Saturday, January 19, 2013

Homesteading....So Much Fun!

We have been homesteading for a couple of years now. We love it. Little by little, each year, we continue to add to our homesteading. I have had a book for a while entitled "The Backyard Homestead".

The Backyard Homestead: Produce all the food you need on just a quarter acre!

I have read the whole book, two times now, and everytime I read it, I learn something new. We have always had a garden. About three years ago, we added chickens. Here recently we added two dairy goats. They are dry as of right now, but hopefully in March, one of them will kid and we can start milking. We are so excited.

Our plans are to add beef cattle to our little homestead this spring. I would like to raise and grow 100% of our food. It takes time so we will start with baby steps!

The book above has a section in it entitled Raising Pigs. Well, I don't want to raise pigs but around here, there are alot of wild hogs. A couple of weeks ago, we were able to kill and process a wild hog.

So, I got my little book down and went to the section on raising pigs, because I remembered a page about butchering. It tells you step by step on how to butcher your own hog. I figured I would give it a try.

Well, here was the outcome!

I am not sure how many pounds we ended up with but it was alot!

I learned that primal cuts are the large cuts that are often transported to butcher shops for processing and sale. There are seven primal cuts in the halved hog carcass:

Excerpt from the book:

1. The leg, which is comparable to the round in beef and produces boneless leg, ham, and ham steaks.

2. The loin, which can produce blade chops, loin chops, butterfly chops, country-style ribs, back ribs, Canadian-style bacon, loin roasts and tenderloins.

3. The side pork, which yields the bacon.

4. The spareribs, which yield both the ribs and salt pork.

5. The Boston shoulder, from which can come pork cubes, Boston roasts and shoulder rolls.

6.The picnic shoulder, which yields roasts and steaks, ground pork and sausage.

7. The jowl, which can be cured for seasoning meat or sliced like bacon.

It says that no single carcass can produce all the above cuts. We decided what we wanted to try and went for it. It was fairly easy. We were able to cut and process, one whole pork loin, boneless loin chops, two racks of ribs, 4 slabs of bacon(uncured), two Boston roasts, two small boneless leg roasts (good for BBQ), two tenderloins, about 10 lbs. of homemade sausage (not link) and roughly 18-20 lbs. of ground pork. I also had four ham hocks.

We were really happy with the outcome. I am looking forward to processing another one in the near future. I just received a sausage stuffer I ordered and will try to process some link sausage next time.

Until then.....God Bless!

Monday, January 14, 2013


For a little while now, my two oldest bugs have been learning to sew. Every time we run across material on sale or patterns on sale, we try to get a little. We have accumulated quite a bit of material. Here recently, my second to oldest bug wanted to sew an apron.

We purchased a Simplicity Sew Simple pattern from Walmart months ago and decided it was time to get it out of our pattern box and learn to sew this simple apron.

Here is how it turned out:

I really like the way this looks. It was such a fun project to do with my second to oldest bug. We really had a good time.

Here she is wearing it:

 I said in the beginning of this post that this is a clothesline apron. That's not really the name of the little apron. This is the name girls and I gave it. We are planning to use these little aprons to hold our clothespins while we are hanging our clothes out on the line. The two little pockets on the front hold the clothespins like a charm!

This is a very easy and fun project to do with your "bugs"!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013


I have been wanting to try to make Artisan bread for quite some time now. We make all kinds of bread around here on the homestead but not Artisan.

I found a super easy recipe from here and thought I would give it a try. Well guess what? It turned out great!

Here are a couple of  pictures I took of it before I give the ok to devour it! That is just what happened. I don't think it lasted more than 5 minutes.

Here is the very easy and yummy recipe.


3 cups flour (calls for all-purpose, we use freshly ground hard white wheat)
1/2 teaspoon yeast
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
Add-ins: Cranberry/white chocolate/pecan
Cranberry cinnamon
Cinnamon Raisin

1. Put first 3 ingredients in bowl and stir until incorporated.
2. If you are going to use add-ins, put them in now.
3. Add the lukewarm water.
4. Cover the bowl with saran wrap. Set aside and let rest for 8-20 hours.
5. After dough has rested, flour a surface or a bowl. Wet hands and pat into a ball-try to get as round as you can. Let it rise for an hour.
6. Meanwhile, preheat you oven to 450 degrees F.
7. Place your pot into the oven at 450 degrees for 30 minutes.
8. After the bread has risen for an hour, take your pot out of the oven and place bread in the hot pot.
9. Bake for 30 minutes. Take lid off and bake another 10-15 minutes.
10. Let cool before slicing.

This is an awesome artisan bread recipe. Try it, you will not be disappointed.

God Bless!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Wild Cherry Bark Syrup

As you know, I doctor my family using herbal remedies as much as I can before we go to doctors. I am all for going to the doctor when it is necessary but if it is something that I can cure or make better with herbs, that's the way we roll.

I have many herbal books I use on a daily basis but the one I go to the most often is Be Your Own "Doctor" by Rachel Weaver M.H.

Be Your Own Doctor.

Recently, my oldest bug came down with a nasty cold. She began with a stuffy nose and sinus pressure and then ended up with a cough. I decided to do the herbal treatment we used the last time she came down with this.

For her age and weight, she was to take 1000 mg vitamin C, 2 droppers of echinacea tincture, Garlic salve rubbed on chest and fresh garlic and 1 cup of respiratory tea (2 parts peppermint, 1 part oregano, 1/2 part echinacea, 1/2 part mullein and 1/2 part comfrey leaf), every hour when awake. I made a mullein tincture a while back, so instead of using mullein in her tea, she took 2 droppers of mullein with the echinacea tincture.

This is a real aggressive herbal treatment, and done so immediately, you will not have a really sick child.

I also found in this book how to make a Wild Cherry Cough Syrup. I just purchased Wild Cherry Bark from my favorite bulk herb store,, so I figured what better time to make this than right now!

This is one of the simplest ways to stop a cough.

Recipe from the book:

Fill a quart jar with shredded wild cherry bark. Fill it again with vodka or brandy. Do not worry about the alcohol. You will distill almost, if not all of it, when you simmer this mix with honey. Anyway - most over the counter cough syrups have at least 5-7% alcohol, nighttime syrups have 15-20% and so do most asthma medicines. This will have less. Let it set for three weeks. Then strain it in a kettle and add the same amount of honey. Heat until the honey is melted and then simmer about five minutes.
Here it is in a mason jar when it is complete and ready to use. I will store it in an amber bottle in the refrigerator to keep it fresh and good.

She is on the mend and feeling better. I really believe God give us these wonderful herbs for us to use, and everyday I realize that our Creator placed all of these wonderful things in our world for us to learn from and use for the healing of our families.

Here is a link for this wonderful book. I highly recommend it. It has been a life saver in our home. I hope if you decide to purchase and use it, it will be a blessing to you and your family like it has for mine.

God bless!

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