Winter Sprouting of Fresh Eating Greens 2018

I love the sprout mix I get for the house its a mix of Broccoli, Clover, Radish and Alfalfa certified Organic Blend that I buy, I have saved home grown radish seed, Home grown and saved Bloody Dock Seeds and Home grown and saved Pigweed seeds and TONS of home grown and saved mustard seeds.  Its nice to have a different choices but my home grown do tend to do better as micro greens then sprouts.

I like my sprouts smaller then they say to grow them, I have been known to eat them straight out of the dish with just a fresh water rinse on them while they are still so small and tiny but I also have times when they get ahead of themselves and they create the nice thick mat of roots. I find they work better to be added to things once they are chopped up.


Its nice to have a mix of kinds and at different stages, I currently have eight trays but I am thinking about increasing it to 12 trays going now that my mom is in the house? Do you sprout, if so how many trays do you run for how many people in your household? Do you buy your sprouting seeds? or do you grow, harvest and save your sprouting seeds? if so what is your favorite kind to do so on? or are you like me.. do you do both.. buy some and grow and save some?

If you do not sprout, what is your favorite way to get your winter greens? Do you grow mircogreens under lights? Are you one of those lucky readers that lives in a area that you can grow and harvest mustard greens year round or do you live a colder area but have the bigger set ups with the double layers and you winter grow your cold hardy greens and harvest all winter long?


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Happy New Year 2018

Happy New Year and Welcome to 2018..  Man 2017 was a wild ride in many ways.. the aftermath of a major drought year combined with some of the worst flooding in a hundred years and now we are having record breaking cold..  tell me again that the weather is not being effected by those hotter and colder then normal ocean currents.

The farm’s livestock and gardens had adjustments in 2017, some that were heart breaking to me and others that I just dealt with.. the first and I hope only year where we had massive predation. It does not matter to me that we have a program for some funding at the losses, it does not matter to me that it happened at all the other small farms around me..

What does matter is that I failed as a livestock owner in that animals in my care felt fear at their ends and that the only way I could make it stop was to barn them and allow very limited outside time (something that I hate to do to any of my critters) This spring will see us making a new outside corral with hot lines so they can at least loaf around under the tree’s, doze in the sun and feel the breezes as all animals should.  On a side note.. it was brutal on the budget.. when you have pasture for your livestock, you expect to be able to use it and not be buying and feeding hay due to the local coy-wolf pack

The Reno’s seem never ending and far more costly then expected but when do they not..  I was doing so well on the farm tracking and the blogging and I am sad that I was not able to keep up.  However for me at least Blogging, photos, writing and so forth are a creative force and I found when I was so tired that I could barely do more then keep up and crawl into the bed the very idea of writing created a “blank”

So upward and onward.. Its a new year and normally I write out all the things I want to do on the farm, in my life and on the blog..  but NOT this year folks.. This year I am free flowing it! 😛

Here is what I am offering up for 2018 (a much more relaxed list to be sure for those that have been my readers for years)

  • I will plant less gardens if needed in order to keep up on what I have and I will NOT break a new garden until I have my older gardens fully cleaned up and planted.
  • I will not buy new tree’s bushes or fruiting canes until I have cleaned up, pruned and replanted all the babies from my current bramble of goodies on the farm. Unless I can get them free from the local wild area’s. (example I want more High Bush Cranberries)
  • I will not expand any of my breeding programs, I will focus this year on repairing infrastructure and culling to improve the quality of my current programs.
  • I will work to produce enough meat, eggs, milk for the farm needs
  • I will work to produce enough fresh eating and to put up at least 400 jars worth of garden produce.
  • I will work to produce enough seed to save from at least my top twenty favorites this year. I will offer seed from at least my top ten favorites.
  • I will continue to work with and promote local plant, garden and food farms
  • I will continue to work with an promote and teach locally in regards to canning, preserving and wild edibles.
  • I will continue to give talks and presentations on all kinds of homesteading things.
  • I will blog as often as I can and we will see what that means by the end of next year
  • I will work hard to continue to get healthier for 2018

Everything else is a bonus..

Posted in At the kitchen table, Blogging | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Happy New Year’s Eve.. BRRRRRRR

Well, the Polar Vortex is settled over our farm and its cold folks.. bone chilling, eye lash frosting, come in and warm up between chores, run extra heaters, and check the pipes (don’t you dare freeze) COLD!

We have hit daytime highs of -21 with evening hitting -30 to -35’s but that is before wind chill, add that wind chill and we are into the -40 to -45..  I have lived in worse and we have buildings and barns for the livestock even so.. the very young, the stupid and the old have been hit in this extended deep cold.

Do not think for a moment that we have not done thing’s right, we have extra bedding out, extra hay, adding in more grains, added extra water and water checks (frozen water does not a drink make) we have added in extra goodies to the water and we have checked for drafts and put up extra plastic and boards and more..

None the less, we have had loss’s.. our oldest ewe coming 13 in just a few months who was in the barn(the sheep get to come out for walk about during chores and then are happy to follow us back in again for their grain) only showed that she was off in that she did not want her grain with the rest, she was drinking and eating her hay on one chore and check and we went hmmm.. and she was in her stall, sleeping on her bedding and gone on the next check..

I posted on facebook and got very kind comments from a lot of my fellow sheep owners and they are right.. 13 is old for a ewe and she had a great life and passed in a safe and bedded pen..  and in that way, I get it.. most livestock animals are not lucky enough to be born and pass in old age on the same farm. Most are shipping or butchered by the age of eight as they are not as productive past that age.

But I like most critter owners, would have like another year or two yet.. we are greedy in that way.. she had a name, she was a look you in the eye and talk to you kind of sheep, she was a lover to treats and a sniffer of pockets, she adored apple or fresh carrots but her true favorite was the Baked Apple Treats for the horse’s.  She was a great mom and a even better leader sheep for many years. Rest in Peace Mocha Sheep

Now for the dumb, the ducks think that if you fill the water dish with warm water, they should bath in it.. if you can fill the smaller pans, you can keep them snow bathing (which is what they need to do in this cold) but NO.. the young buggers decided to have a full bath and then with waterlogged feather (no down, no lift, no warmth) stay out in the outside pen and freeze to death..  Two died and the other one we got in time and moved back inside in the pen (which they have full access to) and under the heat lamp and is doing well

One of the rabbit kits decided that it was a good idea to stay out on the outside part on the wire which is only wind proofed on two sides  instead of going into the inside and full bedded wind proof area and of course froze to death..  its siblings are all fat, warm and grunted at me from their bedding when checked on..   There was lots of room for the other one in the box.. part of me just pissed it died and other part says..  the smart live on, the dumb do not..

I have been keeping a close eye on my oldest farm cat but so far, we appear to be doing well, because she is smart enough to say.. I am moving into the house mom.. in fact they all did LOL.. I only have seven farm cats at the moment and every single one while willing to go out for a hour or two to the barns to hunt, come back to the enclosed porch and come back into the house for the rest of the day and the evening..  I am finding it to be a lot of cats and the litter box is getting a work out but everyone is warm and safe..

The farm dogs are going out and then even they are coming back in.. their pads are getting to cold, so if I wanted them out for longer like normal in regards to chores and such they would need have boots put on. Its just not worth it.. so they get their runs and much shorter outdoor time then normal.. I could not figure out where my Dezbot had gone and I found her sleeping in the feather quilts on the bed.. she rolled over for a belly rub and gave me a half hearted guilty look.. but its so warm here mom.. LOL

The horse’s are not happy about being asked to go in the barn as much as they have been and I do let them have some say in it.. they can choose to be out during the day but at night I want them in.

If you are warm, enjoy it.. if you are being hit with this cold.. stay safe, stay warm, keep the home fires burning and hunker down.. because they say its going to get even colder yet.. Do a little extra prep work, makes sure you have extra water put up, I hope you have a weeks or more of feed, grain and hay-straw put up.. I hope you have enjoy till spring on some of it but at least enough that you can stay off the roads, not need it if the tractor’s or the trucks will not start! Don’t just prep for your farm.. regardless where you live if you are in this cold.. prep a 72 hour kit at a min for in case of power out.. bring extra wood in for your stoves, make sure you have camping fuel to make a hot cuppa coffee or tea if need etc

All week long the headlines in the news across this amazing huge country has been tens of thousands without heat or power or both..

We had been invited to a outstanding party in the city.. (amazing people) but it will not really surprise you that we are staying here on the farm and doing our best to makes sure everyone and everything comes though yet another cold one..

Posted in At the kitchen table | 5 Comments

Using your Canning Storage- Canned Rhubarb Crisp Recipe

It was requested that I make a Rhubarb Crisp for Christmas and I nodded yes, and then I started looking for frozen rhubarb.. and I looked and looked and shook my head.. how could we have used it all up..

Hmmmm well that was a surprise, I normally have a few (or more like a dozen) put away for just crisp’s.. O well So be it! Down to the cellar we went and two pint jars of Strawberry Rhubarb fruit came up.

Preheat the oven to 350.

Pour 1 Quart of Canned Rhubarb or Mixed Rhubarb Fruit into the bottom of your Baking Dish.

Make your Topping.

quarter cup of butter
half a cup of brown sugar
1 cup of flour
1 cup of oatmeal
Pinch of salt..

Blend the dry together first, then cut the cold or room temp butter into the dry and rub it though, in the end it should be loose and well blended but hold just a touch if asked.

Put the topping onto the fruit (slightly higher in the middle then at the edges) and into the oven till the edges are boiling up and over the crust and the crust is a light or med golden brown.

Serve hot with ice cream or serve cold as is, with ice cream or whipping cream.

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Merry Christmas 2017

Dear Hubby an I wish all of you the very best this holiday season.

This is what happens when you ask my sweet guy to do a holiday selfie LOL

He cracks me up. We have a white winter land of snow and more snow.. grateful for Farmer R that did the big drive way twice this week already and still lots of by hand shoveling being done. The temps are dropping getting down into minus 30 to 40 with wind chill by Friday with a high of minus 21

If? juno took on first breeding, she is due in ten days and she does have a baby bump but I think she looks like she might have taken on the next heat after. none the less we are moving the goats from the croft to the big barn today ahead of the big storm and the cold

Well had better get back to it, only a few more hours of daylight left today, slowly the days will be getting longer now

Posted in At the kitchen table | 9 Comments

Christmas is coming.. the snow is here

Winter finally arrived on the farm in Dec, before that the truth is while we did have some cooler days and nights and we have bitter cold winds that cut right though you, we also had at least two good bouts of warmer weather as well.

We did drag in our harvests and some were good, some were ok, and some where very poor, our lambs went to the butcher, as did a few yearlings for our own use here on the farm. Leaving me with a greatly reduced flock. I did get my new ram..  His name is King and he is a total sweetheart of a boy.. young but big and strong with a gentle temperament so far.  I am heading into winter with seven ewe’s and my new ram.  The flock is a mix of a two old ladies, four proven wonderful middle age mothers and one two year old young lady.

The hens snuck in two nests on us and hatched out a total of 16 new chicks, the oldest are now ten weeks and the younger are around four weeks now. I am ok with it, because I will enjoy having the young roosters from these as fresh chicken and at fryer size. I raised a number of lovely big six to eight month boys that will do big! sunday dinners.

I still need to get Red the Pig butchered yet, he is getting to be a big boy at this point its not getting done until the new year..

Can you believe it only one week till Christmas? I am doing ok on it but still have some things to get yet for stockings and a few smaller gifts.  Its going to be a busy season compared to what I am used to. I have hubby home for ten days (whoot!) and mom and I are talking and working our way though a number of things.

Its very interesting to see how almost 19 years of living away from each other has created many different holiday customs and like everything else it seems like both fun and a challenge to figure out how to make this and that happen.

The best you can do is keep talking, be open to idea’s an such..  more company then we are used to.. my mom is far more social then I am and I am 100 percent more social then my husband LOL

Baking is planned for later this week so I will have the camera fully charged and I will share some family recipes with you all 🙂 How is your Christmas coming? do you have family coming home? Are you heading to family for Christmas? or are you having a quiet just you one (my hubbies favorite).

Are you ready gift wise, did you get any second hand gifts, I have done well in that regard.. really nice gifts but many were found in second hand shops. A few things were gotten new but all were gotten at really good sale prices.. if its not at least 40 to 60 plus off.. its not getting looked at.

Will you be gifting any homemade things this year? Baking, canning? or perhaps soap or candies etc?

On a frugal note: Butter Sales are on this week.. as are a few other very great basic baking staples.. loss leaders are out in force at the moment! in my local shops.


Posted in Life moves on daily | Tagged , , , | 8 Comments

How you all doing.. Something had to give..

Hello Folks..

Sorry for such a long time not posting and here I was rocking it this year with my daily posts and then the reno’s hit, the move of my mom coming happened and I pushed to hard and got sick, enough that it knocked me down and its been weeks on meds.. Stress and overwork will get you if you don’t watch it.

I am not saying that its not still busy and not still crazy.. because it is.. but this past week, I baked and thought, I would love to share this on the blog, I saw a image on the farm of one of my critters and thought, that would be a great photo of the blog and I had the urge to stop and write.

I am glad to have those feelings because I had honestly gotten so overwhelmed that I was just pushing one foot in front of the other, work, harvest, process if possible, keep up on the chores and try and have enough energy to get the next thing done..

I, the list queen gave up writing them for close to two weeks, I just could not handle seeing all the undone things and then I was to have a weekend break, something I had been looking forward to for so long and my body just crashed.. Hubby had to take me to Emerg twice in three days, tests and more tests and all the results came back good..

I am happy that the tests came back good, the only thing they did know was that I had a unknown infection (treated by antibodics) and that my Allergies had kicked into overdrive to the point that it as acting like I was having a lung infections (which I didn’t have, many x-rays showed that they were in fact clear). I was ordered to bed rest for a week and was ordered no inside barn work for a month (thankfully hubby stepped up and that they created really good masks for when I do need to go in and do things) however I have lost of 40 pounds in the past few months, moving two full sizes in cloths, had to go buy new jeans yesterday because I am tired of needing the belt or them falling off me and to the floor.

While I certainly have enough extra that its not a hardship and its a good thing in many ways but its also a reflection of just how hard the past few months have been as I would just not be hungry and food was something that instead of being one of my biggest joys, became just something that I needed to do to get though the next meal for those in the house.

Personally I think its overkill on the barn thing but I am trying hard to follow ordered, the good things is that I will get barn rights back before lambing (they are due in marchish) and before the goats kid and milking starts and so forth.

Well, That’s my first update at the moment.. I have the Christmas tree up and the presents under it are looking fine.. mine and hubbies are all “we could use this for the farm” very practical.. but I have found some truly lovely gifts for my mom, I hope she will enjoy them.


Posted in At the kitchen table | Tagged , , | 15 Comments

Chickens are useful for cleaning up compost piles

This is the keep back hatching clutch of mixed eggs from this spring and a fine group they are, could not be more pleased with them. The purebreds are in their own group at this time and one of the hens is currently sitting on 14 confirmed eggs on day 8. We will see if she hatches anything if so they will be moved to their own area for her to raise them.

I will not be putting any extra light on the pure girl flock, they will lay or not lay is more likely and have a nice winters rest.

On the other hand my new flock of up an comers will have full light hours and I want them laying though the whole winter until spring for me 🙂

Here is a short version of a longer post I have done on keep your hens laying in winter..

Light: Yup, just like everyone else, I am going to say if you want your girls to lay thought the winter, you need to add light, but do not be afraid to think outside the box.. some folks are very successful at moving their hens to their unheated greenhouses during the winter, this helps you get every light bit you can, and keeps the heating (if you choose to heat) to a min and has the added bonus of them both cleaning and adding to the soil.  but I recommend that if you can, take your chicken light needs to solar, We have a solar powered light that collects during the day (when the birds have light) turns on in the evening as it gets dark and runs for about 4 to 5 hours on a winter charge, this is the best of three worlds, I use what natural light there is at all times, The light turns on by itself as it gets dark and the extra hours means that my birds get at least 12 hours of light even in the dark of winter and third, I am still on the same solar powered lights for the chickens and the big barn coming on 7 years, given that I got them on sale for 29..  that’s at power cost of 4 dollars per year to power a building.. if I was doing that at my local power costs.. it would be a lot more.

Protein:  that simple word that is just not so simple in real life.. you can go buy layer feed, it will have lots of protein in it.. mostly from GMO soybeans but its there.. or if you have a few chickens, you can pay though the nose for organic.. good for you if you can do so.. but most of us are on a budget.. So we are using a basic grain feed that is going to be a mix between 9 to 13 percent protein, it will get your birds though the winter but it will not be great that’s for sure..  and those lower protein will effect your layers.  So you can do a number of tricks, you can grow fodder, if you have a small flock, its quick and easy enough to do and it will increase the basic amounts to the need levels, you can hard boil and chop back a egg into the feed to increase the protein count, if you are doing small critter butchering on the farm in the winter ,like rabbits, you can give the leftover bits to the chickens and they will pick them clean, you can grow meal worms or red wiggers and once a week toss a handful to them, crickets are another choice I know that someone grows for her birds, I personally do fodder, meat scrapes and meal worms.  In a total pinch, I know folks that just toss them a handful of the dried cat food to give them that boost.

Age:  this is a great trick and when done correctly it works like a charm, keep the ages of your flock moving, if you have spring hatched hens that are young pullets that are coming into laying in the fall, early winter, they will start and as long as you meet their feed and protein needs they will continue to lay all winter, but be aware that they will take a spring break and first adult molt. but if you have older hens, they will have done a fall moult, a winter slow down and they will cover for your young girls in the spring..

One more reason to love ducks : LOL, no really, ducks are so good in so many ways, when the hens hit that hard winter slow down.. no I will not lay for you if they are older, the duck hens are out in crazy cold but sunny temps and she will start laying weeks before the chicken will stop looking out at the snow and giving you the eye, that says, make it stop and put another layer of fresh hay out there if you think, I am going to even think about going out of my hen house.

Farm Gal Tip of the Day – Give your girls hay once or twice a week, just a touch will do, they will use it like bedding but not before they find every bit of seed head, and good stuff in it. It will give you a bit of color in your winter eggs a well..  Do you not just love how eggs change all year long in color and texture a bit.. from pullet to spring, to summer to winter eggs, good cooks know that they are not the same

Posted in Chickens, Life moves on daily | Tagged , | 1 Comment

New Ram for the Sheep Flock and fall overview

After having a couple of the cutest Black Lambs born this year, I decided that we would at least for 2018 get a Black Hair Sheep Ram for the breeding season.. So we will be breeding with Onyx this year, he is a young ram and I will not have a clean up ram so it could be interesting.

I am breeding late this year, I am keeping the females without a ram till Mid-Oct so we should be able to push our lambing season further into the spring then we normally do but we are still breeding our Milking Goat Juno for the earlier kidding and milking time.

All the lambs are reserved as is Yearling ewe’s..  They will head to the butcher right around the second week of Oct, so I will only have them for another six weeks.

So we will head into fall with a flock that is a third of the size of normal for us..  We will have our old girls 9 coming ten years old already Bubble and Mocha, our young yearling ewe Babble, our lovely two year old female Maude and then we have our prime girls between three and five, Spot, Tandy, Tawny and Tully..

I have not had this small of a flock for about ten years on the farm but I think it will be a very good thing for the coming years plans.  It means that we are going to be able to move the expecting girls to the croft(little barn) for the winter instead of needing the big barn for them. The big barn will be for the horse’s and for Jack and Crème the male goats and for Onyx the Ram.

We are not getting a new calf to start raising till next spring, we will be butchering our pig in the next month and so its going to be a very quiet year in the big barn and a very busy winter in the croft 🙂

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The Sun came out -Bojangles

The boys are steady and lovely.. they poke their heads around the big barn when they hear us in the main yard and if they think there is even a chance we will be heading pasture way, they are up at the main gate, even if its just for a hello, pat and scratch on favorite spots.

Caleb has been getting his feet cleaned x amount of times and he has it all figured out.. come out, get them done, get a cookie per foot.. good deal.

Bojangles does not need his done as much but he waits nicely for his and so its part of his routine right now as well.. they both get some grooming when the evening fresh hay goes out.

And that’s been pretty much it for the past while with Reno mode in full swing, I had Farm Helper #3 ask if she  could come riding this week and so Bojangles got a nice ride-workout this week. He has been riding out with Caleb and playing follow the leader and he is gold at it.

But he was ridden out alone and he was not quite as happy about it, he settled and it was all good and it ended on the high note etc. It made me realize that I had been slacking on ground work with the boys. Caleb has had enough ground hours put into him that he is very steady as it goes with me even if off for a while.

Bo has been such a good boy when he is following caleb that I didn’t realize that he needed to be pulled out and worked with a bit more on his own.  Today we worked our half day reno Friday and while my homework list is long enough (reno related) over the long weekend, I am planning lots in the garden, canning, some butchering and in general being a home body and does that not sound wonderful! Maybe even hit the river and do a touch of fishing..

After lunch was done and the hounds given their run, I grabbed the gear needed and went out an Bojangles and I did 45 min of ground work.  I love this horse so much, he is such a good boy! I am just in love with my wonderful herd of two good old boy’s!

Posted in horse | 4 Comments