Noel, Noel?

Noel, Noel, Noel, No Well? No Well?

Tis the season of the frozen morning and afternoon water bucket. Tis also the season of the frozen outside water faucet.

No electricity or plumbing in the barns means hauling hot/warm water from the bathtub out to the animals and chickens two times a day. Can’t wait for Spring.


Mutton Stew

 I made mutton stew today, it was darned good.  I’ll give approximate instructions but understand that I don’t ever use exact measurements.

Two thick mutton shoulder roasts cut into chunks.
Roll the chunks in flour and salt then sear in a pan of olive oil and garlic.
Three potatoes (last ones from the garden) cut into cubes.
Three hand fulls of baby carrots.
At least one cup of chopped celery and onions.
Toss at least one tablespoon of thyme and some ground pepper into the crock pot.
One can of asparagus.
One can of beef broth and one can of onion soup.

Mix everything in the crock pot along with 1/4 cup flour and cook all day.  Add some water after 4-5 hours to ensure everything is floating!  Stir in a can of peas before serving.

Some homemade bread covered in butter along with a cool glass of fresh goats milk make the dish!  The flavors of this dish really jumped out at us.  I used wheat flour by accident and we could really taste it on the mutton and in the broth, it gave things a real hearty flavor.  The asparagus made its presence known in a big way.  The potatoes absorbed a lot of the broth and they tasted very gravy like.  Carrots always have a strong taste, especially when cooked whole.  The mutton gave the whole dish a kind of greasy flavor but it was in a good way.  The whole house smelled wonderful and the dogs kept walking around drooling.

Maybe next time I will try to add some wine?

Shearing Day

Today was shearing day! No, it isn’t sheep wool. It didn’t come from the goats either!

Sadly, it is time to ‘shear’ the vacuum. Three dogs and two cats running around in the house takes its toll on the vacuum and the carpets. It doesn’t help to have two girls with very long hair either.

I was wondering what happened to the new needlepoint that I started.

ps – I was telling the Commander that our farm friends would laugh at this post while the non-farmers will be disgusted.

Wish List

Dear Santa, I’m not sure how good I have been this year but just in case I would like to give you a few ideas.

A Claw Foot Tub

Claw foot tub

This would be a total luxury.  There isn’t room in our house for this type of bathtub so the only way it will happen is if we remodel and add an addition.  Before a new bathroom can even be thought of we need new windows and a new deck.  Oh well.

A Bison Deep Well Hand Pump

This is something practical that could be used in the case of a power outage.  They also have a version that is attached next to the kitchen sink.  We may actually get one of these.

A Vermont Soapstone Bakers Oven


 The Commander wants one of these BAD.  Not only would it help heat the house but it can be used to cook during a power outage.  Unfortunately we don’t have room, the only way to add one of these would be to increase the size of the kitchen.  Oh well, some day.

A Pod in the back Woods


We would love to have a retreat out in the forest where we could get away or send the kids away.  I would love to have a Hobbit hole like the ones they made out in New Zealand for the movie

Crazy Day!

Today started out normally with the Commander and I having breakfast down by the wood stove.  It quickly went downhill from there.

The Commander went upstairs and noticed that our builder was working out in the goat barn.  He was adding additional support to the loft, very nice of him.  With him out there working in the cold guilt quickly set in so both the Commander and I went outside to do a few chores and to chat.  I had no idea how cold it was out there.

The next thing I knew an audio alarm started to go off – a fire alarm from the house?  I rushed in and realized that the sound was coming from the OUTSIDE.  What the heck?  I walked around the side of the house and saw the alarm light on the septic mound and found the source of the alarm.  I went inside and called our neighbor (who runs a septic company) and through some miracle he was home and said he would be right over.  On Sunday morning!  He arrived and stated that we were lucky to get him as he is flying to Florida first thing Monday morning.  After a bit of trouble shooting he found that the pump was bad.  As luck would have it he had one at home!  Thirty minutes later he returned and everything up and running – whew.

So the goat loft was now reinforced, the septic pump was replaced, what next?  My hay guy called and wanted to deliver 100 bales.  My hay guy is the greatest.  He not only delivered but he was able to drive the hay wagon first to the goat barn then over to the sheep barn.  This allowed us to cut down on wheel barrow time and load the goat, buck and sheep barns directly from the truck!  The Commander only had to haul 26 bales to the Ram barn – much easier.  I spend most of my day stacking hay in four different lofts, I’m exhausted.

Just as we were finishing up the Commander noticed Dominick walking around inside his barn with the oatmeal tube stuck on his head.  He somehow worked the cap off the tube and jammed his head inside to eat the grain stored there, ugh.  That meant he needed to get some probiotics to prevent bloat.

As I was finishing up that chore the Commander called me over to the Rams.  Both Killarney and Hoss had large bloody gashes over their eyes.  After a bit more doctoring I was done for the day, I’m dead tired.

The Commander put everyone away tonight and he said everyone had noticeable hay bellies, that happens here on hay delivery days.  I’m sure the barns will all be full a poo tomorrow morning.

Really? ……. Already?

It snowed today, I can’t believe it.  The Commander had the wood stove going full bore all day today.  The smell of baking bread and home made meatloaf filled the house as Jack Frost nipped at the windows.  For as bad as the weather was outside it sure was nice inside.

Are you ready for Winter?

Scratching the Homestead?

I haven’t been posting lately as the Commander has been considering a new job that would take us home back to Michigan.  This is a huge decision for us but the timing is terrible.

First there is the election to consider and its impact on the future of the economy and the country.  We often refer to the homestead as our insurance policy, can we really afford to toss it away without knowing who the President is going to be?

Second, trying to sell a home in the Winter is next to impossible and the current economic climate doesn’t make things any easier.  Can we afford to take a loss?  Again, knowing the results of the election would help.  What would I do with the animals?  (The goats go where I go!)

Third, could we get anything comparable in our new location?  If you have seen the pictures of my goat barn and the work my father did on the inside of it you can see my trepidation about finding something as nice as I have now.

Fourth, we built this place from scratch – are we ready to give it up?


We took a lot of the leaves from the yard and deposited them inside the chicken coop.

I have discovered over the last couple of years that the chickens shred the leaves to pieces in no time and the worms love it!