About Me

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My tremendously supportive husband & I have 3 wonderful children, 1 dog, 12 laying hens, 2 dairy goats, 3 bee hives, and a 2000 sq foot vegetable garden on a small 1/4 acre lot in the city. In the center of it all is our small 1,000 sq foot house purchased in 2008 as a foreclosure that we fully renovated to host our growing family, home school adventures, and small home business (CozyLeaf.com). We have a desire to learn a path to self sufficiency finding ways to be good stewards of the resources God has given us. We want to learn to live with less as we laydown roots to our little homestead.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Henry and Addie milking away!

Life is truly different now that our goats are in milk. Twice a day, no matter what, we have to be out milking the goats! The sun rises and the girls start getting eager for their milk pressure to be relieved. If we are running late they will be beside our bedroom window with a little wake up call! Thankfully Henry and Addie are extremely eager to milk the goats and so they are our morning wake up call! 7:00am rolls around and we hear little feet running up and down the hallway, they are quickly getting dressed and waking us up. After Im finally up and around, the kids grab the milking supplies and we head out to our very anxious goats. The evening routine is pretty much the same and we try to milk about 6:00pm at the latest, mainly because we figure all of our neighbors are eating dinner about that time and we do not want the girls "screaming" while the neighbors are trying to enjoy their meal! About 5pm Henry and Addie start getting excited to milk and it is a good reminder for me to get all the milking supplies cleaned and ready. Then we head out for the evening routine!

We have been milking these girls for several months now and we are all adjusting quite well. As soon as the goats gate opens they are running for the garage quickly followed by Henry and Addie who are eager to do all the work! (Yes, they are eager to work...and Yes, I have heard many many times that their eagerness to work will fade with age...but Hey, let me enjoy this small window in time and hope that maybe just maybe they will always be this eager to wake up early and milk goats, collect eggs, and weed the garden!!). They get the first goat all set up on the milking stand and off they go! Since we first started milking the girls, Henry and Addie have been eager to learn. And honestly their little hands are perfect for the milking of the small goats! We would occasionally let the kids try to learn (mostly on Peaches because Poppy used to get a little temperamental when the kids would try to milk). Then about a week ago, we were out milking and George suddenly needed a serious diaper change...no waiting around on that one! So I asked Henry if he could milk all by himself (something he has constantly told me he could do) and he said "Yep!"...I figured that the worst thing that could happen would be all the milk would get dumped. Well, I ran inside and changed George (diaper and clothes...yes moms, it was one of those diaper changes!) and by the time I came back out Henry was almost done! I couldn't believe it!! He really could do it all by himself. I thought we were at least a year away from the kids milking alone. From that point on we have let the kids do most of the milking. They are surprisingly quick! Peaches is great with the kids, but Poppy is still a little hesitant to let them milk her...but before long Im sure she will be fine too! 
Here is a little video of the kids in action!

New Homestead Roots YouTube Channel

Homestead Roots on YouTube
I have so many videos that I want to share with you all and so I thought it was about time I took the plunge and started a YouTube channel. I only have a few videos uploaded right now, but hopefully our channel will grow and I will be able to show you a whole new side of our little homestead!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

"Whey" too much fun!!! Uses for Whey

I have been making so much goat cheese and it has been a thrill!! However, when you make cheese you are left with Whey! The whey is the yellowish liquids left after the cheese has all been stripped out of the milk. When I first started making cheese a couple years ago I would throw the whey away because I didn't know the tremendous amount of uses for it!! So next time you make cheese make sure to keep the whey and have fun!! Whey is packed full of protein and is a very nutritious liquid!!

My favorite Uses for Whey:

  • Use it in your baking (anything that calls for milk or water) it will make your pancakes, biscuits, and breads extremely light and fluffy not to mention all the extra nutrients you get in your food without the added fat
  • Cook your rice with it! Substitute whey for the water and your rice will taste so creamy and buttery..without all the fat of butter!
  • Marinate your meat with whey! This was an experiment at first. I had a lot of whey that was on the verge of going bad and I didnt have any baking to do, so I poured the whey into my pork chop marinade. I couldn't believe how juicy it made the pork chops! Since then I haven't marinated my meats without it!! I am really bad at keeping pork chops and chicken juicy...no matter how I cook them I end up drying them out :( This has saved me... no more dry dinner!!
  • Feed it to your animals (be careful if they are indoor pets because they will get rather gassy)
  • Water your plants with it (it is packed full of nutrients and if you get to the point that it is going to go bad and you don't have time to use it any other way, don't throw it down the drain, throw it in the garden!)
  • SO many other uses!!! This is just the tip of the iceberg :) 
Let me know what uses you have found or find :)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Clipping Chicken Wings...so they don't fly away!

Our baby chicks are not really babies anymore, they are 14 weeks old! They are getting so big and extremely adventurous! They have been able to squeeze through the fence and get into the garden and rummage around. That really hasnt been too big of a deal, actually quite beneficial because they have been gently scratching for bugs and weeds without being able to upset the garden beds too much...unlike the large hens who would quickly destroy the beds as well as the tomato plants! Well they quickly grew out of the size to fit through the fences, but now they are big enough to fly right over the 4 foot fence. We have only had 1 other hen who has ever bothered to try and fly out of their area, but now we have 8 little hens who are quite mobile! Its time for a little snip snip of the wings! This process doesn't harm the birds...in fact they don't feel it, except if they fight to get away and have to be held down.

All you have to do is spread the birds wing and clip off the ends of the feathers on 1 wing. This will throw off their balance when they try to fly and they will be unable to get very far off the ground. Do NOT clip the actually wing itself, just the end feathers. It is also important to remember to only clip the feathers on 1 wing...remember the purpose is to throw off their balance and by evening out both sides you would be defeating the purpose ;) A basic pair of scissors will work just fine. 
This is also a very important thing to do for your birds to protect them. If they are able to fly over your fence and get out of the yard they may be in danger. This will not affect your birds behavior at all, it will just keep them from roaming :)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Our Top Bar Bee Hives

I have so much to tell you all about our bee hives!! Ive been terrible at keeping you updated as to the "buzz" in the backyard. We planned on having 2 bee hives and Bryan made these wonderful hives for them. He decided to go with the Kenyan Top Bar Hive and then designed some adorable roofs for them! 
These first 2 pictures are from a couple months ago...before the garden was taking off. We started off with 2 hives and ordered 2 colonies of bees. The first hive we put in are New World Carniolan (purchased from Knights Family Honey in Utah) and the second hive are Italian bees. 

A couple weeks into our beekeeping experience, a friend called and had trapped a swarm of bees and didn't have space for them...so we now have 3 hives! 
Bees are very impressive creatures!! I am not very fond of things that can sting me (seriously, who is?!?)and I have to admit I was really not looking forward to housing thousands of bees in my backyard!! However, I am really surprised at the temperament of bees. They have such a bad reputation for stinging...which they can and will sting! BUT, if you don't mess with them then they will not mess with you! I was afraid that I would not be able to work out in the garden because I would have bees crawling all over me all day but it is quite the opposite! The bees really just mind their own business and stay quite busy pollinating...busy, busy bees!! It is very relaxing to sit out near their hives and watch the workers swoop in and out while hearing the gentle and soothing hummmm of the bees who are working inside the hives. 
They have a very distinct flight pattern that they have set up. About 5 feet outside their hives is the "bee express on and off ramps". They move so fast and yet so organized! Quickly buzzing out of their hive and straight up in the air, across our yard and right over the garage. While at the same time there are dozens of other bees buzzing in and out as well. First thing in the morning and last thing in the evening there is quite a sight to see as the "bee express" is in full force and all the bees are starting off or finishing rounds for the day. It is surprisingly very soothing to watch! I love to be out milking the goats in the garage with the door open and look across the plush garden and watch the bees busy at work! It is one of my favorite times of day and night! 

Friday, June 3, 2011

Goats Milk...What to do with it all!!??

Life has really changed around here and I couldn't be happier! George is 3 weeks old now and finally getting himself on a good little schedule. He is sleeping and eating great and hanging out with mommy as much as possible :)

In other baby news: The baby goats are sold! Its been about a week now since we sold all 3 of the baby goats. We posted them on Craigslist and had them sold within a few hours. I was very excited because I thought it was going to be several months before we would get rid of them all. Now bring on the MILK!!

We only have 2 miniature dairy goats and are getting almost 1 gallon of milk per day total from both girls. At first I didn't think a gallon of milk a day would be too awfully much...but wow am I sure looking for goat milk recipes now! Ive made yogurt, keifer, mozzarella, cream cheese, herb cheeses, honey pecan cheese, and fried mozzarella (yum!)...all in a few days. I cant wait to see the experiments I will get to have as we get overflowed with milk! We just switched them from eating brome to eating alfalfa to boost their milk supply and butterfat...we will see if it works or not!

Yogurt and Keifer: I tried the Yogourmet Freeze Dried Starter Packets from Iherb.com (don't forget to use coupon code NAF075 for $5 off your first order). Im pretty happy with the turnout!

Mozzarella: I used the same method Ive been using with cow milk Mozzerella Cheese Ball and it turned out just as great! I'm always hesitant to add too much salt (because you sure cant take it out once you put it in) so usually I end up with slightly bland cheese...someday I hope to find the exact balance of how much salt to add...but it varies each and every time!

Cream Cheese: Super Easy!! Using the whey from the mozzarella you will get at least 1/2 cup of delicious cream cheese! (I'll post more details with pictures later)