Life On The Farm Is Not Always Pretty

There is a downside to farm life.

Baby calves are so precious.  All baby animals are precious and they are a big part of why I love farm life.  They have such big eyes and they come running if you bottle feed them.  They bump you and slime you.  

I am not sure what God is doing with us this year. Thanks to the man who lives behind us with his chicken barns, we are not raising any pastured broilers or turkeys this year.  We do still have layers and they are doing well so far.  We had a cow and a heifer both due to calve here soon.  We were going to let the heifer just raise her calf and not milk her this year, since the other cow was due to calve as well.

We have been watching the heifer because she was due any day. Every time I looked out there today, she was out in the pasture with the others eating. I decided to just go do a closer check to see if she showed any signs of starting to calve. She and the others met me at the fence, but then she turned and walked away. Honey, our other cow was acting sort of weird. She came running up behind me. She will come to me, but usually I have to stand there for a few minutes with my hand out.  I went into the pasture to go down and follow Maggie. Honey, the cow came running behind me all antsy.  As I rounded the corner of the barn, I heard Maggie in the barn making low moans. I figured labor had started. Honey rushed past me and went in by Maggie.  I went in and there were 2 dead calves. She had twins and they and who knows when she had them.  I guess we are going to try and milk the heifer this year. 

Sometimes I wish God would give us a blueprint, but we need to just trust and walk in the path we are given. 

You’re Going To Eat What???

These are SO GOOD and good for you!

Healthy fat is essential to our diet.  We are bombarded with ads and articles saying that we need to eat a low fat diet to be healthy.  That is not true.  Have you ever studied French food?  They eat a lot of healthy fats like butter or cream and they do not have near the problems with their health as we do here in America.  The ads push vegetable oils and trans fats (although trans fat is finally getting the bad reputation it deserves).  One of the things that makes me different from lots of other bloggers who write about food is that I like simple foods.  I am not into fancy, but just good old fashioned down home food.  I try to keep my food choices to those that I could raise or grow on our homestead.  Don’t get me wrong, I buy other items at the store, but most of what I cook is simple farm fare.  I also read a book one time that I loved.  It was called What the Bible Says About Healthy Living and is written by Dr. Rex Russell, M.D.  I agreed with almost everything in the book, and I loved the 3 simple principles that he follows.  1.  Eat only what God intended to be food (that leaves out blue jello).  2.  Eat it as close to the way that God created it as possible (don’t over process).  3.  Don’t make what you eat or how you eat your God.  You health is in God’s hands (do your best and leave the results to God).  With that in mind, I look at the different fats and oils.  Which sounds healthier, butter and cream or highly processed oils like vegetable oils?

I have 3 main fats that I like to consume.  Avocados, Butter and Coconut Oil.  When I purpose to keep these three things in my diet, I really notice a difference in several areas.  I feel better overall, I think better (fats feed the brain) and I am not as hungry nor do I fight cravings near as much.  I want to do more avocados but I forget about them.  :)  I need to put them in the menu plan somehow.  I have put them in smoothies and made guacamole.  We eat a lot of salads, so I need to remember to cut one up to put on our salads.  For coconut oil, I have been making my chocolate coconut bark.  I started using these trays and it gives me a more uniform portion. 

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For butter, I put it on my one piece of toast in the morning and I fry my eggs using butter.  I will put a pat of butter on my veggies at suppertime, but some days I was not getting very much butter.  I read a blog post by Shaye over at The Elliot Homestead.   She posted a recipe awhile back for Butter Treats.  These sounded good, but I never got around to making them.  Then more recently, I saw a post on Empowered Sustenance for Buttermints.  That got me thinking even more.  

  I do not like to follow recipes and I love to just play around until I get something I like.  This practice often makes it hard to  share with you exactly what I did.  We are going to try though.  I use Stevia in a lot of different things and I don’t have any problems using it, but I also use raw honey, maple syrup, sucanat and even sometimes I use organic cane crystals.  As I thought about what to add to the butter for the treats I was going to make, honey became the winner.  Have you ever spread honey butter on a warm piece of toast?  That is so delicious.  Again, this would be using simple foods that I could produce on our farm.  We have milk cows and bees.  :)  I sat out some butter to soften up a bit.  I wanted to be able to whip it together with the honey.  I used probably a cup and a half of butter.  My honey scoop held 1/4 cup of honey, but I did not use quite all of it.  If you like a stronger honey taste then add more honey to yours.  I hesitated whether to use a flavoring or not.  Shaye had added cinnamon and it is really good for you.  The other blogger used peppermint essential oil.  I do not ingest essential oils.  I know there are a lot of people who do and that is fine, but I choose not to.  :)  I looked to see if I had any flavorings in my cupboard.  I found an unopened bottle of Frontier Maple Flavoring.  I had purchased it for another recipe that I never made.  That sounded like a winner to me, butter and maple.  I could spread it on pancakes or toast.  I could put it in my oatmeal or cream of wheat.  I could stir it into some quinoa for a delicious and healthy breakfast.  My mind was getting very excited about the possibilities.  I am sorry to say, I did not measure this.  I just poured some of the flavoring in and mixed it in well and tasted.  Then I added a wee bit more and thought it tasted just right.   So you will have to pick your perfect amount.  

I pulled out a large jelly roll sized pan and put a piece of parchment paper on it.  I then got out my cake decorating kit.  :)  I took out a disposable icing bag and one of the decorating tips.  I filled the bag half full and started making splotches on my parchment paper.  The butter mixture was pretty soft by this time, so they did not come out as pretty as I would have liked.  You could just take a plastic bag (like a baggie) and snip off one corner.  Then just squeeze the mixture out of that corner in little blobs.  The picture below shows the second set of these I made.  I used the same piece of parchment paper.

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I then popped them in the freezer and left them there for an hour.  I made sure they were firm when I got them out.  I scraped them off the paper and put them in a bowl.  They need to be stored in the fridge.  I am thrilled with how they turned out and my husband loved them as well.  

If I was not clear and you have questions please ask them in the comments below.  I would also like to hear if you are planning on trying to make these.  Let me know how they turn out.

It’s Autumn… What Needs to Happen

It is Autumn... what needs to happen to prepare for winter.

It is Autumn… what needs to happen to prepare for Winter.  Yes, it is early Autumn, but you need to be ready in case Winter hits early like it did last year.  The picture above is from another year, but the leaves are already starting to turn much earlier than normal.  When you live on a farm or a homestead there are things you need to do in preparation for the season to come.  Here are some things we do around here in the Autumn.  

Firewood

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Our main heat source is a wood burning cookstove.  We do have to use a couple of electric heaters in the corners of the house where the heat does not reach.  Last year we saw temperatures (without the wind chill) in the mid -20s.  I have never been in that kind of cold before.  We used a LOT of wood.  We had to bring in several loads as winter started early, was cold and continued on.  If you are going to burn wood, get your firewood read to go.  Along with this, we clean the chimney and make sure it is ready for the first fire.   

Outbuildings and Barns

We need to make sure our outbuildings and barns are ready for the winter.  We have water sources that tend to freeze, so we put a heat lamp under a big upside down plastic bin.  We need to make sure our heat lamps are working and that the cords are out there.  We also need to make sure our trough heater is working.  This keeps the animals water from freezing over.  If there are doors you can close or places you can block off to give the animals a draft free area to go to in the really cold temperatures. 

Super Tonic

It is time to make sure we have plenty of Super Tonic on hand.  It is good for what ails you.  I use it often in my cooking, but when we start to get sick, we take spoonfuls of this stuff.  You can go here to see how it is made.  I make a gallon jar full.  

Chili Beans

I know that not everyone will do this, but we use a lot of chili beans in the cold months.  I make my own recipe Calico Beans.  Now is the best time of year to make them because the peppers and onions are coming in out of the garden.  You can make them with kidney beans or pinto beans, but we have a 17 bean mix I like to make them out of.  You can use them in chili, or fill a burrito with them, or add them to a soup.  They are so good.  You can find the recipe here.  

Blankets

  I make sure that all of the blankets are down and in reach as we need them.  Sometimes they need airing out a bit.  Some people like flannel sheets, but we do not use them. 

Finish the Harvest

It is time to bring in the rest of the items in your garden and preserve them.  Some things are dehydrated, frozen or canned.  Others are stored in a cool place like pumpkins and winter squash.  Put your garden to bed.

Garlic Gets Planted

It is time to plant your garlic so you will have a harvest next Summer.

 

What do you do at your house to get ready for the Winter.  Leave it in the comments below. 

  

A Collection of Farm “Tails”

A runaway ram - come here the "tail"!

Life on a farm is very rewarding.  I love living on a farm and can’t imagine not living on one.  There are so many ways that farm living affects you.  It is a wonderful place to raise a child.  They learn so much from just watching and caring for the animals.  They see where their food comes from and they get a very healthy lesson on sex education.  I can remember as a child seeing a cow mounting another cow in a pasture.  We snickered and giggled like it was something dirty.  When our son would see that, his comment would be… “Someone’s in heat”.  We watch for signs of heat to know when to get an animal bred.  There are also very sad times on a farm.  When an animal dies in an accident or of old age like our sweet Buttercup.  She was at least 20 years old and had not given us babies or milk for the last few years.  She earned the right to be a pasture ornament.  

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There are also times of joy.  The birth of a new animal, or the first egg from new chickens, or getting to feed a calf a bottle.  Sometimes what happens is funny and character building.  So, I thought I would share some stories with you.  We call them “Tails” From The Farm.

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“Flying Pigs”

Loading pigs to go to the butchers is always a character building exercise. On our last farm, we made the mistake of making the pig pen up behind another pasture. There were lots of trees in between the fences, so you couldn’t drive a truck up there. It was good for the pigs since it was shaded and comfortable for them during the hot summer, but bad for us since we had to move the pigs from their pen to the trailer which was WAY too far away. So, we got smarter when we moved to this farm. We decided to put the pigs in a place where we could back the trailer right up to it. Their shelter was the drive through on our big barn. It is about 3 feet lower than the bottom level of the barn. We thought we were all set.  As the pigs got closer to the size to be processed, we realized that we were going to have to be creative on getting the pigs from the drive through level to the next level of the barn, which the trailer would be backed up to. The guys built a ramp and they slowly coaxed the pigs to walk up it.  This was after many attempts and moving a feed bowl in font of them. They were successful with the first two with this method. It appeared that the rest were coming right behind the other two. They got all the way up to the trailer, then changed their mind and turned around.  They jumped to the lower level of the drive through and we were back at square one. We set the feed bowls down and began to talk about the next step.  They were somewhat disappointed that they had been so close only to have them turn around at the last moment. The pigs started showing an interest in the feed again. They were not interested in going up the ramp though. The guys had the feed up on the upper level, but those pigs just steered clear of that ramp.  All of a sudden and with very little effort, they easily jumped the three foot barrier, with a grace and a flair usually reserved for a horse in a steeplechase competition.   They did not even touch the ramp as they flew gracefully through the air. It was quite a site to see and brought lots of laughter. We learn new things each year. Who knew that pigs could fly?  One day we may get it right.

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“Ram On The Loose”

I used to keep a small spinners flock of Shetland Sheep.  We would breed them each year and raise some for meat.  Each year, I would have to find a ram to use.  This particular year, a friend (John) was bringing us a ram to put in with our sheep. He was also going to be picking up our turkeys to take them to be processed. Our sheep barn was behind our house and garden.  The pasture we used for the sheep included our side yard on both sides.  We would switch them from side to side to allow the grass to grow and for the sunshine to take care of parasites, etc.  There are large trees back by the sheep barn and the sheep like to hang out underneath them.  John backed up to the pasture fence and picked up the ram and put him in the sheep pasture.  The sheep were all around back and out of sight.  I am sure he wondered what had just happened.  He had been caught, loaded in a vehicle, transported and put into a pasture all by himself. Sheep are herd animals and like buddies.   As we started to turn around to go and get the turkeys, the ram simply hopped over the fence and took off across our pasture and across the neighbor’s yard and into the woods. We started out after him both on foot and in the truck. Once he hit the woods, we never saw him again. We looked for a long time, but we had to go and get started on the turkeys so we would be done on time. I called neighbors up and down the road, so that they would know he was loose and to watch out for him. Thank goodness he was a very gentle and mild ram. One of our friends went out looking for him and found him.  He was in the yard of some new people we had met that lived on a busy road behind us. Two dogs had him cornered and one of them had wounded one of his legs a bit.

 In the mean time we were butchering the turkeys and I was praying that the ram would be found and that he wouldn’t hurt anyone when he was cornered.

 Before we started for home, we got a call that he had been found and was on the way back to the farm. This friend had chased off the dogs and had the ram sort of cornered in a gully. She called her husband and told him where she was. He called another of our friends who was closer and told him. She sat there and talked to the ram until our friend showed up to catch him. They put him in the back of truck and brought him home and put him in by the sheep.   We were thanking God for friends and neighbors willing to help out.

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This one is told by my husband Michael right after it happened. 

Michael’s “Tail”
You shoulda seen this one……………

Saturday was a busy day. Very physical, nice warm humid day. Got
it?……. I was doing animal stuff, making sure everything was as it should be. I
walked over to the cow trough to check the water level. It was really low,
so I figured I’d take the opportunity to rinse it out before I filled it.
It’s a 100 gallon galvanized tank, so you need to wait ’til it’s low to
clean it. I tipped it over with no problem, and the 10 gallons or so that
was left washed over the area. I picked up the hose, put my hand on the
trough & leaned over to start rinsing. Well, the next thing I know I’m
letting out this big ole yell……………. loud…….. sudden…….. did I say loud?

It seems as I bent over, my slim & trim (ha-ha) rear-end came in contact
with the electric fence. WOW!! I had concerns prior to that about the effectiveness of the charger………………..not anymore. The yell was involuntary. That thing bit me so hard that it just came out. The spot of the shock still smarts a little. I can just imagine the play-by-play from the cows perspective. When I turned to look at them, they were holding their composure quite well, but I could swear I heard unrestrained laughter after
I was around the corner & out of sight.

Farm living is the life for me………….

 

I hope you enjoyed our “tails”.  If you would like to hear more of these, let us know in the comments below.  If you have a “tail” of your own to tell, share it as well. 

Supper On A Stick

Shish kabobs are on the menu!!

My husband went to get out some meat this past weekend.  He often will cook up meat on the weekend and we use it for lunches and even some suppers through the week.  He pulled out a package and it said “Heel of Round”.  We had never seen that with our meat before so we decided to thaw it and make shish kabobs.   It turned out to be fairly large and very meaty.   So, he took about 1/3 of it off and we put the rest aside for another meal plan.  He cut up the piece into cubes and put them in a bag with some of my homemade salad dressing.  It is a balsamic/red wine vinegar Italian dressing.  We were going to have them on Saturday night and that did not happen.  So, they have been marinating until tonight.  

I cut up lots of summer veggies.  We had mushrooms, green peppers, zucchini, yellow squash, tomatoes and Vidalia onions.  

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Since we did not grill meat on Saturday for the week, we went ahead and made hamburger patties as well. That little bowl is my vinegar fruit fly trap.  :)   

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We only had wooden skewers, so we soaked them in water before using them.  Then we put the shish kabobs together.  They look so colorful and summery to me.  :)

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He put them on the grill and oh my they were so delicious.  We have enough left for another meal.

The tomatoes in our garden have not done too well this year and what we did get are being eaten by something.  Some  are missing half or more of the tomato.  We may have brought in five tomatoes that were worth eating (not counting cherry tomatoes).  Tomatoes were one of the main things I wanted to can this year.  God provided for me.  We had a picnic after church on Sunday.  We were all talking about gardens and it seems most people did not do well with their tomatoes.  They had all gotten some from somewhere though.  One family said they were done picking and canning and they still had tomatoes.  They offered to let me come and pick theirs.  Another family said they had lots of peppers.  That was the Wonderful Neighbors.   They brought me these three buckets of peppers.

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I went over today to pick tomatoes at the other family’s house.  Their son who I believe is 15 or 16 offered to help me.  It was very pleasant to have a picking buddy and someone to talk to while we worked.  Here is what I brought home from there.

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My favorite sandwich in the world is a fresh from the garden tomato and onion sandwich.  I took what you see below and put them on bread spread with mayo and then added salt and pepper.  I was in sandwich heaven.  :)

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How did your tomatoes do this year?  Did you have plenty?  I would love to hear what all you are putting up at your house this summer!!

This Can Be Life Changing

I never have nor will I ever push something on anyone.  However, when I find something that works, I want to share it.  I know a lot of you will click off of this very quickly, but you might just be surprised if you take the time to read it.  You might also find out about something that can truly change your life. 

Michael and I started taking this product and did not notice an immediate difference.  After a couple of weeks I began to notice that my sleep was a bit better.  I still do not sleep wonderfully, but the sleep I was getting seemed to be deeper and I could feel more rested.  I also noticed that a lot of my little aches and pains in life were gone.  Michael started taking this because he heard how it can help with your joints and his knees had been bothering him.  I started taking it more for weight loss.  Michael said his knees were feeling better, but he was not convinced it had anything to do with Plexus.  He stopped taking it for about a week.  By the end of the week, all those pains were back and he started back on the Plexus.  I am feeling more energy than I have in a long time.  I don’t know if I have lot weight because I am staying away from the scale right now.  :)  I do know that my clothes are feeling looser on me.  Just the energy and lack of just hurting all the time has given me new hope.  I am excited about what I am feeling. 

I have shared 3 more testimonies below.  These are people I have talked to and shared with.  It is amazing how their lives have improved in so many areas.  Thyroid problems including Hashimotos  and adrenal fatigue are being helped.  Please take the time to read them. 

This can really change your life!!

 

This is from Brenda Martin- She has an amazing testimony of restored health!

“I’m so thankful God answered my prayers with Plexus!!! As a mom of 11 and helping with our 2 home businesses, I developed Adrenal Fatigue and put on extra weight. After working on healing my adrenals with natural supplements and eating a low-glycemic diet for a few months with good results, I started understanding more fully the importance of blood sugar balance. I realized how closely its connected to our endocrine system, inflammation, mood, and sleep.When I stalled in my weight loss before reaching my goal, I heard about Plexus Slim and decided to give it a try! Besides quickly losing those last pounds to my goal, it boosted my fatigued adrenals, took away food cravings, and is now toning my loose skin! I even ran out of my adrenal supplement for about a week and hardly noticed. Normally that puts me in a state of exhaustion for days. In fact, just days before discovering Plexus Slim, I told my husband that I’m ready to get blood work done to find out what I may still be missing in taking care of my health. This product has filled in those missing links for me!! And continue to do so the longer I take it. This pink drink has taken away my afternoon energy slumps, I can fall asleep at night almost immediately and awake feeling so completely rested and ready to face the day!This also works for men! My husband has no more chronic muscle pain, no more night sweats, feels and looks younger, lost some needed pounds is a now maintaining a healthy weight because of faithfully drinking Slim every day.”

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Here is another testimony that can’t be beat by Charlotte Siems.

“Okay, it’s official! Doctor appointment today: I’m completely off two thyroid meds (Synthroid and Armour) and my thyroid lab results are, in the words of the NP, “perfect!” Never thought this would happen, ever. I’m also released from the gynecologist because the post-menopausal problems are GONE without surgery. May sound corny, but not to me: THANK YOU, PLEXUS!!! This has affected my daily quality of life! *tears*”

“I started Plexus Slim in January, and by the second bag, my post-menopausal problems stopped (surgery was scheduled but was postponed due to a more pressing sinus surgery). In my 3rd week of Slim I started ProBio5 and BioCleanse. It all works together. You can’t separate blood sugar, thyroid, hormones, etc.–the endocrine system is all related.”

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Here is another person whose life has changed for the better, Tiffany Boyd.

“Some of you might not know that I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s when I was pregnant with Molly. Actually it had gotten extremely bad and it had gone undiagnosed for years. I finally found a wonderful Dr who knew how to treat it but I was left with issues that needed to be addressed. I heard about Plexus and took the products to my Dr because I wasn’t about to take ANYTHING without his go ahead. He looked them over, told me they were all natural and to go ahead. Mainly, I wanted help with weight loss. Little did I know ALL OF THE OTHER benefits that would ensue. Lower blood pressure, better sleep, help with migraines and Chron’s disease, better cholesterol levels, help with allergy issues, relief from fibromyalgia symptoms. ..The list goes on. It’s unfortunate they named the product SLIM because it’s MUCH more than weightloss. It’s about restoring your body.”

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If there is anything I can help you with or if you have questions, please ask away.  If I do not know the answer, I will find it for you.  If this is something you would like to try, you can find out more here

Has Plexus helped you?

Let’s Give Each Other Grace

Do You Extend Grace?

We are all different.  :)  I know that is not a news flash, but it still needs to be said.  We are all different in many ways.  Even identical twins are different from each other.  My husband loves seafood and I do not.  He likes sports and I do not.  Our tastes in many areas are different than each other.  That is OK.  We were not all meant to be just alike.  I have noticed a trend lately and have seen it in many different areas.  I see people either making fun of others or trying to make them feel stupid because they don’t think like that person does on a topic. They portray themselves as experts when thy are not.

I will get to how this is being done in the food area in a minute, because that is mainly what I am writing about.  I want to share some other ways I see this played out.  I recently talked to someone who felt that if you lived in a big house, you were doing something wrong.  They live a very simple life in a small home.  There are some ladies who only wear skirts and dresses.  Some of them look down on other ladies who wear pants.  It can show up in music styles, types of church, doctrine and so many other areas.  Sometimes people don’t even know how they come across.  We are all different.  Different does not mean wrong! 

There are many ways to eat or “diets” you might call them.  There is Paleo, Low Carb, Low Fat, Gluten Free, Weston Price & Nourishing Traditions, etc.  How you and your family eat is YOUR business.  How I and my family eat is MY business.  :)  I have had several people tell me that I should not eat wheat or other grains.  Now, some have asked me if I have tried cutting them out of my diet, or have asked me to try.  I don’t mind that.  I will post something on the Facebook page and someone will respond with a comment like, “WE don’t eat that!”  That is OK to not eat that, but it is OK for the one sharing to eat it.  Some people have gone gluten free because they want to cut wheat and some other grains out of their diet.  Others cut out gluten because they have Celiacs and it makes them sick.  We don’t know about every person in another family.   I know some people who eat some stuff I would not, but they feel like it is OK for them.  Do I have a right to impose my eating plan on them?  NO!!  I have known people that eat lots of junk food and then complain about all the sickness that happens in their family.  I may suggest making some changes in their diet, but I am certainly not going to tell them what to do.

We need to think about what we say or what we write.  Instead of saying things like, “We eat Paleo because it is the correct way to eat.”  How about just sharing that your family eats Paleo.  It may be the correct way to eat for YOUR family.  Share what you do and just leave it at that.  Don’t add anything that makes it seem like yours is the only way.  Don’t look at people who are different than you and think that your way is THE WAY and that they fall short of that.  Give each other grace.

Do you see any of this going on in conversations around you, or is it just me?