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How To Make A Face Mask With What You Have Available

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So you can’t get a face mask these days right? What are you going to do? Well make one of course! After all aren’t American’s known for the “Can Do” motto? Let’s look at how to make a face mask with what you have available.

If you have a sewing machine that will make some of these easier. Some of these face mask options can be made without a sewing machine.

How To Make A Face Mask – Easy Sewing Machine Option

She uses 2 pieces of material. The piece closest to the face she is using flannel. If you don’t have scrap material around then you can use old tee shirts or even button down shirts and don’t forget about old sheets. Especially the old flannel sheets. In fact you can order then on Amazon still. Check out the selection of flannel sheets here

DIY Face Mask – Hartnana Style

This is the DIY face mask style we made at our house to get us through this crisis. They are fairly straight forward. We used left over fat square we had around from making hair bows. Really any old material will do for this project. And it doesn’t take much material to make these. We also used baggie ties for the wire.

We also did not find the elastic until later so we used string and in my daughters case she makes cord out of embroidery thread for making bracelets.

How to make a homemade mask
Sarah (my daughter) in her homemade mask

How To Make A Face Mask Without A Sewing Machine

Okay this is hands down the easiest way to make a face mask!!! All you need is a bandana and two big rubber bands.

It you don’t have a bandana you can cut up old shirts, sheets, towels, pants, what ever you have around. The best part about these homemade face masks, in my opinion, is that they are reusable! Throw them in the wash and the soap n water will make them safe.

While these are not going to keep you from getting a virus, they might keep you from getting a full on inoculation thereby giving you a little more time for your body to ramp up its defenses. Speaking of which, you might want to check out this article on preparing for corona virus

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Coronavirus – Homestead Hacks For Surviving a Pandemic

cronavirus surviving a pandemic - plan don't panic

Yes, the Coronavirus is bad. There are some homestead hacks for surviving a pandemic that we will look at from a practical point of view. No reason to panic but there is a big difference between preparing as best you can with the information you have and deciding to ignore what is happening around you. In my world view it is better to be prepared and not need it then to need things and not be prepared. In the later case you are simply adding to the problem.

What We Know About The Coronavirus

We know that it is a virus and it is spread pretty easily. Could it be a bioweapon? Yeah, there is some evidence that supports that. Ultimately it is a flu virus that is pretty nasty. It can be spread before you know that you are sick. And it is still contagious after you feel better!

From what we see coming out of China, it looks like unless you require a respirator, you might have to weather this storm at home.

Surviving the Coronavirus Pandemic

Like most viruses one needs to ride it out. The single most effective thing one can do now is to get their immune system in the best shape possible. Get good sleep. In case you don’t know 80% of your immune system is in your gut. Pay attention to eating quality food and probiotics. Drink good water. Make sure you are getting vitamin D & K. This will help you sleep better. Try not to stress out about this. Stress only makes things worse. Most people do not die from this. Even if the death rate is 15% that means 85% survive!

Work on making sure you and your family are in the best position to make it through.

If Someone Gets Sick

If someone comes down with the Coronavirus , or any flu like symptoms. Such things as coughing, achy, upset stomach, diarrhea, are all symptoms. Isolate them right away. Put them in a room away from everyone else. If you can designate a bathroom just for them, do that too. If you have masks, have them wear the mask when you go into the room. Try to open windows, if it is practical, to get some circulation of outside air into the room. In the winter we like to close everything off, so we all end up breathing the stale air.

Natural Resources For Fighting Virus

There have been some suggestions that hydroxycloroquine in combination with a z-pack and zinc might be effective in fighting this disease. Medcram suggests that cloroquine drives zinc into the cells and disrupts the production of the RNA virus. Cloroquine is a drug designed to fight malaria. Tonic water has quinine in it. At our house we have been drinking tonic water and taking 100mg of zinc anytime we feel a cold or illness coming on. (Gin and Tonics we originally a malaria tonic invented by the British)

Diffusing the Situation

Put a diffuser in their room and diffuse , Breezy (which you can find here) and Spice -C You can find that here. I use Spice C on everyone else in the house. Designate one person who goes in and helps. If you are sharing a bathroom, the helper person must go in and disinfect the bathroom every time the sick person goes in there. Rubbing Alcohol, lysol wipes, bleach are all things that normally kill off virus germs. Make sure you have a descent stock of them.

cronavirus - plan don't panic. Homestead hacks to surviving a pandemic. A practical look at things you can do to minimize your exposure. #cronavirus #homesteadhacks #diseasehacks #pandemic

Things To Pick Up Now While They Are Available

Get germ killing stuff such as bleach, rubbing alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, vodka, Lysol spray, colloidal silver, gloves and some type of mask (here is an article about how to make face masks with what you have on hand) and lots of tissues and toilet paper. (and paper towels) and laundry soap. If you can’t find masks, I suspect that a bandana doubled over with a layer of cotton between would be better than nothing and is washable. Get a few. Make sure the person going in to help the sick, has goggles that are left at the door or put into disinfectant bucket before going into the house and the gloves should be by the door also, and your shoes, there should be sick person shoes. The shoes you only wear into the room.

Also get the normal flu stuff to make you feel better. Ibuprofen, NyQuil, (if you chose to use that). Get a humidifier. and stock up on chicken soup.

Treating the Sick

Everything that comes out of the room needs to be sterilized. Use plastic silverware and paper dishes that can be thrown out or better yet, burned. Wear one shirt over your clothes and a pair of overalls or baggy pants over your normal clothes to go into the room. If you want to get super anal about it your could put up a plastic barrier to go through inside the actual door. Keep the cleaning and entering supplies just outside the door in a “clean” area take the clothes off that you wore into the room with your gloves on and then those clothes go directly to the washing machine for a wash n dry. spray off the shoes with Lysol. Use hand sanitizer before and after putting on the gloves. And don’t forget to spay the googles.

When Should You See The Doctor

Providing this doesn’t overwhelm our medical system, it would be prudent to see the doctor only if the disease becomes an emergency. An emergency in my book is anything that is life threatening. Shortness of breath, disorientation because of fever, heart problems, things like this are medical emergencies. Seek out professional help.

When Should You Hunker Down

While as I write this, the chances of getting sick with Coronavirus are low according to CDC. Personally, if I see this starting to spiral out of control, meaning we start seeing communities of people getting sick, I will pull my family home. Even now, I think it is prudent to not venture out as much as possible.

Food – Do I Need Freeze Dried Food?

Normal people don’t do a whole bunch of freeze dried food in their every day diet. Personally I think you are better off finding a sale on soups, a couple big bags of rice, load up on pasta and potatoes. Soup poured over a bowl of rice is amazingly filling. It also makes the can of soup go much further. Most soups have meat and veggies in them. I like coffee, but if you are a big tea drinker, then make sure you have several extra boxes. (Tea is wonderful when you don’t feel well too). Don’t buy stuff you don’t normally use. And don’t forget your pets.

Grab some microgreens seeds while you’re at it and then you can have nutrient dense food anytime. We talk about how to grow microgreens here.

Final Thoughts on Surviving the Coronavirus

Prayer and positive thinking go a long way towards helping an individual survive just about anything. The single biggest recommendation I can give is DON’T PANIC – PLAN.

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Whey Good Bread Recipe

Whey Good Bread Recipe.

Yesterday I was blogging over on Thyroid Treatment For Women,  about finding a good protein powder for hypothyroidism and got to thinking about my whey good bread recipe, so I thought I’d share it with you all.

Having goats, means lots of milk, lots of milk means you need to make stuff with it or what is the point right?

Whey is the by product of making cheese. It is the liquid that remains after you have coagulated the milk, separating it into curds and whey. Which I believe is what cottage cheese was called back in the day….Remember the old nursery rhyme:

Little Miss Muffett sat on her tuffet eating her curds and way. Along came a spider and sat down beside her and frightened poor Muffett away.

That was from memory so don’t hold me responsible if I messed it up.  It has been a few years since I thought about that little ditty.

Any way back to the recipe at hand.

This recipe for Rustic Farmers Bread at Let The Baking Begin calls for milk – but you could totally substitute whey and get even better results!

Whey good bread recipe

You can use Whey  as a substitute for any bread recipe you are making, it is especially good for pizza dough. It will give your bread a slightly cheesy flavor so you might not want to use it in a sweet bread.

Whey Good Dutch Oven Bread:

  • 3 Cups flour  – you can use bread flour or fresh ground flour (which is what I like to do)
  • 1 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups whey warmed up to 100 degrees (I freeze my whey when I’m making cheese so that I can make bread when I’m ready)

cast iron pans

You can also add in dry Italian herbs for extra special yumminess

I start this in the evening then bake in the morning. Here is the not very difficult process – mix all four ingredients in a glass or plastic bowl. It will be a thick mass but not look like bread dough in the traditional sense. No worries. Leave it on the counter, covered over night.

In the morning heat your oven with the dutch oven in it to 450 degrees for about 30 minutes. You want to get that dutch oven super hot before you add the dough.

Then dump your mixture onto a floured surface and shape into a round. Let the round rest while the oven heats up.

Transfer the round to your dutch oven with the lid on let it bake for 30 minutes then take the lid off for the next 15 minutes.

Let the bread rest for an hour or so.

I have it on good authority that this whey good bread recipe can be used to make baguettes if you have a baguettes pan.


Use It For Pizza Dough

The secret to good pizza dough is to let it rise slowly in the refrigerator over night. For some reason it make the crust much more chewy and delicious.

  • 3 Cups flour
  • 1 Cup warm whey
  • 1 tsp dry activated yeast
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 1/2 tbs olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt

Mix the warm whey, yeast and sugar together in a measuring cup until the yeast activates – forms bubbles on top

In a mixing bowl, add the flour and salt, give it a whirl to mix them together. Once the yeast is proofed add the whole shebang with the olive oil to the bowl.

Mix until it is a sticky mass, then keep adding bits of flour until it doesn’t stick any longer.  Knead it for about 5-7 minutes until it is smooth and elastic. (Which means you can poke the dough and it will come back)

Let the dough rest in a warm place for an hour or so until it doubles in size – or you can let it rest in the fridge until an hour before you want to make your pizza then take it out and finish off the rise at room temperature or in a warm oven (100-200 degrees) Don’t put a cold glass bowl directly into a warm oven though it will crack it.

You can add dry Italian Herbs to this recipe for a wonderful change up of flavor. You can also take  your home made mozzarella and fold it into the crust around the edges for stuffed crust pizza.

Build your masterpiece then cook it at 450 for about 15-20 minutes on a pizza stone?, until the cheese is bubbly.

Other Related Articles

More articles that will help in your quest to dominate the bread making skill.

Secrets to making Artisan Bread

The best tool EVER for making dough

Maybe you want to make some cheese to go with!

How to make goats milk cheese (or even cheese from regular milk)

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Homemade Goat Milk Soap Recipe For Beginners fast & easy Get Stunning Results

Goats Milk Soap Recipe For Beginners
Get Great Results making goat milk soap

Having been a soap maker for quite a few years now, I have discovered this secret almost by accident and now make wonderfully luxurious cream colored goat’s milk soap.  Using this secret disclosed in the homemade goat milk soap recipe for beginners,  you will be making great soap for your family and friends too, with very little headache.

Easy To Find Ingredients

Most of these ingredients can be purchased at your local grocery or health food store, except for the lye (sodium hydroxide) that will need to come from an online source probably Amazon. You can get smaller quantities from them and it is shipped without hassle for a reasonable price.  It is hard to keep 50 pounds of lye around if you aren’t making soap in large quantities. 50 Pounds is the quantity sold most commonly by soap maker supply companies.

What you need to make Goats Milk Soap For Beginners

As far as utensils go; it really depends on how much soap you plan to make. This recipe will make about three pounds of soap – enough to cover the bottom of a Campbell’s soup box (you know the cardboard that holds a case of soup). If you cut it in half then you could make 8 bars in soap molds.

I like to use an enamel pot that has high sides. I melt the solid oils together first over low, then add the olive oil so cool the oils down to 100degrees. And then when I mix the lye solution in I’m less likely to splash the mixture on myself. (Vinegar is the neutralizing agent for lye – keep it out and handy if you get some lye or lye mixture on you, douse with vinegar and it will stop the burning).

Though you may be tempted to make this without safety glasses, refrain. Wear those glasses! And gloves.  Wear gloves.

Okay, enough on the safety warnings. I’m sure you have your own mother to mutter these little warnings to  you so you don’t need me.

I have a plastic pitcher, a wooden spoon and a separate little glass container that I use for all things lye related. You can get  all of the supplies you need to make soap here

Here is the list:

  • An enamel or stainless steel pot (it doesn’t have to be real big)
  • 1 plastic pitcher
  • 2 wooden spoons
  • 1 stick blender (doesn’t really need to be dedicated to making soap, but be sure to wash it well)
  • 1 kitchen scale (the balance scales work okay for this recipe,  you will need a serious scale for most soap recipes though)
  • 2 glass thermometers
  • safety glasses
  • plastic gloves
  • vinegar on hand
  • a big plastic or glass bowl to set your lye mixture pitcher in.

That is it!

This is the homemade goat milk soap recipe for beginners:

  • 18 oz slushy goat’s milk – This can be from the grocery store, from a friend, from your goat, or powered that has been reconstituted. It also needs to be partially frozen for best results.
  • 6 oz water
  • 6 oz lye (sodium hydroxide)
  • 10 oz coconut oil
  • 24 oz of shortening or lard
  • 9 oz olive oil

That is it!

Learn to make goats milk soap perfectly even if you are a beginner with stuff you mostly can find at your local grocer

Here is the secret to getting cream colored goat’s milk soap

Rather than the orange/brown stuff that most beginners end up with. The reason goat’s milk soap turns brown is because the lye causes the milk solids to burn. The way around that problem is to mix the lye with water first, then mix the lye into the oils and then add the milk.

Another important point is that  you want  your lye solution and your oil to be about the same temperature and that temperature needs to be 100 degrees. It does make a difference.

I like to mix my lye solution over an ice bath. So I put the pitcher in a big bowl full of ice, mix the lye into the water s l o w l  y   so it doesn’t explode and then drop ice cubes down into the solution to get it to cool down quicker. I’m so not the patient type.

Here are the steps to the Homemade Goat Milk Soap Recipe for Beginners:

  • Heat the coconut oil and shortening/lard until it melts in the big pot. Take it off the heat and add olive oil.  Set aside to cool.
  • Put on your safety glasses and gloves
  • Put the pitcher in the ice bath add the water and then the lye to the water.
  • Once both are the same temperature, 100 degrees, mix the lye into the oils (DO NOT DO THIS THE OTHER WAY AROUND )
  • Add the milk.
  • Use the stick blender to mix and blend. Do this in pulses of 20 seconds or you will burn out your blender. Between pulses stir with the blender.
  • When the concoction traces it will look like vanilla pudding. Trace just means that it hold the shape of a swirl, like, as I said, vanilla pudding.
soap trace

Once it begins to trace add your essential oil and extra stuff. I like to use lavender oil and lavender bits, but you can add almost anything. If you are planning to add oatmeal, you need to grind it up first. Take it from me, the whole oats things doesn’t work so well, I know, I’ve tried it.

Adding Stuff To Your Soap

When it comes to adding essential oils, I only add a few drops. For honey/oatmeal soap, I add about 1/4 cup of honey and a cup of oats. Also I have found that sandalwood oil can cause your soap to seize. (turns hard really fast) so go slow when adding that.

Make sure that you have lined your cardboard molds with wax paper before you start if you are planning to use cardboard molds. Pour your mixture into the mold after it has traced and you’ve added all your stuff and made sure it traced again.

Before you Cut Your Soap

Let the soap sit in the mold for 24 hours – it will harden up. You then want to dump it out and cut it into the shapes you want. Let it cure for at least 2-3 weeks before using. Enjoy!

The whole process shouldn’t take you more than maybe an hour from start to finish.

If you have questions ask them below, I follow this blog pretty closely and love to help new soap makers get started!

scalescaleClick HerelyelyeClick Hereenamel potenamel potClick Herehigh side enamel pothigh side enamel potClick HerethermometerthermometerClick Hereplastic pitcherplastic pitcherClick Herewooden spponswooden spponsClick Herepowdered goats milkpowdered goats milkClick Herecoconut oilcoconut oilClick Hereolive oilolive oilClick Hereessential oilsessential oilsClick Heresoap moldsoap moldClick Heresoap moldsoap moldClick Heresoap moldsoap moldClick Here

Don’t forget to grab your copy of The Soap Maker’s Journal so that you can keep your recipes in one place. Every time I make soap I always do something a little different. Recording the adjustments in this journal allows me to repeat success and avoid repeating unwanted results.

Soap maker's journal for bath and body product crafters. Keep all your notes in one place. #soapmaking #homemadesoap #goatsmilksoap @hart_nana
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How to Grow Microgreens Indoors Without Soil – Winter Nutrition

How to grow microgreens indoors #microgreens #indoorgardening

Grow microgreens indoors without soil, or with very little soil, to boost your families winter nutrition. During the dead of winter, when the thoughts wonder towards next years garden, growing an indoor micro garden could chase some of those blues away.

You don’t need a lot of fancy equipment to have a winter microgreens garden. Mostly you need some seeds, a colander or other tray with holes, a base to catch the water and artificial lights (in some cases).

My Favorite Winter Microgreens to Grow Indoors

My favorite microgreens to grow indoors are; sunflower sprouts, mung beans and pea sprouts. All of these grow fast and are packed with flavor. Of these I simply adore sunflower sprouts.

Sunflower Sprouts

Sunflower sprouts remind me of summer. They have a full sunflower seed flavor. Yet they are a green veggie! Personally I have a 50 pound bag of sunflower seeds that I bought last year. It is actually bird food, but hey, it sprouts and tastes GREAT.

Pea Shoots

Pea shoots are my second favorite microgreen. They too are packed with sweet goodness. And they grow fast.

Mung Beans – Bean Sprouts

Mung bean sprouts are the only microgreen that I truly grow without any soil. They grow FAST. In three to five days you can have more mung beans than you know what to do with. Kids love growing these.

Now that you know which microgreens we are focusing on growing indoors, let’s get down to specifics of how to do it.

How to Grow Sunflower Sprouts and Pea Shoot Microgreens Indoors

While you can spend a bunch of money to grow microgreens indoors, you don’t have to. The thing is, I’m cheap, and I like to recycle. So with that in mind, I like to re use old things I have around the house. You will need a container that holds about an inch of dirt. I don’t put drain holes in mine.

For this batch of sunflower sprouts I used an old “greens” container.

How to grow microgreens indoors on the cheap #microgreens #indoorgardening #growmicrogreens #gardeningindoors

The Steps to growing sunflower sprouts and pea shoots;

  1. Soak your seeds overnight – or about 24 hours
  2. Put about an inch of dirt in your container of choice
  3. Drain your seeds
  4. Dump them on top of the dirt
  5. Mix them into the dirt
  6. Cover them with a layer of foil or paper towels
  7. Put a bit of weight on them – dry beans in a plastic bag works fine
  8. Wait a couple days
  9. Take the foil or towels off
  10. Wait until you have a couple leaves on your sprouts
  11. Cut them close to the soil to harvest
  12. Store in the fridge wrapped in a moist paper towel – you can put them in a baggie but don’t seal it. Plants need to breath.

How To Grow Mung Bean Sprout Microgreens Indoors Without Soil

Mung beans aren’t technically microgreens – though you can grow them to the leaf stage if you want.

The Steps to grow mung bean sprouts;

  1. Soak your mung bean seeds for 24 hours.
  2. Place a paper towel in the bottom of a colander.
  3. Put the colander over a bowl.
  4. Pour your mung bean seeds into the colander.
  5. Put a second, wet paper towel on top of the seeds.
  6. Place a plate on top of the second, top paper towel.
  7. Use a can on the plate as a weight.
  8. Cover the whole shebang with a towel- they like it dark.
  9. Keep this near the kitchen sink as you need to run water over the seeds three or four times a day for the next four or five days.
  10. As the sprouts grow you can remove the top paper towel.
  11. Keep them in the fridge in a paper towel in an open plastic bag.
  12. Be sure to rinse the seed covers off of them before using.

Notes on Growing Mung Bean Sprouts

Mung bean sprouts are prolific. You only need a couple of tablespoons of seeds to get a HUGE crop. In the video they use about 2/3 cups of seeds – unless your family LOVES bean sprouts, start with couple tablespoons. You can always sprout more often.

She also is meticulous about putting the seeds in the colander, just dump them in, it will be okay.

Incorporating Microgreens Into Your Life

Growing microgreens is a lifestyle in the winter for some of us. We just incorporate it into our weekly chores. You can add these bits of deliciousness into soups, salads, meatloaf. It is a great way to get added nutrition to your families diet while the garden pickins are slim.

Get the kids involved. I find if the kids are part of the process they are more likely to eat the sprouts too.

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Why Raw Goat Milk – Should You Be Drinking Goat Milk?

raw goat milk

Raw Goat Milk - should you really be drinking it? #goatmilk #raw milkRaw goat milk is all the rage in the more natural “hippie” groups that share our planet, and you may be wondering why. “Well, let me tell you”, says Hart Nana, smiling…

Why Drink Raw Goat Milk

Raw goat milk called the “universal milk” because it is easily digestible, garners fans around the world. Having fat smaller than that of, say, cow’s milk it naturally mixes more evenly throughout the milk.  Because the fat globules are smaller they are easier to digest and they stay suspended in the milk so there is no need for homogenization.  I think that raw goat milk should be labeled “best next to mother’s own”, but that is just my opinion. Being natural you don’t have to worry about all of the chemicals that constitute the majority of baby formulas on the market. Have you ever considered that a baby goat is much closer in size to a human than a baby cow? That alone, should convince you drinking cow’s milk is probably not in  your best interest.

Benefits of Goat Milk

Raw goat milk provides the nutritional benefits of calcium, amino acids, protein, phosphorus, riboflavin, potassium, vitamin A,  along with other vitamins and minerals.

Long favored by cattle owners and even equestrian farms when the mom’s are unable to feed their babies, raw goat milk provides the best substitute. People, too,  make baby formula out of raw goat milk. Because there are a couple difference between raw goat milk and mother’s milk, a few extras need to be added. This goat milk formula put together by the doctors Sears includes pasteurized goat milk because there are many who want to use goat milk for their baby formula but do not have goats.

Use Goat Milk Topically

There are many benefits to using goat’s milk topically. As it is easy to incorporate into soap this this recipe, you can take advantage of these benefits daily.

  1. Maintains thе ѕkіnѕ’ рH level.
  2. Prevents ѕkіn рrоblеmѕ.
  3. Mоіѕturіzеr fоr ѕеnѕіtіvе ѕkіn.

Goat Milk Baby Formula Recipes

Goat’s Milk Recipes

Note: Always consult your healthcare provider before feeding any recipes to infants as a formula. Raw (unpasteurized) goat milk may be unsafe for infants, so be sure to use a pasteurized brand.

(12 oz container) Powdered Goat Milk
6 Scoops (84 g)
36 oz.
Rice Syrup
6 ½ Tbsp.
Calories (per oz.)
As baby matures during their first year, gradually increase ratio of powder to water until whole milk level is reached (see below). Discontinue adding rice syrup (carbohydrates).
To reconstitute to Whole Milk
Powdered Goat Milk
8 scoops (112 g)
32 oz.
Calories (per oz.)
Evaporated Goat Milk
12 oz.
24 oz.
Rice Syrup
5 Tbsp.
Calories (per oz.)
As baby matures during their first year, gradually increase ratio of evaporated goat milk to water until whole milk level is reached (see below). Discontinue adding rice syrup (carbohydrates).
To reconstitute to Whole Milk
Evaporated Goat Milk
12 oz
12 oz.
Calories (per oz.)

Alternative carbohydrates include corn syrup and simple table sugar.
Table Sugar = 48 calories per Tbsp.
Corn Syrup = 60 calories per Tbsp.
Rice Syrup = 42 calories per Tbsp.
NOTE: Any time goat milk is the sole source of nutrition, we recommend the feeding of a vitamin supplement. Always consult your healthcare provider before using goat milk formula.

Get Your Milk Tested

If you are going to consume raw milk it is highly recommended that you have your milk tested by the USDA. Though in many states it is illegal to sell raw goat milk for human consumption, in Idaho they offer a small herd exemption. All of our goats are tested and the milk that we sell is tested once a month too.

Lactose Intolerant?

A small note of warning, goat’s milk does have lactose in it so if you are lactose intolerant you might want to start out slowly with it.

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Cattle Raising Beginners Guide To Keeping Cows For Beef

Raising Cattle - beginners guide to keeping beef cattle #cattle #cows #raisingbeef #homesteadbeef

This cattle raising beginners guide to keeping cows for beef will cover how to find a calf and raise it to butchering size. We will look at what types of cattle make the best choice to raise. And we will look at what it takes to raise cattle on a small farm or homestead.

I have raised a couple of steers to maturity on less than an acre. They lived with the rest of the critters in the pen. Not being one who cares what people think, I also staked them out on the trampoline so they could eat the grass. Cows like grass, goats, not so much.

Cattle Raising Beginners Guide – Basics

Raising cattle requires only a few basic things for success. Mainly those things are proper fencing for containment, a source of water and food. Of course  you need the animal or animals too.

Because where we live is dairy country there are always lots of inexpensive calves available. When they are little you can even transport them in a minivan. Their main source of nourishment will be from the bottles you will feed them a couple times a day. If you keep goats too, this is simple. Just give the goat’s milk to the calves. You can purchase cow milk replacer to start your calf out.

The First Three Months

The most crucial part of raising beef cattle by hand has got to be the first three months. Sometimes they get scours (diarrhea). When this happens you may have to tube feed them. And you need to get them electrolytes. While you are feeding them milk, you also need to make sure to offer hay and water and perhaps a bit of grain at all times. The University of Kentucky has put together a good tutorial on raising beef cattle for the first three months.

How To Tube Feed A Calf

Having two people to accomplish this task makes success much more probable. In my experience, you should go ahead and get the electrolyte solution and tube when you pick up your milk replacer. Questioning the people who sell you the calf about colostrum feeding is also important. Don’t purchase calves that have not been given colostrum.

For the first two weeks you need to feed them 1 calf bottle full of milk or replacer 3 times a day. From two weeks to eight weeks you need to feed them twice a day.

This short sweet video will show you how to feed them if you need a holder. Personally I just held the bottle.

Sheltering The Calf

In the beginning your calf will need some shelter. If you have a barn like structure that will work or you can purchase a calf house. If  your plan is to raise cattle regularly then the houses might be a good investment. You can also use them for your goats when  you don’t have baby calves hanging around.

How much space to cows need

How much space cows need is partly dependent on whether you are going to purchase hay to feed them or graze them off your land. In order for them to feed off the land you need about an acre a calf per year. It will take at least two years for the calf to reach maturity. You also need more than one calf if you don’t have sheep or goats to keep it company.

Beginners guide to raising cattle #cows #beef #homesteading

I raised my cows as singles but had many goats and sheep around for company. We even had a llama for a bit. We also kept them in a smaller pen but staked the cow out to graze around the yard. We only had an acre total. It does increase the cost substantially when you are feeding your livestock from hay you have to purchase.

JorVet Oral Calf DrencherJorVet Oral Calf DrencherSx Oral ElectrolyteSx Oral Electrolyte-Quart Nursing Bottle w/Nipple-Quart Nursing Bottle w/NippleLittle Giant 97 2-Quart Calf Bottle HolderLittle Giant 97 2-Quart Calf Bottle Holder

What Do Cows Eat

Cows eat mainly grasses and alfalfa. Usually farmers who raise cattle also farm alfalfa fields to winter the cattle over once the snow falls. Of course in our area, the deer also feast on the alfalfa and hay left out for the cattle. This might go without saying, but I’ll say it anyway. Straw and hay are not the same thing.

Straw is the stalks from grain and hay is alfalfa plants. Straw is great for bedding as it has wonderful insulating properties. Just not so much in the nutrition category. Quality hay is important for growing quality beef. You will also supplement with grains.

What Are The Different Types Of Beef Cattle

Around here we focus on two types of cattle. Angus, a bit more pricey but has more in the meat to bone ration than the other type, Holsteins. The Holsteins are the most common cattle found around here for individuals interested in raising beef. You can tell them by looking for the black and white markings. Angus are mostly dark in color. Personally we just raised Holsteins as they are cheap and easy to acquire in these here parts.

Best cattle choice for homesteading #homesteading #cattle #beefcattle #raisingbeef cattle

But there are plenty of other cattle breeds out there. Along with Angus and Holstein, there are Herefords, Galloways, Jerseys, and even a few dual-purpose breeds such as Dexters and Shorthorns. Each individual cow will have its own temperament, environment requirements, and needs, so do your research and figure out which breed will be best for you and your family. To learn more about a variety of different cattle breeds, check out this article from

Best Fencing For Raising Cattle

Cattle are pretty satisfied with electric fencing or even woven wire fences. If they are raised in an area where they can test the fence and it gives them negative feed back you don’t have to worry too much about them escaping. However if you have a gate and they can get out, they will find it.  Mine used to escape. Being the barrier of food my cows would RUN at me. Talk about terrifying! I used to have to get my son, who is fearless, to go round them up.

How Long Does It Take To Raise Cattle

Usually it takes at least 2 years to raise a beef to maturity. The last three months or so you want to up the grain ration to make sure you get some good marbling. In the future I plan to work with a friend who also wants home grown beef. We will get 1 calf each year. That way every year we can butcher a steer to split while still having a cow coming up for the next year.  We plan to do this with sheep too.

How Do You Get A Cow Butchered

The last part of our cattle raising beginners guide has to do with getting it to the table. How do you get a cow butchered? You can butcher a cow yourself. Or you can take it to your local butcher and have them do it. I opt for the taking them to a butcher option. If you are hard core you can follow these directions and do it yourself. Personally dressing out a deer is a big project for me. The idea of processing a whole steer is WAY to daunting.

How To Slaughter A Steer Humanly

You need to be signed into youtube in order to watch this video. The taking of any animals life is pretty traumatic. I believe if we all processed our own meat we would eat WAY less of it. Notice at the end that he has a tractor. Once that 1300 pound animal is dead  you aren’t moving it very far without help. The easiest way to butcher an animal is if it is hanging.

Once you have slaughtered your beef this video will show you how to make cuts of meat you recognize.

There you have it! Your cattle raising beginners guide to keep cows for beef.

Storey's Guide to Raising Beef Cattle, 3rd EditionStorey’s Guide to Raising Beef Cattle, 3rd EditionRaising Beef Cattle For DummiesRaising Beef Cattle For DummiesBeef Cattle: Keeping a Small-Scale Herd for Pleasure and Profit (Hobby Farms)Beef Cattle: Keeping a Small-Scale Herd for Pleasure and Profit (Hobby Farms)Raising Beef Cattle For Beginner's GuideRaising Beef Cattle For Beginner’s GuideThe Backyard Homestead Guide to Raising Farm Animals: Choose the Best Breeds for Small-Space Farming, Produce Your Own Grass-Fed Meat, Gather Fresh ... Rabbits, Goats, Sheep, Pigs, Cattle, & BeesThe Backyard Homestead Guide to Raising Farm Animals: Choose the Best Breeds for Small-Space Farming, Produce Your Own Grass-Fed Meat, Gather Fresh … Rabbits, Goats, Sheep, Pigs, Cattle, & Bees

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Fodder Feeding System For Backyard Chickens – Stupid Simple

Fodder feeding system for backyard chickens

Recently the fodder feeding system for backyard chickens has come under my radar. Since this system is pro ported to save money while still producing quality eggs I thought I MUST try this!

A few months ago I started sprouting grains for my family’s consumption so when I discovered that the fodder feeding system for backyard chickens was so similar it seemed like a no brainer to implement.

Having only 9 chickens at the moment and the fact that it is February as I write this tutorial this fodder feeding system for backyard chickens is going to be a cheap nutritious way to feed chickens. It won’t take much time daily either.

Pin for later reference

>How To Set Up A Fodder Feeding System For Backyard Chickens

Starting with 8 buckets. I drilled holes in 6 of them. About 10 to 12 holes in the bottom of each. My buckets are dollar tree specials so don’t try to drill a hole in the very center as they tend to break. Having some left over screen material from creating dehydrator trays I just used to that to cover the hole I made learning that one should drill the center of cheap buckets.

The screen protecting the hole in the bottom of my bucket.

Having 2 buckets that don’t have holes allows for one to catch the water as it drains and one to soak the seeds for 24 hours.

Here is the whole process. Get your 8 buckets. Drill holes in 6 of the buckets to allow for drainage. Day one add a cup or two of grains to one of the 2 buckets without holes. In my case I added oats, wheat and a few sunflower seeds. Cover grain with water.

Day two, drain the day one bucket into a bucket with holes. That bucket needs to be stacked in the other bucket without holes. Repeat the day one soaking process. Keep repeating this process until all of your buckets are full. Once you reach day 7 your day 1 fodder should be ready to feed.

>Keeping The Mold Down Naturally For Fodder Feeding System

Many people put Clorox bleach in their soak water, but I have found that food grade hydrogen peroxide keeps the mold down and is not adding chloride to the feed system. The 3% solution in a spray bottle works great. (This is exactly what I use)

It takes about 6 days for my sprouts to be ready to feed, which works out great because on the 7th day I run out of buckets. For now I am feeding sprouted wheat and oats and a few sunflower seeds. I would like to find some peas that haven’t been treated for more protein to add to the mix.

This simple fodder feeding system for backyard chickens works great. Because of the cold, my fodder feeding system sits around me in my basement office/grow room.

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Best DIY Mothers Day Gift Ideas-Cheap & Easy To Make

mothers day gifts

The best DIY Mothers Day gift ideas are those designed to match your mom. Tailoring your mothers day gift to the things in life she enjoys will bring a smile to her face and joy to her heart.

While in my experience most moms love spa gift baskets, maybe your mom is different. Maybe your mom loves coffee or to cook or…CHOCOLATE. (Said with that slightly evil tone, under my breath. I LOVE chocolate, and coffee and cooking and spa gift baskets – and I’m a mom) So I feel qualified to give some advice here. Or at least some ideas to get you running.

DIY Mothers Day Gift Basket Ideas

When it comes to gift basket ideas, you don’t have to start with a traditional basket. Think outside the basket. I like to go to the thrift store and find cool containers. Sometimes I find metal boxes or trays to use as the container. Or you could start with an oversized coffee mug, picnic basket, mixing bowl, really the sky is the limit.

The goal is to find the basket/base that will match the feel of the rest of the “stuff” you are going to include. Here are some baskets already put together over on Amazon. Use them to get ideas to make yourself…


Easy DIY Mothers Day Gift Ideas

I like to use easy DIY mothers day gift ideas. Things like an interesting popcorn bowl with bags of microwave popcorn. Maybe a gift certificate to your local movie theater or a gift card to amazon for a movie rental or to. Perhaps you throw in some juju beans or what ever she loves in the candy department.

Wine, cheese and crackers or bread also make a great basket. Don’t forget some lovely stem ware. And maybe a couple cloth napkins and a candle? These could go in a picnic basket that you find at a local thrift store or garage sale foraging.

Homemade Soap Ideas

Homemade soap is my go to thing because I make it. Sometimes I will find interesting soap dishes and use that for the basket.

Don’t Forget Coffee

What mom doesn’t love coffee? Okay well I know a few who aren’t great fans, but I think they could be if they were allowed to indulge. This is an easy DIY mothers day gift to put together.

Find a great coffee blend. Add a funny or sentimental mug. maybe a few chocolates or biscotti – homemade is DaBomb. Voila, there you have it, a gift that will be treasured for sure! Maybe you nestle it in a new bathrobe?


Unique Mothers Day Gift Ideas

Here is a list of unique mothers day gift ideas that you can adjust for your own mom.

Gift certificates for:

  • movies
  • dinner at her favorite restaurant
  • pedicure
  • manicure
  • massage
  • babysitting
  • cleaning service

Garden in a Pot

Put together a beautiful potted plant. Take care in selecting the pot and plants. This year I am getting a lemon/lime tree in a beautiful container that will move in and out of the house.

If your mom likes flowers you could get her a selection for her garden or a potted flower for her house to enjoy all year. Jasmines do well inside and out. And smell divine!

Final Thoughts On DIY Mothers Day Gift Ideas

Ultimately, anything you give your mom will be appreciated. Taking the time to find something that is personal is, as American Express puts it, priceless.

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Homemade Goats Milk Soap Recipes Without Lye – Great For Beginners

Homemade goats milk soap recipes without lye for beginners. #homemadesoapforbeginners #homemadesoap #naturalsoapmakingforbeginners @hart_nana

When it comes to homemade goats milk soap recipes without lye melt and pour bases are our friends. Because the base soap has already been created, taking the nasty ole lye part out of the equation, we can focus on making soap fun.

All of these homemade goats milk soap recipes without lye start with the same base.

Goats Milk Soap BAseGoats Milk Soap Base


There are a few other things you will need for making homemade goats milk soap recipes without lye too. You need soap molds for sure and a few other odds n ends you might want would be:

  • Essential Oils
  • Colorants
  • Additives like flower parts, ground up almonds (almond flour), ground oatmeal, tea particles, coffee grounds, even charcoal.

Homemade goats milk soap recipes without lye for beginners. #homemadesoapforbeginners #homemadesoap #naturalsoapmakingforbeginners @hart_nana

With these few things and an imagination the sky is the limit!


Skin Safe Liquid Soap DyeSkin Safe Liquid Soap DyeNatural soap colorantsNatural soap colorantsNatural soap colorants SamplerNatural soap colorants SamplerOzera 6 Cavities Silicone Soap MoldOzera 6 Cavities Silicone Soap MoldRectangular Silicone Soap MoldRectangular Silicone Soap Mold10 Soap Molds Square Silicon10 Soap Molds Square Silicon2- 6 Cavity Silicone Flower Soap Mold2- 6 Cavity Silicone Flower Soap Mold8 Essential Oils Set8 Essential Oils Set14 Essential Oils Set14 Essential Oils Set

Phew, now we are ready. Don’t worry if you don’t have the exact stuff, all brand new. I started making homemade soap by melting down shards of soap and then reforming them into a variety of shapes. Here is a recipe that you can make with stuff you have hanging around so long as you grabbed your goats milk soap base from Amazon, JoAnnes or Michaels.

A couple notes about melt and pour soaps. You do still need to let them harden. But you don’t need to worry about curing. Curing is the process needed to make sure the whole soponification process has been completed and that there isn’t random lye still in the soap.

Orange & Cinnamon Goats Milk Soap Recipes Without Lye

  • Goats Milk Soap Base
  • Orange Essential Oil
  • Cinnamon
  • A Soap Mold

Chop the base up and melt it in the microwave or in a double boiler. I go for the microwave as it is faster & less hassle. Once the base is melted add in about ten drops of orange essential oil per pound of base melted. Add a teaspoon of cinnamon (more if you’d like, or less). Then pour the mixture into your soap mold. After a day or two remove from the mold and let harden for a couple weeks.

Note about soap molds. You can spend money on them but seriously the only thing you need to remember is that they can’t be aluminum. Cardboard is fine. You also need to be able to remove the soap from the mold once it is set. For that wax paper works great. This is why silicon is so popular. Can I tell you how much I love my purple insert for the rectangular wood box mold I finally acquired? So much easier to remove the soap to cut.


homemade goats milk soap recipes without lye require the perfect soap mold. The secret is in the silicon! #soapmakingforbeginners #natural soap making for beginners #homemade soap #soap mold @hart_nana

Lavender Goats Milk Soap Recipe

  • Goats Milk Soap Base
  • Lavender Essential Oil
  • Lavender Buds

Melt the soap base. Add about 10 drops of essential oil per pound of base. Add a table spoon per pound of base (or more if you’d like) to the mixture. Pour into molds. Let dry for a couple weeks

Lavender goats milk soap recipes for beginners. This homemade soap recipe without lye is perfect for beginners. #soapmakingforbeginners #homemadesoap #naturalsoapmaking @hart_nana

Let’s see some pros add the extra touches that can make your homemade goats milk soap recipes without lye special and uniquely yours.

Lavender melt and pour with swirls. Kind of an interesting soap


Pretty n Peach Plumeria

Sea Bar Melt & Pour

This gal is a professional soap maker so don’t get scared off by her industrial size stuff. She will show you how to add layers and get additives to suspend.

You can substitute goats milk soap base for glycerin or even plain soap bases. You can even combine the different soap bases in layers. Making homemade soap without having to mess with lye is as simple as starting with a base. Once you get comfortable with this you might want to try your hand at cold process. Hartnana’s goat milk soap recipe is super easy and forgiving. A great place to start.