt right before I go to bed so it has a full night to sit and incubate. By morning, I have wonderful thick yogurt ready to be chilled.

Ingredients for the regular and quick method are both the same.
Here's what you will need:
2 quarts milk
1 cup of dry powdered milk
1 cup plain yogurt with
active live cultures listed on the label (otherwise it won't work)
2 Tbsp. jam or jelly (optional)

*I use fat-free milk from the store if we aren't milking the goats - any milk will work.
*You do not have to use the dry milk but it makes a thicker, much nicer yogurt consistency.
*I use Dannon for my first batch then I use the yogurt I make as my starter from there on out.
*If you don't have a thermometer you can bring the milk almost to a boil for the 185 and when you can hold you finger in the milk for 10 seconds without burning for the 115 but this is iffy...if the milk is too hot, you kill the live cultures and your yogurt won't thicken.

Regular Crock-pot Method
-Add 2 quarts of milk and 1 cup of dry milk to the Crock-Pot and stir well
-Turn Crockpot on, cover with lid and heat your milk up to 185 degrees. This takes about 2 hours.
-Turn the crock-pot off and remove the lid
-Let cool to 115 degrees. This takes about 2 hours.
-Add 1 cup of plain yogurt and stir well.
Wrapping and incubating: Replace the lid and wrap the crock-pot in 2 or 3 towels. You can leave it on your counter if your house is fairly warm. I sometimes sit it inside my oven to make more room on the counter top. The yogurt needs to stay between 90 and 110 degrees during this time. Let sit for at least 6 to 8 hours, up to 10 for a thicker yogurt with a stronger taste.

Quicker Method
(for getting it into the Crock pot before bedtime!)
-Place the insert in your Crockpot and turn it on low to get warm.
-Add 2 quarts milk and dry milk in a saucepan on the stove.
-Heat to 185 degrees.
-Remove from heat and pour into the pre-warmed Crock-pot.
Turn Crock-Pot off. This skips the 2 hour heating step. I still like using my Crock pot because it's a good size for making yogurt. Any container that can be covered and wrapped up will work including the saucepan you just used, it just takes longer to cool down. I have been known to add a couple of cubes of ice at a time to cool this down . Keep a close eye on your temp while doing this (this cuts out the 3 hour cooling down step) but you might want to increase the amount of dry milk you added at the beginning to make up for the water this adds.
-Follow the steps above for wrapping and incubating.

You should now have homemade yogurt!!! Put in a large container or in individual one cup serving containers and place in the refrigerator to chill. I add 1 to 2 tablespoons of jam or jelly per 1 cup of yogurt, stir and enjoy. It's delicious and much cheaper than store bought. Remember to reserve 1 cup of plain yogurt as a starter for your next batch! The starter can be frozen or is good in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 weeks.

YUM! Blackberry! I can extra jams and jellies just to use in yogurt each year!

There are many ways to incubate your yogurt. You can sit your saucepan on on a towel-covered heating pad on low and cover with another larger upside down pot, put it in a toaster oven set to 100 degrees, regular oven with just the pilot light on for heat, in a cooler lined with towel......those are just a few I have read about.

So far this week my son has had strawberry, peach, blackberry and plum yogurt for breakfast. I like to throw a packet of Splenda in mine and have it that way. You can add a little sugar and vanilla to the milk in the beginning if you like to give it a hint of sweet vanilla taste. Let me know if you have other variations on homemade yogurt. I would love to hear them!

March 4, 2011

Twitter Updates

I have added a Twitter box in the right sidebar. I'd love for you to follow along with my quick updates between blog posts! I'll be letting you know what's going on here on the farm and what's coming up on my blog soon! Just click on the Follow Me graphic in this post or under the Twitter feed over there in the right sidebar!

March 2, 2011

Laundry Room Savings

The laundry room has been my biggest money saving room by far in my search for frugality....that's a word, right?? I am going to do a series of posts on what I am doing in my laundry room to save money a new car?? no...just gas for the old car I have....have you been to the pumps lately? Not pretty!

This is post #1 in my Laundry Room Savings series.

Homemade Laundry Detergent
My "supplier" who sold me homemade laundry detergent at $1.25 a gallon has moved about an hour away so I decided to make my own. It's simple, easy, cheap and works!
Here's the recipe I use:
1/2 bar Fels Naptha Soap ($1.49 per bar)
1/2 cup Super Washing Soda ($4.29 per box)
1/2 cup baking soda ($1 per box)
1 cup Borax ($4.29 per box)

*You can find all of this at your local ACE (True Value) hardware store.*

Use a large stock pot. You will be adding about 8 quarts of water as you go along so use a BIG UN'!

Grate your soap
Mix with 1 1/2 quarts of water over low heat until all soap is dissolved.
Add washing soda, baking soda and borax stirring between each. Add 1 quart of hot water and mix well. Add 6 quarts of cold water, stir and let gel for a few hours.

Mine was very clumpy so I used my stick blender I use when making soap to mix it well. I then let it sit for another few hours and got a smooth, creamy looking laundry detergent. I also added a few drops of Fresh Rain essential oil I had for soap to give it a nice smell. I then poured it into a couple of left over laundry detergent bottles I had saved but milk jugs, soda bottles, any plastic container will work. Give your jug a good shake when you go to use it to make sure any of the gel or clumps are mixed well.

I use 1/2 cup of my homemade laundry detergent per load of laundry! Try it! The cost of all the ingredients together is less than the cost of a big bottle of laundry detergent and you have enough to make several batches with just the ingredients above! Try it and let me know what you think! If you already make your own, feel free to share your recipes and methods! I would love to hear them!


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All images and graphics on this page were made by me with the exception of that little rooster! He came from Beth Logan's Checkered Chickens at Photos were taken by me and graphics were created using Photoshop CS2.
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Thank you!