Being raised on a farm

farm kid

I love this picture! It’s not often I take the time to reflect on the life we have chosen to give to our children.  Part of that is because I grew up in this lifestyle.

Being raised on a farm doesn’t come without its sacrifices for our kids.  Your parents can’t take “sick” days from taking care of the livestock.  During the spring months there is not much time for anything other than preparing the seedlings to start, getting the garden beds ready to plant, fertilizing the soil, repairing pasture fencing, and fixing/maintaining the farm equipment and animal housing.  In the summer there is no summer vacation as every day the animals need to be fed and barn chores need to be done.  The animals do not “sleep in” so that means neither do we.  Weeds are a weekly family project in the garden beds, the lawns need frequent cutting, the pastures need to be trimmed down to keep the weeds down. Fall is spent harvesting, preserving, freezing, and selling the extras of things we have grown.

But the sacrifices allow for life lessons preparing these kids for their futures.  They learn responsibility, compassion, empathy, determination and the circle of life very early on.

They learn to respect the earth and animals with a very deep connection.  These things provide them with the reward of food grown from a seed, fresh eggs daily and freedom to enjoy the simple things like riding a horse through the beautiful woods.

It also prepares them for their later teenage years.  Both of these kids have been driving and working farm tractors, 4 wheelers, snowmobiles and a golf cart since they were 3 years old.  They understand the power a machine has and the dangers involved with a careless decision.

They can prepare their own meals, make bread, can vegetables and fruits, and make pies.  In other words, they will be able to feed themselves for the rest of their lives without assistance if need be.

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All of this makes the vacations and trips they do get to enjoy even better.

And the time we spend on our boat, camping out in our cabin on the farm, enjoying family time around our nightly bonfires and making lasting memories is where I find my happiness.

And that sums up why I love the above image explaining why being raised a farm kid is the best gift ever!

 

 

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Italian Bread

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Making Italian bread (or any bread really) is much easier than most people think.  This recipe makes 3 nice size loaves.  The bread has a nice crust and soft center with great flavor.  It also holds up well if you freeze it for later use. (pictures at the bottom)

Ingredients:

3 cups of warm water

1 full Tablespoon dry active yeast (if you have packets use a packet and a half)

1 1/2 tsp. white sugar

2 tsp. salt

8 cups of all purpose flour (I used unbleached flour or you can use half white and half wheat)

Mix the water, sugar and yeast in a large bowl until dissolved and let sit for 10 minutes to proof.

Stir in 4 cups of the flour and mix it until smooth and set it aside for approximately 15 minutes.

Add 2 cups of flour and the salt and mix again.  Add more flour 1/2 cup at a time to form a stiff dough and pour out onto a floured surface.  Knead the dough adding flour lightly as needed until the dough is smooth and elastic (it should spring back when you press two fingers into it).

Put into a greased bowl and in a warm spot to rise approximately 30 minutes or until doubled in size.

Punch the dough down, turn out onto a floured surface and lightly knead for a minuted then place back in the greased bowl to rise again for 30 minutes.

Spray a cookie sheet lightly and sprinkle cornmeal over the sheet

After 30 minutes, punch the dough down again and separate into 3 pieces, forming them into a loaf (a football type shape) and place on the cookie sheet

Set back into a warm spot and let rise about 25 minutes or until correct loaf size.

I brush them lightly with water and place them in a 450 degree preheated oven and bake approximately 30 minutes (turning the pan after 15 minutes and sprinkle a bit of water again on top) and bake until the tops are lightly browned and they sound hollow when you tap on them.

It’s ok if they touch when baking as you can cut them apart.

Your family will LOVE this super easy bread.  My niece and daughter grabbed the first slices as soon as the loaves were cool enough to handle!

 

Farmers Market Co-Op

Our Island started a Farmers Market Co-Op about 3 weeks ago.  They asked all of us who farm or homestead to be a part of it and sell some of our goods.  It’s on Mondays after work hours for 3 hours.

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We missed the first week but participated the second week by putting up a table and selling some of our homegrown vegetables, canned goods, baked goods, and the Teen Queen’s handmade clay jewelry, lipsticks and sugar body scrubs.  We had about 50 items and came home with 3.  I’d say it was a success!

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This week we have a few more harvested vegetables to add to the table as well as some of our home baked Breads, Peach Skin Jelly, Dilly Beans and more canned peaches!

A farmers market is such an awesome opportunity to support your local farmers and meet people who like to homestead.  I always give out our Facebook site and this page so anyone who wants recipes to try their hand at adding a little of the homestead life into their busy lives can try it.

I am asked over and over again how I fit all of this in with working, kids sports almost every night, barn chores, animal care, and still finding time for boating and spending family time visiting all of the summer happenings in our area.  My answer is always…you just make the time.  Whether it’s baking, canning, or making jewelry, providing anything for your family that is homemade is such a great feeling.

Here’s to hoping today’s market is a success like last week!!!

 

 

 

Hyacinth Oil

Hyacinths are a special Easter flower and smell very similar to a lilac. They also are grown from a bulb which can be replanted in your garden as a perennial.

Our local grocery store had them on clearance after Easter for $1.00 so of course I bought 10. The bulbs were planted today and now I am making some hyacinth oil to use in our homemade body scrubs (which I will use mainly for my hands and feet).

Place the cut flowers into a bowl with 1 cup of water and 1/8 cup of sunflower oil (or you can use olive oil) and let soak for a day or two.

Store the oil in a jar and use it to scent your body scrub!!

**Body Scrubs can be made many ways.  I will use this with organic cane sugar and a touch of glycerin**

Chicken Pot Pie

Tonight I made Chicken Pot pies.  I made 2 full size pies and 3 individual pies to freeze for the boy as he LOVES to have them after hockey practice for dinner.

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I have posted this recipe before here:  Chicken Pot Pie

This is an easy recipe and perfect for using up that leftover chicken!

Here are a few pictures from my batches today.  We enjoyed one full pie for dinner and the others are in the freezer for another time!

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Recipe here:  Chicken Pot Pie

Hand and Heel Scrub

This scrub is perfect for buffing your heels and keeping your hands moisturized for the winter months.

You can make this in about 5 minutes total.  Very economical and a little goes a LONG way.

I posted how we make ours on my Facebook page and see my step by step pictures of the Teen making a batch last night here:  Hand and Heel Scrub

It’s literally 3 ingredients:

1 Tbsp. Brown Sugar

1 Tbsp. Coconut Oil

Honey (until your desired consistency)

Mix all together, store in an air tight container.  Use in the shower by scrubbing on heels and hands and rinse.  Apply a daily moisturizing lotion and you can keep the dryness at bay!

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Harvesting

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Fresh lettuce daily

It’s a special time of year when you are finally “eating” what you’ve sown.  A few of our garden items have been producing very well in this wet summer we are having.  Here is a peek into some of our harvested meals.

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We are growing head lettuce, romaine lettuce, and purple leaf lettuce.  Every day it’s great to have a choice of which fresh lettuce you are going to eat.  We grow most of this to feed the rabbits, goats and chickens as well as ourselves.

kale chips

Kale chips

With our lettuce we have our kale planted.  We have 5 huge plants full of thick heavy leaves perfect for kale chips, soups, and kale salads (the teen’s favorite).  She uses just the kale with apple cider vinegar and some taco shredded cheese.

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The pea plants are producing in one spot only.  Some of them have become molded from the rain.  We have a second planting of 18 plants almost ready to go into the ground.  We are still getting about 7 pea pods from each plant but we need WAY more for my kids!

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These were the only strawberries we collected this year from our plants. We lost quite a few plants to rabbits/voles this spring.  They have been replaced but won’t produce until next year.

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Beans and basil are doing well.  This is a store bought tomato as ours are not ready yet but with fresh basil, this caprese salad was awesome!  The beans did not make it past washing them.  The kids ate them immediately.  Luckily I have a previous harvest already blanched and frozen!

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One of the last 3 jars of peaches left from last summers canning.  Still a sweet treat.

Looking forward to the many more items to come!