Wednesday, December 8, 2010


Oh we have been busy. Quiet blog, busy life. Or so it tends to be around here. We have been working on fencing and teeny barn building (with all reused materials except for the screws!) and.... we have goats! Yes! Our friend, Jamie of Serendipity Farms, was downsizing her herd a bit so we were fortunate enough to get 3 young Nubian beauties ready for breeding. And you know what that means! Cutie baby goats and after a bit of solo baby/mama time... fresh, raw goat milk!

This is the best photo of this journey: An abandoned back-carrier for the youngest of our human brood, along with a half dug water station. Yes, this is how WE roll. Little bits, as the littles in our lives allow.

How cool is this? 3 generations of fence builders!
Forging new ground: We expanded our chicken "pen" (they can get out, but the neighbor dogs can't get in) to nearly an acre. Or more than one, we aren't certain since the perimiter meanders here and there around certain trees.

Just for fun, the 2 hens who share these 4 chicks. They are amazing little co-mamas and a true demonstration of something I strongly believe which is FAMILIES COME IN ALL SHAPES AND SIZES.

Thursday, November 25, 2010


For this beautiful life I get to live, for my little boys who are so eager to learn and help, an amazing husband to share this journey, and for the chance to raise some goats for fresh raw milk! We're building their shelter in preparation for new life on the ranch. Exciting times, so very grateful.

Monday, November 22, 2010


The one day old chicks came out to soak up some warm sun this afternoon and enjoyed their first meal: Figs and amaranth from the garden.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Goings on

Last night it hailed and stormed and hailed and stormed complete with thunder and lightning which is sooooooo rare around here. My husband and I sprang out of bed at one point last night just to turn on the light outside our bedroom to see how big the pellets were! They sounded HUGE and it was dumping!!! Very fun for us Californians who nary get a peck of solid weather :)

This morning the boys and I headed out to see if we could find any residuals and they got to play in this one little pile hidden on the shade fabric which is protecting my seedlings. (all the seedlings were just fine!)

Even the snap peas, who didn't have much protection, were just fine.
Since it was such a cold and rainy (and sunny, sometimes) morning, of course I just had to bring in some flowers. Such a juxtaposition this time of year is. It's cold and hailing outside, but the fall/winter garden is gaining and growing and there are still flowers about. I even still have sunflowers!
I started sweet peas much earlier this year. I usually wait until late December.
Baby chicks! Born this morning. This one is just breaking though her shell.
And look! Thanksgiving turkey, oh so fresh. Last year I brined and then we bbq'd the turkey and it came out great. I'm going to brine for less time this year (12 hours, 1/2 cup kosher salt and 1/2 cup sugar or other sweetener per quart of water, plus all the herbs you want... go BIG on the herbs so they don't disappear in there, that's my advice ;) and we are going to do it in a clean cooler instead of buying a special brine bag.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Random Garden Update including Creative & Frugal Seed Marker Ideas

First, I must say that I'm cracking myself up with this post. It is 3 (maybe 4?) separate posts I've had in my brain all lumped into one. Eh, who's counting? (besides me?)

As my boys and I were starting a bunch of seeds in the past month or so I started looking around (as I'm assuming all mothers do constantly because nothing is ever where I put it) for my fancy seed markers. NOWHERE to be found. Over the course of the last week or so I've found 3 of them. I had 30. Ahem. Anyway, I had to get creative and luckily I'm kinda good at it. I *knew* I had been saving old credit cards for a reason! They turn out to be really fun for the kids to paint and work fantastic for marking seeds. And FREE!

Old canning lids also work fabulously. Painted (for fun) or left plain.

AND they fit perfectly under bird protection.

This is our new garden path. I've been working to change the old sharp corner into a new path which freed up a corner for more of a permaculture beneficial garden.
The leeks just started poking through a few days ago. They're so cute I had to show them off.

This little patch was planted late on a lark and I'm so glad I did it.

More seed starting markers -- and these are things I try to avoid bringing home. When I do end up with them I keep them all because I'm a freak like that and can't stand to throw something away when it could possibly be reused. VOILA! Some are biodegradable, I guess we'll see just how well they biodegrade!

Spoons are definitely the cutest...

As for the fowl, we culled 4 roosters last weekend. Rowdy was one of them. He just got to be such a jerk that I couldn't even give him away. I simmered them for nearly 20 hours and made a big batch of rooster enchiladas complete with homemade enchilada sauce. The sauce came out so fabulously I will have to post the recipe. Next time. We have 2 broody hens, both Copper Marans which is interesting because they are the youngest of all the hens. I'm not complaining, we need more chickens. After taking these photos they (and their eggs) were moved into their own quarter.

The waning hours of sunlight have already had an impact on the hens. Egg production is down.
A volunteer tomato (the healthiest of the season) is still in high production. Go figure.
Sweet pea seeds soaking. These are all saved from last year, just a small sampling of the seed load from those vines!

Hmmm... the kids color pallette for painting the seed markers.... out of place but still kinda cute no?

Even rocks or old tiles work great. These are two old ones from a few years ago. They were bird protection weights this year. After painting, be sure to let them dry completely and then seal them with a clear varnish spray.

More bird protection: Strawberry baskets protecting the crazy maze of snow pea seedlings, held down with pieces of coat hanger.