Thursday, July 24, 2014 in , , ,

Another week, Another Addition: Sheep Arrive on The Homestead

Another week on the homestead and we've been keeping very busy.

I've been doing my share of procrastibaking and made cheesecakes with guava sauce for all the neighbors.  I still have an excess of cream cheese that needs to either be used or stored in the next few day so my neighbors may be subjected to more cheesecake or I will finally figure out how to store and freeze it. 

The chickens seem to be growing by the day.  They are just over 4 months old now, by my calculations (which are shotty at best), and the smaller ones (not pictured) are getting to be around 2 months soon.  Some breads will lay eggs as early as 4 months but most won't start till they are closer to 6 to 8 months.

The goats are doing well and are getting close to that time where we will want to keep them separate. 

Charlotte is loving it here.  You don't realize how much food you throw out until you have a piggy to feed.  We compost almost all our veggie waste and even have a biopod for our meat waste.  But left overs and odds and end that can't go into either now go to Charlotte.

While walking the grounds we found one our trees with tiny oblong acorns.  We are told it's a water oak. 

We also received delivery of two beautiful sheep, which my mom gifted us, to help with the lawn mowing.  Sheep, not goats, are the lawn mowers of the farm.  Goats prefer weeds, Sheep prefer grass.

Charlotte is doing well and is very happy in the back pasture. 

She also tries to turn every spot we put her water into a mud wallow. 

We are back to laying tile, thanks to a little help from our friends, and very hurriedly planing and building an aviary as we are expecting more birds than you can shake a stick at. 

Wish us luck.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014 in , ,

Quick and Easy Homemade Ketchup (that tastes better than store bought)

After a hectic week, we ran out of Ketchup and the grocery trip is still a ways away so I decided to take a crack at making Homemade Ketchup.

I did some research and found the same three main components.  Tomato paste, Vinegar and some sort if sweetener.  So being that we already keep tomato paste and vinegar in our pantry and we have loads of honey to sweeten the deal, we decided to give it a go.

1/3 cup tomato paste (or an entire 6oz can)
1 tbsp local raw honey (perferably from the Tattooed Homestead)
1/3 cup white wine vinegar
1/8 cup water (or more depending on the consistency you like)

1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
 salt to taste

In a small sauce pan, mix all the ingredients and heat on low until everything is well combined.

Taste as you season and give it your own flavor!

Friday, July 18, 2014 in ,

Company on the Homestead

Living far away from "civilization" keeps us very busy.  A trip to the grocery store becomes an ordeal, taking over an hour just in travel time.  Taking into account the time, fuel and effort and add a rambunctious two year old, every trip is an adventure.  

So this week, some of our friends from back in the City came to give us a visit.  

They choose a good time because the Cicadas are out and molting and making their beautiful chirps.  This one had just come out of it's shell and it's wings were not even dry yet.  

The boys grabbed it up and set it free after close examination.   

They wanted the full camping/farming experience so we started a camp fire and assigned them farm work.

On the farm, there is always work to do. 

 Bane, our Livestock Guardian Dog, supervised.

Base camp, in the back yard. 

Our newest arrival, Charlotte got along with our guests just fine.  She was dropped off by a good Samaritan who was on the side of the road and she just wandered up to them.  Knowing she was someone's pet, they scooped her up and found us online.  

Our son, was a little more hesitant. 

Our son prefers the swings. 

Base camp from afar.  

The protector of the farm surveying the land.  

It was great to have company on the farm and we are excited for their next visit.  

A lot got done and good times were had by all.  

Tuesday, June 24, 2014 in

Weekly Update: Another Addition

Another week and we brought home some fuzzy additions to the homestead.  Four New Zealand Does (that's Rabbit Lingo for Girl Rabbits).  We've been told New Zealands are a great starter breed and good meat producers so it's a good place to start.

Rabbits are part of our overall Homesteading plan and we do intend the include them in our regular meal rotation.  I grew up eating Rabbit on a fairly regular basis as my family in Puerto Rico also keeps rabbits for meat.

We have already met with a few "Oh, You're not going to eat them, are you?" comments, to which we smile and nod politely.

We will also be adding a Silver Fox breed Buck (that means Boy Rabbit) to bread them with in the next week or two.

The goats are still quite comfortable in their space but we are considering moving them since it seems they have done such a good job of clearing the weeds.  We would need to fix some fences but we have plenty more for them to chomp on.

The chicks are doing well.  They are about 3 weeks old now and growing quite rapidly.

Unfortunately, so are the spiders.  This is the biggest one we've seen yet.  I've named her Big Burtha.  She lives on the back porch in a mostly unused corner.  She is about 3 inches from top to bottom.   She is a Golden Orb spider, also known as a Banana Spider.  She supposedly does bite, similar to a bee sting, but being that I've never been stung by a bee I am terrified at the prospect of getting bitten.

She scares the BEGEEZES out of me.

The chicks getting some play time on the grass, eating buggy snacks.

The rabbits lounging in the hutch.  Right now we have them two to a cage, because the hutch requires some repairs which should be completed shortly.

The Movable Chicken Coop is doing well.

The chickens seem to like the viewing area under the nesting area.  I call it "The Coop with a View"

This week, we are looking at another honey harvest in preparation for our first Farmer's Market in the area and meeting a man about some sheep.  As it turns out, sheep are the best lawn mowers ... goats prefer weeds.  Thankfully if we do get them we can keep them together in the large field.  Not sure if we will come home with any though, let's see.

I am also still in search of the elusive Turkey chicks.  It seems I am not the only one with this idea though, many of our friends want them too.  Keep your fingers crossed for me!

Stay Tuned as the Adventures Continue!

Monday, June 16, 2014 in , , ,

Weekly Update: Stormy Weather

The rainy season has arrived at the homestead.  I've noticed the weather is a little more palpable here, still being in the midst of the lightening capital of the US, the thunder sounds a little louder now.  It could be that when we lived in the city, the noise drowned it out a bit, and now we have all this space to create an echo. This week, during a regular daily deluge, this poor little squirrel was looking for shelter and he decided to hang out under our porch.

I've been focusing a lot of time on painting the Baby's room.  I'm going with a Solar System theme with Glow in the dark paint and all.  I'm am also plotting for the Baby's 2nd birthday during Fourth of July weekend ... and life goes on.   

The baby chicks are growing by the second.

... and the bigger chicks are demanding more space.

Hubby is busy working on a chicken tractor ...

.... and a Rabbit Hutch was donated to the cause. 

Also, another goat made it to the homestead.  A female, nubian / dwarf cross.  

We also had the vet come out and he checked on the animals.

The plants are loving the rains and growing like wildfire. 

The basil has gone to seed.

I need to harvest the Greek Oregano as my supply is running low and we have no shortage in the garden. 

The Cuban Oregano is doing well.

And the citrus trees are growing quickly. 

Another very busy week on the homestead and more to come.