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.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

3 months down and 6 to go!

Its been so long since my last post but we have fantastic news to explain the long departure from posting! It has been a rough past couple months here because I've been very sick and completely fatigued...but in about 6 more months we will have a new member to our family!! I am pregnant and due May 12th!! We are very excited but it sure has been a rough first trimester in pregnancy. But the animals and garden sure don't care if I have been sick or not, they still need what they need. Bryan has taken on pretty much all of the animal maintenance the past month or so and he has done a fantastic job keeping things rolling around here. The garden has suffered and it has been sad, but we have been able to make it out there every couple days to keep up on harvest. There hasn't been much canning, but I just do my best to clean everything thoroughly and then freeze it for later.

I have started feeling much better through out this week and am very encouraged that this second trimester will bring a healthier mommy! Which is not a moment too soon because the fall harvest is right around the corner!! We have a lot of sweet potatoes to dig up and can as well as prepping the garden for next year. We also have alot of wine to bottle and alot of canning to do (jams, jellies, peppers, salsa)! In a few weeks we will also be taking the goats off for breeding and will plan on having a few goat kids in early April. Yep, there is going to be alot of pregnancy going on here during this winter ;)

We have done some work on the front garden and have planted a few decorative shrubs that will (hopefully) grow strong roots through the winter and fill out next spring. Other than that we really havent made much progress on the "homestead" but we sure have a lot of work ahead of us to get all caught up and Im very excited to dig my hands back into some work! We will keep you posted along the way and hopefully the worst of the morning sickness and fatigue are behind me :)

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Sweet Potato Update!

We love sweet potatoes around here so we were very excited to plant some sweet potatoes! I can not believe how well these are growing!! We planted them as small "plugs" that we bought at our local feed and seed store and they sure have taken off!! They are absolutely beautiful! The sweet potatoes grow similar to regular potatoes and grow in the ground so we can not see the veggies, but we sure do get to enjoy the amazing ground cover. I think I will plant some of these in the front yard next year just because they are so easy and aesthetic. We are not sure how many sweet potatoes we are going to get out of this bed, but we are eager to go "exploring for buried treasure"...and definitely make some sweet potato pie!

Here is a picture of Addie "hiding" behind the sweet potatoes in the next walk way. They have grown to a nice tall "bush" of leaves. I have to keep on the vines or they will trail out of their area and all the way into another bed of veggies. This helps with the height of the "bush" because we keep piling more and more vines on top of each other.

Carrot Harvest! Thinning for higher yields

 The carrots are doing quite well so we have been thinning them out every once in a while to make room for the others and to get higher yields! Basically we just reach in and find carrots that are growing too close together and we take the larger ones from each side. Its really simple...even Addie is getting good at it! She loves exploring for carrots! We pulled up about 10 lbs of carrots today! Im excitted to can up some carrots here soon!

Friday, October 1, 2010

The Adventures of Peaches & Poppy...finding 1 "Yes"

I have talked about Peaches and Poppy alot on our blog, but I haven't ever told the full story of how they entered our family.
Peaches and Poppy are our one year old Nigerian Dwarf sisters who joined our family this past March. We had wanted goats for a long time but thought we would have to live in the country and own acreage for them to roam...then we started reading about the Dervaes and realized that we did not have to own a large farm to have our very own homestead. The journey began and we were so excited!! I started looking into the ordinances for my city that pertained to owning goats and kept getting No after No after No. Throughout the next couple months, I did a lot of research and sought out advice from “experts”. Then I wrote up a petition with quotes from documented professionals, a letter from my country vet, property diagrams, and a detailed essay explaining the benefits of a backyard dairy goat. At this point we had already picked out the two precious sisters we wanted to bring home with us and the breeder said she could hold them for a couple weeks...the clock was ticking!! Now we had a photo of the girls to take with us on our quest so people could see our precious girls and realize they weren't 200 lb horned billy goats that would be eating down fences! With my pictures and petition in hand, I went around to all my neighbors to explain our new adventure and asked if they were willing to sign my petition. To my joy, they were all on board and graciously signed! After taking a look at our petition, several city officials from the animal maintenance department came out to survey the property and sign us a permit!
We finished up some detail work on the back yard goat barn and went to pick up “the girls”!! We arrived at the breeders farm in the middle of a terrible thunderstorm and loaded up our new family members and headed home. We felt like new parents bringing home a baby as we all stared at each other for hours thinking “ok, now whats next?”. We even let the goats sleep in the house the first night due to the torrential rain falls and unsettling conditions outside. I felt like a new mommy the next few weeks...I could not sleep, I could not stop staring at them, and I was constantly worried and anxious they needed something or that they were “crying” too loud. Henry and Addie were ecstatic! They had 2 new little "friends" that would follow them absolutely anywhere they would go. The goats love to cuddle with the kids and were overly sweet as they would all play throughout the yard. Finally, we all got comfortable with each other and have settled in nicely!

Goats are amazing creatures, they can be very strong willed and stubborn, but with a gentle hand from their owner and consistent training they will prove to have some of the most adorable personalities and sweet temperaments. This is only a small piece of our story but I wanted to share with all of you how our adventures began with Peaches and Poppy and hope to inspire others to see that behind 100 “No's” there might be 1 “Yes”.

The girls are a year old now and we are taking them for breeding at the end of next month. Nigerian Dwarfs have a gestation period of 5 months so we will expect the little babies in March. We plan to keep the babies with there mothers for 4 days and then sell them as bottle babies to a lovely home. At that point, the milking will begin!