Monday, March 30, 2015


Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links--->

As a new blogger I think its time we had a little talk. In this environment misunderstandings are common and things can be easily misconstrued. I can hide behind my little computer screen as you hide behind yours. We're save from confrontation and hold the power to delete before reading. We have the know how to read and not respond, the right to agree or disagree, and to support virtually anything we want, here on this safe inter web that is.

Or is it really so safe? It may be easy for some bloggers to advertise or promote products to make money from your clicks, whether a worthy cause or not. Seeing as I did not enter the blogging world with the intention of monetizing my site I have no reason to advertise or convince you that the products I use are as awesome as I always say they are. I'll let you decide what you want about all the suggestions I make. Because they are just that, suggestions or recommendations even. Heck, you may think half what I say its total bologna! And that is okay, I promise, I won't take offense. 

With that said I want to make a promise to you, my readers, my family and friends, even those acquaintances who I would love to know better. I will not EVER post, write about, or claim to love products that I don't actually use on my homestead, daily or weekly, and literally love! I will NEVER lie to you, I will only show you what I do and what has been a success for me. I will NEVER EVER preach about a product that does not deserve the praise 100%. I simply want to educate and share my experience with ya'll, in a safe and positive way. I wish to encourage you to think outside the box and retrospect a little, back to the basics of a lifestyle forgotten. 

Now that I have that out of the way! I want to talk about a product that I DO deeply love. Castile soap... I'll say again...... Dr. Bronners Castile Soap!!! I've been using it exclusively for about 2 months now and I can honestly say I will never go back to regular shampoos or bath soaps. My hair is softer, stronger, fuller, and substantially less greasy. I don't absolutely have to wash my hair every day either. After having tried every brand of hair product out there my hair would still be greasy after just the first day. No more! Done are my days of spending ungodly amounts of money on hair products. With so many uses from shampoo and body wash to a safe non-toxic household cleaner, its safe to say Dr. Bronner new what was up! 

There are so many variations of this wonderful soap available through Amazon here. Specifically, this is the one I purchased! 32 ounces of goodness baby! Yes a little spendy, but I have used it for every shower. That's a shampoo and body wash. And every bath for Ireland, shampoo, body wash, and bath bubbles. Same bottle, two months deep..... and I've only used about 2 inches of it, and that one big bottle! Not sure how many ounces used that is but I bet I've only used 10% of the bottle! It goes a very long way and leaves you feeling squeaky clean. Not to mention the great affects the lavender has on Ireland before bedtime. The essence of lavender is enough to relax and make this mama happy, fo eva, seriously, girlfriend loves her some lavender! Did you know they even make a baby Bronner's?!?  You can bet I'll be adding that to our orders for next month in preparation for baby Gardner #2,!!!

Do I even need to dive back into my GMO rant to make ya'll understand how happy that little butterfly up there makes me?!? Okay good, didn't think so.....

And I bet ya'll never thought that even your shampoos, conditioners, household cleaners, face washes, lotions, etc, all most likely have GMOs...

Kinda freaky huh? The general judgement on GMOs is that roughly 85-95% of our grocery store shelves are GMO. Yikes! That's enough to make me wanna pack up my family, move to the woods, and rough it! But before you catch me running around the Three Sisters Wilderness in a loin cloth and bunch of lavender in hand, I'll just take some Dr. Bronner's! Its organic, non-GMO, smells great, lasts forever, and you can use it all over your home. What more could a hippy homesteader like me ask for?

Recently I found some recipes for a homemade shampoo and a laundry soap that both call for castile soap. You can bet I'll be giving that a whirl in April! 

Cleaning with Castile.


Saturday, March 28, 2015


Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links

If you've read my previous post on baking soda, you'll well know, I love that stuff! For oh so many reason, I buy this great household product in BULK! Namely, this bad boy!

Another household must have that I love and must buy in bulk, coconut oil!!! I buy this brand at Costco. Boy do I love seeing that GMO free label on more and more products in the glorious shopping experience that is Costco. I'm not going to lie when I embarked on my families GMO-free transition, I was convinced that a huge company like them wouldn't make this change a priority like so many Americans. Well folks, I'm not always right..... weird huh? 

I was oh so gratefully wrong. And that doesn't come often for a hard headed county gal like myself! During my monthly shop at Costco I was able to buy nearly everything I normally do in a GMO-free or non-GMO form (yes there is a difference, basically to be GMO-free they must be verified by the GMO-free project, non-GMO products are from those companies who have opted against verification, I imagine for cost sake, or are still awaiting their verification). I was AMAZED! Almost everything you can buy at this wonderful warehouse has a non-GMO or GMO-free counterpart. 

After so much turmoil and anxiety about our food, I can put my mind at ease. I digress. We're here to talk about pits! What... we are! Armpits that is, and if you're anything like me, stinky ones.

What can I say? I spend a great deal of my time actively working around the homestead or breaking a sweat as it were, pun intended! As I want so greatly to provide my family a completely GMO-free diet, I just as direly wish to provide us with everyday products that are free of harsh chemicals. Most times I can find what I need on my go site, Amazon. Even more often I can find ingredients on Amazon to make my own homemade products. This includes homemade deodorant! My first batch of which I whipped up last night.

Mixing up this recipe was so easy and painless! Better than a distracting and irritating trip to the store to pay way too much for a product full of chemicals whose origin is a complete mystery. And why do they have to put all that crap in there anyway?!? Take a minute, go grab your deo and tell me... 

How many ingredients does it have?
How many are virtually unpronounceable ingredients do you find? 
Do you know what they are? 
What they do? 
Or why they are in even in there? 
Do they really help to fight odor? 
And is antiperspirant safe or even necessary?
How much did this product cost you? (You couponers out there keep your opinions to yourself!)

Now let me do they same thing for my handmade deo...

There are 4, count em', 4 ingredients in this recipe
None.... Coconut oil, baking soda, arrowroot powder, and essential oils
Yes I do, all of them
OH yes.
Uh huh.
Heck yes they fight odor! I've been testing this theory ALL day.... What? hospital work makes me sweat!
No, antiperspirant isn't necessary. Wanna know what is? Your bodies need to sweat and rid itself of toxins. Why deny such a complex machine such a vital process? In my personal opinion the antiperspirant makes you smell worse when you do sweat.
Let's me do the math....ya'll can check your local Costco for exact pricing on your CO, but I paid about $25 for 54 ounces, $15 for that 13.5 oz. bag of baking soda (also purchased at Costco), and 1 pound of Arrowroot powder from Amazon for under $9. The essentials oil pricing will vary depending on where you chose to purchase. For me that is Doterra, for further inquiry on the oils themselves follow this link

Geez can we see the dang recipe already?!

Okay here ya go!!!

6 TBSP Coconut Oil
1/4 C Baking soda
1/4 C Arrowroot Powder
10-15 drops essential oil(s) of choice

In a medium size bowl combine together arrowroot powder and baking soda. With fork or spoon work in coconut oil until smooth. Add drops of essential oil and mix in evenly. Bada bing, bada boom! I chose to throw mine into a trusty ole baby food jar from my friend Megan, but it works great in an old deodorant container or ones you can order here!

As far as the EO's go, I gave a range of drops, for preference sake I advise you to use however much you are comfortable with or can tolerate using. I put a little more than what the recipe originally called for. Gotta make it mine a little right? And personally I love the smell of EO's and wanted to mask the coconut smell a bit. 

But Quincy I have no idea what oils to use! 

Don't fret! You can use so many different oils its crazy! Due to supply's sake I used oils I already had in my possession. I chose wild orange and lavender for my first attempt and when I was amazed at the ease of preparation I decided to throw together a wild orange and cedar wood mix (which I happen to be sporting right this second! And odor free might I add after almost 8 hours of crazy work)!!! Wild orange has antibacterial properties that help to kill the germs associated with body odor and the essence can be uplifting. Lavender is just amazin' for any grooming/bathing products and helps to relax and soothe those pits from possible razor burn! Personally I just love the musty smell of cedar wood, it acts wonderfully in hygiene products as it aids in healthy skin and efficient breathing! All of these oils can be researched further and purchased through my DoTerra wellness advocate website here.

So far I have been so very happy with the results I have had. Normally by this time in a work day I have sweated through whatever I am wearing and I might just stink! Even if I was wearing my ex-usual dove deo.....  Anyone think the smell of deo + body odor is worse than regular B.O.? Say aye... AYE!!! Sorry Dove, I'm over you.

Smell checking the pits! What? quality control :) 



Sounds gross don't it?

Yeah yeah, well it is pure gold around this homestead!

Finding a fertilizer or composting agent that won't burn our plants but will also provide a good food source for them is key during these preparation months.

One great attribute of rabbit manure is that is is a cold manure. So, you can put it directly into your garden beds or onto your plants or via manure tea. The best part is, the process of obtaining manure is thoughtless. And better yet, the manure doesn't have much of an odor once its let to air dry, it can then easily be applied to indoor plants and not produce an odor.

Our rabbit hutches will soon hand a few feet off the ground so we simply situate Rubbermaid bins or a similar container below the hutches to catch the manure. At this point we simply move the cages out clean under and then replace them. New updated to the hutches coming very soon!!! It is fairly light weight manure when dry so we can let them fill and empty them maybe once a month. Conveniently our rabbits are situated quite close to  the compost and then the garden, so transporting the manure is virtually labor-less.

And this manure tea? Even easier!

Simply find an old milk jug or some other similar container. Transfer a couple tablespoons of manure into the container and fill it with water. You'll let this mixture sit for a couple weeks, agitating or shaking the container every couple days to breakdown the manure. And there you GO! Strain the water so the particles can be added back to the jug from there the mixture can be diluted farther if necessary or poured directly into the garden or onto your container plants.

Extra manure should be transferred into your compost or spread on your garden or fields. Rabbit manure is simply great! Especially since my fuzzy friends are fed an organic and non GMO diet, consisting mainly of sprouted fodder and feed pellets. I also gather them weeds and grass clippings as often as possible to incorporate some roughage into their diets.

Preparing our main garden and other garden beds is key this time of year. Trays and trays of starts are sitting under lights waiting for appropriate planting conditions. We have a great deal of work that still needs to be done so this week I plan to make 3 gallons of rabbits manure tea, some of which will be fed to my indoor plants.

Don't have any rabbit manure??? Worry no more, all you Central Oregon peeps yearning for some of this wonderful poo look no further! Head my way, I am more than willing to share. Heck! Take some horse manure for your compost pile while you're at it. For all you long distance folks, I doubt you want a pile of poo from yours truly gracing your mailbox. Take a look on Craigslist for your area or simply make a wanted add, easy peasy right? I'm sure you'll find a more than generous rabbit farmer to help you out.

In other news! I believe I have finally successfully bred Chester to our American cross doe, Snow. She displayed proper behavior leaning forward and pronouncing her vulva by lifting her tail, and after all was said, Chester fell off!!!!

Cool Q.... sounds like your rabbit STILL has no clue! 

No seriously though, I have read articles and books that all say that its easy to spot a successful breed if the buck freezes and falls off at the end. Is this true? Is it fiction? Who knows but it happened! Which is more than I can say for the last few breeds. After much praying I hope for Snow to kindle sometime the end of April.

Chester did perform in this same manner with our doe New Zealand doe, Belle, at this beginning of this month. She was not so intrigued but he performed as though he had made success, so if he did, then hopefully I will have a litter born this week. Here's hoping! I have yet to notice any signs of Belle's pregnancy or nesting for birthing. So we shall see, oh yes.

And finally coming end of April the other two girls, Rosie and Ginger, will be matured enough to start breeding! I cannot wait to see the babies Chester and Rosie will kindle, as they are both beautiful broken red New Zealands. It's safe to say I have baby fever, of all shapes and sizes. Did you see our new kittens? GAH, I almost die from their cuteness.... blah blah blah ha ha have a good day ya'll!

Considering rabbit stew.... Okay, maybe I'll give the ole girls a few more tries.


Friday, March 27, 2015


(this post contains affiliate links)

Gardening is my favorite spring/summer past time.

I even get a little sad and dreary in the winter without my hands in the warm soil. I usually supplement my urge with buying a new house plant or cloning one of my existing ones over the winter, and I love to see the progress. Even in the winter house plants do amazing and I have quite a few. Just to keep me sane!

Just this month I was able to weed my raised beds and feel the radiant heat from the already warming soil, ah the promise of Spring! And then there's the occasional mornings waking up to snow.

I've been able to put out starts already; Scarlet Runners, Bush Beans, Sugar Pees, and a little Red leaf lettuce that I sprouted under our kitchen lights.

SEE these beans??? They're surviving!

Trays and trays of SSE seeds are sprouting inside the laundry room under lights as I type. Ok well the lights currently turned off for the night, you get what I'm saying.

There's something about the dirt under my fingernails that I just cannot resist. Being able to start seeds has been so therapeutic. Evening planting in a few of my garden beds these last couple days has been more than I could ask for this time of year.

Gardening is a love I've committed to for a few years now, my mom instilled a love for God's green thumb in my heart early in my childhood. I used to love picking the flowers from her garden and soaking in all the wonderful smells. Though gardening is a passion I have enjoyed my entire life, it is no easy task to find a technique or style that works consistently in our high desert climate. Up until last summer I thought I had it made and that I was a star gardener.... I was a little ahead of myself. When we moved to Tumalo I assumed I could take all the skills I thought I had learned and apply them to our new property...

I thought it would be easy... Fuh-get abad it! I'm an amateur to say the most!

In just the say 12 miles we moved from my home town where I had a successful garden to our new place, I had a disaster garden last year.

Here I will now breakdown every mislead path I followed... Just kidding but really, looking back I was so mislead...


FYI if you want to spend all your days weeding and all your money on weed killers then sure use a tiller.

(normally I would never, but I was so far beyond annoyed, the weeds got so far away from me, I have already made a promise to myself, "no more weed killers," because using them totally ruins our whole purpose of growing organic produce in the first place)

Till that ground 6 inches deep and enjoy that wonderful smell of the fresh churned soil...

Just look at how beautiful it is....

Looking back at this beautiful dream I remember why I was so delusional to want to till. I wish I had been brave enough to take during/after photos, when the weeds made their first attack... 

And second...

Third, when I cut the garden perimeter in half because I just couldnt keep up...

Then the fourth.... Garden gets cut in half again....

Updated pics of this years garden (2015) to come! Stay tuned...


It really didn't help that the main line for our property's irrigation ran right down the middle of this huge expanse, forever adding to the vitality off all those hellish weeds! (Side note: I found later that most of these "weeds" are actually edible and sustainable food sources!!! Like naturally growing salad greens! And weeds that can be used for healing ailments! Weeds that can be used for making natural paints, just like Native Americans! Holy cow! A whole post on that to come this spring!)

SECOND most important lesson learned.... bigger is not better when it comes to a garden, if its too big it will get away from you. Use only the space you need or you may end up like me, with a garden 1/5 the size it was to begin with. When in lack of space or trying to minimize, companion plant, companion plant, companion plant!!!


I only planted once on many of our varieties, simply because I forgot or was just too busy WEEDING to even care about planting more. If you want a successful harvest keep on planting to your hearts content. Most root varieties tell you to replant every 2-3 weeks. The only veggie I did this with was radishes, what can I say? Mama loves her some radishes!

If you don't keep up on the soil and your planting this is just another way that weeds can infiltrate your beds. Another good recommendation is companion planting! 


The biggest mistake I made last year was leaving my beds unprotected and exposed to the elements. Well I learned my lesson, this year I will, without a doubt be MULCHING every one of my garden beds. Mulching is the most efficient way to prevent weeds, preserve water, and keep the ground warm. A full post on mulching yet to come! Stay tuned :)


I bet you, like myself and so many other gardeners our there do the same thing every spring. We get so dang excited about seeds and the coming harvest, that when it comes time to buy seeds we go completely insane, lose our self control, and end up with 50 or so little packs of seeds. With such promise and determination in those packets, we rarely think over the logistics.

Where will all these seeds make a home?

Do I have enough space?

Is the lighting in that area right for these varieties?

Will I have enough time to harvest them all when the time comes?

Will I have enough space to preserve and/or store the harvest?

Is supplying water to that location easy or painstaking?

Take some time before you splurge on seeds to write down some things about yourself and your garden set up that you already know. Here are a few examples:

- What you want to grow?
- Your families favorites/ most eaten?
- What you grows well in your region? What does not?
- What you're already experienced at growing?
- When can you start seeds?
- Is your growing season long enough?
- What you can fit in your spaces, do you need more garden space?
- What you want to grow for preservation vs. fresh produce?
- Will I even have time to harvest all this produce???

Really taking a few minutes to sit down and decide what works well for you, you family, and your homestead can be such a life/time saving task. Making sure to include those heavy yielders in categories of favorite foods is a must for us. For example, green beans, I cannot say enough about how much my family loves them. We eat green beans A LOT! So, justly we have 2 varieties of bush green beans, and 2 varieties of pole green beans. Of course that is in addition to the 4 storage varieties of dry bush beans we've already started. What can I say? We love us some legumes here at the homestead.

Next, try to lay out a plan of where everything will go. This way you'll have a better idea of how much space you actually have when it comes time to execute planting in the coming weeks. I love rearranging and designing where every special wonderful plant should go. It's even better if you're familiar with the ground you're working. Last year we were new to Tumalo, so we winged it, improvised, and made due. This year, we can use our knowledge from all those previous trial and errors. 

Above all this should be fun. I myself enjoy very much drawing pictures of what I want my garden to look like. I love involving my family in my planting plans as well, making this into a family affair is important for any homesteader, after all this food will be feeding our family come fall. I find it a huge priority that my children have a desire to participate from an early age, in planting and harvesting our food.  I am a nerd for gardening through and through! I only hope Ireland remains as excited and intrigued as she is right now, always wanting to help mama whenever the chance arises. 

The fulfillment of successfully raising a garden, from planting to harvest, invigorates the spirit and connects us to a practice centuries old. I am proud to say that I have been invigorating my soul full as of late. Just today I transplanted the first of my bush bean starts. I planted oh so many seeds! dwarf blue curled Kale, dragon carrots, chiogga beets, red leaf lettuce, Grandpa Admire's lettuce, and the SSE lettuce mixture. We also have broccoli, corn, cucumber, pole bean, black bush bean, sunflower, MORE lettuce, a few pepper, a Bunch of tomato, and some cilantro starts waiting for transplanting into larger containers for now or to go outside. Much of it will be going outside to our gardens come Monday. Yeesh! Lots of baby plants! 

Not to mention the two goslings, four ducklings, 20 broiler chicks, and 7 pullets... I would say we've got a lot on our hands. I know, I know no self control to be had on the homestead in the bird department this Spring.

Did I mention the newest homestead babies??? Hey guys they're built in mouse deterrent!
Those pesky rodents can start packing their bags now, these two barn babies will be seeing you in a few weeks!

Happy Gardening! 


Sunday, March 22, 2015


Not that I don't love the internet. And I won't forget Google of course. But at times I yearn for something tangible to read.

I have began adding to the homestead library in order to have on hand references on the off chance that we don't always have the web to surf for endless info. I have begun to expand our "prepping" list and figure if we had to go off grid for any reason, the only books I would care much to have are books which can teach us valuable skills for living and surviving off grid.

Books with educational purpose really...... Ok, that's not my only reason.....

.... Maybe say a copy or two of Twilight... Annnnd 50 shades.... What? A girls gotta have her simple pleasures.

Alright, alright enough... ahem..

What can I say? I love books! The smell of a new book, the feel of the pages between your fingers. Reading gives me a sense of freedom and my eyes don't hurt as they do after hours of computer use. I never want my family to forget the importance of book and reading. So I want more educational and wholesome readying material available to us in order to eliminate as much need for youtube searching.

These are some books I have compiled from my own research and what I have seen a few other homestead bloggers recommended. I plan on adding most of these to our homestead library this year in hard copy! I hope yawl can take something away from any of these good reads.

Keeping a Family Cow: The Complete Guide for Home-Scale Holistic Dairy Prioducers, 3rd Edition  
By Joann S. Groham

Accidental Farmers        (#1 on my list, currently downloaded on the kindle)
By Tim Young
***Another great read from Tim, How to Make Money Homesteading

The Backyard Homestead
By Carleen Madigan

Encyclopedia of Country Living
By Carla Emery
*** I feel this is more of a just have for any library! So many good questions can be answered here.

Story's Guide to Chickens
By Gail Damerow

Storey's Guide to Rabbits
By Bob Bennett

Story's Guide to Pigs
By Kelly Klober

Ball Blue Book: Guide to Preserving** you can access many of these recipes from the internet but I love a hard copy book like this, such a farmstead must have. I just recently added this to our library, thought I had to add it in anyway!

Real Food Basics
By Kate Tietje

Ok, I'll stop myself, if I don't I'll NEVER get through all these great reads!!! Which one should I read first?


It has been a hustlin' bustlin' last two weeks on the homestead! We checked a few things off the task list and are happy to say were making progress early this Spring! The most exciting of which was getting the rangers outside into their new pasture pen!

When we began this portion of our meat project it was our dream to pasture the broilers. In order to provide them with the most natural and peaceful habitat in their short lives this was non-negotiable. It is imperative that they are safe, well fed/watered, and provided enough space to grow, flourish, and play. The latter of which they wasted no time beginning, the second we released them into their new pen it was an immediate frenzy of pecking, flapping, and hopping about.

These littles will be roughly 4 weeks tomorrow! I admit in my excitement I forgot which day I actually purchased these kiddos, my pregnant brain just can't remember. So rough estimates it is!!! This month flew past me, especially these dudes first two weeks on the stead. Glad to say they have settled in well and now that they're past the funny fluffy phase and into the ugly feathering phase, we don't have to spend as much time caring for them. By now they're fine with their daily water/feedings, a heat lamp at night, and of course my mama bird checks every 5 minutes. Seriously, I check on them A LOT! Honestly sometimes in the morning I stand by the window, coffee in hand, just admiring them, one reason I demanded the pasture be visible from the house. Ok, I'm not obsessed and before you warn me not to get attached let me tell ya something.

Broilers are for meat, no one knows this better than me and the homestead fund. Case and point as to why I check on them so darn much! These birds are an investment, not some hobby backyard flock. My family is grateful for their presence and purpose on our farm. We show them thanks by caring and watching over them for about 11 weeks. They have roughly 8 weeks left. At that time, we will again give them thanks by showing them a peaceful and quick exit. Which reminds me! I need to get to work on making some home made kill cones for that day when it comes.

For now these feathered fellas are plumping up on natural organic diet provided from a local feed company, running around like crazy, and thank god I haven't seen a hawk in months! Luckily my fab farming friend Lexi put together an awesome roof to protect our little investments!

Shopping for a butcher kit!


Saturday, March 21, 2015


Recently, we've been encountering more and more people who want to know what the buzz with fodder is all about.

So what, you water it and just watch it grow? 

Well, in an essence yes.....

Fodder came into my life at the perfect time. I had seen these 'fodder systems' begin to stream across my Pinterest page more and more. I had to know what this was...

Basically, fodder is sprouted grains or legumes that can be fed to all kinds of livestock.

I could go on and on about the bonuses of maintaining a fodder system. Ok maybe I will just a little, here's as short a list as I could make:
1. Fodder can be grown in the dead of winter.
2. Fodder only takes 8-9 days to grow.
3. 50 pounds of seed can be turned into 300 pounds of fodder. 
4. Whoa! Should I just stop??? 
5. Fodder is very affordable (depending on location) From my supplier I get 50 lb. bags if barley for $10. That's cheaper than a bag of organic hog feed, and it gets multiplied by 6!
6. That's reason enough right?!?
7. Our fodder is GMO-free. 
8. And organic.
9. Horses and cows eat it, after acclimation. The hogs LOVE it. The birds (chickens, waterfowl) LOVE it. On day 7 the rabbits receive clippings from the top, and devour it! All of my livestock eat it. 
10. Need I say more???

There's nothing like it..... Other than a fully sprouted pasture, I don't know about y'all but I don't have one of those in December, do you?  Didn't think so....

The only draw back to fodder I can see feeding is that's it's another commitment. Adding another task to an already busy homestead can be risky, but this one is so worth it. To keep on schedule you need to start a batch a day, in order to harvest for feed everyday. That's only if you're trying to feed solely fodder. We have chose to supplement with fodder currently. Our system is small and the homestead fund weighs I favor of some heavier tasks at hand. 

These days breakfast for the farm hogs consists of the fodder with a scoop of organic local hog feed. Dinner of combined fodder/kitchen scrap mixture. The birds all get their scratch feed mixture thrown daily as they free range and if we have enough fodder for the day they'll get a big chunk to spend the day on. Our rabbits also have a supplemental pellet/fodder grass mixed diet. We also provide the bunnies with feeder or orchard hay at all times.  When feeding livestock on fodder its helpful to incorporate grains and legumes, evenly if possible, into their diets in order to balance vitamins and minerals. Adding rations of diatomaceous earth can also be very beneficial to their digestive systems.

Since I began my fodder adventure about 6 months ago I have learned a tremendous amount. I've been lucky enough to learn a great deal from our supplier. He loves just 2 miles away and is full of fodder knowledge, and is more than willing to give it. Lucky me! If I haven't said before, farm tasks are my favorite.... so naturally, learning more about them is even more my favorite! Being open to ongoing education is a key aspect of homesteading, but I'm sure ya'll know that. So, I am always looking for better more efficient ways to accomplish our bazillion homestead chores. Yada yada yada back on topic Q!

Here's me excited to feed our new bunnies fodder for the first time couple months ago! BTW they loved it, now they can't get enough!!!

Recently I visited a local dairy, while tasting their fabulous milk, the owner gave me a tour of their fodder system.

Take pictures, measurements, make yourself at home.

He then strolled off to assist his friend with an automobile mechanical repair. 

And, of course, I have read and read..... and read about fodder until my eyes hurt. But nothing compares to seeing it in real life, and having those face to face exchanges. Yeah yeah I might be talking sprouted grass but hey, this mama doesn't get off the farm often these days. I'll take fodder conversation where I can get it! Above all I'm grateful for his generosity with knowledge and transparency of start up cost and up-keep of his system. 

My most recent take away lesson in fodder is bleach. Nasty smelly wonderful bleach. I've tried direly to remove bleach from out household for some time but it keeps making it way round and always proves it's worth. It's so harsh that when someone told me to put a little in the fodder water I was flabbergasted. 

In the water that grows the food I feed to my animals?!?!?

Heck no I won't!!!  

But in all honesty I should have listened...


The mold came....

Yup, this wonderful fodder gets really moldy really quick. And boy howdy does it ever stank!!!

Okay, I give up! I'll put a splash of bleach in there! You got me. 

Fortunately the pigs and chickens don't mind the mold too much but horses and cows won't prefer it. I urge you to experiment and test your own theories before you decide to use bleach. Then give me some feed back, would ya??? I would love to find a non bleach remedy for the mold. 

Luckily it's a small amount. Here's how I incorporate the bleach into my fodder routine:

1. I weight out the desired seed into a large container, using an old stock pot currently
2. Fill with water, add 1 tbsp bleach, stir, soak 10-15 minutes
3. Rinse barley thoroughly, refill container with water, soak 12-18 hours
4. Strain off seeds, pouring out water and chaff
5. Pour seeds into trays, drawers, tubs, whatever growing container you chose, and spread out evenly. We are currently using some plastic storage drawers. I'm looking into changing this up a little possibly (further posts about upgrades to come)**you will have previously made drainage holes for water to flow through
6. Water twice daily, rinsing water over seeds
7. No light is necessary until day 5-6, natural window light counts. Fluorescent light also appropriate
8. Feed on day 8-9

As you can see this is a very simple system, but it works very well for the small scale farming we do. And there are many more styles and procedures out there, I am an amateur folks. I simply want to share the knowledge I have thus far with the hopes that my trial and error helps in anyway. If we incorporate more animals later we may upstage to some fancy fodder system with a water pump and everything! Girlfriend can dream can't she?!

Until then I will simply rinse my fodder daily making sure no standing water is left, and yes I'll use a little bleach here and there to kill mold.

Fodder is such an efficient, healthy, and cheaper way to feed livestock our livestock.  Plus, it gives us gardening guru's some therapeutic attention over the frigid gloominess of the winter months. I highly recommend doing some research on fodder costs in your area to assess its affordability and integrity in comparison to your farm or

^^There's me..... again^^
Way to excited about fodder.... again....

Happy sprouting folks!



I'll be honest, I used to snicker at those folks who would suggest oil use to me in the past. I was stuck in a mindset where using essential oils and eating organically was some yuppy hippy mumbo jumbo that I would just never understand.

Well friends, this is one ignorance I can say took me a few years to overcome. Becoming an adult and then a parent (soon to be twice over) opened my eyes in ways I never thought possible. I went through a denial phase for sure.....

Our diets aren't that bad... are they?

The food we're eating can't possibly be detrimental to our health....

Essential oils can't really help. pharmaceuticals have to be a better route....

I'm a medical professional, these granola hippies can't really know more than the medical industry...

If my food isn't safe and neither are our medications and supplements then why would my doctor recommend and advocate for it....?

So many questions raced through my mind about what these "essential oils" really were. Why are they so 'essential' and is this all just a sham? If they really are so amazing and life changing how come I'm just hearing of them and why don't doctors advocate for them?

Funny side note I actually used to get irritated when I would walk into a knitting or bohemian shop in the greater Portland area. Chances are if anything along the lines of artisan, organic, or hand-made graces the window of these shops you'll be bound to smell essential oils the instant of your entrance. Commonly the smell of patchouli is the one that smacks you right in the olfactory nerves. Granted, I love it now... but in those years as an ignorant and close minded youth, I just got head ache from what I had dubbed the 'hippie stink.' Alas those days are behind me and now I respect and appreciate every drop of essential oil on this planet. And I would never describe any oil with the word stink ever again!

Essential oils can now be observed all over my house and in almost every aspect of my life. The first oil I gave a chance was the ever wonderful, peppermint. Being pregnant at the time finding medications and supplements safe for consumption and application was proving difficult. I had a terrible head ache so my friend applied one drop to her pointer fingers, massaging it into my temples and base of my skull. Within minutes I experienced relief that had me flabbergasted. I was taken aback by the speed and effectiveness at which it worked its magic. You can consider that to be the moment that changed my mind forever. It left me pain free and feeling relatively energized, though it was late afternoon and the baby belly needed some couch time.

There you have it, that was 3 years ago, and I and my families lives are forever changed. It wasn't until this last fall that I decided we needed yet another change. Essential oils had slowly began taking over our medicine cabinet replacing Tylenol, Advil, NyQuil, and I could forever go on about what the oils have replaced in our house, and all the money we actually save because of this. The best part about them is as I just mentioned.... The oils take over, you begin to realize how many wonderful uses these natural entities actually have and how many ailments can be solved with their simple application.

- Grapefruit to help curb my appetite helped me with postpartum weight loss.

- Lemon and peppermint decreased my nausea or morning sickness.

- Lavender I put on the kiddo before bedtime, this is an essential to our relaxation bedtime routine.

- Eucalyptus is amazing as a fever reducer/pain releiver (peppermint and lavender aid the tea trees effect) and also helps to maintain healthy feet and avoid athlete's foot.

- Peppermint under my nose when dealing with hospital odors changed world!!! Seriously, what would rather smell... duty or amazing peppermint?

- The immunity blend on the bottoms of our feet at night before bed is a great immune booster if you feel something coming on, or just because it smells great and has amazing disinfecting properties.

- I diffuse the respiratory blend in Ireland's room nightly when she has a cough/cold to encourage deep and relaxed breathing while sleeping.

- Deep Blue, used for deep tissue and muscle pain, does wonders in promoting realization in an achy back. I use the lotion rub version on my burly farm mans aches and pains and he loves it, plus the aroma is wonderful as a night time relaxant.

- For a tasty addition to water I add a few drops of grapefruit or lemon, just for fun, and its tastes great!

You see the possibilities are endless and I only mentioned my favorites. Before you know it you'll be an oil fanatic like myself, urging family and friends to give them a chance, or by golly just convert to essential oilism!

That brings me to this change I said we made last fall. After much consideration and fast deliberation we decided that becoming wholesale members of DoTerra would be the best option for us. With so many ways to utilize these treasures and the their adding up around the household, and some not so cheaply, it was just a no brainer. We made a leap of faith and are so happy we did! Seeing so many amazing changes with the help of oils, from behavioral improvements in our moody two year old to resolution of skin allergies in our dog, I can't think of a better way to keep my family safe and healthy.

NO MORE of those unpronounceable words you find on medications these days. How can a matriarch find piece of mind with all those chemicals??? The answer is you wont, with essential oils you'll never have those worries again.

So for all you oil skeptics out there, take a chance! Open your mind to the endless benefits and capabilities of oils, don't be like I was! Don't profile people who smell like patchouli they're probably happy oil users who know something you don't!

To find out more about the wonder of essential oils visit my business page here!

Dreaming of diffusing lavender when I get home!


Sunday, March 15, 2015


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Two days ago I did something I have been meaning to for 6 months. I visited a local dairy just a mile from my house, I know I'm super punctual with my personal priorities, all in due time I suppose...

Geez they're only a mile away! Score!

Hope Springs Dairy, located here in beautiful Tumalo, Oregon is a raw dairy providing herd shares for Jersey cow's milk and goat's milk. My main hesitation for not joining the herd share earlier stemmed from a fear that myself and my family wouldn't approve of the taste. My mind had made a judgement before I had even tried it. I have been meaning to change that and I finally did!!!

I thought it would be thick, and yellowish, or just a weird taste, would it be sour? My imagination ran wild.....

Let me tell you folks I don't think theres anything much better than a cold glass of raw cows milk. I was amazed, awe struck, speechless at the amazing taste and rich fullness the milk possesses. I wanted to immediately run outside to worship and thank the cows for their bountiful gift.

Once their last cow calves in a couple week we will be well on our way to a gallon fresh raw cows milk every week! I can't wait to try my hand at homemade butter!!! The benefits of raw milk are unending. Knowing exactly which cow our milk came from is an extreme increase in the security we feel about the safety and quality of our food. Buying locally, especially milk fulfills part of our wholesome homestead mission here in the High Desert. We look forward to all the possibilities this new change will bring our family. And all the creamy goodness in tow!

All this new wonderment I feel has just fueled my passion to own a dairy cow! I need a dairy cow! I will have a dairy cow one day. Morning and night milking, shiny to dirty milk pails, gallon jars filling the fridge, udder butter and all, I cannot wait until we have a chance at that goal. For now Ill be dreaming, praying, waiting, wishing on a star. A girl can still dream right???

Reading up on cheese making,


Monday, March 9, 2015


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It has been one crazy two weeks here on the homestead. We had house guests all last week, so sorry for the lack of posts folks! We saw a great concert, all in all a nice relaxing time. Any who, here's a run down of this week on the stead front:

- Set up a space in our laundry room with a light to start some seeds...

- Transplanted the beans and peas I started two weeks ago (moved them into 3-5 gallon pots with some recycled branches for support, currently moving them in and out of the house twice a day....Did I say we are having a freakishly early spring?!? I'm pretty sure the last few months could not possibly count as winter, so we have been able to make huge steps these last weeks outdoors... I digress...ahem...)

- My awesome friends who are staying with us this spring helped me rake/ clean-up the back yard and flower beds (all complete with garden netting to keep my pesky and wonderful hens from eating all my volunteer wildflowers!)

- They also totally rocked helping me clean my disaster of a garage (which has sadly turned into a storage unit for a family member, hopefully soon we can move that stuff out so I can move my rabbit cages into the garage and make a permanent tack area for all my equine tack and things... If you know anything about rabbits you'll well know they do great in subzero temps but terrible in scorching ones, so I would like to provide them some better shade and our garage stays cool as ever through the summer months)

- Brought home 6 count em' 6 new ducks!!! A mated pair of Cayugas, a mated pair of Mallards, and two additional Mallard drakes who will be making their way to the freezer very very soon. These girls began laying the very next day! I acquired them from a fellow bird lover whose ducks were being over run by drakes, so naturally she needed to cut out some testosterone to save the appearance and nerves of her poor hens a full post on my love for ducks to come!

- Six new laying chicks came home February 28th! A few Barred Rock, a Deleware, an Ancona, an Americana, and a Welsummer (at least that's my guess on that last one, she/he came from a fellow steader on CL, so we shall see) will make their home with us and be laying by this fall! -----affiliate link

- We finally welcomed our first batch of meat chicks to the farm only a couple days after the laying babies! 20 red ranger broilers to be packed in the freezer in about 12 weeks! I cannot contain my excitement at this!!! (more on the babies later)
**The babies are currently housed in an ole stock tank fashioned into a nifty brooder.

This week has also been quite insane, but much closer to home. Hours and hours of yard work and seed planting has been the focus and we've tackled quite a bit so far! We finally were able to pull our pond liner and replace it as to raise it higher so rain run off doesn't make it all yucky again. The ducks are quite happy to have a clean, yet small, pond to bathe in.

Ok, Quincy we read your barnyard banter, now what the heck is up with these GMOs you speak of?!?

GMOs are a cornerstone to our want, no, need to change the lifestyle and eating habits of our family. GMOs are part of the reason why we do what we do. Aside from wanting to get back to basics and teach our children of a more natural way of life, I want my children and my bearded baby daddy to be healthy through this adventure.

For me this all started with the last state elections. We had a bill on the ballot in Oregon for GMO labeling.... and honestly I'm kicking myself in the pants everyday for seeing that ballot and never taking the 5 minutes to sit down and vote.

Hi, my name is Quincy and sometimes I forgot to vote.... Ok, so I may not be politically active or even care for politics much at all, so much about money and power, so not what this farm Mama wastes her time with....

Not that politics are a waste of time..... Am I just digging a deeper hole? Moving on, ahem..

But seriously with new horses, preparing for the pigs, checking the coop a billion times a day for any signs of an egg, and surviving the woes of morning sickness this past fall I was not in any way worried about when to submit the ballot or what was even on it. I had heard in passing about the recreational marijuana bill and the GMO bill but didn't really ever get around to doing my research on either one very thoroughly.

The reading material on this topic goes on and on. It is not of my intent to rant on and on and throw statistics at you. I'll give ya a little of my side of things without totally overwhelming you, I hope...
I only ask that you take the time to do the research yourself and make your own choice, I beg you keep the health of your family in the front of your mind...

Ok ok...

My interpretation of GMOs is that they are genetically modified organisms....

So... They are fake?

In a sense yes.... and no...

Scientists have genetically altered the DNA in our food sources to make them something that they are not, for one reason, or another. I've even heard some weird stories about genetic testing that go so far as to say that there are even goats who have been genetically altered to lactate spider silk...


Excuse my French but that was the initial thought bubble floating over my head when I heard that on a documentary called 'GMO OMG.' Which ALL of you should watch, in this day and age almost everyone has a Netflix membership, it is on there, don't make excuses! Ya ya that's a lot to take in all at once. Point is there's obviously some bored scientists out there pushing the borders and limitations of nature.

Thankfully the GMOs that reside in our food aren't so intense. It's simply a case of big corporations cutting logistical corners as they always have and will continue to do. In order to increase profits, seed companies have modified the seeds to be more durable and resistant...

Resistant to Round Up so farmers can douse their fields with weed killer and not lose a single corn or soy plant (the two main GMO food sources). Corn plants that have been modified in order to release their own pesticide..... Literally, the plant is a pesticide..... Research this folks! In seed form much of the corn we Americans eat is registered through the FDA as first and foremost a pesticide and secondly as a food product. Something like 95% of the American food supply contains GMOs, and roughly 30 something % (I know so technical) of Americans are aware of GMOs. Rant done!

What have I been feeding my child...? 

What have I been feeding myself, or this growing baby inside me?! 

I had no idea.

I was as clueless as countless other Americas still are.

No better word describes the state I'm in... Or have been in for months now... than complete and utter shock. How can our government regulate and approve something that has been labeled, voted out, or even banned in 16 plus countries on the planet. Why you ask?

There hasn't been enough research to prove they are safe for human consumption. What we do know is it allows countless farmers to cut corners and increase productivity. We also know that since the time that GMOs were introduced in the states, our country has become one of the top ranking counties in relation to highest rate of illness worldwide. We're one of the sickest countries on the planet, and I don't mean sick as in the stupid slang form of cool, I mean we have the highest obesity and cancer rates out of developed countries.

Here's a fun fact to bring you out of those doldrums, the same or higher yields have been proven possible on organic non GMO farms all over the country.

Since the first month we found out this scary and shocking truth we have been on a mission to rid our household of GMOs in every way possible. And, it has proven to be much easier than I ever thought it could be. 

Were making more of our own products from within the home, and finding better ingredients even if they cost just a little bit more. A few dollars here and there are worth my families health in my opinion by a long shot. We have also received a catalogue from Azure Standard to begin ordering GMO-free organic grains in order to put our new grain mill to use, THANKS MOM and DAD!!! There are also so many other products which we purchase regularly that can be found within the AS inventory. I mean look at that catalogue! Woo its definitely something to snugg

le up on your couch with and spend some good quality highlighter time. SO SO SO many organic and GMO free options are available in this amazing catalogue, and better yet, Azure Standard is located in Dufur, Ore, only about 150 miles from where I sit right now ranting about its magnificence......

What can I say, girlfriend loves to shop in bulk. Even better, there are 4 drop sites within 5 miles of my house. Cutting out stressful and inconsistent grocery store trips is my end all be all. I hate grocery shopping..... I don't mind running in for a thing or two but usually always leave with 5-10 items I had no intention of purchasing. Buying in bulk helps us to save money and prevent any spontaneous purchasing on my end. And the reliability of non GMO food supply made it a decision that much easier to make. Hopefully soon we will be receiving monthly or quarterly deliveries of wholesome foods once the budget begins to realign after some serious vehicle issues.

Well there you go I'll get outta your hair for a bit.

Anxiously waiting for seeds to sprout,