May 28, 2011

Ups and Downs...literally!

What a frustrating morning in the goat barn. *sigh* Skippy must have filled up on hay before we got out there to milk her because her usual excitement for her feed bin on the milking stand was non-existent.  And... I was out of ice cream cones...her favorite treat. Good thing I had some animal crackers and that she thought those were interesting enough otherwise I wouldn't have been able to get her on the stand at all.  Once on the stand, she enjoyed a cracker and then just stood there.
This was a few years ago...but I love this pic with my littlest dude in his blue boots!

Not eating a thing, which is usually what keeps her busy while I milk her.  So I went on and did my usual routine;  brushing her underbelly, washing her teats and the surrounding area with wash, drying her off, milking a bit out in the strip cup to check for irregularities.  I did all that.  I got comfy on my chair and went to work milking her. A few squirts into it she decided to get down on her front knees.  *sigh*  I kept on milking.  Apparently that was way too much work for her because she decided to lay down.  As in on. my. arm.  Luckily I got the bucket out soon enough but my arm was a little squashed. Do you realize how much a full size goat weighs?  *sigh*  So with lots of work Noah got her up for me.  Well then her belly was all messy and I didn't dare go through the washing process again for fear I might lose my arm totally (just joking...she's not *that* big) so I just milked her out and then dumped it when she was done because it was so full of specks and hair and who knows what.  It was gross.

So glad my right hand dude is out there with me.  He can muscle her when I can't.  Like when we got her out of the stand.  She decided she wanted to take a field trip.  We had left the main door open because I'm an idiot to get some fresh air so I made a mad dash to close the door to the outside and then she started moving out of the milking room to the rest of the barn where all sorts of junk is.  I guess she wanted to go pickin'.  You know, like on American Pickers where they find all sorts of expensive treasures in peoples garages full of junk?  So Noah got her back into the milking room and then pushed, shoved, muscled persuaded her to go back to the goat barn.  What a morning!

I still wouldn't trade her or my her baby, Pixie, for anything.  They are both so loving, conniving smart, and terribly cute.  I know we're all first timers in this milking game.  Hey, at least I've made some yogurt and some ice cream with it, right?  That's what I keep telling myself, anyway.  I've a little bit of something to show for my endeavors so far, right?  I had thought I'd be on to making cheese by now, but with what little milk we have I can't do that quite yet.  (She's not giving me much since Pixie is still sucking the life out of her growing like crazy!)  In another month or so I should be to where I want...about a half to a whole gallon a day. *crossing my fingers and praying like Dixie*  Right now I'm focusing on collecting all my soap making gear and getting around to making some.  Once I make a nice creamy batch I'll feel even more accomplished!  Well, that is unless that flops, too.  *wink*

May 27, 2011

Homemade All Purpose Spray

My mom is kind enough at this season in my life to clean the toilets and the sinks for me.  It's not in anyone's best interest for me to clean those right now, anyway.  I have an instant gag reflex just thinking about it!  I can handle the tub/shower, but that's about it...with a house full of kiddos the toilet can get pretty stinky.  I was training the oldest kiddos to clean them at one point but they all came down with a stomach virus so mom was convinced that it was from them cleaning the cammode so she decided they shouldn't do it.  *sigh*  They'll learn some day I suppose.  So...back to my story...since my mom comes from a generation of a chemical for all things and a pill for what ails you she's a hard one to switch over to natural products.  She's coming along, though.  She's used to my Homemade Laundry Soap (I use something like Amy's HERE) and my Homemade Dishwasher Soap.  She's even using baking soda and vinegar to clean the toilet bowl instead of the blue chemical that ends up who knows where.  Today will be the test.  This morning she asked if hubby could pick up some L*sol All Purpose cleaner spray on his way home.  I really don't like paying the price for a bottle full of chemicals I can't pronounce that (once again) end up who knows where.  I know I can get a pretty good deal with sales and coupons, but I don't think it's worth it.  I've found a few recipes and made my own concoction for an all purpose cleaner...a very inexpensive one. 

Homemade All Purpose Cleaner Spray
2 T. vinegar
1 tsp. borax
2 drops of dish soap
16 oz. very hot water

Using a funnel pour vinegar, borax, and hot water into a clean spray bottle.  Shake it up very well until the borax is dissolved.  (It will clog the sprayer nozzle if it's not.)  Add 2 drops of dish soap of choice and shake.  Use it to clean the sinks, the counters, the tub, the shower, the toilet seats, the floor, etc.

Let me know what you think!

May 24, 2011

Milk Adventures!

Yesterday I made yogurt using goat's milk using THIS recipe.  I started it in the morning and before bedtime it was ready to go in the refrigerator.  This morning it was nice and thick and ready for smoothies!  I added some strawberries, a bit of crushed ice, and 1/4 cup of sugar.  Yummy!  It was so much thicker and richer with the goat's milk than when I used store bought milk.  After the kiddos inhaled drank that I made more smoothies using a can of frozen Old Orchard Blueberry Pomagranate concentrate, 1/4 cup of sugar, and of course goat's milk yogurt.  It was very yummy!  (It was so inexpensive because when I buy the Old Orchard frozen concentrate I combine coupons with sales. Practically free!)

Today I'm making goat's milk ice cream in my Hamilton Beach 1.5-Quart Ice Cream MakerIce-Cream Machines).  It doesn't make a lot for our clan, but it is enough to put in cones which is usually how we stretch out our ice cream.  The ice cream freezer bucket part of the machine stays in the freezer so it's ready to use whenever you like. 

Here's the recipe I'm going to use today:

Easy Vanilla Ice Cream
1 c. sugar
2 tsp. lemon juice
2 c. heavy whipping cream (from the store)
1 c. milk (goat's milk is what I'll use)
1 tsp. vanilla extract

I'm also going to whip up some Old Fashioned Vanilla Ice Cream, but the ingredients have to chill in the refrigerator over night so I'll actually make it tomorrow.

Old Fashioned Vanilla Ice Cream
3/4 c. sugar
1/8 tsp. salt
1 3/4 c. whole milk (goat's milk is what I'll use)
2 large eggs, beaten (fresh from our chicken coop!)
1 1/2 c. heavy whipping cream
1 tsp. vanilla extract

In a heavy saucepan, combine sugar, salt, and milk.  Cook over medium heat stirring occasionally until mixture is steaming.  Reduce heat to low.

In medium bowl, slightly beat eggs.  Slowly whisk half of the hot mixture into the eggs and pour back into saucepan.  Cook over medium-low heat until slightly thick, about 3 minutes.  Remove from heat and refrigerate until chilled or overnight.

When ready to freeze, stir in heavy cream and vanilla into the chilled custard mixture.  Start ice cream maker and pour mixture through hole in lid.  Freeze until desired consistency or the unit stops. (This ice cream machine automatically stops when it's done!)

- - - -

We have an old-fashioned type larger ice cream maker, but the motor kind of fizzled out on us last week when we had friends over.  So I had to put batches of it in the Hamilton Beach one to finish the process.  It was very hot and humid that day so it was kind of like a milk shake instead of ice cream.  Ah was lots of fun, anyway!

*Photo disclaimer:  It was really hot, I was really tired, and my BFF decided that it'd be fun to capture the moment on camera. So here ya go...

Have you tried making home made ice cream lately?  If not, give it a try!  It's fun, tasty and nice to know what is in it!  I can pronounce everything on my ingredient list!  Give it a try!

May 20, 2011

Got Milk?!

We do!  Woo hoo!  Since I've been waiting on my back-ordered milking supplies (which makes milking more sanitary) to arrive I've been milking Skippy into an ice cream bucket, straining it with an old reusable coffee filter and freezing it for soap making since Pixie was born.  Tonight I had all my ducks in a row and was able to milk Skippy for our eating pleasure!

Now, I know what you're thinking...2 cups of milk isn't much, but when you consider that I'm sharing her with Pixie who almost exclusively nurses on mama, 2 cups is pretty good.  I hope in a month or so to get at least a quart or more per milking (twice a day).  I'll either make ice cream or yogurt with the milk.  Haven't decided yet.  I'd like to get to making cheese, but I have to get my cheese making supplies in order to do so.

I love these goat girlies!

May 17, 2011

Red, White, and Blueberry Pizza

This yummy summer treat from Queen of the Castle: 52 weeks of encouragement for the uninspired, domestically challenged or just plain tired homemaker is perfect for Memorial Day or the Fourth of July.  

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour an eighteen-inch pizza pan.  With floured hands, smush  18-oz. package refrigerated sugar cookie dough evenly onto bottom of pan.  Bake fourteen to sixteen minutes, until lightly browned.  Cool.  With electric mixer, beat: 1/2 cup whipping cream, to form soft peaks.

Fold in: 8 oz. low-fat vanilla yogurt, to blend.  If making ahead, cover and refrigerate at this point.  Before serving, spread whipped cream mixture evenly over cooled cookie crust.  Arrange over top:
1 pint basket (12 oz.) strawberries, stemmed and halved
1 cup blueberries

Cut into twelve wedges and serve immediately.  Enjoy!

May 10, 2011

Pixie Pix

Pixie is now two weeks old and I'm so pleased to say that she is doing very well.  She nurses on mama very well and is growing so much!  She loves to jump and run around.  She is so loving.  When we're out in the goat pen/barn she always begs for cuddles and scratches.  She's adorable!  Skippy, her mama, is doing well at keeping an eye on her and loving on her.   Here are a few pictures I took last night.

Isn't she getting big?!  
I can't believe how much she's grown in just two weeks!

I just love those ears!  

She found a little puddle of water on the cement and was just going to town.  The water bucket had fresh water but she chose this instead!  Silly girl.

She's such a sweetie!  We love her to bits and pieces!

May 9, 2011

Last Week's Happenings

Last week we had a busy week of birthday fun, Mother's Day fun, and dance recital rehearsals and the recital (it was a Celtic theme).  Here's a pictorial montage. 


May 7, 2011

Happy Birthday!!!

Today is our youngest kidlet's birthday!  She's a big whoppin' three!  She's proud to tell everyone, too!  She's a precious little gal who's love of all things pink is hilarious!  Our other girls weren't huge fans of pink, but Abby loves PINK!  She looks pretty cute in pink, but honestly she looks even cuter in teal blue...shows off her baby blues!  I love you little one!  You are a bright light in our world and we are so thankful the Lord gave you to us!

Happy Birthday, Abigail Elizabeth!
We love you!!!!

May 3, 2011

Real Food!

I did it!  I finally made a "real" meal!  One that is totally from scratch.  One that my family is so used to but so sorely missed the last 13 weeks.  Here's the meal break down...

Old House Kitchen Baked Eggs

Old House Kitchen Pancakes

Sausage Gravy and Biscuits

They loved it!  A LOT!  Now I'm tuckered and I still have to bathe a few kidlets, go milk a goat, and pick up a girlie from dance recital practice.  All in a day's work, right?  I'm sure I'll crash when I get home!  Meanwhile hubby and the oldest son have been working nonstop trying to get the chicken coop done.  They're almost there!  I'll update with more pictures soon.  

May 2, 2011


...for our country and our troops.

"Evil is powerless if the good are unafraid" -- Ronald Reagan

Photo Credit

May 1, 2011

hApPy BiRtHdAy!!!

This birthday wish is for my mom.

We appreciate all that you do for us!  From the many hours of helping us clean, take care of laundry, organize, and baby sit, to wiping tears and kissing ouchies.

Love you MOM!

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