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119 articles in category Sustainability / Subscribe

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Last week Stewart put up a car gate and two homemade walking gates and thereby completed the fencing of the pasture. If you walk around the property you’ll find homemade gates on the pasture, the original two acres, the chicken field, and the pallet garden. I only mention that because I am kind of a sucker for homemade gates.

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The morning after he completed the gates, we all headed out for milking time so that we could release Abby and Daisy and let them roam. We’ve had Abby and Daisy for nearly a year now and have picketed Abby in close proximity to their shelter, water, and milking stand. Daisy followed her Mama around up until recently and never needed picketing.

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So after Elijah milked, he let her off the milking stand and she walked around slightly confused. A week on and they still tend to stay close to their previous picketing space. However, they seem to be wandering a bit further in the pasture as they become acquainted with the freedom to roam three acres.

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Goats are not like cows in that they seem to like to eat a little bit of everything – from grass to weeds to brush and trees. We have long discussed layering in other true grass-eaters like a cow or sheep to make the most of the three acre pasture, but that is a ways off and Lord willing.

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Since we let them off we have gotten reports from the boys as they go out to pasture. “Abby was down at the over spill!” or “The goats went all the way to the other end of the pasture with us!” is the breaking news as the boys swing open the screen door.

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We are thankful for the help we’ve gotten with the fence from the community here.

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Ultimately we are thankful to the Lord for His faithfulness and sovereignty in all homestead matters. The process of growing a homestead by hand while raising these five little blessings is surely one of the greatest educations in waiting on the Lord and trusting in His sovereignty that I have yet to encounter. Fence, goats, pastures, and milk have been nothing compared to the spiritual gifts that we have been given through the process.

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Going through my photos I realized that one thing I do not have for this space right now are a lot of words. Instead, here is a collection of unrelated thoughts and somewhat related photos.

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The irony of weeks of triple digit temperatures is that you need to start thinking about firewood. Abram in particular really enjoys cutting and stacking so we told him to go for it.

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Our chickens are given complete freedom throughout the property. This means that we have to fence them out of the gardens. The benefits, of course, are that they control insects and get all the greens and bugs they can find along with a small daily grain ration. Also, you never know when cute baby chicks will show up in your front yard.

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Joshie also enjoys watching them from his own perch.

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These two photos are pretty indicative of the middle of the day. Everyone’s outside, trying to catch a breeze while doing school, snacks, or chores. Iced kombucha makes a great afternoon drink to beat the heat, by the way.

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One thing the children recently did was dig through a big barrel of books we had stored away when living in the old cabin. One of the gems we came across was The Organic Seed Grower that I hadn’t seen in a couple of years. That book is a must have guide for the small homesteader or farmer, in my opinion.

Old cookbooks that made it into the kitchen were The Tassajara Bread Book, Fresh & Fermented, and Root Cellaring. What I love about good cookbooks is that while I’m not much of a recipe-using kind of gal, they provide some great inspiration at a time of year when I get a bit uninspired in the kitchen.

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Finally, we decided that if we wanted shade we were going to have to grow it. We ended up planting a pecan tree behind the house, several Hybrid Poplars around the yard, and a few of these Royal Empress trees you see above. So far we are having mixed results, but hey it’s July and this guy and a few others are still alive so maybe that’s a good sign?

Thanks for stopping by! Can I offer you a glass of kombucha?