Monday, July 25, 2011

Celebrating the Little Things

I'm not gonna lie.  This pregnancy is really taking it out of me.  What I've realized is, every pregnancy really takes it out of me, but normally I push through the nausea and exhaustion.  Which would lead to worse nausea and exhaustion.  Perhaps I'm finally learning my lesson with baby number five.  Still, when there are hillsides to weed, chicken coops to finish, garden beds to prepare, orchards to put in, and a homeschool year rapidly approaching, it's hard to stay still.  I love doing all of the above, which makes it even harder to be so sedentary.  It got to the point to, as I read others' beautiful blogs filled with tales of new bee hives, bumper crop gardens, and livestock additions, I felt sad instead of the usual excited, so-happy-for-them feeling that usually washes over me.  Could I possibly be... feeling sorry for myself?  Oh dear me no.  That must be remedied.

In an effort to put an end to those doldrums, here is me, choosing to celebrate what is happening in our little homestead, inching along a little slower than planned...

After gathering all the supplies for making goat milk soap and cheese, I had to go back on my offer of goat-sitting for my friends for anther month.  My husband's crazy schedule does not make him available if ever I need to skip a milking.  As sad as this made me, it did allow for another friend who is also interested in getting dairy goats to look after them, an opportunity I was so grateful for, and I'm glad she gets to have it now, too.  The cheese and soap ingredients won't go bad, and I'm sure my friends will share some milk when I'm ready for it.

There might not be a pool or pond yet, but I'm taking great delight in watching the kids thrill to the sensation of a good ol' fashioned hose spray (a new daily ritual).

We had several sad, dead oaks on our land, but through my husband's hard work, it has translated into a hefty wood pile, which is a comforting sight when our only source of heat for the not-too-distant colder months is the wood stove. 

There is no vegetable garden this year, and I won't deny that that fact hurts, but I was surprised to count eight herbs growing quite profusely right outside the kitchen.

Our new-to-this-season raspberry canes produced no berries (I'm thinking it has something to do with needing more acid in the soil than I gave them?) and the tiny blueberry bush definitely doesn't produce enough for even one pie, but it does put a twinkle in my kids' eyes when they walk by and pick a handful of juicy morsels as a summertime snack.

There might not be an orchard yet, but our big, bush-of-a pomegranate tree is ornamented with many little, growing fruits!

Remember the grape vines I worried about because I pruned them so late in the season?  Well, they grew.  A lot.  And I never trellised them. *sad face*  But there are many clusters of grapes!  We don't know if they're table or wine yet.  Does anyone know how to tell by looking at this picture of them?  It seems like they need a little more time to ripen on the vine (although there are a few raisins).

Our first pullet started laying!  The one and only white egg layer, the California White, is leading the brood.  Aren't the eggs so cute and tiny when they first start?

Oh.  And not to forget (because I tend to)?  I'm growing a baby.  And I'm pretty happy about that.  The most happy about that.  So I'll rest now.  And be thankful for what I do have.  For what's to come.  A sweet, amazing little life will be here before we know it.  And I look forward to that orchard and those garden beds to be put in place in their own good time, but the time is not right now.  Now?  It's nap time.  And now?  I'm okay with that.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Gluten-Free Weekly Menu Plan, Week 9

Well friends, this is my last menu plan until September, when my favorite CSA delivers to our area again.  I'm feeling the need to greatly simplify life as my body works hard, supporting the little life the Lord is knitting in my womb.  All spare energy for the rest of the summer will be funneled towards connecting with family, preparing for the school year, and doing what little I can to prep a plot of the homestead for a little orchard that we'll plant in the winter (and a wee bit of blogging on the side during rest times).  So... After scrounging up simple recipes that are the best received at this home, the following will be our weekly menu for the next six weeks.

To do: soak pinto beans for refried beans
Breakfast: Carrot juice, eggs, avocado slices
Snack: Blueberry Raw Milk Kefir Smoothies
Lunch: Mostly Raw Wraps
Snack: Raw Milk Kefir Smoothie Pops
Dinner: Slow Cooker Herbed Lemon Chicken with Potatoes & garden salad with Roasted Poblano Dressing

To do: Make refried beans, thaw chicken stock for Thursday's dinner
Breakfast: Ginger Carrot Juice & Slow Cooker Spinach Sausage Breakfast Casserole (recipe coming soon)
Snack: Strawberry Banana Raw Milk Kefir Smoothies
Lunch: Quesorritos & carrot slices
Snack: Cantaloupe & Raw Cheese Slices
Dinner: Turkey Pesto Pasta & garden salad with Roasted Poblano Dressing

To do: soak porridge & sourdough flatbread, make raw cookies, thaw steaks
Breakfast: Leftover breakfast from Tuesday
Snack: Mixed Berry Raw Milk Kefir Smoothies
Lunch: Nut Butter Popcorn, carrot slices, raw cheese
Snack: Watermelon slices
Dinner: Mexican Food Bar (concept coming soon)

To do: make sourdough flatbread
Breakfast: Carrot Juice, Porridge & Eggs
Snack: Blueberry Raw Milk Kefir Smoothies
Lunch: Sourdough Flatbread Sandwiches
Snack: Fried Mush & fruit slices
Dinner: Carrot Soup, guacamole & chips

To do: Soak Sourdough Pancakes
Breakfast: Carrot juice, Sourdough Flatbread Egg Burritos
Snack: Peanut Butter Raw Milk Kefir Smoothies
Lunch: Hummus Flowers (recipe coming soon)
Snack: Raw Milk Kefir Smoothie Pops
Dinner: Steak from grass-fed beef, garden salad with Roasted Poblano Dressing, homemade raw ice cream

To do: Soak Skillet Biscuits
Breakfast: Pancake Bar
Snack: Mixed Berry Raw Milk Kefir Smoothies
Lunch: Steak Salad with leftover steak from last night's dinner
Snack: Pineapple slices
Dinner: Summer Veggie Skillet Pizza & Raw Peach Cobbler

To do: Menu Plan
Breakfast: Skillet Biscuits (recipe coming soon)
Snack: Strawberry Banana Raw Milk Kefir Smoothies
Lunch: Leftovers
Snack: Butterscotch Pudding
Dinner: Leftovers

Have a lovely week!

I'm sharing this at Menu Plan Monday.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Butterscotch Pudding ~ A Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, Egg-Free Recipe

After a week of goat-sitting and still getting two gallons of raw cow milk per week from a local, grass-fed dairy, it's probably unnecessary to state the fact that two-thirds of our fridge is filled with milk.  Let's see... what can be made using a lot of milk besides the quart-and-a-half of daily kefir used?  Pudding.  Butterscotch pudding, to be exact.  This is a big recipe, and although we eat it right up in a day's time *burp* any leftovers make great popsicles.  If it's just too much for you, try half a recipe.

Butterscotch Pudding

1 1/2 cup rapadura or sucanat
1/3 cup arrowroot powder (if making half a recipe, use 3 Tbs.)
6 cups milk
2 Tablespoons butter
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  1. In a saucepan, stir together rapadura & arrowroot powder. Stir in milk.  Cook over medium heat until thick & bubbly, then cook 2 minutes longer.  Remove from heat.
  2. Stir in butter & vanilla until butter is fully melted.  Serve warm with a splash of cold milk, or chilled.  A dollop of whipped cream on top is also yummy.  Pudding will thicken up after chilling.  It doesn't usually last long enough here for it to reach the chilled phase, though.

I'm sharing this at Monday Mania, Traditional TuesdaysReal Food Wednesday, Simple Lives ThursdayFresh Bites Friday, & Fight Back Friday.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Gluten-Free Weekly Menu Plan, Week 8

Hello, friends.  Between two of our kin getting sick, our oldest at summer camp, and then the Fourth of July festivities, there wasn't much to speak of in terms of a weekly menu the last two weeks.   I combined our two week's eats into one weekly menu.  Also, I must clarify the use of an oven on Tuesday after boldly stating I veer away from baking in the summertime.  We had a freak cold day and the oven and I enjoyed it quite a bit.  Now you know.

To do: Soak buckwheat groats
Breakfast:  Carrot juice & Raw, Good Morning Muesli (pictured above)
Snack: Raw blueberry milk kefir smoothies
Dinner: Turkey Pesto Pasta & Garden Salad

To do: Dehydrate buckwheat groats, thaw chicken stock for Thursday's dinner, & make pesto
Breakfast: Ginger zinger juice & eggs with cheese
Snack: Raw strawberry banana milk kefir smoothies
Lunch: Quesorritos
Snack: Cantaloupe slices
Dinner: Carrot soup & Grain-Free Maple Pecan Cupcakes

To do: Soak porridge & sourdough english muffins, make raw cookies
Breakfast: Avocado slices & Eggs
Snack: Raw Mixed berry milk kefir smoothies
Lunch: Nut Butter & Honey Popcorn, carrot & cheese slices
Snack: Watermelon slices
Dinner: Salmon patties (use almond meal instead of breadcrumbs) over garden salad & homemade raw ice cream

To do: Make sourdough English muffins & soak rice & peanuts
Breakfast: Porridge & eggs
Snack: Raw Veggie milk kefir smoothies
Lunch: Sourdough English muffin sandwiches
Snack: Fried Mush & blueberries
Dinner: Gazpacho & potato wedges

To do: Make peanut butter, soak sourdough pancakes
Breakfast: Sourdough English muffins & eggs
Snack: Raw berry milk kefir smoothies
Lunch: Hummus & veggie slices with cheese
Dinner: Crock Spaghetti Rice (recipe coming soon) & raw blueberry pie

To do: Soak skillet biscuits (recipe coming soon)
Breakfast: Pancake Bar
Lunch: Leftovers from the night before
Snack: Honeydew slices
Dinner: Slow Cooker Steak & Bean Burritos (recipe coming soon)

To do: Menu plan
Breakfast: Skillet Biscuits (recipe coming soon)
Lunch: Leftovers
Snack: dates
Sinner: Leftovers
(Sunday is my day off)

Have a lovely week!

I'm sharing this at Menu Plan Monday.

Friday, July 8, 2011


This morning, I heard the familiar shuffle/stumbling sounds announcing our five-and-a-half-year-old had emerged from her night's slumber.  I expected the usual, "I'm so hungry, what's for breakfast?" but instead, her mess of wavy curls framed a very concerned expression.

Mommy, my teeth are very soft.  Softer than last night.  I better brush them really good this morning.
I finished flipping a pancake.
Ooh, Mommy, they're really soft!
Wait a second.
Maybe you have a loose tooth.  Let me check.
I was expecting one to slightly give when I wiggled it, but it was barely hanging on.
Oh!  You have a very loose tooth!
A relieved, elated expression spread across her face.
A loose tooth?!  That's why it's been so hard to eat!  I can't wait for my tooth to hatch!

She proclaimed that today was the best day of her life because her tooth was loose.  Needless to say, it came out!  Er, hatched?  Snap went the camera, then she declared she would save if forever and decided to be the first person in the world to color her tooth as a craft.  First, she colored it blue.  Then, she decided to try a different color, but she came out of the bathroom and explained that as she was scrubbing the baby tooth, it slipped out of her hands and tumbled down the drain.  Thankfully, we found peace knowing there was a picture taken of the lost tooth before it's fateful accident.

This child.  I'll never get over her notions. Soft teeth.  Hatching teeth. Coloring teeth.  There's no one in the world like her, I tell you.  She is pure delight.  There's just no knowing what she will say, do, or perceive from one day to the next.  Every day is an adventure.

I'm sharing this at Gratituesday.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Dairy Goats

There's a question that's been churning in my brain for years now.  It's very serious.  A lot of careful thought and consideration is needed.  Actually, it's a pair of questions: DO I or don't I want to commit to dairy animals?  If I do, should we get goats or a cow?  I have decided answer to the first question is yes. (Yes, even though I'm pregnant.  Perhaps I want lactating buddies or something.  Nevermind.)  This next month will help us decide the answer to the latter.  We are goat-sitting for our good friends for a little over a month altogether.  We have in our care two of the cutest little oberhaslis you ever did see.  They are the sweetest things.  Almost like dogs.   These two does are quite affectionate and they love to be around people.  After my brother-in-law milked the first (and hardest) one, today, I milked my very first goat.  See?

The does were super docile and just chomped up their feed while being milked. (By the way, I had to stop myself from saying "nursed" instead of "milked" several times.  Uh...)  Guess how much milk we got from just one of the two milkings today?  This much!

Which translates to this much!

This was only the first day with dairy goats, mind you, but here are some observations made thus far:
  • Listen.  I hate the flavor of store-bought goat's milk.  Barf.  But this milk tastes nothing like it.  No goaty aftertaste at all.  Even my very reluctant husband tried some and said, "Why do we not have goats?  This is amazing."  Whoa.
  • Goat milk doesn't cause mucus production, so my kids could still enjoy raw milk from grass-fed animals even if they're stuffy.
  • Goats are much smaller than cows and (I'd imagine) not as intimidating to milk.
  • The fat molecules in goat's milk are so small, it doesn't separate from the milk and rise to the top, which also means no cream can be yielded. Which also means no butter.  Yikes!  Butter!
  • Fabulously amazing soap can be made with goat milk, something I plan trying out sometime within the month.  Yippee!
  • Goats are lower maintenance than cows.
There are a lot of pluses when it comes to goats.  But the thing is, I love butter.  And buttermilk.  And ice cream.  And cheese.  To have a dairy animal that can't produce cream for butter et cetera is almost too hard to consider.  We'll see what happens this month.  Maybe things will change.  I would so incredibly love to hear from those of you who have raised both dairy cows and goats and what your take is on it all.  Help a sister out, will you?

Time for bed.  Milking comes early, and I can't lie.  Writing that makes this sissy rancher just a little bit giddy.

I'm sharing this at Simple Lives Thursday, Barn Hop, & Farm Girl Friday.


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