Friday, July 26, 2013

Fridays on the Farm

Thought it would be fun to share on Fridays some happenings on our homestead.  Ellie loves to help make banana bread!
Our laying hens have been put behind bars!  Since we bought our farm in December, we have lost 21 hens and 2 roosters...21 of them to a sly fox, and 2 have been hit by cars.  We are tired of losing precious eggs!!  So portable, electric fencing is the fix.  No fox problem anymore!  The fencing is easily moved along with the eggmobile so the hens get fresh greens and bugs all the time :)
Our handsome billygoats are growing!  Jack is on the left and Woody is on the right.  We have separated them from the nannies because they are already old enough to mate, even though they're only 6 months!  Jason and the boys built them a shelter, and Nate surprised us all one afternoon with a feeder for them made from free pallets and an old baby crib railing!!  
 Shy Pongo is starting to warm up to us :)
 This is Jill, our very first goat born on our farm.  She is super soft and gentle with the kids.
 Mocha and girls enjoying their morning hay.
These are our new laying hens...25 of them!  We needed to replace the ones that have been killed.  We are trying a different breed this time to keep track of egg laying.  Since our barred rocks are now over a year old, they will stop laying much sooner than these newbies.  So going with a different breed will help us determine who has stopped laying when the time comes to turn them into roasting hens.  These are called cinnamon queens.  They will be red and they lay 350+ eggs EACH per year!  They are already a month old and will start to lay eggs in January.
Our fig trees are producing a lot of fruit for us, so much so that we're giving some to the chickens!  We've had fun eating them different ways, and one is making preserves.  Very easy...just cut the stems off, cut them in half, cook on low with some honey, lemon juice and cinnamon.  Then give the jars a water bath for 10 minutes...that's it!

We are on our third round of broilers...this meets our goal of 300 this year.  They will be ready to butcher some time in September.  We will have a pre-order discount this time.  Be sure to look for the info on that!
Both of our bee colonies lost their queens!  I have no idea how.  But these creatures are AMAZING.  See the peanut looking casing towards the middle bottom of the picture?  That is a queen cell.  The worker bees are raising up a new queen.  This picture was a month ago.  Last week when I checked both hives they had queens!!  I even saw one of them, and both hives had larve all over the place!
And look at all that yummy honey!!  But we won't take any for ourselves until next summer.  This honey will sustain the colony through the winter months.
Ben actually killed this snake, right by the house.  We've seen several of these in our even got in the house!  Yes, I know, it's a snake we should keep around, but no thanks.  Not where the babies play!
An evening walk around the farm to check on all the animals before calling it a night has become one of my favorite things to do.
 Ellie loves her goats
 Have a beautiful weekend!!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Tigger Melons!

Look what came out of our garden today!  Aren't these babies beautiful?!!  I have never seen anything like them!  It's amazing the variety of foods there are to grow when you can choose for yourself what you want to grow!  We are so used to what is sold in the stores, and even CSA's are fairly similar.  I'm glad we tried these!
They are called Tigger Melons and are heirlooms, which means we will be saving seed from one of them, drying the seeds out and storing them until next planting season!  We will never have to buy seeds to grow these beautiful melons again!  If you want to buy some seeds you can find them HERE

They are on the small side for a melon...about the size of a grapefruit or softball.  They start out green, but you know they are ready to pick when they turn these bright red and yellow colors.  Some are solid yellow as well.  They are bursting with a sweet aroma and are mild in taste.  We love them!!
We are already planning on doing a much larger patch for these melons in our garden next year so we can sell them at the market along with our broilers and eggs.  I think they will be a hit since most people have probably never seen them or tasted them :)

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Peach Picking with Grama & Taylor

Off we go, to Fisher's Orchard in Greer...we have paid them a visit the last 3 summers to pick peaches!  In 2011 it was one of the very first family outings we did when we moved here to SC in June!
 Cousin Taylor picking ones up high!
 Graycie insisted on climbing the trees to get to the peaches!

Took home a whole bushel, and so far have made peach pie, peach jam, peaches and cream, and today we're going to make a peach cobbler and a peach-butterscotch preserve...yum!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Handmade Nourishing Baby Wipes & Case

Easy-peasy!!  These wipes are much SAFER, HEALTHIER and CHEAPER than any store bought brand...and super EASY to make!!  It took Ellie and I five whole minutes to make these. 
4 ingredients:
1 roll of your favorite paper towels, ripped and folded in half
2 cups of water
2 tbspn of coconut oil
2 tbspn of baby wash
I found it best to melt the coconut oil on low was much easier to mix with the baby wash and water.  There is another neat way to use this homemade idea...instead of taking the time to rip each paper towel apart, cut the roll in half, put it in a cylinder type container (like the one you see in the picture with my coconut oil in it), pour the water mixture over and pull out the cardboard center!!  We have it both ways, container for the house and the other for diaper bag.  Which you can see Ellie and I made today!!  A wipes holder!  Just use a waterproof lining, velcro closure and your favorite fabric for the case!!  Paper towels are all the same size so it's pretty easy to make correct measurements for this case.
 That's it!!!  Pretty, functional, nourishing for your baby's bum and economical to love it!