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Living The Homestead Life Becoming Self Sufficient Is a Process

living the homestead life

Reflecting back I’ve come to realize that living the homestead life is a process of becoming self sufficient.

When I first started this journey, I had no idea goats had no upper teeth. Or how to make bread from scratch.I had not clue whether you needed a rooster to get chicken eggs. Or how to incubate and raise baby chicks. There are so many things that I have learned over the last decade. I look forward to sharing what I have learned and continue to learn with you.

How I got Started Living The Homestead Life

My father in law bought me a copy of Carla Emery’s book, The Encyclopedia of Country Living years ago. At the back of the book is a test.  A sort of living the homesteading life have you become self sufficient yet test. Looking at the test now, I know how to do everything she has listed. This wasn’t the case when I first got the book though.

The Backyard HomesteadThe Backyard HomesteadGet it HereThe Encyclopedia of Country LivingThe Encyclopedia of Country LivingGet it HereHomesteading From ScratchHomesteading From ScratchGet it HereHomesteadingHomesteadingGet it Here

Enjoying the journey

Much like gardening, becoming self sufficient is a process of adding to the knowledge you are gleaning, making adaptations, talking to old timers and finding out what works for you.

There are many people who live in urban settings. Urban homesteads are becoming popular. Gone are the days when you needed acres of land to produce enough food for your family. Many are doing it with a normal quarter to third acre lot in the middle of big cities. Some even homestead on roof tops!

Once we retire, my husband and I will be homesteading from a 5th wheel. Think it can’t be done? There are so many ways to grow food and a couple chickens don’t take up that much space.

As with everything you do in life, you need to make the decision that homestead life is the lifestyle you wish to lead. Becoming more self sufficient will naturally move you towards a more natural way of life. One of the perks is that you will find you health improves as you eat more homegrown food.

One of the things I love the most about living the homestead life is that  there is always something new to learn, explore, enjoy. There are stories that grow from the journey. It is a good life. So satisfying to know that should everything collapse tomorrow, you will be part of the solution not adding to the problem.

Along the way you meet other like minded individuals who share your passion for different aspects of the country life.

There are a ton of places to find specific information about living the homestead life. If you are just beginning your journey, even if you are living in the city, I highly recommend that you get a copy of The Encyclopedia of Country Living, a hard copy, so that you have a solid reference book should you be without power.

Pick one thing at a time to focus on. I started with chickens. They are easy to raise. They don’t take much in terms of shelter and they produce eggs (and meat if you aren’t too squeamish). With all of the messing going on with the food supply, I feel much more comfortable “knowing” the meat I eat.

As you get comfortable with your first accomplishment, move on to another self sufficient living skill and conquer it. Before you know it, you will be living the homestead life too.

fairy gardenfairy gardenGet it HereIndoor wall planterIndoor wall planterGet it Here5 Tier Stackable Strawberry5 Tier Stackable StrawberryGet it HereIndoor Herb GardenIndoor Herb GardenGet it HereGourment Herb GardenGourment Herb GardenGet it Here

Come join us over on Facebook follow along on our living the homestead life adventures.

 

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Spider Goats In Cache Valley

clone babies

I almost could not believe there was such a thing as spider goats. The gals over at the University of Idaho extension office told me about them. Also they mentioned that they lived here in Cache Valley. And we could go and see them. This totally blew me away.

 

Handmade Goat Milk SoapHandmade Goat Milk SoapUnscented Goat Milk SoapUnscented Goat Milk SoapHandmade Goat Milk & Honey SoapHandmade Goat Milk & Honey SoapBeekman 1802 Goat Milk SoapBeekman 1802 Goat Milk Soap

What are spider goats? They are genetically modified goats. Scientists spliced into the normal goat DNA a gene for producing orb spider silk.  So now when these goats are milked the silk protein can be isolated and spun into silk.

 Science Nation Explains Spider Goats

According to the students who manage the spider goats, and do the milking, the average amount of silk gleaned from one liter of milk is three milliliters of silk. Apparently spider silk is some of the strongest natural fibers around. Which makes sense, do you remember the last time you got “stuck” in a web? The program includes some spider goats that are cloned and some that are bred naturally.

The results are that about half of the naturally bred goats end  up with the spider silk gene. While, of course, 100% of the cloned goats produce silk. There are a variety of goats used as surrogates to carry the cloned goats, though Saneens are the goat breed chosen for the spider goat project here in the valley, The project, when it was started in Canada used Spanish Goats. Apparently they are really good mothers.

Spider Goats, what are they and why do they exist?

I’m not sure how I feel about all of this splicing and cloning going on. From a scientific point of view I find it fascinating. You’ve got to ask yourself, who sits around thinking, “hmm why don’t we just make silk out of goat’s milk”, right?

Other Weird Ways Of Growing Silk

Even more strange perhaps is that the Biological Engineers (yes, they are really called that) have found a strain of e coli that they use to produce silk! They grow the bacteria then rupture it. They capture the tumor that is the silk!

I was talking with this young woman from 4H heading off to Utah State this year. Her plans include becoming a Biological Engineer.  She has been over to the silk labs quite often this summer. And gave me all sorts of really interesting information on the uses of this silk.

For starters the reason they want spider silk instead of silk worm silk is that it is about 500 times stronger.  Silk worms give off their silk by way of cocooning. It takes a whole lot of silk worms, mulberry leaves and people with cast iron stomachs to produce silk that way. Once when I was younger, and lived in Japan, we went on a field trip to a silk factory. The smell haunts me to this day.

Think

Paper plant?

Rotten cabbage?

Truly it is gross.

There are many uses for this silk being stronger than Kevlar it has military applications. Also because of the fine structure it makes great tools in the medical field. One of the ideas is to splice in good, natural antibiotic DNA into the silk production and use the silk for sutures.

spider goat baby

As a person who like the more natural things in life, the idea that we take food and make it something else and then take chemicals and call it food, kind of bothers me.

What do you think about all of this?

 

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4H Making Goats Milk Lotion With The Girls

What a great experience we had last night making goats milk lotion with the 4H gals here in town.  Such a fun group of young girls who love and adore goats and making stuff out of goats milk.

We haven’t had any goat stuff going on at the Franklin Country Fair in many  years (maybe never) because Cache Valley is primarily a Dairy Producing community.  I used to wonder about the production of milk and cheese then I moved here. Wow, there are dairies every where!

When I first got my goats, Marsha and Fadra, I didn’t know that much about goats or anyone who actually had goats.  I relied heavily on the internet to answer all of my questions, especially when it came time for the babies to be born. Man, I was a wreck. Not only had I not had that much experience with birth in general, well except for having my own five children, but I really didn’t know that much about goats!
I remember going out to the goat shed in the wee hours of the morning in March (a day or so before Easter that year), it was cool and damp out, but not incredible cold as it has been some years when goat birthing happened. Seeing the 3 babies, Faith, Grace and Billy; it was the most wonder gift I had ever experienced. Brings tears to my eyes just remembering that morning, it was magical.  Fadra actually had 4 babies that night, one of them was born dead. That was my first experience with goats and birthing.
Fadra went on to have problems often giving birth, I think because she usually had 3 or 4 babies at a time. Over the years I have learned to deal with her quirky birthing process. She died last year. It was a pretty sad day for me.
We are going to go see spider goats in a couple weeks! Apparently the University has injected some goats with spider DNA so that they can spin silk from the goat milk.  We will have more details once we investigate and will be sharing the whole experience with you! Until then enjoy your goat’s milk soap making experiences this summer while there is an abundance of goat’s milk to be had, everywhere, it seems to me.

#KW1# has been widely written about over the internet. We tried to collect some really authentic facts about #KW1#, to help you with genuine information on it. In case you would like more information on #KW1#, take a look at our other articles on the topic too.

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Marsha The Good Goat Is Coming Home Tomorrow!

marsha the good goat

You may be saying, “who is Marsha, and why should I care”, at this point. Well, let me tell you. Marsha (the good goat) has been on lone this summer to some good friends in Paradise (a beautiful place as the name implies) who wanted to have fresh goat’s milk and make soap themselves.  They built a beautiful little shack for her but soon discovered that she was too lonely to leave in their yard alone, with only the cows next door for company. She was moved to a field near my friends home where she has been visiting with goat friends. A much happier goat, Marsha has been enjoying the summer frolicking and producing lots of good goat’s milk.

Tomorrow we, my kids and I, are going to go and pick her up to bring her back home to her own little circle of friends. This summer we farmed out many of our goats to friends as I wanted a break from milking but still wanted my girls.  When I go out back, mostly there are babies in the pen. We have six goats right now, here, two males I traded for, one male that was born at the same time as my grand daughter, two little females from the spring birthing and Betty Sue, one of the three goats I purchased last year to expand the lines in my herd. (I gave her mom and sister to a dear friend who needed fresh goats as the herd she had had gotten sick and died off).

The rest of Marsha’s buddies will be making their way home through out the fall. Her best-est buddy, Fadra, died this summer. Very sad day. She and Marsha were the two goats we started with. They will always be special to me.  Marsha’s picture is the one on the banner. She is a Saneen.

Well enough rambling for today…go make goats milk soap in celebration! Or better yet, buy some already made over at Hart Nana’s Store. (if you decide to purchase soap through the store, please email me at davenjilli (at) gmail.com and let me know, I have been having some hick ups with the store interface)

 

 

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My Goat Has Died!

my goat has diedSadly it is true, my goat has died. She is one of the three first goats I got several years ago and is the mother of half of my herd.

She was fairly old when I got her so I believe she died of old age. Fadra was probably eleven or twelve years old. Such a sweet goat, she will be missed.  Her two daughters, Faith and Grace, continue on. They are both wonderful goats with interesting personalities.

Farewell Fadra…perhaps you are in heaven even now.

#KW1# has been widely written about over the internet. We tried to collect some really authentic facts about #KW1#, to help you with genuine information on it. In case you would like more information on #KW1#, take a look at our other articles on the topic too.