Homesteading

Building Our Backyard Homestead

TheHomeschoolingHomestead

My husband and I have always wanted to have our own homestead where we could be as self sufficient as possible, and this year we finally took the leap. We wanted our children to have the opportunity to learn important homesteading and life skills that could help them be more self sufficient in their adult lives. I am so excited to share our homeschooling and homesteading journey with all of you!

We have been working on fencing for the last several weeks and we almost have our goat and chicken lot finished. A few more days of work, and it should be ready to go. We will be getting our garden planted this week, and also finish installing our solar lights. Work on the homestead has been a slow process due to all of the rain we have had recently, but it is finally starting to all come together.

fence

The first animals to join our Homeschooling Homestead were some little chicks from our local Tractor Supply store. We purchased 20 Asian Black chickens, and then decided to add some Rhode Island Reds, and White Leghorns into the mix. We should have a nice egg supply from the amount of hens that we have already, but I do plan on hatching some more eggs in our incubators next spring to add to our coop. We should start getting fresh eggs within the next couple of months and I can’t wait!

Our next venture was to find some goats to join the homestead. After a lot of reading and researching, I decided that I wanted to start with some Nigerian Dwarfs. I wanted something that was good natured, on the smaller side, but could still provide for our dairy needs. After talking to my BFF, Amy, (she is the go-to for all things goats), I decided that the Nigerian Dwarf breed fit the bill, and the search began.

goats

We found our first little doeling, Charlotte, a few hours north of us. She was 12 weeks old when we brought her home. I was able to make contact with a lady who lives locally who also raises goats, and found our second doe, Elsa, as well as our other doeling, TaLula, and little buckling, King Bob. (I love the names the kids’ picked out) Charlotte and Elsa have become the best of friends and are always together. TaLuLa and King Bob are still with their momma on another farm, but will be weaned and ready for us to pick them up the first part of June. We can’t wait to introduce them to their new home here with us. I would like to add a Nubian doe to our herd next Spring, as well as breed our 3 does. (Hoping to have baby goats everywhere come Springtime!)

We plotted off a 50 X 50 area for our garden and had it plowed. Our raised beds have been planted for several weeks now, but we still haven’t been able to get the our seeds in the ground. (I’m hoping the rain holds off just long enough for us to get our garden planted this week) This year we are planting broccoli, cabbage, okra, green peppers, cucumbers, carrots, potatoes, green beans, corn, zucchini, greens, onions, spinach, lettuce, tomatoes, pumpkins, watermelon, cantaloupe, and strawberries. We’ve got some blueberry and blackberry bushes, as well as some rhubarb. We added a couple more apple and nut trees to our small orchard this year, as well as planting some grape vines.

I’ve been working on some barn plans for which we hope to begin building soon, and learning as much as I can about canning and preserving foods from the harvest this year. Though the hours have been long and the work hard and often tedious, our family has enjoyed setting up our little homestead. We are praying for God to bless the soil and our efforts and to provide food and provisions for our family during the harvest. God has truly blessed us, and we are thankful.

Family Food & Fun

Peanut Butter Balls

calories-chocolate-decorative-delicious-1205663.jpg

These peanut butter balls are a holiday favorite in our family. They are so creamy and easy to make! Savor them at home or stash some in a beautiful tin for a gift of sweet treats.

  • 2 cups smooth peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup room temperature butter
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Place these ingredients in a microwave safe bowl and heat for about 1 minute.

  • Stir in 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 2 cups powdered sugar to achieve a stiff consistency (Add up to an additional 1/2 cup if the consistency is too soft)

Roll the dough into 1 inch round balls and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Place these in a freezer for about 30 to an hour.

Melt your chocolate (I usually use candy melts but have also used almond bark) TBSP of shortening or oil to your chocolate to thin the consistency.

Dip your peanut butter balls into the melted chocolate and place them back on the parchment paper to set.

You can store these in plastic Tupperware or even freeze them to pull out at a later time.

For an added decorative touch, add festive sprinkles to your peanut butter balls while the chocolate is still soft.

 

Family Food & Fun

Perfect Pumpkin Bread

 

orange pumpkin near white ceramic mug with seeds
Photo by Jessica Lewis on Pexels.com

FALL…it’s my favorite time of the year! I love EVERYTHING about it…cool crisp nights and crunchy leaves, long sleeve shirts and sweaters, crackling fires with the smell of apples and cinnamon lingering in the air, and anything and everything pumpkin spice related!

Several years ago, my sweet sister friend and I got together with our kids and did a little unit study on pumpkins. As part of our homeschooling unit, she thought it would be fun to bake some pumpkin bread with the kids. She came across a recipe at www.pickyourown.org that we thought we would give a shot. We made our pumpkin puree and tweaked the recipe slightly for our own tastes, and it turned out AMAZING!

I made a batch this past weekend with my kids and it was gone by that evening. We had a blast. 💖 Get in the kitchen with your little ones mama and make some memories (and messes 😉 ) I hope you and your family enjoy it as much as we did.

INGREDIENTS

2 CUPS OF FRESH COOKED PUMPKIN OR A 16 OZ. CAN OF CANNED PUMPKIN

3 1/2 CUPS OF ALL-PURPOSE FLOUR

photo of pumpkin surrounded by flowers
Photo by Chris F on Pexels.com

2 TSP BAKING SODA

3 CUPS OF SUGAR

4 EGGS BEATEN

1 CUP VEGETABLE OIL

1 AND 1/2 TSP SALT

2 TSP CINNAMON

2 TSP NUTMEG

1/2 TEASPOON ALLSPICE

1 CUP CHOPPED PECANS (OPTIONAL)

WATER: 1/2 CUP IF USING FRESH COOKED PUMPKIN OR 2/3 CUP IF USING CANNED PUMPKIN


 

PREHEAT YOUR OVEN TO 350 DEGREES F.

COMBINE AND MIX TOGETHER THE FLOUR, BAKING SODA, SALT, CINNAMON, ALLSPICE, NUTMEG, AND SUGAR.

ADD IN THE EGGS, WATER, OIL, AND PUMPKIN PUREE AND STIR UNTIL ALL INGREDIENTS ARE COMBINED WELL.

POUR BATTER INTO 2 LIGHTLY GREASED 9X5 LOAF PANS.

BAKE FOR AROUND 50 MINUTES AND CHECK FOR DONENESS WITH A TOOTHPICK IN THE MIDDLE. BAKE AN ADDITIONAL 10-15 MINUTES IF NEEDED.

REMOVE THE LOAF PANS FROM THE OVEN AND ALLOW TO COOL FOR AT LEAST 10 MINUTES.

TURN PUMPKIN BREAD OUT ONTO COOLING RACKS AND LET THEM FINISH COOLING BEFORE SLICING. (IF YOU CAN WAIT THAT LONG).

THIS BREAD FREEZES WONDERFULLY, SO IF YOU MAKE UP MORE THAN YOU CAN USE AT ONE TIME, JUST POP IT IN THE FREEZER AND PULL IT OUT FOR ANOTHER DAY.

 

 

 

Family Food & Fun

Homemade Oatmeal Crème Pies

64910190_2648229305195785_7838719703550787584_o

My husband had a bit of a sweet tooth last night, so I made a batch of these oatmeal crème pies up. This was my first time using this recipe, and I was really impressed with how well they turned out… and how easy they were to make! (They tasted pretty amazing too)

Cream together:

  •      1 cup of brown sugar
  •      1/2 cup of melted butter
  •      1 large egg
  •      1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Add in:

  •      1 cup of all purpose flour (up to an additional 1/2 cup of flour may be needed      depending on the consistency of your cookie batter)
  •      1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
  •      1 1/2 teaspoons of cocoa powder
  •      1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
  •      1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
  •      1/4 teaspoon of salt

 

Mix all ingredients together thoroughly.

Add in 1 cup of rolled oats and incorporate them throughout your cookie batter.

 

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Using a spoon, form and shape cookie dough balls and place on a non-stick pan, being sure to leave plenty of room for the cookies to expand.

Lightly round the cookies with your fingers after placing them on your pan.

Bake cookies for 8-10 minutes.

Remove them from the oven and allow them to cool for about 5 minutes. Remove the cookies from the pan and place them on a cooling rack to finish cooling completely. In the meantime, you can begin to mix up your crème filling.

For the crème filling you will need:

  • 1 cup of vegetable shortening
  • 1 cup of powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
  • 1 jar of marshmallow fluff

Mix these until well blended and a creamy texture is achieved.

After your cookies have cooled completely, you can begin assembling your oatmeal crème pies. Take two equally sized cookies and spoon on some crème in between them. For a neater appearance, you can pipe the crème in in between instead.

You can eat them immediately, put them in a Ziploc bag to take along in your lunchbox or a picnic outing, or you can place them in an air tight container to save them for another day.

I hope that you guys like these as much as we did! Be sure to check back often for new recipes and updates. Be blessed friends! ❤