Monday, December 9, 2013

And the Winner is......

 Betty was hoping she would win so she could use this book with her sons! Betty, congratulations! I will send you an email this morning to get your mailing info!

Thank you to everyone who entered and shared this contest!
If you really hoped to get this book you can still order a copy from HERE or from Amazon.

Now, if I ever get Lucy back into normal health I will share a fun gift idea you and your kids can make!

Hope everyone has a great Monday!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Milk Fever and Two New Calves

                              Don't forget to enter the book giveaway!

When you have an old Jersey milk cow who produces a large amount of milk, you always prepare for milk fever after calving. In  the past we would give Lucy a dose of calcium paste and she would be fine.
This time it wasn't enough or soon enough.
Although she is not in terrible shape, I knew at milking time yesterday afternoon that my girl was not well.
She was lethargic, slow, had no appetite and  was dry nosed.

The best assumption was milk fever. She needed calcium in her system.

Devin hooked up a bottle of calcium gluconate to an IV start kit and we gave her the entire bottle via subcutaneous injection at several sites on her body. We also gave her another tube of calcium paste.
It was cold, dark and rainy out. I felt like James Herriott in his books when he describes the cold nights on farm calls with a down cow. We, of course, have been keeping in contact with our own James Herriott, our vet Dr. Benson, during this entire ordeal.

She spent the night locked into the milking stanchion area, bedded down with lots of hay. I was happy that she ate quite a bit of hay during the night.

This morning Lucy is slightly better. She has a little better appetite and her nose is moist. Her body temp, however, is still low.

She had lots of company this morning from Ivy and Stella. I gave her more hay and kept her locked up until late this morning.

The vet wants her to walk around some, so she is secure to the 1 acre lot next to the milking area.

It has been a very hectic and stressful 18 hours. I think she will be okay, but I am cautious.

Now, on another note, we did drive up to a local dairy and purchase two bull calves this week as well.

I am wanting to get some steer on grass and the only way I can afford to do this is to buy bottle bull calves.

This big boy was born the day before my Annabelle. He is a Jersey/ Brown Swiss cross. He is quite large and will make a nice sized steer. The picture doesn't do him justice. He's quite beautiful.

The other bottle baby is a 3 week old full Jersey. He is quite active and loves being outside to run and stretch his legs some.

Both calves and Annabelle are doing well. I have them locked in an old chicken coop that I use as a small animal stall now. I have a heat lamp up to help keep them cozy. It has been very cold here the last couple of days and doesn't look to be warming up much this week.

So THAT is what I have been up to this week! I feel like I just had a new baby myself in that my house is a disaster and I am barely keeping up with laundry and meals! But, just like having a new baby....this too shall pass. Things will eventually get themselves back into working order, I just have to try and get my Lucy better. I am grateful to have a crockpot this morning and some chili is cooking away in it now. We will have a hot, yummy dinner after milking this evening.

It is great having so many bottle calves to feed. The kids are big helpers and the calves are very lovable!

Have a fabulous weekend! Don't forget to enter the book giveaway either! Winner will announced Monday!

See ya'll then!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Why Knot? ***Holiday Giveaway!***

******* This contest is over. Thank you for all who entered!*************

Every now and then you come across a fabulous book that really gets your kids motivated to learn a new skill and head outside for an adventure.

It just so happens that I came across such a book and just in time for Christmas!

Why Not Knot for Fun?! is a gem of  a book with step by step guides and pictures to show your kids (or even you!) how to make 12 knots and  to put them to use.

I expected my oldest kids to be the most intrigued, however Willow (11yrs) and Rose (8yrs) really took an immediate interest to this book.

They spent a couple of hours learning several knots and by lunch time they could make a few without looking at the book.

After you master a few of the knots, there is an entire section that teaches you some uses for the rope and the knots. For example it gives details on how to tie up a bedroll, make a backpack from a t-shirt, build a gear harness to hold all of your adventure gear, and how to create an outdoor shelter.

Indiana really liked the section on making a bow and arrow with sticks and, of course, your rope!

There is also a section that gives instructions on making a simple board swing, a log swing, and a tree platform for a tree house.

We affectionately call this book our Hunger Games prep book!!

In the top corner of each page there is a small legend that states what knot you will use for the activity or project on that page.

Here a description of this book via the actual authors:

We have a small wooded area behind the house and have watched our children create all sorts of structures, make up elaborate worlds, and spend hours outside using and growing their brains!  My husband joined in one day with his old climbing rope, something he's had since he was a kid and uses often for various projects as an adult, and the idea of a knot tying adventure book was born.

Knot tying is more than just a practical skill.  It develops spatial aptitude, encourages creativity, builds structural engineering skills, and so much more!  There is nothing more thrilling for a child than to build their own tree house with wood or lumber and some rope.  Or a swing, or a tent, or to help Daddy tie down a load.  Knot tying and creative play builds confidence and independence.  We know.  We've seen it in our own children!

Why Not Knot For Fun?! teaches the tying of a dozen practical knots and reinforces those knots with more than 30 project ideas that range from simple belts to an elaborate adventure course.

About the Authors

Frank & Kristin Hoffman live with their 5 children in the hills of East Tennessee where they farm and create new adventures with their children on their 40 acre homestead.

Why Not Knot for Fun?! has been a wonderful activity guide for my crew these last several days! The book is not only an excellent teaching book, but it would also be a great Christmas gift! I try to avoid the crap-plastic gifts as much as possible and I think this book with a length of paracord would be ideal!

I will be giving away ONE copy of this book to a lucky reader!
There are THREE ways to enter this giveaway!

1. To enter, simply leave a comment telling me if you would keep this book for your own kids or give it as a gift!

2. You can get a another entry by stopping by My Barefoot Farm on Facebook and giving the page a *like*. If you already *like* the page, just post a quick line *book giveaway*.

3.If you *share* the contest on Facebook I will enter you again, just let me know on My Barefoot Farm's Facebook page that you shared this post!

Entries must be in by Midnight Saturday (EST). I will announce the winner Monday, Dec. 9th.

Of course, this book is available for purchase now through Amazon. Go ahead and buy it for your favorite child, boy or girl!

You can also get some paracord from Amazon to go along with your book gift.

You can also go to the knot for fun website and see a little more about the family and the adventures behind the book!

Happy Thursday!!!!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013


We woke up yesterday to a very pregnant cow who looked ready to bust. Needless to say, by the afternoon she was ready for calving.

We went out to check on her and discovered her bag of waters was out and about to break.

Of course we waited...and waited..and waited. Finally we had a nice healthy calf about 6:30, just after dark.

It was too dark for pictures or videos, so I snapped some shots of the little girl this morning.
She IS a HEIFER!!!! This makes me very happy, as she will grow up to be a nice family milking cow one day.
She is very tiny but healthy and active. She has been nursing well and gets around like a pro.

The kids came out with me this morning to check on Lucy and the new calf.
The kids all agreed to name her Annabelle since she was born in December. They got the name from another favorite baby calf who starts in one of their favorite Christmas movies.

If you are looking for a sweet Christmas movie, this one is available on Amazon, and it really is a favorite here.
So since we were all in the Christmas spirit here, Indiana decided to dress up our other calves, Stella and Ivy.
She decided they need a nice big bow on their halters. Surprisingly, they are still intact this morning.
They really look cute with their fuzzy winter coats. Although the weather is quite warm today, it was quite cold last week and cold weather is coming back for the weekend.


So, tomorrow I will introduce a fabulous activity book and a giveaway just in time for Christmas!!!!

Be sure to check back in because you do NOT want to miss out on this one!

Happy Birthday Annabelle!!!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Life Out Here

It has been a whirl wind the last couple of weeks here. Initially I was a bit under the weather, not willing to push myself to my normal limits as far as house chores, cooking and blogging.
I suppose that is normal and the winter weather and dark days contribute to this melancholy.

                      ******Fender takes a break from hunting to be held.******

Then the past week showed itself with a nasty strep bug. Not everyone got the actual strep but everyone at least had the sniffles and a stuffy head. We spent the weekend relaxing, watching movies, eating soup and falling to sleep earlier than usual.

I woke up Monday with the sudden realization that Thanksgiving is knocking on the door and my house and farm show the signs of neglect due to a low energy farm manager. I am not ready for the holiday festivities at all! I have put my emergency "get it all in nice order" plan into action.

It all starts with a hot cup of coffee and the ability to prioritize the necessities of a well managed house and farm.

      ****Tiger Creek is a messy eater. I am glad we are not shearing soon!****

The very first order of the day was to make sure the animals had clean, dry hay. It rained all night and the temps will be dropping this evening. Winter is here. The winter in my part of Georgia means cold rain, and lots of it!

Lucy will be due to calve in about a week and a half. Her udder is starting to fill out and harden.  She is showing a few other signs that birth will soon be upon us. Devin is finishing maintenance on the milking machine pump, and I have been gathering all the other supplies we might need.
I dread milking in cold, wet weather but we are all ready for some fresh milk and cream.

                                    ****Shameless selfie with Lucy!****

We have spent the week studying the pilgrims and the reason for Thanksgiving. It has been a nice change to the normal school routine. The girls have also been bringing their pets down to play and snack while we read.

I realize that many people cringe at the thought of a pet rat, but really they are some of the best pets. This one seems to enjoy the week's spelling assignment with her cracker treat!

We are finally getting back into a normal and regular routine again, and I am working on a couple of projects that I will share once they are finalized.

                         ***Stella likes Indiana best. Nobody else can hug on her!***

I guess it is only normal for things to slow a bit during the cold months. The days are short and so naturally the list of the day's accomplishments should shorten as well.
Cold rainy days like today beg for a warm fire, a wholesome meal, and a good movie. The slow down gives us a season of rest after a very busy warm season of activity.

Yes, Thanksgiving is knocking on the door and we will answer and welcome it, even if we *think* we are not quite ready.

Life out here means we are always ready for family, food and a chance to rejuvenate.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

That Crockpot Soup

One time, many years ago, I was sick. Very sick. I had only 4 kids, but they were little and Devin was not able to get off work to stay home.
My dear best friend Lisa brought me some soup. It was yummy. It was soothing. It was nutritious.

It has been my favorite crockpot soup since. I only make it in the fall and winter, and in fact I made it last year on Christmas Eve. It simmered and cooked all day while we baked cookies and wrapped gifts.

Today we have been busy with school, new chicks, a calf that is a bit under the weather and some farm projects. Guess what has been simmering and cooking in the crockpot? Yep, that crockpot soup.

I will whip up some quick dinner rolls to accompany, and Willow baked her first apple crisp for dessert. It's a fall dinner that anyone would be envious of PLUS it's darn easy on the budget.
What more could one ask for?

What are your favorite crock pot recipes?

Thursday, October 31, 2013

1 Hour Whole Wheat Bread

I have a small secret to share. I bake bread a few times a week. OK, that's not the secret.
 The secret is that I am able to bake bread so often because my recipe bakes up in an hour. An hour from grinding the wheat to pulling it out of the oven.
This is a miracle in the world of large family baking! I can have fresh bread baked up for lunch or dinner in a snap!
Because many of my friends and customers are so mystified by my abilities to milk cows, churn butter and bake bread, while homeschooling 7 kids, I feel it only time to set the record straight!
I am not super woman. I do not slave over bread baking, or any chore for that matter.
In fact, if bread required that I spend half my day tending to rise times and punch downs, I would be buying those cheap store brand loaves at the grocery store. While we are at it, lets' set that record straight too. If I am having a crazy week, You will find store loaves on my pantry shelves:-)
No super powers here, but if I can keep my attention focused, the house will run smoothly and I will be baking bread in the evening while the kids clean up the dinner dishes.
So here is where I will share my recipe, developed by my fabulous big sister...who also has quite a household to manage.
I grind my wheat up first. I prefer hard white wheat, but hard red wheat will do. Red wheat is more dense and I do not like it alone as my only bread flour. Sometimes I will use half whole wheat and half bread flour, such as those times I need a new wheat bucket opened and my strong husband is not home to pry the lid off for me. Sometimes I will throw some oats in too because it will really add a nice crunch to toast.

This bread uses about 10-12 cups of flour, so you have to have a sturdy way to mix it up. I use my trusty (and old) Dimension 2000 mixer with the dough hook.

First I add very warm, almost hot water. 4 cups of water. Then I add 2 TB of instant yeast. I buy my yeast at Costco, and if you start baking bread several times a week you will buy it in bulk too.
I also add 1/4 C gluten and 4 cups of flour. I mix the dough quickly for about 10 seconds and then let it rest while I gather the rest of the ingredients.

Gather 1/3 C oil, 1/3 C honey and 1 TB salt. I use olive oil, but you can use whatever oil you want. Again, I buy my olive oil in bulk because we use it so often.
Your dough is starting to look a little bubbly now. Pour in the oil, honey and salt.

Start the mixer and start adding four, one cup at a time. You will add 6-8 cups, depending on the season and weather. Add flour until the dough pulls from the sides of the bowl well, then keep mixing it for another 5 minutes.

Get your pans ready by lightly spraying them with oil. I use two large pans I bought from Bread Beckers. These are 2 lb loaf pans. If you use regular loaf pans, you should be making three loaves of bread.

Take your dough out and divide it into 2 pieces (or three) and shape it into a loaf and put t in the pans. I do not stress too much over making these loaves look perfect. I just smooth them out and around and put them in the pan.
If you are feeling creative, you can roll the dough out into a rectangle and cover it with honey, butter, raisins, sugar, cinnamon, apple name it! Then roll it up and seal down the edges for a loaf of specialty bread!

Now for the rising part. Your oven should be cold. Place the loaves in the oven and turn the oven on to 170 degrees for 20 minutes. Do NOT be tempted to open the oven door while the dough rises. This is the beauty of this bread. It will rise in 20 minutes. Set the timer.

When the timer goes off, bump the temp up to 350 and set the timer for 30 minutes. DO NOT open the oven door:-) Turn on the light and see how the dough is rising. Now we bake it! Set the timer.

                                            ***Dough after 20 minutes of rise time***

When 30 minutes is up, remove the pans and let them sit for a few minutes on a cooling rack.

Remove the bread (carefully) from the pans and let them sit on the cooling rack. Take some butter and rub it all over the tops and down the sides. This will soften the crusts and make your sandwiches yummier! :-)

I usually let them sit on the racks overnight, and we have fresh bread for toast in the morning.
I suggest using an electric knife to slice the bread too. A regular serrated knife will work but and electric knife allows you to get even and smooth slices quickly.

After a day and night full of Halloween candy tonight, I bet a slice of fresh whole wheat bread would be delicious!
 If you have an hour this afternoon, get to baking!

One Hour Whole Wheat Bread

4 C very warm water
2 TB instant yeast
1/4 C gluten
1/3 C oil
1/3 C honey
1 TB salt
10-12 C whole wheat flour

In large mixer combine water, yeast, gluten and 4 C flour. Allow to rest 5 minutes. Add  oil, honey, salt and start mixer. Add remaining flour one cup at a time until it pulls from side of bowl well. Allow to mix 5 minutes.
Remove from bowl and divide into 2 sections.  Shape dough into loaves and place in lightly oiled pans.
Place in cold oven and turn oven on at 170 degrees for 20 minutes. Do not open oven door.
Increase temp to 350 degrees and bake for 30 minutes.
Remove from oven to cooling rack for a few minutes. Carefully remove bread from pans and rub butter over tops and sides. Allow bread to finish cooling on rack.

Yields: Two 2lb loaves or 3 regular loaves

Happy Halloween Ya'll!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Morning Interrupted

It only seemed appropriate that we throw all schedules to the side for a few hours.

I stumbled upon a kite tucked away into my closet and the wind asked us to play.

We had a sweet poem to learn this week, so we wrote it down on white butcher paper and the kids colored fall scenery all around.

Who Has Seen the Wind  by Christina Rosetti

Who has seen the wind?
Neither I nor you:
But when the leaves hang trembling,
The wind is passing through.

Who has seen the wind?
Neither you nor I:
But when the trees bow down their heads,
The wind is passing by.

The wind asked us to head outdoors to play.

This morning the wind was passing through. It is leaving a cold chill that beckons us to load up firewood onto the porch and get the wood stove started.

The wind today was passing by and convinced me to stock up on hot apple cider and popcorn.

A full few hours of running and playing and laughing with the wind turned a morning interrupted into  a morning of memories.

So tonight we are bathed and getting ready to crawl into warm beds after a day of activity.
Tomorrow we will recite and read and talk about our week's poem, and the kite will be tucked back into the closet until that day comes again.

The day the wind passes through.

Happy Fall Y'all!

Friday, October 18, 2013

The Egg Mobile

It is finally finished!!!

Devin spent his entire stretch off building the egg mobile, and I must say the hens love it.

It started out as an old jet ski trailer we got for free.

We put a solid board in the center but we left the sides covered with only chicken wire. The roosts will be above those areas and we want the poo to fall to the ground.

We originally had wood on all four sides, but we decided tin would be lighter. We have tin on two sides and wood on the sides with doors.
Chicken wire is at the top for ventilation

As you can see, some poo stays on the framing boards, but most of it falls through to the ground

.We have a ramp door on one side that folds down so the birds can easily get in and out. The back side is a door that opens regular. I have two nest boxes hanging on it.

We placed our large nesting boxes on one side, so the birds have many places for egg laying.

Yes, this egg mobile is pulled around with our riding lawn mower. We do not own a tractor so we had to work with what we DO have, which is the lawn mower. Devin put a ball on the hitch area and the trailer hooks right up. So far we have moved the egg mobile to two spots with the hens inside and it all went very smoothly.

This morning I moved the egg mobile to a spot the cows occupied a few days ago. It was loaded with cow patties. You can see above what the hens will do to a cow pile. Within an hour almost all of the patties were scratched up and spread out. The hens eat the bugs, larvae and spread the manure out so that it can fertilize the grass.

This young pullet is one very content bird, and we are one step closer to a salad bar beef farm.
Next I will paint the wooden areas of the egg mobile to help it hold up a bit longer in outdoor weather. and then we start looking into some fencing!

Hope you have a great weekend!!!!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...