Recent Doings ~

Yesterday morning, while Skye and I were finishing up milking, Heather came and told us that there was an “orange snake” on the manure pile. We hurried to go look. There it was, a copperhead – a venomous sort of snake that is not uncommon here in the Ozarks. Not the type of critter you want slithering around in your calf pasture, or by your milking shed.

So, Heather went to the house to inform Dad of the intruder.

And brought back the shotgun for Skye.

Ready, aim… BANG!

The snake is dead (-: Skye blew its head off.

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Mommy’s garden

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Father and son (-:

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Rainbow over our orchard.

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Exploring not long after the flood

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And playing in the creek

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Ruby’s birthday cake. Pearl made it and Mom decorated it.

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I know it’s not officially summertime yet, but when it is 80 or 90 degrees and high humidity… / -;

This is how cattle in Missouri cool down (although the pond might be warm anyway).

~Lily

Floods and Busy Bees

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We had 500 year flooding (again!) this Spring. This is after it had receded a bit, but the river was covering the road and low water crossing ahead.

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The flooding pushed that picnic table into the bridge )-: The water was much higher before this picture was taken.

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Assembling frames for our bee boxes…

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We went to a ‘Historic Skills Day’ at a state park. Lots of interesting vendors; woodcarvers, basket weavers, soap making, seamstresses, paper making, even a handmade gun manufacturer.

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The potter at his wheel.

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Inside the old mill building (I posted some pictures of the outside in February).

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Setting up our beehives

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The much anticipated honeybee packages finally arrived! (-:

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Skye and I installed the two colonies, one in each beehive.

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Spring Days

Scrunched! Ruby and Ezra in the (single passenger) stroller.

 

 

Workin’ with Mama

 

 

Our friend,  Mrs. E. at a Passover Dinner that they hosted.

 

Cheese curds.

 

Pearl, feeding her new Brown Swiss heifer.

 

Heather, caring for her heifer.

 

Ezra and I.

 

 

Mmm, green grass.

 

Putting the tent away.

~Skye

End-of-Winter Thoughts

By Lily

I was having trouble coming up with a name for this post, so the title is courtesy of Skye (-:

Well, it seems like Spring may be just around the corner here in Missouri! The weather is rather crazy here; this Winter we got very little snow )-: (maybe two inches the entire season!) but we did have an ice storm in January- raining, freezing, ice all over. Just a few days ago, it was nice and warm… so warm that the frogs came out and sang in the evenings! Then it got cold; it was 18 degrees Fahrenheit when I checked the temperature in the morning (no snow though). Today it is supposed to be warm again – like 70 F. No wonder there are thunderstorms and tornadoes here!

I will say that I am looking forward to Springtime. The cold weather helps me to be thankful for green grass, warm days, fresh produce from the garden, and lots of other things. On the other hand, Summer – especially the hot, humid days that may be described as swelteringly stifling – help me to be thankful for ice, cold, and the days that one has to bundle up to be comfortable outside… and air conditioning! Our first Summer in Missouri, we learned the hard way that in places where high humidity is a problem, and you don’t use the AC (or a dehumidifier), you may get mold growing all over your house!

Isn’t it wonderful that God made different seasons, so that it isn’t Winter (or Summer!) all the time here?

” He has made everything beautiful in its time…” Ecclesiastes 3:11

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Some of the little bit of snow we had this winter

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Currently, our farm animals include: three cows (one in milk, the other two heifers), two ponies, a flock of laying hens and a rooster, some guinea fowl, turkeys, geese, and cats. We are blessed!

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This is the milking shelter/animal shed we built. Daddy even put electricity out there for us! Some of the pieces were given to us by neighbors, from a nativity scene- hence, the camels painted on (-:

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The ice storm we had in January covered everything in ice. It was beautiful, although it did make travel hazardous!

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Daddy recently got internet for us, which is really nice. It made uploading these pictures way easier than it had been before. When Ruby saw him digging the trench, she said something like “Whatcha makin’ Dadda? Ken I help?” (-:

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Ezra is such a happy baby boy! He’s not so little anymore, though.

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Expedition in the Ozarks

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Ezra the explorer! (-:

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A neat old mill building

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The porch was slanted for some reason, probably to let water drain off.

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The mill stones

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The mill was powered by water, when it was in use many years ago.

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A Year in Pictures

Happy New Year!

2016 was a full year. Life comes with its challenges and joys, and we are thankful for the LORD’s mercy and faithfulness, for His provision and protection!

I wanted to share some things that we’ve been up to this past year. It is said that “a picture is worth a thousand words”, so here are some photos –

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I think this was our only good snow accumulation last season. As you can see, it was already melting!

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Using the microscope. We were trying to stain some of our slides so that we could see the microscopic details better.

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Laurel and Ruby helping make bread (-:

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Daddy and Ruby playing dollhouse (-:

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One of the many big projects this year was remodeling the basement. Pearl is painting the door for Mom’s office in this photo.

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In March, we got two bottle heifers to raise as future dairy cows. They were so tiny! We had a bit of a rough time at first, but they are doing well now… they are much bigger than they were 10 months ago!

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The corn and squash patch at the beginning of the year.

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Throughout the year, we’ve had a lot of fencing to do – a high fence put around the orchard/chicken pasture, a woven wire fence around our back pasture, electric fencing in the big pasture, repairs, etc.

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We also painted and put up wallpaper in the girls’ bedroom, to make it brighter (-:

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Rose with a little box turtle.

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This catalpa tree in our yard looks (and smells) lovely when it is in full bloom!

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Celebrating Ruby’s birthday with ice cream cones

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We had our field hayed this Summer. Dad’s subaru was our haywagon when it came time to get the hay and stack it! (-:

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Pearl and Laurel’s fort. In the background you can see our haystack.

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The garden grew (and so did the weeds). On the 4th of July weekend, Dad and Mom surprised us by getting two ponies, which we named Liberty, and Verity. They are in the background of this photo.

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We finally ripped down the old shed, except for this corner, which is still in good shape.

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In our search for a good milk cow, we went down to Arkansas (our first time in AR!). We made it a 4th of July family road trip, and visited friends on our way back. Thankfully, we didn’t have to haul a cow all the way from AR. God provided a good milk cow much closer to us!

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The corn grew very well… by the end of the season it got to 14 feet high!

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The milk cow God provided for us. Chloe, with her calf.

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Happy birthday Grandma!

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Home dairying has been so worthwhile for us, though not without challenges. Besides having the fresh milk, we’ve been able to make yogurt, butter and cheese! In this picture we’re stretching mozzarella cheese.

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It was wonderful to have dear friends from Washington visit in August!

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Catching tadpoles and playing in a creek –

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Some sweet ladies in our neighborhood threw a baby shower for Mom~

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We harvested our own corn (over 10 lbs. of kernels)

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We were blessed to have lots of dear friends visit in September and October

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No, this cute little guy Rose is holding isn’t Ezra. He wasn’t born yet…

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But, the next day he was born! Here, Laurel is cutting the cord.

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Papa J. and Grandma K. came and visited, and we enjoyed going to this park. The fall colors were pretty.

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Mom and us children went to the capitol and toured the museum there. That was neat. In one of the exhibits,  I saw an old photo of rice being harvested. Rice can grow in Missouri! (-:

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The Ten Commandments outside the Capitol building

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Inside the Capitol building

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Starting on our milking shelter/animal shed

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Skye got to vote in her first election this year!

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Thanksgiving dinner 2016. Truly, we have much to be thankful for!

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Mom’s birthday! We made her a cranberry cheesecake.

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Mom and the girls made several batches of cookies to give away to neighbors and relatives.

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Our family – Ezra had not been born when this picture was taken.

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“The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.”

~Isaiah 40:8~

Making Homemade Yogurt

Yogurt is a healthful cultured dairy product that you can make at home fairly easily. Grass fed, farm fresh milk is the best variety to use (easy for us (-: ), but store-bought pasteurized milk will do.

Although you can make raw yogurt, this recipe is for a more usual yogurt made from milk that is heated to kill potential microbial competitors, and to change the protein – which makes for a firmer yogurt.

To inoculate your milk, you can use commercial plain yogurt (make sure it has live and active cultures in it, and no added sugar), homemade yogurt from a previous batch, or even a packaged culture. We usually use our yogurt, and then ‘refresh’ every now and then with a store-bought yogurt.

In the fermentation process, some of the lactose (milk sugar) in the milk is ‘eaten’ by the bacteria, producing lactic acid – which helps preserve the product, and also makes it easier for lactose-intolerant people to digest.Yogurt provides live probiotics, protein, calcium, important vitamins and other nutrients, as well.

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The Supplies:

1 gallon Milk

1 1/2 c. Yogurt (for culture; fresher is better. Don’t use something that is contaminated or old)

6 qt+ Cooking pot

Food thermometer

A large pot or water-bath canner that your cooking pot fits in

Stirring utensils

Clean jars (5 quarts)

Funnel

2-3 clean bath towels

*Tip: make sure that your cooking utensils and jars are clean. You can sterilize them if you want to. The less contamination there is, the longer you will be able to go without needing to refresh your culture.

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  1. Heat the milk gently in a large cooking pot, stirring often, until it reaches 170-180 F.

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2. When the above temperature is achieved, remove the pan from the heat and place in a large pot, water-bath canner, or sink filled with cold water.

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3. Stirring occasionally, cool the milk down to 110-116 F.

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4. Your milk is ready to be inoculated! Measure the yogurt. It is helpful to have your jars and funnel (if you have one) ready.

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5. Pour in your yogurt, mixing well to break up clumps.

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6. Ladle or pour the inoculated milk into your clean jars. A funnel is very helpful, but not absolutely necessary (-:

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7. Put the lids on the jars. Now you need to keep the milk warm and cozy, so that the bacteria can work. Place a few towels in a large pot and set the jars inside. Then tuck the towels over the jars.

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8. Leave the pot in an out-of-the-way location (an oven that is not in use is a good place). It is better not to jiggle or move the yogurt while it is culturing. Let the yogurt set quietly for about 6 hours, then unwrap the towels so that the yogurt can cool for an hour or two before you put it in the fridge. Now you can check how thick the yogurt is, by tipping the jar back and forth.

Chill your homemade yogurt in the refrigerator for a few hours before eating it (unless you can’t wait to sample it 🙂 Enjoy!

Remember to save some as a culture for the next batch, if you plan to make more (-: