Thursday, January 1, 2015

Goat addictions and More!!
Our Nigerian Dwarf * rescued
WE mostly have pygmys so he is up for sale.

Merry, Noel and Honey.
Rescue Goats We think they are Nubian
They will be up for sale also
Crackers, she is shy

Butters and Hershey
 Say hello to Butters, Hershey, Noel, Merry,Honey and Crackers. We just got Several more since Christmas and I do not have pictures uploaded yet but they will be... VERY soon, I love my goats they are all friendly and I love watching them play.Well we started out with just a few goats, but have loved them so much that we kept adding and adding and adding so now we actually have 13 nannies and 3 billies! 4 are babies and we have several that are pregnant. 

My baby sweet pea. She likes to play in the leaves and never leaves the yard!
Meet Dutchess our mini pig! Wow she is a handful!!! I'm sure there will be many stories to come from this little booger. We are trying hard to potty pad train her. some days are good others are bad but she definitely has an attitude!
Our next addiction  is auctions. Wow this one can be expensive. We have gone to several in just the past month and found some beautiful things. We saw several things we wanted so when we do find our farm and farm house we will be ready to decorate. We went just to try and get the sled with the steering wheel but ended up with a wood stove, 2 wooden sleds, lots of jugs, a bow saw and lots of odds and ends. 

WE have the perfect farm laid out in our minds. We know how we want our orchard, barn, goatpen, garden, bees, and pond etc. ..... in the meantime our neighbors love our goats, chickens, pig and dogs LOL WE put the turkeys at our friends farm LOL.

I have started making and selling home made soaps, sugar/salt scrubs, lotions and chapstick. It is so much fun to experiment and know that I made it and there are NO chemicals in it :) Using my goatsmilk in the prodcuts makes it even better!!!

The next blog will involve our library and how important it is to gather books for your homestead!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Goat wrangling, Farm House Finds, and Garden WOES

Violet and Sweet Pea

The Goats are finally home! Welcome Daisy, Violet, and Sweet Pea! We  travled 2.5 hours one way to get Violet and Sweet Pea. Actually we were going to get Sweet Pea, she is 5 months old, but

Violet's markings were SO beautiful we ended up with her too :)... Sweet Pea is used to people and

loves to be loved on but Violet is already a year old and is skiddish around people.

I am hoping with a little love and patience she will let us love on her too.

Daisy was a local find. She is 10 months old and such a beautiful gray color. She is going to take A LOT of love and patience. She won't even be on the same side of the pen with a human.
Daisy and Sweet Pea are full Pygmy goats. Violet is half pygmy half Nigerian.

They have been so fun to watch just the few days we have had them. Yes we
live in a subdivision, but we live in the county not city so hoping we can get away with it til we
purchase our farm.

We are learning as we go and will be sure to post all our successes and trials right here for all to learn!. We have several books and use friends and the internet to learn. DONOT give much sweet feed a friend of ours did this and her babies got kidney stones they could not pass and died!

They sure love to climb romp and play, and Scott, my hubby, will be building a playground soon Pics to come!!

Farm House Finds

I also got two great gifts from my mom this week!!! My grandmother's sewing machine ( looks to be about 1950's or so}... and her water pump from her yard ( no pic yet) They both work and will be a nice added touch to our Farm. This is still in the works! We may be putting up an offer the first part of November for a nice small farm... SUPER EXCITED!!!

The Garden:

OH MY!!!! our sweet pepper and hot pepper plants have EXPLODED since it got chilly. We have so many I can not keep up with picking them!!! I will know next year to plant less.

We planted sweet potatoes (remember this is our first garden!) WHOOPS we planted way to many... no one told us that every place you plant one you could get 3-5!!!! We planted 8 rows!!! the first row alone gave us a huge bucket full!!! Now What do I DO WITH THEM??? We have a basement but not really any kind of cellar, although there is a part of the basement that looks like it was going to be one... no floor and dark with a  small door. I have read you can just eat them right after you dig them up. Others say NOPE gotta cover them up for several weeks to cure or something.. Maybe I will do both and let you guys know which worked better!!

This was my Fall break from school so I have been productive. Not only did we get the goats but I started another rag quilt, You can see my first one in a previous blog. I also made several soaps this week, They are curing and will be ready for Christmas gifts :) coffee mint, goats milk, lavender vanilla, sugar cookie, eggnog and various scrubs to go along with them.  I will be canning chili today.. I hope :)

I'd Love to hear about your trials and successes on your beginning farm :) lets all learn together.

Thanks for keeping up with McCormick Farms !

Monday, September 29, 2014

Bread and Butter Pickles

                             Grandma Perry's Bread and Butter Pickles.... YUM YUM

One of my favorite treats was to get the bread and butter pickles from ma maw's fridge and snack on them. My other was her black berry jam.. That recipe will be next!!! So when I finally got into the canning and homesteading I contacted my aunt who has all her recipes and tried them this year..mmmmmm brought back so many memories :)

4 qts sliced cucumbers
6 sliced med. onions
1/2 cup salt
5 cups sugar
1- 1/2 tsp. Turmeric
1- 1/2 tsp. celery seed
2 tbsp. mustard seed
3 cups cider vinegar

Ice down cucumbers & onions and salt. Let set about 2 hours. Combine all other ingredients - bring to boil.
Remove cucumbers, onions from ice water - add to boiled vinegar mixture until cucumbers are hot - Take hot empty jars and lids from hot water bath ( this is to sterlize and get the jars hot)
add pickle crisp per directions on jar add cucumbers, onions and vinegar mixture to jars. leave about a one inch space, wipe rims and- seal jars with hot lid.
Do not put back in Water bath
Set to the side and wait til you hear them POP. 
Got any questions just shoot me a comment :)
I started with this type of canning since the idea of a pressure cooker scared me.. but OH I AM READY NOW!!! I will be canning chili, beefstew and possibly potato soup this winter as soon as I buy a pressure cooker :)


If you are a crafter stop on by to my sisters blog
She makes some amazing crafty stuff. ME? not as crafty lol

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Quilts, Chickens and More!

Well it has been a hectic few weeks! We got 4 new chickens! They still are not socializing well but at least they are not fighting like before. We kept them separated by a fence for a few days but allowed them to socialize a few minutes every day. Now they are in the same pen. Not fighting but keeping to themselves LOL The two black ones do not want to sleep in the chicken tractor, they prefer to sleep on top of the fence then fly down in to the fenced area in the morning.

One thing I am learning about chickens is: when they first start laying they lay very small eggs that eventually get bigger! This I did not know but someone told my better half and he explained it to me then we actually got to see  one of the smaller eggs... so cute

I basically finished my rag quilt! My daughter LOVES it.
 With a rag quilt there is really no REAL quilting on a quilting rack involved. Yout cut out your pattern squares I did 6 inches, then you cut a flannel material a bit smaller for the "filling" next you cut a 6 inch flannel for the backing. sew them all together with a big X to keep the "filling from sliding. then you connect them together, to make what ever pattern you want, with the seam up toward the front of the quilt. cut small slits in the seam and after it is washed they fuzz up.  I Google several different rag quilts to get a good understanding.

I made my first batch of goatsmilk soap this year and it turned out wonderful! It is curing in the boxes now. In 3 more weeks I will have some WONDERFUL soap.

The most exciting part is that my husband and I are currently looking for a farm. Right now we live in a subdivision , yes with chickens LOL. We want to buy a small farm so we can be even more self sufficient and I am hoping more chickens, a few goats, a pond with fish and a big place for a garden, an orchard of fruit trees along with solar power and a canning and soap making room is in our near future.

Stay tuned to our search and then how we plan out out future for retirement

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Laundry soap and trials and troubles of being a new happy homesteader!

I truly have enjoyed our first garden! Many lessons learned and we have bought so many books and magazines that hopefully we will be better prepared next year! We are having an issue with our chickens going on strike??? But more about that later :)

My most recent happy homesteading ordeal has been making our own laundry detergent. I do this now for various reasons, The number one reason is because of my daughter's sensitive skin and my husband often breaks out if I change detergents. I found a great recipe that does NOT use borax. Some people like using borax so you could add it to the recipe if you want but I am afraid it would agitate my daughters eczema.

1 bar laundry soap, grated finely ( you can also use dove or a natural bar soap) I plan to try to make my own and use it. Right now I use the kind my grocery store sells in the laundry department
 1 c. washing soda ( cleanser)
1/2 c. baking soda ( removes stains)
 1/4 c. coarse salt ( this softens the water)
I also add a few drops of essential oils. so far I have used lavender and peppermint :)

I quadruple this recipe and keep it in an air tight container. I use an 1/8  of a cup or a little more depending on load size.

I have tried many homemade dishwashing detergents but have not found one I am happy with. They all seem to leave a film on my plastic cups. If you know of one you have perfected I would love to try it!!!

My hubby often comes home with muddy pants from his job and it has cleaned them very well. Neither my daughter or my husband has had any complaints and I love how I can control how strong or soft I want the smell AND what smell I may want for that month or two, depending on how much I make.

If you prefer a liquid detergent, there are many recipes out there, so remember save money by making this yourself and HAPPY HOMESTEADING!!!

My next blog will be about why our chickens have all of a sudden quit laying eggs ( if I can figure it out LOL, remember this is our first time with chickens so I am currently researching the reasons for their strike!) or it may about  the rag quilt I am currently working on. It won't be finished but a nice enough for a picture I do believe :)

I am hoping with in the next few months my husband and I will have found the farm that we want and you all can be part of our process of planning out the lay of the land etc... EXCITING TIMES ARE COMING!!!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

The garden is almost done for the year.

The garden is almost finished for the summer! One more round of beans, and then just waiting til sweet potatoes are ready! Our 1/2 runners and Bush  beans did  marvelous. One tip on Bush beans... plant a few seeds every 2 weeks so you will have a plant continuously giving beans,  We were very excited since it was our first garden, and we planted late into the season. We started out with a patio garden. But we quickly we found a tiller and moved everything down to a true garden :) and added more!

 I have several bags of frozen beans in our freezer.  Our corn was really good too. The corn  was even more exciting since our neighbor said the last owner tried to grow corn but was unsuccessful. We planted tomatoes and a few plants did really well but, a few died not sure why????

We also planted sweet peppers hot peppers and cucumbers each did decent. The butternut squash also did really good. I just discovered this wonderful squash a few months back.

 This was a great trial run for us. WE quickly learned a garden is A LOT of work but... Let me just say it is very satisfying to eat food that you grew yourself and know that no pesticides were used. ( we did use Neams oil.... OMG that stuff stinks but it work )

Next year we will be doing a larger garden, more corn, less sweet potatoes,  some okra, and more cucumbers since my family loves the dill and bread and butter pickles I can.

We also have blue raspberry bushes (native to E. TN) that we will be planting... I may do jam from them next year along with strawberries and blackberries.

I will hopefully post pictures of some of my canning success :) We have already went through several jars of pickles and blackberry jelly! They are my grandmother's recipe and I love them so much.

We are learning as we go I would love to hear from all of you about things you learned as you go!

happy homesteading everyone!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Our first homesteading adventure! It's a learning process...

My family and I have been trying to be more self sufficient. Our first adventure was chickens! OH MY I love my chickens. My dear hubby searched online til we found some laying hens and a rooster along with its tractor. Once we got them we realized we would prefer a tractor inside a pen so they could run about.

They have been a joy to watch. Learning which is the "Queen chick" and the pecking order was interesting. We have 4 hens, Henny Penny, she lays speckled eggs, Queenie who of course is the boss and the other two have gone unnamed :) but big Pimp our rooster is a beautiful guardian of his ladies. I have witnessed when a hawk flies over head he shoos them into a corner between the side of the pen and their house. This way they are covered by the roof hangover.  We get 3 to 4 eggs every day and they are so much better than our store bought ones.

Next we ventured into a garden! That will be a blog all its own :) I also started a rag quilt, and canned jellies and jams and pickles for the first time EVER!!! All this along with recipes and my newest adventure of homemade soaps, lotions,and salves to come in a future blog.