Monday, June 30, 2008

We have another new addition.....


We were scouring Craigslist this weekend, for both Idaho and Montana, and came across a lucky find. Meet Manny, he is a Clydesdale/Quarterhorse cross and is approximately 20 yrs. old. He will be a great addition to our crew because he is dead-broke and will provide many hours of patience as we figure out what we are doing. He has been ridden in rodeos, parades, trails, and arena. He will raise his feet for the farrier with the snap of your fingers. He currently lives in Montana and will be moving to Idaho within the next few weeks. Stay tuned for updated info on Manny. Thank you Seth and Mary for entrusting us with your baby boy....we will do him well.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Look what was born on the homestead this morning......

Tucker, our 2 year old black lab was barking and wanted Daddy to come look at what he found and low and behold it was a new fawn. Just born, she couldn't even stand yet. How cool is that? We are so blessed. We had seen the momma deer in the horse pasture helping herself to the left-over grain in the bucket that we had left out for her.....guess she really needed that extra nutrition.

Tucker has a girlfriend. Dean, a good friend and colleague of mine, gave us a 9 month old female black lab. Her name is Molly. This is a photograph of Christopher and Molly. It is amazing the difference between genders of the same breed. Tucker is a very rambunctious, play all the time dog and Molly is much calmer and very affectionate.

You don't have to look far to see the many blessings that we have on our homestead....from the natural beauty of the mountains around us, to the funny animals, to breath-taking wildlife that live amongst us. Count your blessings one by one everyday and it will make your day all that sweeter.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Lessons learned.....

Today Terry and I went to meet Chester. Chester is a 13 year old registered paint and is owned by my co-worker Jean. Jean is a very experienced horse-person and offered to teach us some "ground manners". We had a wonderful couple hour lesson where we learned proper techniques for haltering, leading, lunging, saddeling, and reining. Chester was a really good sport and accomodated us novices. It is so nice to have friends that are like-minded and so willing to share their expertise . We also got to tour Jean's beautiful home that she and her husband have labored long and hard over. What a treat. Jean even sent us home with a lunge line, a hay feeder and a promise of a saddle stand. I love sharing things with others in need and it is so awesome when the favor is returned. Thank you to Jean for your extraordinary kindness and knowledge.

The kids have become fish addicts. They fish most every afternoon and after dinner at the creek down the road. We are all loving the fish. This is Christopher and Katlyn with their latest catch!!!
More trout for dinner. Maybe we will get enough to can this weekend. Terry found me a double propane outdoor cook-top. It provides 60,000 btu for each burner. I think that will be perfect to can on. I will be setting up an outdoor canning kitchen so that I won't be heating up the house. I have pics soon, hopefully.
Share your knowledge and abundance with will be blessed in the process.

Monday, June 23, 2008

So many thoughts.....

We didn't end up with enough fish to try our hand at canning, but we had a wondeter rful addition to our Sunday night meal. We had salmon croquets, macaroni and cheese, pinto beans, and fruit salad. Everyone really enjoyed the fish and Christopher headed down the road on the 4-wheeler earlier this evening with Michael and Emily in tow to see if they could catch some more.

Today was a work day around the homestead. Last night after we got home from the lake, we made a weekly goal work-list. Terry and the kiddos got quite a few items checked off today. The biggest accomplishment was moving our tractor (in-process restoration - waiting for a part) off the trailer and onto the ground. This allowed for us to utilize the tractor to take down the road to the Kootenai River where we pump water into a 300 gallon holding tank. We utilize the water to water the yards, veggies, and flower garden. We belong to a rural water coop and the last few summers there have been issues with the water, both in pressure and rationing. So last year we made the investment in the tank, a pump to pump water into the holding tank and another pump that pumps water from the tank through the hose and/or sprinkler. This has sure been nice because previously our water bill in the summer would be so, so, so, expensive and still everything wasn't watered as much as we would have liked. So now, it only takes two minutes to fill the holding tank and with very little labor we can water all we want for free.

We are trying to be very productive, individually and as a family, throughout the week and play more on the weekends. It will only be a short time and all the teenagers will be out of the house. This message is really sent home when we think about our eldest daughter getting married this summer. It seems like only yesterday that Woo was having a fit over having to eat a sloppy-joe.... so many memories to remember and so many more to look forward to.

Lindsey and Andres' - Winter 2008

Saturday, June 21, 2008

It was a GOOD day!!

This is the fish that were caught today at Brush Lake. The lake is about 10 minutes from our house and surrounded by the mountians and has a beautiful osprey nest. It was less fish that hoped for, but the scenery and family fun more than made up for it. Terry taught Christopher had to clean the fish and Christopher cleaned them all. They won't make it into the canner because Christopher has asked that I cook them tomorrow. That will be awesome to have fresh fish. Hopefully we will fish tomorrow and even better luck!! I hope we will fish at Robinson Lake which is also pretty close nestled in the mountains. Robinson is home to many bald eagles. I will try and capture some pictures to share.

This is some of our eggs that we gathered today. We have 24 hens, four of which are broody, so 20 layers. We got 14 eggs today. Not too bad but we always hope for all the girls to lay. We also have some chicks that we aren't sure yet whether they are pullets or cockrels. We of course want only girls.....we'll just have to wait and see. We already have four roosters.

We also have two new chicks. Buttercup and Reeses. We got these two chicks (mixed breed) from our neighbor, Terri. We had the pleasure of touring her home hatchery last week. Katlyn and Emily couldn't leave these two girls behind. Terri also offered us many more chicks because we gave them some posts that we removed from our pasture. Christopher is preparing a new set-up so that we can break home more chicks. Christopher is also trying his own hand at hatching. He got 4 duck eggs from another neighbor and has them under a broody hen. We can't wait to see if they hatch.....stay tuned.

It is never a boring day around here, always some new adventure and that is on purpose. One of my goals for this year was to live more purposely. Making decisions on purpose with merit and positive consequences. It is a great lesson for us and for our kiddos.

Big Day here on the Homestead....

This is the breakfast spread to celebrate Terry's 40th birthday. Farm-fresh eggs, bacon, bisquits and home-made triple berry jam and peach jam from last summer's bounty. PawPaw (Terry's Dad) came over and enjoyed the meal with us.

Terry, PawPaw, and the boys are outside preparing the boat for fishing. We had a small Livingston boat that we bought second-hand a few years ago and have just outgrown. So we sold it and are getting a new (to us) boat. This boat was purchased locally from a family friend, Heidi. This boat was her father's. It is a 1959. Not only do I LOVE purchasing things that have been previously loved by someone else, I especially love purchasing things that have character and a story.
Hopefully later on, I can post again with pics of lots of fish. Terry is hoping to be able to can some fish. This will be a new experience for us. We were able to catch Discovery channel's Alaska Experiment. One family canned salmon that they caught in the river. This has really inspired Terry to try his own hand at catching "free" food and preserving it for us. I'll let you know how it goes.....both the catching and the canning. If anyone has any helpful comments, post away......always looking to learn from each other. I'm sure Kathie over at Two Frog Home will be able to spread some of her canning expertise. Until then,

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Disaster has hit the farm......


Meet Classy. Classy is my dairy goat that provides milk for our family; HOWEVER, she is in the jailhouse now. She devoured my lovely little garden. Yes, all the cauliflower that already had nice white heads tempting me with promises of crunchy goodness. The pickling cucumbers, the lettuce, the cabbage, the spinach......lets just say it was a very sad day.
In Idaho, we have very short growning seasons. This is really a hard blow but didn't break our homesteading spirit. So, I headed out after work and picked up the few remains of vegetable starts available in our little community of 2500 people.
I put in two new tomato plants, nice little grape ones. I put in 6 new cauliflower stars and believe it or not there are little white buttons adorning the top of each. I also added two eggplants. The eggplants will hopefully have enough time to mature. If I able to make it to another nursery this weekend, hopefully I can add some other starts. I still need to replant lettuce and spinach seed.
I'll keep you guys posted on the status of the garden. I have faith that all will work out and provide many nutritious meals for our family. Good luck with your own gardening efforts. Look forward to hearing both of your success and failures.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Slowly learning to all get along....

This has been a week of lessons. We have been trying to get to know the horses and have them get to know us. The horses have had training, probably much more than we. So we have been reading alot and putting our new knowledge to the test. This is Marti riding Tanner with Daddy leading them around the pasture. Both horses came with some tack and right now we are riding utilizing bare-back saddles.

We tried to purchase both a western and english saddle but they didn't fit. It seems buying a saddle might be harder than buying a pair of jeans for my teenage son, Christopher. Anywho, I digress. Neither fit the horses. Both were too narrow in the gullet area.

This is a picture of Katlyn, aka the Pioneer Princess, giving Lena a pedicure (cleaning out her hoofs). Please don't miss her perfect pasture footwear - pink suede furry slippers. Always the diva.

So many lessons to learn around the homestead....we are always open to any helpful hints. Feel free to post in the comments section. Looking forward to a new day and a new lesson....

Long-term Storage - what's that???

Only a few short months ago, I hadn't a clue was the phrase long-term storage REALLY meant. We have a large family and have traditionally several food items on hand but come to find out long-term storage means ideally having enough food on hand to feed your family for a year. I don't necessarily have such visions of grandeur of having a year's food supply on hand - but with the cost of gas, I have really made significant improvements to my home food storage. It helps to have most ingredients on hand to cook most meals or goodies from scratch. That was another big part of our family changes, was to cook more meals from scratch using as healthy and wholesome ingredients that could be had. Processed foods are mostly a thing of the past for us. So, I decided I would share a few tips on how to build up your own food storage.

  • Know the rock-bottom prices of the food items that you use the most. So when things are on sale, you will be able to know if it is a good price or not.

  • Get weekly circulars from your grocery store and buy ONLY things that are on SALE. Plan your weekly menus around what's on sale.

  • Wal-mart will match advertised prices, but I decided months ago to stop shopping at Wal-mart. What if everyone shopped at Wal-mart and the small local grocery store went out of business? Our Wal-mart is 40 miles away and I want my local groceries to thrive so that if and when gas is 8.00/gal., I can pick up groceries in town, when I am there for work.

  • If something is at a rock-bottom price, stock up. There are certain items that go on certain times of the year. For example, around Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, almost all of the baking items are on SALE.....stock-up. At the before Easter sale, I stocked up on both brown sugar and powdered sugar for .68 cents a bag. If you know your rock-bottom prices, you know that is a GREAT price. I bought six bags of each. Memorial Day and 4th of July is a great time for out-door BBQ fixings.

  • LOSS-LEADER. That means an item that is marked down so so so cheap just to get you in the door. I make it my stock-up extravaganza. I recently got flash-frozen chicken breasts in the 4 lb. bag for 3.96. I bought 6 bags. Recently I got pork-shoulder roast for .69 a pound and put them up in the freezer.

  • Shop your grocery outlets or Amish grocery stores. They have items significantly below grocery store sale prices and is a great time to buy case-goods. I just bought 40, 32oz. Gatorade for $24.00 (.60 cents a piece).

  • Buy in Bulk. You can either buy from a food coop, wholesale club (Costco), or from the whole food grocery. Recently I was buying dehydrated red bell pepper by the ounce and they were getting a little spendy. I spoke with the store owner and ordered a large bag for 17.00. GREAT price and with our short growing season, I could never grow enough red bell peppers to even fill a small ziplock sandwich bag.

  • Finally, now is a good time to start gardening. We put in a nice garden last year and we were able to can both veggies and fruit from our fruit trees. Canning has some start-up costs the first year, but once you have the jars and canner, you are set for the next time. is also a Homesteader's best friend. I was just able to pick-up an upright freezer for $25.oo. It was a great find and I was able to fill up with meat, will help me not have to stand on my head, digging out a roast from the bottom of the chest freezer. Also, I just picked up a 22 QT. Presto Canner (in the box) for $35.00.

Hope these hints help to stock your pantry and feed your family well. If I missed a tip or you have a good one to share, please post in the comments. We can all learn from each other.....

Monday, June 9, 2008

Life on the Homestead

Gertie and Emily (the youngest teenager - 13 years) enjoying some of the pretty weather this weekend. This was taken as we were introducing the cows to the horses. There is always some new excitement around here, especially with 5 teenagers and lots of "farm animals" (chickens, 2 dairy goats, 2 calves, and 2 horses). We pick up our newest addition this weekend. Stay tuned for the "Name the PIG contest. Cool prize to the winner, so get ready to post your comments".

I am really getting excited to start harvesting some food from the garden. This is a pickling cucumber that will be picked this week. I still have a couple of raised beds still to be planted. The growing season here is Idaho is so short, so we are giving thought to a greenhouse but I imagine there will be more pressing issues (housing for animals) before winter. The fruit trees seem to have lots of fruit, so we are planning on preserving all that we can. We are on the hunt for a used orchard ladder.

We've made a list of projects for this summer. We will be building a deck all along the back of the house. We also plan to side and put metal roofing on the new chicken coop that we built this spring. I will post pictures as we tackle these summer projects. Send me your "to do" lists in the comments section and we can encourage each other. Til then.....

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Our TWO newest additions.....

We were so blessed this weekend to add not one but TWO, four legged animals. Terry has been dreaming of getting a horse for a long time. This was further encouraged by our best family-friends, The Lobby's, who are total horse people. We have learned so much from them and look forward to learning so much more.

Please meet Lena. Lena was purchased from one of my co-workers, Sharman. Thanks so much for being willing to share your joy by letting us purchase your baby-girl. Lena is very affectionate and loves treats and attention. She is a ten year old registered quarterhorse with nice training in western and trail-riding.

Next is Lena's HOT sexy companion. Please meet Tanner, aka Tanny Man, whose registered name is Tristan. He is technically a paint because of the markings on his belly (underneath and not visible in this picture) but I would call him a chestnut gelded quarterhorse. We bought him locally and feel so blessed to have him join our family farm. He is a ten year old registered paint, professionally trained in both english and western.

We had quite the adventure loading and unloading the horses in the trailer and moving them to our home. Thank goodness they both lived not too far from us because let's just say the least amount of time in the trailer, the better.

We spent part of the day today, grooming the horses, leading them around, feeding lots of treats and introducing them to the calves. They weren't thrilled about having to share their grass with those scrawny cows......but they finally made friends. Emily took the first turn riding Lena, bare-back, while I lead her around the pasture. I think we will give Tanny Man a little more time to get used to us, or is it the other way around???? Either hurry, no rush, so that everyone can feel safe and confident.

The rest of the day we worked on cleaning up around the homestead. Pulling grass and weeds and weed-eating under the electric fence so it won't let the animals go wild. We cleaned out from under the apricot trees and reclaimed some additional land from wild roses. The gardens, both flower and vegetable, are coming along nicely. We should harvest lettuce, onion, and herbs this week. Keep posted for tempting photos and recipes.....until then

Monday, June 2, 2008

Let me introduce well all of us, really

My name is Kelli and this is my blog. By day my professional job is a therapist but I dream of dirt under my nails, jelly in the canner, and chickens riding on the handle-bars of my all seriousness, we just attended our town's Memorial Day parade and for the second year in a row, the highlight of the parade for me was this little girl riding her pink Huffy bike with a chicken in tow on the handle-bars....wish I had a pic because I'm sensing some real doubt....but it's true.

I am married to a wonderful man named Terry or Terdy affectionately called. Besides being a full-time Dad, he is a professional furniture maker. Check out his site, and send him an email and let him hear from you. Terry is one of those guys that can fix, build, restore, or Southern engineer anthing.....quite handy to have around the homestead. He is currently finishing up a BIG furniture order that he will deliver to Texas towards the end of the month. He has also been busy working on our new land......Wormwood Estates.....I mentioned it yesterday. It can really no longer be accurately called Wormwood Estates because we mowed all the old gray growth down and then have sprayed the field to kill the wormwood. It sounds like we might have a heck of a time gettin' rid of that stuff. Anyway, it looks significantly better. We have had so many neighbors and strangers stop and comment on the improvements we've made so far. That feels awesome when someone notices your hard-work.

We are parents to six children, five of whom are teenagers and still live at home. The eldest is Lindsey and she is a deaf educator in an elementary school in Tyler, Texas. She has recently become engaged and we are so happy to welcome Andreas into our family. Then there are the terrible teens...not really, well at least not all the time. Christopher (16), Martina (16), Michael (15), Katlyn (14), and Emily (13). Pictures to follow....sometime, when somebody emails me and tells me how to fix my pics so that they end up in the body of the blog in proximity to what I am talking about versus at the beginningof the narrative.....somebody, please help. Until next time, I'll leave you hanging wondering how haggard Terry and I must look to have one marrying in a couple of months and five teens........

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Welcome !!

Well I am finally realizing my dream. I've been dreaming, hoping, and wishing I had a blog but never really set my mind to actually doing it until today. We, as a family, have been doing some great things and I wanted to share them with you all.

We've basically gotten the garden in. We are hoping for a large garden with lots of fresh food for our family as well as enough to can for the winter. Speakin' of canning, I purchased a 22 qt. Presto canner off Craigslist this weekend.....thank you Denise for saving it for me until I could get over to Coeur d'Alene. That should see lots of use this summer. I've been scouring the local thrift-stores and picking up canning jars. We are planning on bread and butter pickles, pickled beets, beans, corn relish, jams and jellies of all varities. My best from last year was some lavender infused apricot jam. Both the lavender and the apricots were from the yard. Pretty amazing what we can do with things from our very own yard.

We added to our homestead in December of last year. We purchased the 15 acres contiguous to our home. It was a really big deal for our family. We had been wanting the land for years but had been told repeatedly that it would never be for sale because it was "family land". But low and behold we returned home after a weekend away to see a real-estate sign up and boy were we ever surprised and shocked.....after much offering and counter-offering it became ours. It was a BIG mess of wormwood, to which we effectionately named Wormwood Estates.

With the addition of more land, came the addition of more animals. We purchased a small portable chicken coop with 5 chickens from Jenna from Sandpoint. She was willing to part with them only because she was re-locating clear across the country to Vermont. Check out her blog, Anywho, we fell in love with chicken keeping and soon added alot more birds because not only are the eggs wonderful and flavorful but watching their cute personalities and antics is also habit forming. So now our flock contains Welsummers, Cochins, Jersey Giants, Rhode Island Reds, and a HOT sexy rooster named Sam. He is an Americauna. The portrait at the beginning of the post is of of my first hens. Thanks Jenna, she is a love. We also added more animals but I'll save some of the introductions for next time.....