Monday, June 23, 2014

Summertime on the Homestead in WV

Today is another very warm day on the homestead. Mr. Farmer and friend are working diligently on the exterior of our home. I have not been out being nosy to see what they have gotten accomplished yet today. When I go out for evening chores I will take a look and hopefully take a few pictures. The progress is slow but I have to remind myself that the two men, who I very much appreciate, are not carpenters. They are learning as they are going.

I do have a batch of Homesteader's soap curing. It is not very nice looking at the moment but will be trimmed up and be 4 oz. bars when completed. It takes about three weeks to cure. It has no scent and forms a nice hard bar of soap.

I actually made two batches of this soap and ended up throwing out the first batch. I think the first batch had a huge chemical reaction with the old pot I was using. It just did not look right. Better safe than sorry, so yesterday a new batch was made and turned out beautifully except for my first cut job. 

Zoey, my little dog and Emma my cat; both have the right idea in how to handle the heat by laying in the living room in front of the fan. They are such sweet little farm animals.

My goal tonight is to put my new young chickens in with the older chikens once it gets dark and they begin to roost. They are just about to begin laying soon or at least in the next month. What I have read is they are a little more accepting if you put them in there at night. So I am hoping all goes well. I have not had good luck previously introducing new hens into established flocks.

OK, off to begin supper. We are having hamburgers, cauliflower and broccholi from the garden.

Blessings from Bountiful Homestead!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Hot Homestead

We love summer but when it gets into the 90's and is humid, living with no air is a bummer. But our goal is to live as less dependent on others such as electric companies etc. as much as possible. So as I sit in front of the box fan typing the air actually feels slightly cooler than the last few days.

There is no board and batten up on our home yet but there had been some progress made of the exterior of our home. Mr. Farmer and friend put cross boards across the front porch roof which is now ready for the tin, as soon as it gets delivered and they also started putting up the soffiting. I am not completely sure if they made it around the entire home or not.

Here is the progress. Not a great picture but I was on the front porch looking up.

So you can see the porch roof framing and white soffiting. Making progress.

In the garden, I am so please with its progress so far. I hope to be able to put up enough vegetable for winter but boy are we enjoying the fresh produce every single day.

This is the mess of snow peas we had for dinner last night, We have another mess for this evening. Yesterday I sauteed them with broccoli, cauliflower, garlic, onions, and carrots. Tonight I think I may just steam them by themselves and add a little butter to them.

For dessert I had planned to make a blackberry cheesecake but i could not find enough blackberries so I had some frozen mixed berries in the freezer so I changed it to a Mixed Berry Cheesecake. I reduced the amount of sugar the recipe called for and it turned out just fine.

Mixed Berry Cheesecake

I used 2 premade graham cracker pie crusts but this recipe males a 9x13 pan cheesecake.

Crust. Crush 2 sleeves of graham crackers. Moisten crumbs with 1 stick of melted butter and about 1 teaspoon of vanilla. Press this mixture firmly into foil lined pan and set aside.

Cream together:
3 Packages of softened cream cheese. Add 1 1/2 cups of flour and 1 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla. Cream well together.
Add 4 eggs, one at a time.
Then add 1/2 cup sour cream and mix until smooth.
Pour into crust. 
Place a pan of water on bottom shelf of oven. This is to help prevent cheesecake from cracking. Even though mine cracked but did not affect the flavor.
I baked at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Turn off oven and do not open door. After 10 minutes open door half way and leave cake in oven another 110-15 minutes.
Take out of oven and cook. 

Make berry topping.
4 cups of berries
1 cup sugar 
1/4 cup water
Mix all together and cook on medium heat about 4 minutes.
Add 2 tablespoons of cornstarch to 4 tablespoons of water. Mix well and then add to berry mixture. Continue cooking until berries get to the thickness you desire.
Top cheesecake with berry  mix. Store in refrigerator and ENJOY!

Blessings from Bountiful Homestead!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Board and Batten days have begun on the Homestead!

Today the process of putting up the board and batten siding has begun. Mr. Farmer and hired hand/friend is outside attaching the studs that the boards will be attached to. It has taken 4 years for us to get to this step. Many of life's happenings have slowed us down but we are here. Below you will see a picture of what the outside of our home on the Homestead will look like.

We should be snug as a bug come this winter. If you can not already tell how excited I am, I am sooo excited, I never thought I would see this day. I have to add, I owe a son a tailgate for his truck now. He was helping Mr. Farmer pick up the wood over the weekend and coming up our steep drive, he lost the whole load of wood and at the same time it bent his tailgate to the point it will not close. It is such a pretty truck and we will have to have it repaired/new one put on for him. But we cannot do that yet, I understand they will be picking up more wood this coming weekend. My son down backs up the steep drive so the wood does not all fall out driving up. I sure could not back up the hill. Thank goodness for blessed sons, I have several very blessed and talented adult sons I appreciate so much. Here is a picture of our beginning stack of wood for the siding.

Gardening has come into full swing also. We have been living off of broccoli and cauliflower and now we have snap peas too. I forgot to take a picture of the peas but I will get it tonight. We are so blessed to be getting such a great bounty of fresh vegetables this year. That and all the hard work Mr. Farmer has been putting into the Homestead.

Right now we are picking per meal but I really should be preserving some for winter. I have added several batches of jam to my stockpile. So far I have made strawberry and pineapple jams. Now if I can keep Mr. Farmer from eating them all before winter would be wonderful.

I love jam in the wintertime. Especially Pineapple Jam, it tastes like sunshine.

Pineapple Jam

1 (20 oz.) can crushed pineapple in syrup. Or use equilivant of fresh pineapple that has been mashed.
3 cups sugar
1 box pectin

Add enough water to fruit to make 3 1/4 cups.
Place in large pot.
Measure sugar and set aside. 
Mix pectin into fruit.
Place over high heat & stir until it comes to a full boil. 
Add sugar. Boil hard for 1 minutes. Stirring constantly.
Remove from heat and skim off any foam.
Ladle into hot jars. Wipe rims and seal. 
Boil bath can for 15 minutes. Enjoy.

Blessings from Bountiful Homestead!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Homestead Progress

I have not written forever. I am so very sorry.

There has been slight progress on the homestead. Besides having piglets and raising them to sell and keep a few for butchering this fall, I have gotten a few new chickens for my flock, Rhode Island Reds. I have had them for years in a small town but when we moved to our homestead we switched breeds to Americana. I still have a few of those but I am back to my true love, Rhode Island Reds. I do not have a good picture of them as of this moment and the type of brooder they are in I am unable to get a decent picture. Soon I hope to have a good one to share. 

I also got 2 new youg goats to start breading this fall so I will have goats milk in the spring. I will be able to do so much with fresh raw milk. I cannot wait until then. 
This is Belle, she will be my main doe I want to breed when she is old enough. I am just dreaming of all the milk, cheese, ice cream, yogurt and soap I will be able to have because of this beautiful doe.
She is enjoying her goat pasture with her buddy, Sugar Bear which is a wether. There were no other females at the time and I knew she needed a buddy or she would be very lonely. Now I am working on finding a buck who I will be able to breed her with in the late fall.

Progress is also being made on our home, slow but sure. Here is an updated picture.

The porch has all the framing needed to be completed with my tin roof and all. The ramp is still two thirds finished which I asked Mr. Farmer to finish it soon. We will see what Mr. Farmers next step is, he has alot of projects on his list. Today and my one son went to pick up some of the board and batten we ordered from a local miller. So by winter we should be closed in externally. That will be a blessed day!

More projects include the gardens. I have a few pictures of them. We have already been enjoying broccoli, cauliflower and basil from our gardens. Such a beautiful abundance. We should be having jalapeno peppers and zucchini soon.

As we all work to provide for our families and increase the efficiency of our homesteads, I hope and pray we will be successful and abundant.