Preparing the Homestead for a Move

Moving

My husband and I finally made the announcement that we will be moving back to Texas. For those of you who don’t know, we were both born and raised in Texas and both of our families still live there. We have been living out of state for about 4 years now and we are more than ready to be closer to home! Although exciting, moving a family can become stressful and a little complicated at times, but we have grown pretty accustomed to it. This go around not only have we added a child to the equation, but more animals as well! With these wonderful additions comes a slightly more complicated process. Here’s how I got things started.

Transportation
The first factor for this move that we had to consider was transporting our animals from point A to point B. When the goats were little it wasn’t a problem putting them in the back of the 4-Runner with a little bit of hay and some blankets. Unfortunately, this will not work when driving over 1000 miles (at least not for us). My husband and I knew we would be moving some time in the near future, so in the months prior we would frequently search Craigslist for a good deal on a small livestock trailer. We were able to find a decent sized trailer in a city about an hour an a half away from us, so we jumped on that deal quickly! Even if you aren’t planning on moving you should make sure you have access to a trailer or vehicle large enough to accommodate your animals in case of an emergency. Another reason for you to get connected with other neighboring farmers!

Who’s Coming with Us?!
Our next step was deciding what animals would be coming with us. Due to the fact that we are moving out of state we had to consider the laws and ordinances for the incoming state. Different states require different tests, documentation, and procedures. We quickly came to the decision that we would sell our chickens here and start anew after the move. Many states will not allow chickens to cross state lines and some require that you get a bill of health for you chickens. We were not willing to consider those costs and decided it would be easiest to start over when we got there. Fortunately, it was a pretty painless and easy process to sell them on craigslist. We had a buyer come by and get them all on the day I posted my ad!

Next in line were the goats. It was no questions that we would keep them, but this was going to require some more research and a few phone calls. I first reached out to the Texas Department of Agriculture and had them brief me on their requirements. They informed me that if the goats were not registered they would need SCRAPIE (a disease that affects goats and sheep) tags, a Bill of Health from a vet, and a Premise ID number. Most of these things sounded foreign to me and I had no idea how to go about obtaining them, but luckily the man I was talking to was nice enough to walk me through the process. The next person I called was the South Carolina Department of Agriculture. They were able to direct me to a Veterinarian as well as quickly set up a premise ID. So great! Two things down! Of course the last piece was the most difficult part of process. This is not anyone’s fault but my own. I was informed that as long as my goats were registered and tattooed, I would only need their registration paperwork instead of SCRAPIE tags. The problem was, I forgot to complete their registration process. Without going into too much detail, it took me over a month to complete that process. So my advice to you, is if you purchase registered goats or any other animal, make sure you complete the process right away!

The New Homestead
The last thing to be considered was the set up of the new homestead. Fortunately the house we purchased already has a structure perfect for the goats as well as fenced in pastures. This makes things A LOT easier. We can literally open the trailer door and welcome them to their new home! We have already started planning out how we will setup and rotate chickens around the separate pastures but they will need a new structure (future blog post?). The next several months will be spent planning out exactly how we setup our new homestead and what new challenges we want to take on (besides baby #2).

All in all, moving can be a lot for anyone to take on and adding animals to the equation definitely doesn’t make it much easier. If you prepare yourself ahead of time and familiarize yourself with the process, it can make things go a lot smoother. I will be sure to keep you posted with updates on the new homestead. Thanks again for reading! Wish us luck with the move!

Malorie

Cut Your Spending & Make Your Holidays Brighter

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The time of year where it seems as though money is literally flying out your window is quickly approaching. Regardless of whether you have tons of money saved up in bank account or you’re just living from paycheck to paycheck, watching your money go is never a joyous event. Fortunately, seeing the joy on someones face when they open a gift that you handpicked for them makes it all worth it. I’m sure at some point in your life you have had to come up with some creative ways to provide gifts for your friends and family. I, myself, did a lot of crafting in my college days. Amazingly, those were the gifts that mattered the most. Getting back to the point, there are many simple ways to cut back spending throughout the year to help give you some extra cash for the holidays. Hopefully these easy tips can help you sweat a little less next season. After all, it’s supposed to be a happy and merry season!

  1. Eat out less. This one might be tough for some people, but it is essential. I’m not saying you can’t enjoy a dinner out with your significant other or a lunch date with your friends, but the frequent visits to McDonalds or Starbucks (yes, coffee counts) can do a lot of damage to your bank account. When I taught elementary school, I would frequently go out to lunch because I didn’t have time to make a lunch. In reality, it took longer for me to leave work, order food, and get back to work than it would if I just brought my own lunch! To make things easier, after you finish supper pull out a lunch size container and prep your leftover lunch for the next day. When I make larger meals, like casseroles, I will divide half of it into lunch portions and stick it in the freezer for my hubby to take to work. Many people will find that eating in will save you at least $100-$200 a month.
  2. Cut out cable. I know I wrote about this in a previous blog, but I just want to revisit this topic quickly. Cutting out cable can be a HUGE money saver. It has saved us over $100 a month. Thats $1200 a year. You cant argue with that. There are so many other entertainment options in today’s world, that to me it just doesn’t make sense to have cable. Here are some alternatives: Netflix, Hulu, Apple TV, Amazon Prime, HD Antenna, bunny ears, and buying your TV series at a used entertainment store. The costs of these options are minimal and some are just a one time fee! It’s worth it people!
  3. Buy used. This tip is helpful for everyone, but especially those with kids. I look around my house, my daughters room, and all of her toys and I can happily say that at least 90% of our belongings are used! It doesn’t mean they look worn or trashy, in fact most of our stuff is in great shape. It may take a little more time and effort to find specific items that you or your child are looking for, but why spend the extra money if something just as good is half the price. I also love that when you buy something used, it has a story. Whether it’s your own story about the bargain price you got it for or the previous owner telling you stories about where it came from. To me thats a lot more fun than picking it up for full price at a retail store.
  4. No Spend Week. My husband and I just recently started this routine. For one week out of the month we spend money only on absolute necessities, like gas, vets, doctors, emergencies, and necessary food items. We try to eat whatever we already have in the fridge and pantry, but on occasion you may need a few items to complete your recipes. Going out to eat and leisurely shopping is out of the question. Surprisingly it not only saves money for the week, but it also helps reel our consumerism tendencies back in. The weeks following we find ourselves constantly questioning if we need something or if we just want it. Trust me, it’s not as hard as it seems!

There are many, many more ways to cut back on your spending, you just have to find what works best for you and your family. Make a list of the things you typically spend money on, prioritize them, and decide how you can make adjustments. Spending less shouldn’t make you miserable, it should make you feel good! Making smart financial choices and starting early in the year can definitely make your holidays a little more merry and bright. What are some of your money saving tips? Thanks again for reading!

Malorie

Fun Fall Recipe: Creamy Salmon Stew

Fall Recipes

I thought to kick off this beautiful fall season it might be fun to share a yummy, warm fall recipe! One of my favorite things about cool weather is being able to enjoy all kinds of soups, chilis, and stews. As soon as the weather hits 75 degrees, I’m dusting off my crockpot and searching for new recipes on Pinterest and Google. I rarely ever follow one recipe exactly. Typically I will combine about 3 recipes into one, making it truly my own. There’s no shame in getting a little inspiration! If you aren’t a big fan of salmon you can change it up and add shrimp, lobster, or crab. Make it your own!

Creamy Salmon Stew

Creamy Salmon Stew

Ingredients

  • 2 5oz cans of Carnation Evaporated Milk
  • 3 cups of 2% or whole milk (more or less)
  • 2 russet potatoes
  • 2 frozen salmon filets (thawed)
  • 3 Tbs of butter
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 Tbs garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional
  • Pre-season the salmon with onion powder, garlic powder, pepper, and thyme
  • Add about 3/4 cup of potato flakes to thicken soup
  • Shredded cheese
  • French's Fried Onions

Instructions

  1. Bring about 6 cups of water to a boil in large pot
  2. Peel and cube potatoes, then add to boiling water
  3. Boil for about 10 minutes or until tender (check with fork)
  4. Meanwhile, heat skillet with olive oil on medium heat
  5. Add salmon filets to skillet and cook 2-3 minutes on each side or until cooked through
  6. Once salmon is cooked, place it on a cutting board and cut into small pieces or shred
  7. Drain potatoes and return to pot
  8. Add evaporated milk and regular milk to pot (I poured enough milk to cover the potatoes by about and inch)
  9. Then add salmon, butter, garlic powder, and salt and pepper
  10. Cook uncovered on low/medium heat for about 30 minutes, stirring frequently
  11. Serve with shredded cheese and fried onions
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You can pair this delicious stew with some bacon sandwiches and cozy up next your honey and enjoy the crisp fall air! I hope you enjoy my recipe or maybe your own creation inspired by this one. See you again soon!

Malorie

We’ve got Egg Problems

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While homesteading can be a fun and rewarding experience, it like many other things comes with its challenges. Our most recent challenge (or should I say, mystery) is our chickens have ALL stopped laying eggs. With 10 chickens you would think we would get at least one egg a day! We are currently on our last dozen of eggs and I’m dreading paying $5, much less anything, for more eggs. My husband and I have been scratching our heads and hemming and hawing, trying to understand what could possible be happening. After ruling out a few theories we believe we have finally come to a conclusion. Unfortunately, it’s not a solution.

Our first guess as to why we weren’t getting any eggs was that something else might be getting to eggs first. We have already had issues with snakes and rats eating our eggs. The only difference this time is there is no evidence of any eggs ever being laid. The rats would normally try to eat the egg right out of the nesting box, leaving shell pieces and raw egg behind. The snake would typically leave some eggs behind and we found it was actually living inside the coop. This lead us to our next thought. Maybe they aren’t laying in their nesting boxes anymore. Several times we have found eggs hiding in the tall grass. We have ruled that one out by searching high and low with no luck. Unless the Easter Bunny is hoarding them.

Another possibility we thought, might be inadequate nutrition. Don’t worry, we aren’t neglecting or mistreating our chickens. We had recently decided to cut back on their grain feed to encourage them to forage for bugs and munch on plants. The space we have provided them is flush with weeds, wild flowers, and other plants. After much research, we found that pasture raised chickens are healthier and produce better, heartier eggs. It is possible that with our recent cutback it might have thrown them off. The only issue with this conclusion is we increased their grain to try to rule that. Obviously we haven’t seen any change.

Our last thought was that molting and a decrease in daylight may be the reason for our lack of eggs. Fall definitely came early this year and we started seeing more and more feathers on the ground. We thought for a while that the rooster and the male guinea might be picking on the girls, but we never saw any marks or blood on the chickens. A cold front came in about the same time we noticed we weren’t getting any eggs. There was rain for several days and very little sunlight. When chickens molt they are not able to lay eggs at the same time. Their bodies are restoring their plumage (feathers) and rejuvenating their reproductive systems. After the molting period is over the chickens should lay more productively. Unfortunately for us, the molting period lasts several weeks. I guess now it’s time to ask around for fresh eggs!

One thing I love about the homesteading life, is the opportunity to learn something new just outside your door. Between the chickens, goats, and the baby, we are constantly problem solving, trying to maintain a more simple and healthy lifestyle. I appreciate you taking the time to learn with us and I hope to see you again soon!

Malorie

Annabelle’s Birthday Bash!

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Howdy friends! Now that the confetti has settled, we are finally getting back into the swing of things. The party was an absolute success. For those of you who don’t know, we just celebrated our daughter’s first birthday. I have been slowly prepping for a few months now, shopping around at thrift stores and garage sales, thumbing through Pinterest, glittering, gluing, and spray painting. Needless to say I enjoyed the distraction. You know… from important things like laundry, vacuuming, and other house duties (gag). It was all worth it to gather good friends and family and watch my little one dig into her first cake. I thought in celebration I could give you a little peek inside the party and give you a few tips along the way!

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Theme

I can’t take all the credit for the planning of this party. A friend of mine has a daughter who’s birthday is the same week as Annabelle’s, so we decided to plan a joint party. After much deliberation we chose to go with a vintage theme using lace, teals, silver, and pink. We wanted the party to be dainty, simple, and girly of course! Our goal was to make the party the perfect setup for pictures, especially since she won’t ever remember it!

Tip: When choosing your party theme, you might consider something based on items you have already. Or find a piece that inspires you and work around that!

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Decorations

I spend a lot of time at thrift stores. Like, at least once a week. Most of the time I’m just browsing for good deals and interesting pieces, but the party allowed me to actually focus! I looked for lace, cake stands, candle holders, and any pretty knick knacks that could be repainted or revamped. I didn’t spend a lot of time thinking about where everything would go or how I would use it. I knew that I would be inspired along the way (or the day before the party). The most I spent on one item was $10! Most of my items were under $4. Even though I spent months finding decorations, I saved a lot of money and I was able to enjoy myself in the process. My last stop for necessities was Hobby Lobby and Walmart for plates, streamers, cups, and balloons.

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One of my favorite pieces we created with inspiration for the party, but also keep as a forever piece in our home was the beverage stand. It was a lot of fun to make. It all started on a weekly trip to Goodwill when I came across a nice wood changing table for $5. I couldn’t think of a use for it right then, but I just couldn’t pass up that good of a deal! I took it home and searched “Repurposed Changing Table” on Pinterest and came across the beverage stand. I spray painted it white and had a friend with that has a saw mill cut wood slats to line the shelves with. I tried a new technique that a friend recommended in order to make the new wood look aged. I used a steel wool and vinegar mixture. I soaked fine grade steel wool in white vinegar for 2 days and then brushed the liquid over the lightly sanded wood pieces. Slowly (a day later), but surely the color started changing giving it the perfect aged look! I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out, thanks to friends and the hubby we were able to finish it before the party!

Tip: When decorating, try to focus on one room or area. If you spread everything out it might look like you only have a few decorations here and there. If you put all in one room, it will look like you spent a lot more time and effort in your planning (even if you really only spent a week).

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Food

Food was one thing I wanted to keep simple for the party. We scheduled it for after lunch time, so we provided light snacks and lots of sweets of course. We made ham and cheese sliders, cucumber squares, and fruit and veggie trays. For drinks I went with pink lemonade (because it’s girly) and sweet tea.

Tip: Choose things that you can prep the night before or that will take less than 15 minutes to prep and cook the day of. There’s no shame in opening a bag and throwing it in a bowl. It’s not a rehearsal dinner 🙂

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All in all, I just wanted everyone (myself included) to have fun and enjoy each other’s company. Planning a party for a one year old can be as easy or as hard as you want it to be. You can plan every little detail, but we all know things can change. Just keep in mind who the party is for. It shouldn’t be about the joy you get from successfully pulling off 3 month planned party. It should be about the joy in your baby’s eyes and the loved ones you are surrounded by. The rest is just a bonus. Thanks again for reading. See you next week!

Malorie

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5 Things They Can’t Teach You In Parenting School

Parenting

I’m sure that everyone is somewhat blindsided when they become parents. You can prepare yourself as much as possible with all the new gadgets and take 10 prep classes, but NOTHING prepares you to be a parent. When people ask you if you’re ready to have kids, I think the honest reply to that is “Is anyone really ready to have kids?” To this day I am amazed at how naive and unsuspecting I was when I was pregnant with Annabelle. I thought we would be able to travel all the time and maintain our very social lifestyle. Uh, wrong. I guess I just expected her to sit quietly and go with the flow! Things are definitely getting easier and we are beginning to get out more and more every week, but still! Here are just a handful of things I found most surprising about becoming a parent.

  1. THE LACK OF SLEEP: I remember being told a hundred times to get as much sleep as possible before the baby came. I guess I just never understood exactly WHY you weren’t sleeping when the baby was around. I’m sure I missed that in my prenatal research, lol. What I didn’t realize is that you are feeding these little bundles of joy every few hours in the beginning. That’s night AND day. Babies fall asleep quickly and I on the other hand would spend most of that time tossing and turning and falling asleep in just enough time for the baby to wake up 15 minutes later. Another thing, newborns are loud sleepers. Annabelle would grunt ALL NIGHT LONG. We tried keeping her in our bedroom but quickly realized I needed her far, far away so I wasn’t waking up to every little noise. I have to say that now I know the true meaning of being tired. I’m still tired.
  2. POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION IS REAL AND ITS UGLY: I didn’t do much research on this pre-baby so I had no idea what to expect. Most women go through a few days of baby blues and tears that come from nowhere. Unfortunately I didn’t luck out in that department. It all started to hit me the day we got home from the hospital, and it lasted for weeks. I can honestly say I have never been so sad in my entire life. The regret and pain I felt in those first months are unforgettable. The clouds have cleared and the sun is out now, but in that time I was positive I would never be happy again. For those of you that are expecting, I urge you do some research on this! It doesn’t hurt to be informed.
  3. NEWBORNS DON’T NEED MUCH: I was in such a rush to get everything I thought a baby needed ahead of time. Little did I know, babies that small don’t require a whole lot! Here are the basics: diapers, bottles and formula if your not breastfeeding, wipes, a crib, maybe a swing, clothes, a swaddle, a rock n play, and baby soap and shampoo. There may be a few additions like pacifiers and bottle warmers, but thats all just a matter of preference. Looking back, I wish I hadn’t gotten all bent out of shape making sure I had EVERYTHING a baby could possibly need for day one.
  4. BABIES ARE A MYSTERY: Just when you think you have everything right and things are running smoothly, it all comes crashing down. Then you are left with the ever changing challenge of figuring out how to fix it! Nap time for instance, one day you can just nurse them and lay them down and the next they refuse to sleep unless they have been rocked. Then all of a sudden they want to be rocked for 20 minutes and when you lay them down they wake up screaming. So then it’s back to just nursing and laying them down. It’s all very confusing. Then there’s the sleep regressions (they start sleeping less). It seems as though there is a sleep regression as soon as you finally get used to the other sleep regression schedule. I’m not sure if it’s a real thing or if they just tell you that to make you feel better. Although it’s a good excuse, it doesn’t aid in the process of coping with it. It seems no matter how hard I try or how good I think I am at it, things change everyday. I try to embrace it and take it in stride. Sometimes I fail at that too.
  5. THE LOVE: I had no idea how it felt to love something so much. I love my husband and I love my family, but this love is different. It’s the kind that makes your heart hurt all the time. It’s a love that can’t be fully expressed with any amount or combination of words. And on top of how much you love them, they love you back just because. Not because your nice or pretty or because you buy them things and spent days upon days preparing for their arrival. They love you because you’re you. Just as simple as that. Of course their love will change and look different over the years, but in those first months it’s pure and simple love.

All in all, becoming a parent is a true honor. It’s full of tears and exhaustion, but even more with joy and laughter. Not a day goes by without me saying, “I can’t believe she’s mine. I just can’t believe it”. And in those moments when I wake up in the morning to a little voice or cry and I frustratingly think to myself, “It”s way to early!”, it takes but that one second when I open the door to her room and see her smiling face for all of those negative feelings to just fade away.

Thanks again everyone for reading! I will be taking next week off from blogging for Annabelle’s birthday, but I will be back the next week. Now go enjoy those little ones if you have ‘em!

Malorie

Let’s Get Crafty: Refinishing a Highchair

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Every so often I go through a season of wanting to refinish and repurpose things. Sometimes this season lasts a few months and sometimes I start with a project that is just difficult enough that I throw my crafting towel in early. So far this has been a good season! It all started with the early preparations for Annabelle’s first birthday. Although I’m still not quite sure where the last year has gone, I have to say I’m excited about this celebration! After scouring Pinterest for all sorts of ideas for the occasion, I landed on a highchair. While we already have a fully functional highchair that we use on a day-to-day basis, it is one of those plastic ones that straps to a chair. Don’t get me wrong! I love it and I’m not a highchair snob, I just wanted something a little more appealing to the eye for pictures. So then began my search for a reasonably priced, fixer upper highchair. As with most specific items I am searching for, I was able to find one on craigslist. It was a great deal, but definitely needed some TLC. Here is how I started!

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I first searched Pinterest for inspiration for exactly how I wanted this piece to be refinished. When looking at a used piece of furniture, I always try to take into account the quality. Is it real wood? Is it unique? Is it better to be restored to it’s original state? With this piece of furniture I decided to leave some of it original quirks, but enhance it’s features just a bit. I chose to go with paint AND stain. I wanted to paint the body of the chair and stain the tray as to leave some of the nicks and scrapes that were left. Sometimes it’s best to embrace the history!

There are many ways to go about painting furniture. You could use regular latex paint, chalk paint (I like to make my own), spray paint, and the list goes on. My personal preference for chairs, smaller pieces, and furniture with spindles, is to use spray paint. So I did! I chose a dark stain for the tray because it matches the wood that we have throughout our house.

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I started by spray painting the chair. I have found that it is better to spend a little more money on a better paint like the Krylon paint and primer. If you buy the cheaper stuff you end up needing more cans to completely cover your surface and it can cost you more in the end. I did about 3 coats and then checked for touch up areas. If you paint thinner layers you may need more coats, but I’m too impatient, lol.

While waiting for the paint to dry I sanded down my tray with a fine grit sand paper. I tried to remove as much of the shiny coating as I could, but I was ok with it not being perfect. After sanding it, I gave it a good wipe down with a clean cloth. I gave my stain can a good shake and used an old cut up T-shirt to rub the stain on the tray. I did one coat and then waited about an hour to see if I liked the shade. I decided to add one more coat of stain just for safe measure.

I let the chair and the tray dry for about 24 hours and then I applied my top coat or sealer. I spent some time and did some research on the best sealer option for a highchair. After all, she would be eating off it. I came across this product called Bulls Eye Shellac by Zinsser. It is non-toxic and All-Natural.  It was just a bonus that I could spray it on instead of using a brush. Gotta love that!

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After everything was dry I reassembled all of the tray pieces and voila! My beautiful, revamped highchair was complete! The entire process took about 2 working hours and about 2 days if you include dry time. I couldn’t be happier with the finished product. I love bringing some life back into beautiful, old pieces.

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What was your latest repurpose or refinish project? How did it turn out? I would love to hear from you! See you again next week!

Malorie

7 Things This Stay At Homesteader Mom Can’t Live Without

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Let’s face it, your needs change depending on where you are, in life and geographically. I am becoming more familiar with my needs daily. I went from independent city-wife to country living mama in a matter of 4 weeks! Yes, that’s accurate. It was quite the transition. Although there are many things that I used and needed in the city that are the same as those I need now, I need them for very different reasons. There are just some things that this mama cannot live without.

1. Internet

Yes, for the purpose of this blog I definitely need the internet, but that’s not the reason it’s on my list! I have to admit that I feel the need to be connected with world with just the click of a button. FaceBook helps me feel closer to my friends and family that are so far away and it allows me to share all of the wonderful memories I am making with our first baby! Amazon Prime is another internet tool that has helped me tremendously. Being new parents and living 45 minutes away from most large retail stores made signing up for Prime an easy decision. I order diapers, supplements, dog food, tools, food, you name it. And I love that I can order last minute too!

2. Chickens

We all know how I feel about chickens. I think everyone should have some. Needless to say, no matter where we are we will ALWAYS have chickens. I love having my own fresh eggs daily and sharing them with my neighbors and friends. And it’s one less thing I have to remember to pick up at the store! Now we just need goats milk 🙂

3. Antenna

I mentioned in a previous post that we don’t have cable, but we DO have an antenna. It is capable of picking up channels within a 50 mile radius and according to our map we should be getting around 30 channels. The only downfall about being surrounded by trees is that your antenna reception isn’t always that great. But that’s ok! All I need is one news channel. Most days I can get one of the two to come in clearly, but some days I’m lucky and can get both! Regardless, I think its important to stay connected to the world. Even if it’s all about the crazy politics.

4. Riding Mower

This a new addition to the homestead, but its worth its weight in gold! After spending hours upon hours push mowing the 2 acres surrounding our house (a job mostly performed by my husband) we realized how precious our weekends were to us. We would much rather spend our time walking the trail, garage sailing, playing with the baby, or just relaxing. Now mowing the lawn is a task we almost fight over!

5. Boots

Boots are a must have for every homesteader. Within in 5 minutes of being here you will run into mud puddles, tall grass and weeds, animal “droppings”, and lots and lots of fire ants. For safety reasons as well as sheer practicality purposes, boots are a must. It’s nice to have a pair of shoes that you can enjoy dirtying up! At least I enjoy it 🙂

6. Bug Repellent

Bug, bugs, EVERYWHERE! Summer time can be an absolute beating if you aren’t armed with a good bug repellent. We have experimented with several different remedies for the variety of bugs we have around here. Some critters in particular that drive me crazy are the chiggers! I hate those little boogers. We have found that using powdered sulfur around our ankles and pants helps tremendously. Just a little tip passed down from my Great Grandpa!

7. Friends and Family

This is one thing that I ABSOLUTELY could not live without. We have been so fortunate to have so many of our family and friends come out to visit. Being a stay at homesteader mom can get lonely at times. While I wouldn’t trade this experience for the world, I do wish I could share more of these moments with the people closest to me. Thankfully I get calls and texts daily from my loved ones. To be honest, we have had more months with visitors since we’ve lived here than we have had without!

I went from shopping malls and trendy clothes to boots and bug spray. It has been quite a journey and a big adjustment, but well worth it! Thanks again for reading! Don’t forget to subscribe and follow my blog! See you next week!

Malorie

The Homestead Barn Cat


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Our most recent addition to the Harrod Homestead is our Barn Cat. We had been looking around for a free kitten for months, but had given up on the idea after many people requested it be an indoor cat. Being honest people, we just couldn’t do it! Well one lucky day we happened across a free stray kitten. While at the dump, out from under a large metal dumpster appears D.C. (aka Dumpster Cat). She was sweet and friendly from the moment we picked her up! We knew she would be the perfect addition to our growing homestead.

WHY DID WE WANT A BARN CAT?

Living out in the country, lots of livestock feed, and dark warm sheds are just a few of the factors that contribute to rodent problems around these parts. It is especially frustrating when the rats make it to your eggs before you do. Mice can also get into your feed which can leave dangerous bacteria that can make your animals sick. We don’t need that vet bill! Barn cats are great insect hunters as well. D.C. spends most of her day hunting grasshoppers, beetles, and other creepy crawlies. What’s great about that is she eats so many bugs during the day that she doesn’t need much food at night!

HOW TO CHOOSE A BARN CAT

If you are thinking about getting a barn cat and you have the time and patience to care for a kitten, it is best to start with a younger cat as opposed to a full grown cat. If you start with an older cat, they may be more inclined to run away and move on. We chose to go with a kitten for  this reason. The important thing to consider when getting your barn cat as a kitten, is you will need to give it extra attention and provide a warm and safe place for it to live until it can fend for itself. Giving your kitten a lot of attention and human contact in the beginning is important so that it doesn’t become ferrel and afraid of humans (sometimes even mean). It is also suggested that you find a kitten that is used to being outdoors. They could be a stray like ours or kittens from another outdoor cat. Cats that have been raised outdoors carry important instincts that you may not find in an indoor cat.

HOW TO INTRODUCE YOUR BARN CAT

We chose to keep our kitten locked in our shed inside of a large dog crate, with a fan and a light. We would let her out to run around and play during the day and keep her in at night and while we couldn’t supervise her. We slowly introduced her to the dogs and other animals on the property. Just a note… don’t hold the cat while you are introducing them. It can end badly for you (oops). If you have dogs that are difficult to control, this process might take a while longer for you. Luckily, our dogs are well trained and very tolerant. We also made it a point to bring the cat with us morning and night when we fed our animals out in the barn. We wanted her to feel comfortable with roaming around with them during the day. After all, thats where the rodents are! We also only feed her once a day. She eats plenty of bugs during the day that so we don’t worry about her being hungry. We keep her food and water in a covered area that only she can access, but we have also shown her where she can find the other animal’s water.

WHAT YOUR BARN CAT WILL REQUIRE

  • Food
  • Water
  • Shelter
  • Yearly vaccinations and vet visits
  • Spay or neutering
  • Collars are optional
  • We go without one due to strangling risks, although they make break away collars, we didn’t want to risk replacing them constantly

Whether you are a cat lover or a dog lover (or maybe both), a barn cat can make a wonderful addition to your homestead. What’s one more to mouth feed? Thanks again everyone for reading, and I look forward to seeing you next week!

Malorie

Fun on the Homestead: A Visitor’s Paradise

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One of the biggest changes I have noticed after moving from city life to homesteading life is the attractions and activities we have to offer our friends and family that come to visit. Let me first mention that the main reason for everyone’s visits this year is to see my sweet baby girl, BUT the farm life is a bonus. In the city we worried about how to entertain. Where should we take them to eat? What big attractions should we visit? Should we go shopping or see a movie? Here it’s much easier. We come up with our own creative fun. After all, it literally takes less than 10 minutes to drive from one end of the town to the other. Here are some of the fun, simple activities we have for our guests here at the Harrod Homestead.

Animals

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The animals are the easiest form of entertainment here. We are already feeding them everyday so we might as well have a little fun with them! It can be as simple as collecting eggs and throwing scraps to the chickens and watching them chase each other around for one piece of crust. One of my favorite activities is taking the goats, dogs, cat (yes our cat), and baby for a long walk around the trail. There’s nothing cuter than seeing a parade of animals trot through the woods. Some of our visitors have never been around farm animals and some grew up with them, but its been years since they last stayed on a farm. One of the things I enjoy the most is hearing stories from years ago of how their parents raised animals and grew their own food.

Golf Carts and Lawn Mowers

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As soon as we found this property we invested in a golf cart so we could explore our property as often as we’d like, sweat and chigger free! We can take our guests through the woods, into the fields, and even for some off roading adventures. The kids enjoy driving the cart as well! We also recently purchased a riding lawnmower (a much needed investment). Not only is it a productive task, but for those that haven’t ever driven one, it can be an enjoyable activity as well!

Critters and Creatures

Although I am not a fan of any unwelcome critters creeping into my house, I love listening to them late at night while sitting on our porch or even spotting animals on our property. As soon as dusk hits in the spring and summer you can hear the thousands of frogs and toads start singing simultaneously. You can hear the coyotes calling to one another in the distance. And if you are really quiet while taking a night ride around the trail, you can hear the crunching of the leaves of some mysterious creature hiding behind the trees. No matter how many times I see a Little Blue Heron or a Black Racer snake, I am still fascinated by their existence. Being so close to nature all the time is one of the most beautiful things about living in the country. Our guests come to get away from all the hustle and bustle, but WE LIVE HERE. It still takes my breath away ever day.

Other Entertainment

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Here are a some other activities we have come up with:

  • Fishing
  • Feeding the goldfish
  • Shooting the BB gun. Most recently we shot at an old watermelon
  • Firecrackers. We also recently tried to blow up the watermelon… it failed
  • Build a fire and roast marshmallows
  • Canning!
  • Board games
  • Gardening
  • Pick blackberries (obviously this is a seasonal one)
  • Play chase with the goats
  • Egg toss. Although we try not to waste too many eggs, its ok to have a little fun with them sometimes
  • Catch a chicken. This is a tricky one
  • Corn Hole

 

One thing I love about living out here is you find your creative side. You are forced to look at things differently. While you could hop in the car and drive 45 minutes to the nearest mall, you’d much rather stay here and enjoy God’s beautiful creation. Thanks again for reading! Come back again next week!

Malorie