Monday, March 10, 2014

Around the Homestead Update - March so far

The biggest topic of discussion on the homestead is Buttercup. And I’m sure it will be until she calves and we have a regular milking routine. But I don’t want to talk about it too much ahead of time. Seems presumptuous. We’re doing our best to be prepared.

Other things are still happening as usual.

The chickens are happy and healthy. We are finally getting a good amount of eggs again. Maybe 6 a day from 8 hens. Their nesting boxes are much cleaner than they were while our two old hens were still around. The old hens slept in the nesting boxes and made a mess!

I’ve been enjoying walking down to collect a basket full of eggs in the morning when we need something for breakfast. I use them as fast as I get them. Our favorite ways to use them are for pasta, frittatas or fried eggs.

So good.
Joel has been making amazing pasta.

We rendered some tallow the other night. It was nice to use something that would have otherwise been thrown away. When it was done, we immediately made some French fries. This was my first experience frying. The French fries were amazing! I used these two posts from the Prairie Homestead to make the tallow and then to make the French fries: How to Render Beef Tallow, and The Best French Fries. Ever. They give a little insight into the healthfulness of tallow too.

Breaking apart the fat

Cooling it like this so that we could put some bars in the freezer.

A fun fridge. Top shelf has pumpkin, buttermilk, coconut milk, and maple syrup.
The next one down has grape jelly, homemade butter and jars of tallow.
The next is strawberry vinegar, milk, and more tallow.
And drawers of peppers and tomatoes. Gotta pickle those peppers.

All hardened!

Bars for the freezer.
French Fries
 Joel and I have been debating how we should put up a greenhouse. We were going to make a homemade one like the one on Whistle Pig Hollow, but it still has some expensive materials in it plus the work. Joel found an interesting company in NH that makes small greenhouses and we were looking at the 7x10 one. We are trying to figure out if the slightly higher price tag is worth it for something that is more streamline and will require less time and planning to get going.

Our indoor starts seem to be doing okay. All the rhubarb seedlings have come up and are strong! The wormwood is finally popping up and some of the onions have as well. This is my first year trying to start onions and I don’t know if I should reseed the cells that haven’t shown up yet, or if I should expect it to take more than 2 weeks. I’ll be starting more this week and doing some more reading on this.

The boys and I have been enjoying the simple days. We had a little picnic one day in our living room. I made some maple syrup lemonade and macaroons. Noah has been a big helper lately and it is so fun to see him coming into a new point in his life. Although I’ve always encouraged him to “help” even if it slowed things down, he’s now at the age where his help can actually speed things up. It’s such a cool change to see. He’s especially helpful unloading the dishes from the dishwasher and prefers to move as fast as he can.

Noah has also started really searching out answers and wanting to learn. This is a sudden change. My friend spotted an A Beka Book reading handbook and said it was a good find at the thrift shop. I didn’t know what A Beka was and took her word for it because she has a lot of experience with homeschooling. After I bought it for 25 cents, she told me a little about it.

Noah is really eager for me to talk about the pages with him. We’ve been working on the inside cover to learn the alphabet. He did not have any desire to hammer out the letters previously, but now he seems motivated. I’m SO excited for this. I hope he keeps it up.

I think that’s about it for now. Until we meet again!

I shared this at:
The Homestead Barn Hop
From the Farm Blog Hop
The HomeAcre Hop
Simple Saturday Blog Hop
Simple Life Sunday


  1. Good deals on the greenhouses! We've been looking at a small one, like a 4'x6'...

    1. We thought they looked pretty good too. Just trying to figure out if we want to save the extra few bucks by building it.

  2. So many good things going on at your homestead! I'm starting my seeds in the next week or two (hopefully), but I'm so nervous since it's my first time! I love reading about your steps on here, it's always reassuring :)

    1. Oh, that is exciting! I hope it all works well for you! I'm sure you've done tons of research, but if you haven't found the perfect tutorial, I really liked this one:

      I didn't follow these exactly and found this after we planted this year - but I wish I had done the saran wrap trick on the onions. I think I would have had better germination!

      Next year I might try this too:




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