Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Meet Goggles! Daddy to Dinner

We purchased Goggles at the beginning of January to replace our old buck, also Goggles.

Old Goggles was over four years old and getting lazy.  He didn't want to do the job he was supposed to do anymore (if you know what I mean).

Our son Cohen named the first buck when we got him back in March of 2010, at that time Cohen was 3.  Since we were getting rid of old Goggles we told Cohen he could name the new rabbit.

Cohen came with me to the rabbit farm and picked out this nice red New Zealand buck.

When asked what he wanted to name it, he said "Goggles". I said, "Really, that was the old bucks name."  He said, "Yes, Goggles."

We tried to sway his decision by throwing out names like 007, James Bond or Red Barren and even Cheeto as I believe this was the rabbits fathers name.  He wouldn't budge!

Meet Goggles (#2)!

I wonder if we will have red babies???

We should know in about a month!


Friday, February 14, 2014

The Simple Hand Made Valentine

After rummaging through our card basket I come up with two partial packages of Valentine's Day cards.  I opened the boxes and counted them, 16.  My son needed 26 for his class.  Being the cheap  frugal mom that I am, I was able to buy a piece of each red and pink paper for pocket change.  The other option was to go spend $3 on a full pack at Wal-Mart.  

So this is what I spent my Wednesday night doing just before bed.  I think they turned out cute!  They were so simple.  I just traced a heart shaped cookie cutter (outside and inside for two different sizes).  Then cut them out and glued them together.  

I also made tic-tac-toe boards and cut out purple and pink felt hearts for the class to play with.  Four sets in all.

Feeling crafty this week!

Did you make any hand made Valentines?


Sunday, February 9, 2014

Farm Folk Food 2/10/14

Last week my menu title was Marvelous Menu Monday.  This week, Farm Folk Food.
I like the sound of the triple consonants running together.  Which do you think sounds better???

Do you want to see what I'm cooking up for dinner this week?

Here it is!

Smoked Hamburgers
Salad with Home Made Ranch Dressing

Chicken Wild Rice Soup
Home Made Bread

Wednesday Night Connect
(Family Bible Study, Dinner Included, I will donate $5)

Beef & Mushroom Meatloaf
Baked Potatoes

Haley's Choice
Eat Out
(*see note below)

Kielbasa Sausages
Fried Eggs
Chicken Flavored Rice from Scratch

Home made Macaroni and Cheese
Salad with Home Made Ranch Dressing
(We have to get this Ranch used up)

*One of my New Years goals is not spending so much money on fast food.  Skipping this convenience is not only better for our wallets, but more importantly, our health.  To help get the kids our board, the second Friday of each month they get to choose where we eat as a family.  They drew numbers at the beginning of January to establish the order.  Last month we visited our local pizza shop when it was Cohen's choice.    

Grocery List
Gallon Organic Milk
Half Gallon Fat Free Milk
Quart Organic Soy Chocolate Milk (Cohen=restricted dairy)
Bag of Organic Potatoes
Organic Mushrooms
Organic Salad Greens
4 oz. White American Cheese
Bag Organic Chocolate Chips
Juice Box (another field trip)
Organic Wild Rice
Organic Sour Cream
Organic Apples & Bananas
Organic Oatmeal
Kielbasa Sausage (x2)
Organic Canola Oil (x2)

So how did my Kombucha turn out???

Great!  I don't know why I didn't start doing this sooner!!  So easy!!!

I think I will have to start making a gallon a week instead of a half gallon.  I also need to play with different flavors for it.  

Any ideas???


Saturday, February 8, 2014

Snowy Days

Well, two weeks ago I did a post on Sunny Days.  

Now I'm doing one about Snowy Days.

That's what it's like here in the Pacific Northwest, the weather is always changing.  

This storm is only suppose to hang around for a few days.  I'm going to enjoy it though, because really, we don't get that much snow on an annual basis.  

It can be an inconvenience to some, but enjoy this gift that God has giving us.  It is so beautiful!!!

Snuggling up with some hot chocolate!

Friday, February 7, 2014

Two Reasons I Raise Rabbits

OK.  So I'm apologizing for the pictures in advance.  

I know, gross to look at, but I needed to prove how little waste rabbit has compared to his friend chicken.  

Don't get me wrong, I raise chicken fryers too (that will be another post).

The dear rabbit has a higher meat to bone ratio when compared to his friend the chicken (see proof below).  More bang for your buck (yes, I know I said buck, as in a buck rabbit).  Not only does a rabbit carcass contain more meat, but also more protein and less fat too.  Don't believe me check here

Waste from a roasted rabbit

I will not lie my friend.  Before we started this adventure of raising rabbits for meat, we purchased a rabbit fryer from our neighbor.  I was so excited to try something new!  When I cooked it, it smelled so delicious with all of that garlicky gravy.  Put the food on the table, fixed my plate, said grace, took a deep breath and I bit into that large, lovely rabbit thigh.

Chew, chew, chew, chew, chew......Swallow.
It didn't taste bad. Not to far off from rabbits friend the chicken.

I couldn't get the image of a cute little bunny out of my head.  
Mentally, I was having a hard time, so eating my meal took a while.

I wasn't ready to give up.  

Knowing how similar the taste was to chicken, we purchased two does and a buck and started breeding rabbits.  Another reason I raise rabbits, you don't have to wait for good weather and sunshine to raise them.  They can provide your family with meat All. Year. Long!  We successfully butchered and I prepared another rabbit meal.  This time on the smoker!

Waste from a roasted chicken

Chew, chew, chew.....Swallow.
It was a little easier this time around.  And oh my goodness, SO DELICIOUS!

Mentally, it was easier.  I still thought about the cute little bunny, but just a little bit.

Finally, we invited my in-laws over for dinner and we prepared smoked rabbit again (one of our favorite ways to prepare it).  They also had raised rabbits in the past when my husband was very young.  So young in fact, he can only recall eating it once.

I had an audience.  No way was I going to be the last one done.  I was over thinking about the cute little bunny and have never looked back.

The End!

Note:  We butcher our rabbits between the ages of 12-15 weeks.  Our chicken fryers are butchered between 8-9 weeks of age.  I just wait until there size is pleasing to my eye.


P.S. If you have any questions about raising rabbits, I would be more than happy to answer them.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Marvelous Menu Monday & an Experiment

Many of you out there make menus.  I am one of those such people.  I have to plan ahead or I am totally lost in the kitchen at meal times fumbling around trying to figure out what to make.  Only to realize that when I would come up with an idea, I wouldn't have all of the ingredients.

The really cool thing about this weeks grocery list is very short.  I went through the fridge, freezers and pantry and came up with this.

Rabbit Noodle Soup
Homemade Bread

Spaghetti with Ground Sausage in the Sauce
Maple Glazed Carrots

Wednesday Night Connect
(Family Bible Study at Church, Dinner Included, I will donate $5)

Beef Stroganoff with Mushrooms
Mashed Potatoes
Salad with Homemade Ranch Dressing

Taco Soup
Corn Muffins

Smoked Country Style Ribs with BBQ Sauce
Acorn Squash
Butter and Herb Flavored Noodles

Orange Marmalade Glazed BBQ Chicken
Sauteed Green Beans with Bacon Crumbles
Homemade Bread

Grocery List for the week
Gallon of Organic Milk
Organic Bananas
Organic Apples
Organic Canola Oil (because I ran out)
Bag of Organic Potatoes
Organic Juice or Milk Box (for field trip sack lunch)

My Fred Meyer receipt totaled $14.63.  Excellent for  a weeks worth of food for 5.  They are no longer carrying the organic canola oil I like, I will get by with organic olive oil this week.

I LOVE it when my list looks like this.  In order to have such a short list we had to make some hefty meat purchases at various points throughout the year.  I plan to place a deposit for a pig later this month so we can continue to have yummy ribs and sausage spaghetti.  One day though, we hope to be raising our own beef and maybe pork.

So what is my experiment your ask?  My mother-in-law came down for my son's birthday and brought me a scoby.  I have my first batch of kombucha brewing!!!  I'm so excited to let you know how it turned out!


Monday, February 3, 2014

Reflections of January, a Birthday & Delicious Honey

A look back at January reveals that not much was accomplished off of my 2014 goals list.

For the Farm....

We did purchase a new buck rabbit (even though not on the list) and got rid of the old one as he got to old and lazy to do the job that needed doing.  I will do an introduction on Goggles soon.

For personal goals...

We or I stopped for fast food (six different times, shamefully about $40 worth)
I also purchased Starbucks (6 times, this is noted as an improvement, about $23)
I went on a date with my husband
(I want to keep track of the amount spent on fast food for personal and budget reasons)

$63.  There is room for improvement!

Our son Chase celebrated his 12th birthday on January 31.
Chase is our middle child.  He is kind, funny and compassionate.  We are very proud of the young man he is becoming.  The day before his birthday we got to attend the student of the month assembly at school.  The character trait in which he received an award for was citizenship.

Chase got new motorcycle gear for his birthday.  He has out grown what was purchased for him when he was six and has been borrowing his sisters gear for over a year now.  He loves to ride his dirt bike around our property.

We had 18 people in our small home to celebrate.  7  more were unable to come due to illness or another engagement.  With the exception of my mother-in-law, these family members all live within 7 miles.  We are blessed to have so much family near by.

Last week I also purchased 4 quarts of delicious honey.  We use about a quart a month.  One of our future homestead goals will be to start our own hives, but until then I drive to the next town over and support a local farmer who has hives.


Saturday, January 25, 2014

Sunny Days

What a beautiful Saturday we got to enjoy!  After a breakfast of home made cinnamon rolls the morning was spent outdoors.  Firewood on the deck was restocked.  Branches were collected and hauled to the burn pile and the smaller ones were put in the burn barrel.  We had a pretty good storm a few weeks ago that sure made a mess of things.  More leaves were raked and taken to the compost pile.

The crazy thing is, the entire week has been like this.  I however, have not been able to get out much since this little guy has been sick.  He started running a fever (102 F) on the 17th with a cough and stuffy nose (it may have been the flu, who knows?).  Today he is feeling better and this is the first day he hasn't fallen asleep on the couch at some point in the day.  I can't believe how much homework a second grader has when missing 4 days of school (Monday was observed for MLK ).

Unfortunately we had a memorial service to attend in the afternoon.  I am thankful for a productive morning!

What did you accomplish over the weekend?

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Oh, Warts!

My youngest son Cohen has developed a wart on his foot.  We noticed it in early fall.  I treated it with Compound W to the point it was gone (so I thought).  However, it was not and now it is larger than when I started treating it in the beginning.

My older son had the same issue last year but I took him to the doctor and $270 later the wart soon disappeared.  The doctor applied some type of very strong acid, so it was charged as a surgical procedure.

So before I go through this expense again (not to mention the strong and painful acid), I wanted to ask all of you out in the blogging world, how have you successfully and naturally treated warts?

Thanks in advance for you replies!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Christmas Cards. Where'd They All Go?

2013 appears to have had a huge decline in the Christmas cards in which we received.  How do I know this?  I save our Christmas cards from the prior year to make sure that those who have sent us one, receive one. We received 2/3 of the amount that we received in 2012.  E-greetings and posts to facebook are So. Not. Personal.  When you fill out a card you at least think about the recipient.  I love the ones with personal messages to us inside.

I have to admit that I don't send a card EVERY year (usually because I procrastinated to long), but most years.  As a society we are getting less personable all the time.  I understand it is faster and cheaper to just post Merry Christmas or email a Christmas greeting.  I don't get the same feeling from reading them as I do when I tear open the envelope to a card.  I wait eagerly for the mail to arrive daily in December because I'm hoping the mailbox holds more than bills & junk mail.  Christ's birth is important!  I hope all of you that read this continue to bless others with a personal Christmas greeting that can physically be held in ones hand.

Do you prefer a card or and electronic greeting?


Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Applesauce. In January?

Please don't think that I have a secret and know how to get apples to ripen in January.  I don't.  What I did do was peel and core my apples a few months ago and stuck them in the freezer.  Summer and Fall are really busy here.  Our daughter plays traveling softball.  We are usually at ball games most weekends June through October.  

The apples came out of the freezer yesterday to help make room for the 1/4 of beef I'm picking up from the butcher today.  My brother raises beef out on my grandparents farm.  Back to the apples.... They went in the crock pot on low yesterday morning and were ready by late afternoon for a little sugar and cinnamon and in the canner they went.

Yesterday was a very busy day!

Made cookies for lunch boxes.
There were more, but the lunch box monsters took several of them.

Defrosted and organized freezer for beef.
Look how organized it is!  And room for the beef too!

Made bread.
It didn't rise as much as it usually does, but still tastes good.

Cracked two crabs and made crab pot pies.
First time I have made these, Yum!

Boiled rabbit organs for the dog.  When I have these on hand, we don't use as much dog food.  He's a small dog.
So glad I can utilize these without eating them myself.

And here is my beef I picked up this morning.
So excited to have this in the freezer!  Can't wait to start cooking!

What fruits or veggies do you freeze and process in winter?


Monday, January 13, 2014

My 2014 Goals

I decided to actually write down my goals for the year.  I don't think I have ever put them in writing.  At least not a list like this.  Especially in a place where so many could view them.  This will definitely keep me more accountable.  Starting a blog was one of my goals (check, done).

Household Goals:
Finish bathroom remodels
(new fans, trim pieces, tub faucets and cabinet and counter top in master)
Make curtains for the four largest windows in the house
Put trim throughout dinning room and living room
Fresh paint in Haley's room
Re-roof the deck
Move my mother-in-law from Washington, to our property

The green counter top just doesn't fit in with the grey and maroon. 
Farm Goals:
Successfully raise 40 chicken Fryers
Build a new home for rabbits
Add 6 Turkeys to our meat production
Start a worm Farm
Add two more raised beds to the backyard
Build potato boxes

I want to extend the left side of our shed to make a new home for the rabbits.
Personal Goals:
Stop eating fast food (even when the kids are whining because they are hungry)
Make my own chai tea concentrate (so Starbucks & Tazo don't get as much of our money)
Go on a date with my husband once a month

My morning beverage, pure bliss.

Well, I think this is a good start (maybe to much, Yikes!).  I will have to check back from time to time to see how we are doing.

What goals did you make for yourself or your family?


Saturday, January 11, 2014

Citrus Butternut Squash Soup

I accidentally made this delicious soup.  You see, my grandmother asked me to prepare a vegetable dish for Thanksgiving dinner.  I opened my November copy of Better Homes and Gardens and after flipping through the pages in the food section, decided on Maple Glazed Squash with Pancetta (I couldn't find pancetta in the grocery store so I used prosciutto, I'm sure bacon would work also).

After I completed all the steps to the recipe and it cooked in my stock pot for nearly 20 minutes, I spooned the squash onto the serving platter.  I observed there was a significant amount of liquid in the bottom of my pot.  Me, not wanting to toss any food out, poured it into a soup mug.  A few days later, I heated it up on the stove top and ate it.  It tasted delicious!

What you need:
3 oz. pancetta, prosciutto or bacon chopped
2 T. butter
3 lbs. butternut squash peeled, seeded and chopped
1/2 c water
3 to 4 T maple syrup
1/2 t salt
1/2 c unpeeled clementines, seeded and cut into 1/2 inch wedges
*(The second time it made this, I peeled 2 oranges and tossed them in pot)
1/2 cup orange juice

 What you do (if you want a side dish):
Cook choice of meat in pan until crisp and remove with slotted spoon reserving drippings.
Add butter to pan.
Add squash to pan cook over medium high heat 5 minutes
Add water, maple syrup and salt
Reduce heat, simmer covered for 8 minutes
Stir in clementines and orange juice
Increase heat to medium high, cook uncovered 6 minutes
Remove from heat
Use slotted spoon to remove squash to serving dish and sprinkle with crisp meat

What you do (if you want soup):
Follow steps above except
Leave lid on pot for all steps, don't want liquid getting out
Add 1/2 to 3/4 cup extra liquid (water or orange juice)
Toss crisp meat in at the end
Mash with potato masher or run through blender to get your desired consistency

 I like this soup, my husband and daughter say it's OK, but my boys think I am trying to poison them (but they don't like squash anyway).

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Look what came in the mail!

I have only been gardening for three years now (I've had strawberry beds for a bit longer).  For the past two years when the Territorial Seed Catalogue arrives, I get so excited!  I love looking over the pages and wish I could plant a little of everything.  However, I try to only add a few items a year so I can keep up on maintenance and don't overwhelm myself or my family (lesson learned when we had to involve the lawn mower in the weeding process).  Summer is such a busy time for us.

Doesn't this cover speak summer to you?

I have already gone through and dog eared the pages in which I intend to order from.  I plan to find a place and start growing asparagus.  I need to replenish my green bean, corn and cantaloupe seeds.  I am going to add kale and I think edamame beans to the garden.  We usually place hanging baskets on our back deck.  This year I would like to try my hand at starting the petunias myself to save some money that I would otherwise give to a nursery.  

Do you get excited when your seed catalogue comes?

What new seeds are you going to purchase and plant this year?


P.S. Please be patient as I set up and change things on my blog.  Remember, I'm not a techie.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Welcome to Oak Springs Farm!

I have been following homesteading and farming blogs for a little over two years now.  For probably the past year I have wanted to start my own, but don't consider myself a techie person, which has held me back.  However, since I don't journal, I figured it would be a great way to record our successes or failures and also a place to record the happenings of our busy family.  So I made it one of my 2014 goals to start this blog.

Our farm name came together over a year ago when I participated in our local farmers market.  We needed to have a name to put up in our booth.  The kids and I were brain storming one day in the car and decided that since we have several oak trees out in front of our home and natural springs that pop up during the wet season, Oak Springs Farm was the perfect name.

I'm sure as time goes on you will meet the members of the family.  There are six of us in the home including the dog Max.  Currently there are twenty-two who reside in our small barn.  Six living out on pasture and two who make the back deck or hay pile there bed after scavenging the property for mice, birds, squirrels, moles, snakes, you get the picture.

We make northwest Oregon our home on a small piece of property that God has provided for us.  Actually, I have lived in this small community almost my entire life.  We spent the first five years of our marriage in another small town less than 15 miles from here, but my roots here were to deep and I came back.

Thank you for stopping by and I look forward to getting to know you.