Like many farms, we have a long driveway, and depending on where you’re at in our home, it’s not always easy to tell when someone is coming up the driveway. We’ve talked for years about installing something to alert us to incoming traffic, but didn’t want to run yards of underground wiring to solve the issue. So I’m happy that we recently found and installed a solar-powered device that really seems to work well.
The device is called the Safety Technology International STI-34100 Solar Powered Wireless Driveway Monitor, and it detects when a vehicle enters or leaves the [...]
Continue reading Driveway Monitor
The newest issue of the terrific homesteading magazine “From Scratch” is available online, just click on the button below:
And I’m a contributing author in the magazine, with an article on getting started with goats!
It really is a great magazine with lots of terrific content – check it out and let me know what you think. Also, what would you like to see articles on in future issues?
Planning the barn for a homestead is a very important step, and the better you know exactly what you want to do on your homestead, the better you can design your barn to accomodate your needs before building it. Some important things to consider are how big, siting, flooring, electricity and water, livestock accommodations, feed storage, and handling manure. We could have done a better job of planning, so these are some things to think about and lessons learned.
Our barn is 28′ x 46′, and when it was built, I never imagined that we’d outgrow it. However, with 5 dairy goats and more on the way, [...]
Continue reading The Homestead Barn (Important Questions Before Building)
We recently had the opportunity to visit Italy (part pleasure, part business); but wouldn’t have been able to go without the help of friends – who did a great job farm sitting while we were gone. When we just had cats and chickens, it wasn’t so much work; but now that we have goats too, it’s a morning and evening commitment of significant time every day. With everyone’s’ busy schedule, that can be hard to do, but we sure appreciate the help. This magnificent glass horse in Venice was the closest thing to livestock we saw the entire vacation.
If you’re interested in getting farm animals, [...]
Continue reading Farm Sitters
Rather than writing a post of “how-to” or farm news today, there are several exciting promotional things I’ve come across recently and wanted to share:
Bread Bake Off - the Farm Chicks have gotten together our best bread recipes for a bake-off. There’s nothing better than fresh-baked bread; and the button below will take you to a collection of over 20 of our favorites (with detailed step by step instructions):
15% Off Farm Merchandise - Hobby Hill Farm has generously offered a 15% discount on all merchandise for Better Hens and Gardens readers. They’re the official outfitter for the Farm Chicks, and have a wonderful selection of farm related [...]
Continue reading 15% Off, Free Mag., Rewards Program, Contest, & Bread Bake-Off
2012 was again a good year on the farm, sometimes I forget all the great things that happened, so it’s nice to pause and look back.
Kauai, Hawaii – The year started off with a two-week vacation in late January to Kauai. We celebrated our 30th anniversary, rented/shared a gorgeous home on the ocean with family, and went swimming, snorkeling, golfing, horseback riding, and ziplining. While there, we also toured a small dairy goat farm that produces local cheese and honey for the island - it was very farm inspirational. And, of course, we enjoyed all the wild chickens!
Goats – Springtime brought [...]
Continue reading 2012 – A Very Good Farm Year!
As we’re preparing for winter around the farm, it’s tempting to “clean-up” the perennial borders by cutting all the weedy stalks and seed heads off. But, by doing less and leaving medium to tall perennials in place, we can provide winter food for the birds and observe them more too.
Leave perennials like asters, black-eyed Susans, butterfly weed, coneflowers, Joe-Pye weed, oat grass, and goldenrod standing in the fall garden after they finish blooming. Cardinals, finches, and sparrows will harvest seed while clinging to the stalks; and juncos or towhees will harvest seed from the ground.
Even after the seeds have all been harvested, the spent perennials still provide nourishment for the birds. Chickadees, [...]
Continue reading Keep Stalky Perennials to Feed Birds
I’m thankful for my husband, family, friends, job, and all that makes up Bramblestone Farm; but, the farm has made me appreciate some simple things that we sometimes don’t even recognize as the blessings they are.
Now that we’ve been harvesting, butchering, milking, and making so much of our own food; I have a much greater appreciation for where our food is coming from and how much work really goes into it. On a small farm, it takes a lot of time and work to milk animals, tend the fields, raise chickens, tend bees; and then to turn the raw materials into food.
So, this [...]
Continue reading Thanksgiving – Counting Simple Blessings
Bramblestone Farm has a new Facebook page – please “Like” it here if you’re a Facebook fan!
I thought it would be better late than never to get going on Facebook. But, then I read this:
So, we’ll just see what happens………………
As we built this house, barn, pastures, etc.; we found so many stones (more like boulders) that we named the place Bramblestone Farm (see The Bramblestone Farm Story). Today, I’m happy to say that we put those stones to good use (you know, if you get lemons, make lemonade – well, we got stones, so we made a wall).
The first picture to the right shows the side view of the finished dry-stacked stone wall – it’s four feet high by one hundred and twenty feet long, and it’s holding back what was once a nasty bank.
The second picture to the right shows more of a top [...]
Continue reading Bramblestone Wall
We were fortunate to visit the beautiful island of Kauai over the past several weeks; and it was just gorgeous - it truly feels like you’re in paradise. We did a lot of relaxing things while there – snorkeling, hiking, horseback riding, and whale watching to name a few; but we also visited several farms (mostly organic) to see if we could learn new techniques or ideas that would apply here.
One farm in particular was very exciting for us, Kauai Kunana Dairy. They’ve worked at it for quite a few years (originally started in 1979) and now produce artisan goat cheese, goat milk products (soap & hair/skin care products), certified organic produce, [...]
Continue reading Farm Inspiration
During colder months when there are fewer seeds and berries available for the wild birds, we enjoy feeding and observing them; but we like to stay warm and toasty too. Fortunately, there’s a window seat overlooking a protected nook that’s perfect for this, and we put a variety of seed and suet in feeders there to attract the birds.
Each species of bird has different seed preferences, so the type of seed offered can be customized to attract specific birds:
Cracked corn – cardinals, doves, grosbeaks, sparrows
Black Oil Sunflower or Sunflower – many birds
Peanuts – blue jays, nuthatches, titmice, woodpeckers, wrens
Thistle – finches
Safflower – cardinals, chickadees, [...]
Continue reading Feeding Wild Birds (& Homemade Suet Recipe)
Now that we have a Bramblestone Farm logo (see Farm Logo), we want to make labels for sale items; but, labels are expensive (unless you’re going to buy about a million of them). So, I decided we should standardize as much as possible on one label (for quantity buying) and that for jams/jellies/pickles, etc. it should be a round label that fits the top of standard canning jars.
The logic for using a top label (rather than side) is that it shouldn’t be necessary to change the label size when jar sizes change, labels won’t have to be soaked off re-usable canning jars, canning jar lids can’t be reused anyway, and we [...]
Continue reading Product Labeling Decisions