Friday, July 30, 2010

The Udder {this moment 7.30.10}

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see. 
Wishing everyone a lovely weekend!
*** *** ***  

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Planning

I don't really know that we, er... *I* ever stop planning. I seem to always be in planning mode in my head.
Even still,  official planning has commenced for our 2010/2011 homeschool year.
I am excited. I look forward to seeing the children learn, but that is a constant... not anything that is just dependent on 'school' time. I try and teach them something each day, many times a day.

Shannon gave me Tuesday nights (late night 8:00!) to go to the library and sit and plan.
A blog that I read has this time... she calls it Grump Therapy!
Ha! It might be just that.
A little time to collect my thoughts and plan for the upcoming week, month, year. :)
For now my kicker of a goat is needing to be milked and I need to make cheese.
...Kirstin, I am going to take a pic of her udder for you! :)...
Have a great day friends! :)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Happy Anniversary, My Dear








I have enjoyed each and every moment the Lord has blessed us with... I pray that we have many, many, many more!!!!
I love you!!!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Eli goes to Football Camp





Last week, Eli had the opportunity to attend a football camp called Kid's and Pro's.
It was a GREAT camp. I was impressed with it, not only because of the drills and the skills that the boys were learning about football (which is HUGE in this family)... but because of the character qualities they enforced each day.
Sportsmanship: Have a good attitude
Integrity: Do the right thing, even when nobody's looking
Perseverance: Never, never, never give up
Teamwork: Work together
Each night they had a speaker, usually it was a former pro athlete. Gerald Riggs, Sr. and Jr., Buddy Curry and others.

Eli LOVED going to camp. He had been looking forward to it for weeks and was over the moon when it finally was the day to go. :)
I think it was an excellent program. Probably one of the best I have seen. 
Have a great day friends!

Monday, July 26, 2010

A special treat

Last night the children and I attended a concert at my Aunt and Uncle's church. I had debated on whether to go or not, it is almost an hours drive and I knew Shannon would be at a meeting at our church.
We ended up going and I am so glad we did...
These children are from the Uganda Orphan Children Choir. They were so beautiful and their concert was just wonderful.
My children and I sat on the front row. The two youngest did not move while they were singing and dancing. They were completely mesmerized.
The children were so lively and active it was difficult for me to take a good picture. I really need to get some type of attachment to my camera so I can take action shots.
They were completely amazing!


My Carlie Jean said, "Ok, Moma... do we get to adopt an orphan now?"
I suppose since there were 10 right there on stage, that surely we were going to finally get to adopt a child. :)
I wish it were so simple for us...
It is something we have talked about for a long while now, and the statistics of how many children are in need of a family is staggering.
It made my heart heavy...
Here is the website and ow you can help support a child.
Uganda Orphan Children Choir
 

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Eureka!

Earlier this morning while I was milking Mamie, I heard something... I milk her right outside the hen house. I listened again, for all was quiet in the early morning. The only sounds were the squirts of Mamie's warm milk and her chewing... then, I heard it again. This time, I *knew* I was wasn't hearing things.
I heard a very certain little...
*cheep*
And then again
*cheep, cheep*
THRILLING!
One of the hens has hatched off her eggs, says I.
I finished off the milking and walked around the hen house.
There right outside the doorway was this little precious bundle.
We have named her Cleo for now, because of the dark 'eye-liner' she has around her eyes. Cameo thought it made her look Egyptian. And of course Cleopatra, Julius Caesar and Marc Antony was some of our last figures we studied before we ended up this past years homeschool, so it was fresh on their mind.
If 'Cleo' happens to be a boy... because you really can't tell at this point... then she, er I mean he will be called Julius.
We are really starting to feel like a real farm.
I mean, when you have eggs that actually hatch, that's pretty stinkin good, right? :)
I have Cleo inside in a box under a lamp for now. Once her brother and sisters hatch off (Oh, I hope they do)... I am going to try and slip her in with them.
Until then, she is quite happy in her little indoor home.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Peachy

On Monday, I canned peaches for the first time! It was great! They were wonderfully flavorful and so pretty! I usually just freeze our peaches, but I use a lot of peaches throughout the year for cobblers and thought that canning some would be ideal. No, these did not come from our tree... our trees are still too young. But one day, I have hopes that our tree will produce such beauties! Mmmm, peaches! :)
Canning peaches is quite simple.
I blanched the peaches first so the skin would slip right off. Then I cut them in slices and squeezed lemon juice all over to help prevent browning.
I filled quart jars with peaches and then a simple syrup.
Add a lid and a band and place in a hot water bath canner for about  20-25 minutes.
Bring your jars out and set them on an absorbent towel until COMPLETELY cooled. 12 hours or so.
That's it!!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Meet Mamie

For the LONGEST time... we, uh maybe *I*... but we ;) have wanted more animals on the farm. I love seeing all our chickens running around outside and the cows in the far pasture and now, we have a goat.
Mamie, our milk goat!
Isn't she a cutie?
She is a Nubian and is fairly young. She gives great milk and although it was a tough time trying to milk her for the first time, we are getting used to one another.
She is quite the kicker so I have to tie her back leg. Her previous owner said she was that way for him for the first few days but then quit and he was able to milk her without restraints after that. I have high hopes she will be the same with me.
She is pretty timid, but really sweet and nuzzles me when I got out to see her. She loves for me to pet her on her forehead and she wants to eat my hair. haha
She enjoys radishes and I think she would eat my apple tree if I let her.
Having these animals here on the homestead, I can't help but think of my Popa, who has been gone for many years. He used to love to have all kinds of animals running around. I suppose those inclinations have passed on to me. It would be nice to have him here today. I am sure I would be full to overflowing with animals if that we the case. haha :)
I hope you have a great day.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Goat Cheese

Earlier in the week we were gifted a gallon and a half of goat milk. I wanted us all to try it and make sure we were all o.k. with the taste of raw goat milk. We absolutely were! It is GREAT!
I was eager to make cheese with the milk, so that afternoon I got to work.
I went with a recipe that I found from one of my FAVORITE blogs Little Homestead in the City. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE that blog!
Anyways, it was easy and delicious!

It will be great on omelets, on salads, with crackers, crumble on top of a french onion soup (oh yum), or as I am going to use it tonight.... in lasagna! Oh yum!
Here I used it for Shannon's breakfast yesterday.
A fresh egg omelet with cheese and ham, and a side of goat cheese and salsa.
Shannon said it was amazing!
Here is a close up of the cheese.
Sorry the pictures are so terrible... the lighting at 5:00 AM is pretty dark. :)
I think you get the idea that the cheese was a SUCCESS! :)
Here is how I made it.

Goat Cheese
1 gallon of goat milk
1/4 cup of Apple Cider Vinegar

Pour your milk into a large stock pot and with a wooden spoon stir frequently until you reach 175*
Once you reach this temperature add your vinegar and turn your heat off. This will begin the process of curdling your milk and making all those incredible cheese curds appear.
I let my pot set for about 15 minutes and then begin dipping the curds out and putting them into a lined colander.
Once you have dipped out all your curds you are going to start straining out all your whey.
You will have quite a lot of whey so have a nice sized bowl under your colander.
After another 15 minutes or so, tie up your bag, remove your colander and hang your curds above the bowl so you can drain more whey.
Once it stops dripping so much you can remove the cheese.
You can add seasonings or herbs or leave it, as is.

The leftover whey is perfect for mixing with some feed or some stale bread and giving to your chickens, a GREAT source of protein for them.
Or, you can use the whey and some buttermilk to make up some ricotta cheese.

So here I am excitedly awaiting the arrival of our very own milk source. I am so tickled I can barely stand myself. So instead of going on and on... I guess I need to go can some tomatoes and occupy myself until she gets here!
Have a wonderful weekend everyone and if you can find yourself a good source of goats milk, don't snub your nose... Try it! You might just LOVE it, like we do! :)

*** btw, this morning I made Shannon an omelet and put the cheese inside the omelet and let it melt. YUM-O!!!! It was fabulous and it melted BEAUTIFULLY!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

I've made a mess

Friends... I do have so much to share with you.
Yesterday morning before the children and I went to help work we began pulling everything (and I mean everything) out of all our cabinets.
Organizing
Rearranging
Cleaning
Purging
We are expecting guests this weekend and want to get it all cleaned before they arrive.
So until I get out from under some of this mess I will have to put off some of my fun posts.
I will be back.
Maybe this afternoon if I get closer to our goal.
Maybe tonight, or maybe tomorrow morning or the weekend.
Nonetheless, I plan on being back.
Until then, here is a picture of my future farming, tractor driving, machine operating son.
*love*

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The First Fence Post

This may not look as exciting to you as it is to me.... I am pretty stinkin thrilled at the sight of  this picture!
Reason being, that hopefully in the latter part of the week, behind this little fence here, we will be housing our first milk goat! Yes, after all these years of wanting dairy animals... our first will make its arrival very, very soon!
*squeal* :)
We finished up the fence but still need a lean-to or some type of shelter for her.
I have cautioned the children of the electric fence. I don't know that they have ever even seen one much less have one in their backyard! It will be interesting to see just how many times we forget and get a little surprise. haha
My Carlie Jean helping with the fence posts.
I have several other things to share with you in the coming days. A wonderful gift from Shannon's Aunt, my cheesemaking experience, just life in general and you can be sure that when our goat comes home, I will have my camera in hand.
I hope you come back again for another visit soon!
Blessings to you!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

This and That


Hooo Doggies! Soo much going on around here! We are busy as bees, and it is just WONDERFUL! :)
Yesterday, my Dad came by and showed me how to set up my fence. I had never done that before. So the children and I worked outside setting fence posts until the rain pushed in. It was a glorious soaking rain that we VERY much needed, and we were thankful, even if we did have to put the fence building off for a few hours. :)
A friend of ours gave us a gallon and a half of fresh goats milk... yesterday afternoon I tried my hand at making cheese. I ended up making a soft cheese and I added garlic and chives. Yum-o!
It is amazing how much whey is leftover once you make the cheese. It is a very interesting process.
We will probably be adding our first goat to our homestead this week. I am totally thrilled! She is one of the ones that the milk was from. I am so eager to have our own milk. I know she will not give us enough for milk, cheese, soap... but it is a start!
Today, I am going to go help my Mom for a while so I must hurry.
More news later!
Have a beautiful day!
xoxo

Monday, July 12, 2010

A little trip



On Friday afternoon, the family and I headed out on a little trip.
We drove up to Cherokee, North Carolina.
Our children had never been there and both Shannon and I thought it would be a fun and educational trip!
We had a grand time.
Playing in the creek
Swimming in the pool
Walking around the shops
Having an Ice Cream date
Learning about the Cherokee Indians
Watching a Cherokee Indian dance
Looking at handmade items from an Indian village
I have MANY more pictures, but blogger is not cooperating, so look for more as the week moves along.
For now, I have a goat fence to put up!
*LOVE*

Friday, July 9, 2010

{this moment} 7.9.10 ~brotherly love~

{this moment}
A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see. 
Wishing you a beautiful weekend!
*** *** ***  

Thursday, July 8, 2010

*sweetness*

 Yesterday, the children and I went to Lowe's in search of some shelving units. When we go to Lowe's I always make a quick stop in a very large Goodwill that is nearby.
And as usual... it wasn't in vain.
I found a dress, a basket and some linens that I *love*!
There was something even sweeter though... after I checked out, I saw a lady standing to the side like she was waiting on someone... It was me! She stopped me and asked me my name. I told her and she said, I knew it was you when I saw you looking at the linens. She had 'met' me through the blog.
How neat is that, may I ask???
Totally neat, in my opinion! :)
We chatted for a few minutes, before the children and I started for home again.
What a fun day.
Technology is pretty great.
**** hi Kathy! :) ****
I hope you all have a great day and if we never meet in person, I still enjoy each and every visit you make!
xoxo,
Chas

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

celebrating



*we had so much fun yesterday...
   swimming
       baking
           playing
                reading
                     ... and just being together.
The BEST way to celebrate in my opinion.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Dumplin turns 6!

Happy 6th!!!  Birthday to my Dumplin, Carlie Jean!
We are going to be spending the day celebrating her precious life. I am sure there will be lots of fun, laughter and if she gets her way... strawberries. :) Pictures of the day will surely follow. 
Have a great day!
            Carlie Jean-5 years old        

The Dumplin- 2 weeks old