www.AFarmhouseFull.com

My life as a young wife to one, a mother to many and a flawed yet faithful follower of Christ.

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Tour of Our Backyard

Posted by AFarmhouseFull on September 11, 2012 at 3:30 PM Comments comments (2)

I made this video back in June and just haven't posted it yet!  Sorry!  Here is the promised video tour of our backyard.

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This Moment: 4.5.2012

Posted by AFarmhouseFull on April 6, 2012 at 6:15 AM Comments comments (1)

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

Linked to: www.SouleMama.com

 

Farm Update

Posted by AFarmhouseFull on September 21, 2011 at 6:00 PM Comments comments (0)

I have been procrastinating on posting about the farm because quite frankly other things have been on my mind.  I don’t think I actually had even SEEN the pigs in a week – thank goodness I am not in charge of feeding them!  Also, we had been taking a “wait and see” approach with the bees.  After we had added the honey super their expeditious proliferating had slowed drastically and I wasn’t sure if we were losing the hive.  At that point I decided not to worry about it and was at peace if they ended up not recuperating.  I was, however, pleasantly surprised when I opened the lid again today and found that their numbers had increased and many new larvae were almost ready to take flight!  The top honey super is still virtually untouched, but their numbers are a lot stronger now.  I am not as fearful for them.  That said, we will NOT be extracting honey from this newbie hive this year.  Although a little disappointed, it probably worked out for the best since we really don’t need to spend then money on a honey extractor when we are saving for a much bigger purchase (a tractor/loader!)


The chickens are laying and their smaller pullet eggs have been replaced by HUGE brown eggs that taste OH SO HEAVENLY!  We were pulling about 9-12 a day from them for a little while, but we have recently lost a few layers.  We are now getting between 8-10 eggs a day.  Anyone who lives in the area who would like eggs let me know; we are selling them for $3 a dozen or 2 dozen for $5.00.


“Bacon” and “Sausage” are getting nice and meaty!  I will be glad when we aren’t paying to feed them and rather they are paying to feed us!  Bacon looks near ready while Sausage is a couple of weeks behind.   They are SO playful!  Here is a video of them acting like dogs playing with an old feed bag.

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As for the dairy animal I longed for mere months ago…..well, I have decided that it is not the season of our lives to be adding it.  And I am at COMPLETE peace with it.  Actually, looking back, I would have been very regretful had I went ahead and took the plunge to get one.  This season in my life is a fleeting one and a dairy animal would be taking precious time from those babies that are growing up WAY too fast (yeah, I have said that a thousand times before……but they ARE!).  Possibly when they get a little older and are a little more independent we will reconsider, but for now we are going to stick to low maintenance animals that we can leave for a day or two without a big upheaval.  I wasn’t willing to give up my frequent trips the cabin – I am spoiled, I know!

The garden…..what garden?  Ahem.  We did get a good harvest of red and white potatoes, red and white onions, jalapenos, salad greens and carrots.  Our sweet corn failed…..miserably!  I ended up buying a large amount from a local source that we blanched and froze.  Our first crop of green beans was decent, but we never got around the second crop.  Our peas did okay, but again we didn’t get around to a second crop.  As of now the chickens have had the pleasure of scrounging the leftovers tomatoes that are not ripening in the cooler weather.   The argument arises each year (within MYSELF!) whether making and canning tomato sauce is worth the effort.  Each year I start by thinking it is and by the second large batch of grinding, boiling and canning sauce I become doubtful again.

Do you find canning large amount of sauce worth the time and effort?  If so, why or why not?

 

 

Random Recap

Posted by AFarmhouseFull on June 24, 2011 at 7:14 PM Comments comments (0)

I know, I know…..it has been a while.  When I let more than a week or pass between posts I usually am overwhelmed to start again and get a case of writers block.  The easiest way I know to catch everyone up is just an un-witty list of stuff that has been happening.  So here goes!

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  • We added the top deep super to the honey bees and while we were in there checking we noticed that they had made somewhat of a mess of the inside cover of the hive.  We had to scrape off quite a bit of comb and brood that was attached to the lid.  Because it seems the only time these bees of ours get testy is when we are messing with their babies we were a bit nervous about destroying their handiwork.  But alas, we need the hive to stay neat, tidy and manageable.  We luckily scraped all of it off without anyone getting stung!  I don’t wear gloves when I am dealing with them (gloves make me more apt to drop frames) and I DO NOT WANT to kill our precious and hardworking queen!  Everything looked well and we nestled them back into their home and shut the lid.  We will check in another week or so and see how they are doing in their new addition.

  • The pigs are doing wonderful!  Our littler pig (The Evil Dr. Pork Chops) is catching up quite nicely.  Pigs are just a joy to be around and they are super playful.  Our bigger pig (“Bacon”) likes to chew on the edge of my skirts, most assuredly my white skirt! Go figure.
  • Our garden is coming along quite nicely and we have zucchini and peas coming off and we have already harvested quite a few pounds of broccoli.  The potatoes look a little puny, but after close examination I think it has to do with the shadow cast by the large shed just to the west of the garden which shades the potatoes in the evening.  We are going to scoot the garden over a hair next year to eliminate this problem.  


  • We are getting anxious about getting eggs again.  Our gals should be laying about mid-August.  I am REALLY looking forward to it.  We ended up with 5 (white) mystery chickens (they must have messed our order up – we didn’t order any white chickens).  Out of those 5 white chickens 2 are roosters.  One may survive if it is lucky and stays somewhat friendly.  Otherwise….chicken noodle soup anyone? Speaking of eating chicken…..


  • We ate our first meat bird last week and it was SOOOOOOOO good.  I roasted it in the crockpot and it literally FELL APART!  So tender and juicy and that was even without the skin on!  We definitely will be doing another round of meat birds (possibly a different breed). 

  • With the warmer weather and longer days the kids and I have been spending MANY hours in the backyard.  “Night walks” have become quite a tradition around here in the spring/summer and fall.  We all go as a family and walk a mowed path that runs the border of our property which takes us down the hill and along the river.  It is just beautiful here and I love it so much.  That golden color the sun gives off as it is setting blankets my beautiful children and makes them just glow.  It makes me just sigh and relax even thinking about that feeling. 

  • We even have our “rural pool” up (a.k.a. the “hillbilly pool”).  You know, those pools you see in EVERYONE’S back yard, especially those who live 30 minutes from the nearest community pool.  Yep, we’ve got us some chickens, pigs and a Walmart pool; we are hicks! LOL!

 

How has summer been treating you this week?

 

 


Life and Death on a Homestead

Posted by AFarmhouseFull on May 26, 2011 at 10:16 PM Comments comments (6)

Sorry it has been so long!   We have had an eventful week.  Our meat birds were harvested last Saturday.  It was quite the family affair.  Having no one to watch the children and having a task that require both Mike and I's participation, the kiddos got a little lesson in chicken anatomy! Mike worked the "kill station" and I scalded and plucked the chickens.  Both of us worked on cleaning out the innerds and we then rinsed them and packed them in a cooler of ice water.  We finished about half the birds before lunch (we didn't start until after 10:30).  Once we had washed up and served our crew lunch we finished the remaining  5 or 6 birds.  At that point we had a much appreciated extra hand when our neighbor came down and helped with the cleaning and piecing.  All together we put away about 62 pounds of chicken.  One (monserously huge) rooster weighted in at 7.25 pounds - DRESSED!  I am assuming his live weight was about 8 or 9 pounds!  Not bad for 9 weeks.  We are planning our next batch of meat birds and we will be going with another breed that range a little better than those freakishly large Cornish Cross birds.  I am thinking we will do about 25 next round.

We also had a little more dramatic death at our farm.  One of our feeder pigs died of pneumonia.  She \ fell ill just a couple of days after arriving and we did what we could and even made a last ditch effort to save her with a round of antibiotics.  It was not enough and she died shortly after.  It was sad to see her suffer (we were there when she started to die), and gasp for air.  While this is all part of life on a living and breathing homestead; it is till solemn sometime.  I am pleased to say, though, that "Bacon" seems to be doing VERY well and her antics are very similiar to a dog!  She scratches her back on the gate of her pen, chews on sticks and runs around the pen in circles.  She is hoot to watch.  Tuesday, she will be recieving a new (and hopefully healthy) roommate. 



Chicken Whisperer

Posted by Farmhouse Family on April 27, 2011 at 10:25 PM Comments comments (3)

 

My two chicken whisperers helped me move the meat birds to the chicken tractor the other day.  Faith wanted to help carry the chickens so badly, but I assigned her “door duty”.  AJ is becoming quite the young man around here.  Along with his chicken whispering skills he started the majority of the wood stove fires for me on the chilly mornings and also kept the wood rack filled up.  He is quite the farm hand!

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Backyard Barnyard

Posted by Farmhouse Family on March 27, 2011 at 5:09 PM Comments comments (3)

 

The chickens are getting quite big already, especially the broilers.  We did have one casualty and we are down to 29 chicks now.   I think for our next crop of meat birds we are going to stay away from the hybrid variety and stick to some heritage breeds.  In particular I  found a breed while searching called a Freedom Ranger.  They are known for free ranging for a large percentage of their food, thus lowering the cost of feed and increasing the quality of their meat (because they are eating their natural diet instead of just grain all day).  

 

We picked up the hives Saturday and I am super excited about the bees this year.  The local honey farm we picked them up at sold out of packaged bees already so we will have to order them elsewhere.  Soon we should have a buzzing package to pick up from the post office! YEAH!

 

The pig pen is done!  We found some cheap hog panels on craigslist and got them at half of their sale price which makes momma a happy camper.  The hog house itself is missing only a half sheet or so of tin roof otherwise it is fully functional.

 

Our dairy dreams are starting to get sorted out in evening debates about goat vs. cow.  I am really leaning toward a cow because it’s milk is not naturally homogenized (meaning the cream will separate naturally) which lends to easier cream separation and therefore easier cheese making, whipped cream making, ice cream making and also butter making.  Also, the excess milk from the cow (they will give about 5-8 times that of a goat) can be used to supplement the pig feed and sold to friends of ours who want good hormone free raw milk. I still haven’t decided yet if we will be drinking the milk raw or pasteurized.  If you have a dairy animal and don’t pasteurize I have a few questions for you:

  1.  Do you have a goat or cow?
  2. Have you had any problems with bacteria or anything else making anyone in you family sick?
  3. Does it tase any different raw?

Chickens!

Posted by Farmhouse Family on March 19, 2011 at 10:05 AM Comments comments (2)

Our chickens finally came in Wednesday and we all piled in the van to go pick them up.  We recieved 30 chickens; 10 Cornish meat birds, 5 Black Australorps, 5 Production Reds,  5 Barred Rock, and a straight run of 5 Ameraucanas (hoping to get a beautiful Ameraucanas Cockrel!). Also the Ameraucanas pullets lay beautiful light teal/blue eggs that are gorgeous!  Afer the Cornish meat birds are slaughtered off (in about 8-10 weeks) we are going to utilize the chicken tractor for a couple of turkeys.

So for now our basement smells like a chicken coop and I am praying for the warm weather to come so they can migrate to the garage and eventually to the coop where they can free range for some tasty goodies!

We should start getting eggs around the end of July-first of August!  CAN'T WAIT!  We didn't have chickens last year, so am looking forward to being knee deep in eggs again.  Also, since we will have more than we can use we will be selling free range eggs for around $3.00 a dozen in the summer, I will let you know when!

Ameraucanas Rooster (not my photo)

 

The Countdown to Spring!

Posted by Farmhouse Family on February 25, 2011 at 4:13 PM Comments comments (0)

Spring is coming and things are starting to buzz with anticipation here at the farmhouse.  Mike and I have been busy doing all those things we put off doing last fall (remember we were busy having our 5th baby in 7 years! LOL!?).  Anyhow, now that the warm up is right around the corner (isn’t it?) we are getting everything in order for the laying chickens, meat birds, pigs and the garden.  We have even toyed with the idea of a goat for clearing some additional garden space and potentially for milk (and meat).  We’ll see on that one.  It might be shelved till next year.  We will also be getting a hive of bees this year as long as money allows for it.  Since Mike will be working on getting his business up and running (and profitable), the bees may not come to fruition this year either, but it is all in His timing, and He is good.

 

For now we have been enjoying our mud-pit-of-a-yard on the days above freezing.  It is nice to be able to be outside without gearing up in Car hart bibs and winter boots.  Mike has completed setting the posts and installing the livestock gate on the pig pen.  The chicken coop has also been cleaned out and a few repairs that need to be done have been scribbled on the short list.  I have started planning the garden and have put together a light station for starting my heirloom tomatoes, peppers, broccoli and other early starts.  Our “scrap wood pile” has been sorted, organized and cleaned in preparation for spring building.  Mike is currently (currently as in I hear hammering and circular saws right now!) working on building the pig hut from scrap material.

 

I am getting almost giddy about the size of my garden this year.  I am mixing some different gardening techniques that I have tried/read about for the last several years.  The book I most agreed with was Mini Farming (it is in my book carousel to the right).  It is a mix of bio-intensive gardening and square-foot gardening.  My plan is to create 5-6 four foot beds that are about 50-70 foot long and use them as you would a raised bed (but they won’t be raised or contained) and have grass walk paths in between them.  This allows me to space the produce more closely and still be able to reach in and easily harvest it, even the stuff in the middle of the bed.  I am planning on growing all of our garden in  1200-1600 square feet of beds, but our yield will be comparable to what you could get out of almost twice that amount of space.   I will post pictures when we start tilling it up.

 

Our woodpile is dwindling, but I do think it will last until the warm up.  I am so thrilled to announce that we heated ENTIRELY with wood this year.  Aside from the occasional weekend at the cabin (where no one was here to keep the fire burning), our woodstove provided heating for the entire house ALL THE TIME.  We were also warmer than we ever were before.  The house rarely dropped below 70!  SOOO nice to be warm, comfortable AND frugal!

 

 


2 weeks of f

Posted by AFarmhouseFull on December 30, 2008 at 8:22 PM Comments comments (0)

Christmas has come and gone - can you believe it?  I cant!  We had such a wonderful Chirstmas.  Christmas with little ones is so magical!  We all watched the Nativity story and counted down the day with bible stories on our advent chain.  Christmas eve night the kiddos all slept together on the floor of the boy's room.  All three right there in a row was so cute.  Next year Faith may be big enough to get in on the fun!  Christmas eve we had lunch with Mike's parents and did our Christmas there.  The kids got a Polaris "hot wheels" and even though it was super icey they took it for a spin for a few minutes that day.  Mike slipped and bruised his tailbone (ouch!) while chasing after the crazy drivers.  Christmas morning we always reserve for just the 6 of us here at the farmhouse.  Michael got a trike, Maddie got a leapster and some games, and A.J. got a kid's digital camera and some games for his leapster.  Faith didn't get much, although she didn't seem to mind! LOL!  Christmas brunch was at Great Grandmas and we got to hang out with the cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents.  Christmas dinner (Prime Rib - YUMYMY!) was at my parents and we opened gifts there as well.  The kids got a Wii-  although I think Mike and I are enjoying it as much as they are.  The kids decided to have a sleep over at Gama and Papas and Michael was even included!  I think this is the first time he has ever stayed over anywhere.  Mom and Dad said he went to there back door and was saying Mama? Dadda? - I think he was a little confused.  Although he didn't miss us too much, as he had a grand time.  Mike and I came home Christmas night with only one child - WOW - it has been a while since we only had ONE!  I almost forgot what one child was like!   After being used to 4 kids all within 5 years of each other one felt like a cake-walk! LOL!  For a day or two after Christmas Mike and I hung low and let the kids try out there new stuff and find a place for all the "new" and started a donate pile for some of the "old".  We now have quite a few bags of "donate" items.  It seems like if you don't take things out when you get new things a house with this many people in it can get overwhelmed.  We have learned over the years that less is more and simplifing can make a WORLD of difference. 

 

On the "farm" front, after installing the light in the hen house, we are getting an over abundance of eggs.  We have 3 dozen sitting in the fridge - $2.50 - first come!  Just email me or comment if you want a dozen or two.  Speaking of chickens, we have an injured rooster.  I think he broke his leg when it was icey.  Although he probably will recover, I think Mike is going to get rid of him anyway.  He is eating quite a bit of food and he (obviously) isn't producing any eggs. We were originally going to keep him to hatch some chicks, but I think if we want anymore hens we will just buy the chicks, already hatched, like we did last year.  He also got a bit of frostbite on the end of his wattles and his comb.  Although it is very common to have that happen and doesn't really affect them too much - the very tip of his comb and the end of his wattles are blackened.  The hens seemed to fair the weather quite well, mainly because there combs and wattles are much smaller and get better circulation because of it. 

 

Well I have published some photos on our photo page so check them out.  I will add more later.  Here is the one our Christmas scrapbook pages.  (Made in PSE6)

 

Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday!  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

God Bless,

The Farmhouse Family


About Me:


 

Hey y'all! Welcome to our family blog. We are a large, loud and Jesus loving family from the rural Midwest. I am Nicci, also know around these parts as "mom" to my brood of a half dozen and as "babe" to my handsome other half.  We live on a handful of acres and have raised chicken, pigs, bees, tomatoes and most importantly our rowdy bunch of kidlets.  We cloth diaper, homeschool, DIY, and try to eat as "homemade" as possible.  My ratio of hobbies verses free time is COMPLETELY unbalanced.  I enjoy crocheting, knitting, sewing, designing, drawing, using power tools, and anything else that involves creating. I also love to decorate and organize when time and money allow - but come on now, it is hard to make it to the bathroom without little people following 2 steps behind me and my grocery bill is comparable to a mortgage payment!  It is a busy, challenging and sometimes chaotic life managing a larger than normal family but ultimately one of God's greatest blessings that I am immensely grateful for!  In no way have I "arrived" or  "figured it all out", but I am humbled to be able to share my experience with others!

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