Cheese 101: Homemade Goat (or Cow) Milk Cheese

The Easiest Homemade Cheese via Better Hens and Gardens

This cheese is so easy anybody can do it, and it's delicious too. Since we have goats, I use goat milk for this cheese, but it works with cow milk just as well. The recipe is also very forgiving, if you overheat it or underheat it a little, it still  turns out fine. Also, the times for sitting and hanging seem to be fairly flexible; however, the longer it sits after about 8 hours, then the tangier it seems to get. The ingredients are … [Continue reading]

Simple Saturdays Blog Hop 6/27/15

simple saturdays egg button

Join us for ideas on living a Simple Lifestyle and being Self Sufficient! Welcome to Simple Saturdays Blog Hop! This blog hop is brought to you by a group of wonderful co-hosts committed to the Simple way of Life and learning to be Self Reliant in all they do.  Simple Saturdays Blog Hop is a way for each of us to share the various ways we are learning to be more Self Reliant in our homes and on our land. This is all about … [Continue reading]

Drying Lavender

How To Dry Lavender via Better Hens and Gardens

The lavender is blooming now, so it's time to start drying it - I love having it around for sachets and crafts.  It's well known for its insect repellant properties and we love the fragrance. There's really nothing difficult about drying lavender - simply gather the flowering stems just as the flowers start to open and hang in small bunches to dry.  When cutting the stems, be sure to leave a few inches of green … [Continue reading]

Swarm Season – Hiving Honey Bee Swarms

Swarm Season via Better Hens and Gardens

This is the time of year in our area that the honey bees start swarming. They've been active since spring and there has been lots of good bloom going on, so the hives have grown and some are becoming crowded. As soon as a queen notices her hive's becoming a little crowded, she'll lay some queen cells and when one hatches out, she leaves and takes part of the original hive with her in a "swarm". I was working down in our garden (which our hives … [Continue reading]

Dairy Goat Show Fun

Goat Show Fun Collage via Better Hens and Gardens

We don't make showing the goats a priority since I believe that linear appraisal and milk production testing are more reliable measures of the quality of stock that you're breeding; however, we occasionally attend a show because they're fun and educational.  At goat shows, unlike some other types of animal shows, the judges are required to give the reasons they placed one animal over the other. So, by watching the placement of the goats … [Continue reading]

Goat Herd Hierarchy: The Herd Queen

Herd Hierarchy Collage via Better Hens and Gardens

Every goat-herd has a defined social hierarchy (pecking order), and the number one female goat in that hierarchy is the herd queen.  She’s the dominant doe in the herd, and as such, she gets first choice of food, sleeping spot, and anything else considered desirable by goats (in a dairy herd, she’ll want to be milked first).  Every other doe in the herd has a specific dominant order below her, and gets access to the best items … [Continue reading]

Sweet Potato Sausage Soup

Sweet Potato Sausage Soup via Better Hens and Gardens

The local feed and seed supply called today to say that the sweet potato slips were in for planting, and it reminded me that I wanted to share this recipe. After learning to make this soup (which we absolutely love), I always make sure we plant lots of sweet potatoes. This is a simple farm recipe from my friend Amy, that is nutrient rich (sweet potatoes are very good for you), hearty, and uses only a few ingredients. Even though it's simple, … [Continue reading]

Growing Potatoes: The Lazy Bed Method + Improvements

Growing Potatoes Collage via Better Hens and Gardens

Note: Several readers have requested posts on topics that have already appeared here - this is one of those posts that has been updated and republished. Since originally writing on how to grow potatoes using this method, we've made a couple of changes that gave us much better yields (see "Growing Potatoes: The Lazy Bed Method - IMPROVED!"), so I've incorporated those options into the method outlined below.  Potatoes are such an easy and … [Continue reading]

Making French-Style Cream Cheese

Making French Style Cream Cheese collage via Better Hens and Gardens

It's very easy to make this soft cheese; and it can be used in so many ways - it's the one homemade cheese that I think anyone with dairy animals should know how to make.  It can be used in any recipe that uses cream, farmer, or other soft cheese; and it freezes well so you can make cheese when milk is plentiful and preserve it for use when there's no milk.   It can be made with milk … [Continue reading]

Hillbilly Beans

Hillbilly Beans via Better Hens and Gardens

I like to make most things from scratch; but this is a quick, put-together dish that's great for so many potluck or party situations.  Everyone always seems to love it.  It can be varied infinitely and there are many versions out there - we use Stephanie's version. I find that this dish works in almost any situation or season, it always disappears! Whether it's a main dish or a side I'm not sure, but I guess … [Continue reading]