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Showing posts from December, 2018

Project Plans for the New Year

Every January 1st Dan and I set goals for the upcoming year. In the beginning, this was because we had so much to do that we had to prioritize and choose. Now, there is still a lot to do, but our longterm project list isn't so long and overwhelming. Much of what we do are routine seasonal activities: planting, harvesting, firewood, etc. Some of it is maintenance and repair. Those kinds of things don't make it to our annual goal list. What does, are major building projects, repairs, upgrades, and other improvements that will help us toward our goal of greater self-reliance. Here's our list for 2019.

1. Carport.

The carport has been a multipurpose building since we bought the place. It's been used for my car, storage, tool shed, and Dan's workshop. Once the barn was finished, it became our firewood storage. Unfortunately, the poor thing has been on the verge of falling down for a while now; the roof is pretty much shot and the girders need fixing. So this is project nu…

Closing Out the Year with a Few Garden Shots

I said I was on a blog break. But I was in the garden yesterday with my camera and couldn't help but share a few shots.

Closing Out the Year with a Few Garden Shots
© Dec 2018 by Leighat

Merry Christmas!

"I," said the goat with eyes so bright "Under the Star of glorious light; Watched o'er His cradle all through the night." "I," said the goat with eyes so bright.

Wishing you all the Happiest of Holy Days! Merry Christmas!

I'm going to take a wee bit of a blogging break, so I'll see you next year!

Merry Christmas!© December 2018 by Leighat

Simpler Cooking & Meal Planning

I tend to not do a very good job at planning ahead for meals. I know some folks are really good at it and because of them, I know all about weekly menu planning. I know all about once-a-month cooking. I've thought these are good ideas but have never been able to work them into my reality. In fact, most of the time it's midafternoon before I figure out what to fix for dinner. Dan changed that this past summer.

Every Sunday he grills hamburgers for dinner. He stopped using charcoal briquets a long time ago, favoring cooking with hardwood instead. He has experimented with smoking the burgers and has gotten quite good at it. He uses mostly pecan (in the hickory family), but we also have apple, pear, and peach trees which impart a lovely flavor. This is truly frugal cooking.

Hamburgers cook pretty quickly, however, so he was always commenting on the lovely coal bed left glowing after the burgers were done. "Do you have anything else to throw on the grill?" he would ask. So …

Heritage Wheat Fail

Something I've been wanting to grow is heritage wheat. We've been growing our own wheat for several years now, but it's commercial seed purchased in a 50-pound bag from the feed store. By growing our own we avoid herbicide and pesticide contamination. Also, the glyphosate (round-up) that is used by commercial farmers to kill and dry the crop evenly for processing. Plus we can improve the nutrient content. But it's still modern wheat, which has been so "improved" over the past couple of decades that it's causing a lot of health problems for people. As with all things industrialized, these "improvements" designed to make the crop more profit-friendly not human-friendly. All excellent reasons to switch to a heritage type of wheat.

Several years ago I bought a packet of Egyptian wheat seed.

It grew well but I didn't realize it is actually a large-seeded sudan grass rather than a true cereal wheat. There's certainly a place for that as critter …

Our 2018 Homestead Goals: How'd We Do?

2018 will be over in just a little over two weeks! Can you believe it? It's time to take a look back over the year and see how well Dan and I accomplished the goals we set for the year. I blogged about all of these fairly recently so I won't go into detail. You can follow the links if you missed those blog posts. In a nutshell, here are our goals and how well we did.

1. Finish the barn


2. Pasture Improvement and Fencing


3. Continue working on the house


How about you? Were you able to accomplish much on your new year goals list?

Our 2018 Homestead Goals: How'd We Do?© Dec 2018  by Leigh at

Something I'm Glad I Recently Bought

Blogging this morning from the public library because our internet is down. Here's why -

After an inch of rain on Saturday, we got three inches of snow overnight. Plus, everything was coated with ice.

I dread ice worse than snow. While our northerly neighbors get snowed in under feet of snow, we get iced in by as little as a quarter inch of ice. It coats absolutely everything and makes it near impossible to drive (or walk) anywhere. It's not uncommon for tree branches to be so heavily laden with ice that they break and fall onto power lines. That can mean days or weeks without electricity.

Fortunately, we only lost power for two hours. I know some areas in the Southeast are still without, so I'm thankful we didn't have it worse. Still, it made me glad I recently bought something that has been on my winter preparedness to-get list for several years - an Ecofan.

It sits on top of the woodstove and makes its own electricity from heat differences between the top and bottom of …

House Project Phase 3: Trim, Gutters & Paint

Developing a Pasture Management Plan

This is the last part of my blog series on sustainable pastures. 
Pasture improvement was one of our 2018 homestead goals because good forage is one of the most important elements in my goats' diet. Good forage consists of grasses, legumes, and forbs or edible weeds. Forbs are herbs or other broadleaf flowering plants that add variety and nutrition to the livestock diet, as well as plant diversity to the pasture. True weeds are what I call anything that the goats won't eat! Here are some examples of true weeds I have problems with.

Grasses and clovers are shaded out beneath weeds like these and struggle to grow. Because the goats don't eat them, they tend to dominate.

Another serious problem is ground ivy.

The goats don't eat it either. It spreads vigorously and chokes out everything we want to grow. We have one paddock that we now estimate to be about 70 to 75% ground ivy. That same pasture once grew clover and orchard grass!

Another discouraging weed is horse nettle.