Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Signs of spring

Even though we really have not had much of a winter, we are finally beginning to see some signs of spring. Little blades of grass are starting to peek through, some fruit trees are beginning to bud out, and one of the geese has started to sit on her eggs.

She has taken to sitting on them more regularly but she does not sit on them all day. We have put the roosters up so they can't bother her and we can leave the pen open. If the roosters are out they like to go into her nest and uncover the eggs. Not to mention that they will try to jump on the female geese as well as the hens!

She doesn't like it when we get too close and tries to hide her head so we can't see her. I have read that not all female geese will sit on the eggs. Usually one or two will lay the eggs and one will sit on them. So far we have only noticed two of the females laying eggs and the one that is sitting appears to be laying more often.

I have finally found a book about domestic geese that I want to get. It is very difficult to find a lot of information about raising geese online so we are trying to let her do what comes naturally until we can learn more. The geese are fun to watch and they do have a certain elegance and grace to them especially when they are on the water.

We did get a little snow recently and it was the first that the birds have seen. The geese did not seem to be bothered by it at all and went about their usual routine of getting breakfast and then heading back to the pond. The chickens however took a little longer to venture out. Geese are pretty hardy birds and don't seem to be bothered by very much. And of course the eggs are great!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

One coop down...

We finally completed another project in the last month or so. The small chicken coop is officially done and useable. It doesn't look very pretty but the chickens seem happy with it. Hopefully I can  make it look a little nicer whenever we can get some siding to go on it.

My husband built this using all reclaimed materials. We bought the window but it was from a Habitat for Humanity store. The chickens seem to be happy with the fact that they can sit on their roost and look outside. The door that leads inside is on the end that you can see in the picture. If you look carefully you can see the handle on the door. And yes, he built that too. Not a bad job if I do say so myself!

This is the inside of the coop. The black milk crates sitting on the left are what we use for the chickens nesting boxes. Right now they are sitting on the floor but eventually we will put in a shelf or two to set them on. The stair looking thing is the roost. This is only temporary because we plan on insulating the coop. When that is finished then we will put in a roost that will rest on boards attached to the walls.

The posts are in for the fence but we still have to get the fencing material. So for now the girls are enjoying roaming the yard because the boys have been put in jail. In other words we have separated them and the girls seem very happy about the whole thing. And just for a laugh, here is a picture of one of the girls hitching a ride on my husband's shoulder.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

TPH Episode 40

Welcome back Homesteaders! Today we are going to talk about how to start your own seeds and give you a little history about tomatoes. And for those of you who like paranormal romances, stay tuned at the end of the show for a book review!

Seed Starting


Fresh Salsa

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Yield: Makes 2 to 3 Cups


  • 4 medium tomatoes, cored, seeds removed, chopped
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons finely chopped sweet onion or yellow onion
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons minced jalapeno or serrano pepper
  • 2 heaping tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • salt and pepper, to taste


In a bowl, combine all ingredients and stir to blend.
Cover and refrigerate until serving time.

Homemade Ketchup
This homemade ketchup takes time, but the final result is well worth the effort. I start this the day before, then I refrigerate the tomato pulp and liquid mixture to boil down and process the next day.


  • 1 1/2 teaspoons celery seeds
  • 2 teaspoons whole cloves
  • 1 (3- to 4-inch) cinnamon stick, broken into small pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole allspice berries
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 1/2 cups cider vinegar
  • 12 pounds tomatoes, cored and coarsely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 small hot red pepper, finely chopped, or 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons pickling salt


Put the celery seeds, cloves, cinnamon, allspice, and mustard seeds in a cheesecloth bag. Tie up and set aside.

In a small stainless steel or enamel-lined saucepan, combine the vinegar and spice bag. Bring to a full boil. Remove from heat and let stand for 25 minutes. Remove the spice bag and discard. Set the vinegar aside.

In a large stainless steel or enamel-lined kettle (at least 8 to 12 quart size), combine the chopped tomatoes, garlic, onion, and red pepper or cayenne. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue at a gently boil, stirring frequently, for 25 minutes. Add the spiced vinegar to the tomato mixture and continue cooking, stirring frequently, for 30 minutes longer.

Drain the tomatoes into a large stainless steel saucepan, then put them through a food mill to extract as much juice and pulp into the saucepan as possible. Discard the solids. Add sugar and salt to the extracted pulp and juices. At this point, you can refrigerate this mixture overnight and finish the next day. Bring the tomato pulp mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low and boil for about 2 hours, or until reduced by about 2/3 and thickened to a ketchup consistency.
Meanwhile, prepare the work area, canner, jars, and lids. See Preparing Jars for Canning and Boiling Water Processing.

Fill jars, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Use a small plastic or stainless steel spatula to remove air bubbles, wipe rims with a damp cloth, and fit with lids and seals.

Transfer to a rack in the canner and lower into the hot water. Add more water, as needed, so you have 1 inch over the jars. Cover, bring to a boil, and continue boiling gently for 15 minutes.

Makes 3 pints.

Book Review

Fire Burn and Cauldron Bubble: The Jolie Wilkins Series, Book 1 by H.P. Mallory
· ISBN-10: 1453812954
· ISBN-13: 978-1453812952
Amazon: Kindle 0.99 Used $3.08
B&N: $21 used Nook 0.99

Toil and Trouble, a Paranormal Romance (Jolie Wilkins Series, Book # 2) by H.P. Mallory
· ISBN-10: 1456428810
· ISBN-13: 978-1456428815
Amazon: Kindle $3.99
B&N: Nook $3.99

Witchful Thinking Release date 2/28/12
$7.99 paperback and Nook and Kindle
· ISBN-10: 0345531450
· ISBN-13: 978-0345531452

Growth Zones

TPH Episode 39

Welcome back Homesteaders! Today we will be talking about hedgerows as living fences, squash, and an old west historic figure. Enjoy!



Super Easy Sauted Summer Squash

This simple summer squash sauté is a great way to enjoy fresh summer squash. Feel free to use either yellow summer squash or zucchini in this easy recipe. This is a wonderful and easy side dish to serve with a grilled steak or chicken meal, along with rice, baked potato, or another side vegetable.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Yield: Serves 4


  • 4 small summer squash or 2 to 3 medium
  • nonstick cooking spray
  • 1/4 cup vegetable broth or chicken broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed garlic
  • 3 or 4 green onions, thinly sliced
  • about a dozen medium basil leaves, cut chiffonade*
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


*To cut chiffonade, stack the leaves, roll up tightly, and slice thinly.
Spray a large skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium heat . Saute the sliced summer squash, stirring constantly, for about 2 minutes. Add the vegetable broth to the skillet and continue cooking and stirring for a few minutes longer, until almost tender. Add the garlic and green onions and continue cooking and stirring until tender but still a bit firm. Stir in the basil and add salt and pepper to taste.
Serves 4.

Zucchini and Summer Squash Casserole

This simple casserole is a great way to take advantage of prolific zucchini and summer squash.

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Yield: Serves 6


  • 3 small zucchini, about 1 1/2 pounds
  • 3 small summer squash, about 1 1/2 pounds
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth or water
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • 4 tablespoons butter, cut in small pieces
  • 4 tablespoons fine dry bread crumbs
  • 4 tablespoons Parmesan cheese


Heat oven to 350°.
Wash the squash, trim ends, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces. Put squash pieces in a greased 2- to 2 1/2-quart baking dish. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Combine the chicken broth with the garlic and pour over the squash. Dot with butter then sprinkle with the bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese.
Cover and bake for 35 minutes. Uncover and bake for about 15 to 20 minutes longer, until browned and tender.
Serves 6.

Blueberry Zucchini Bread


  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups white sugar
  • 2 cups shredded zucchini
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 pint fresh blueberries


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease 4 mini-loaf pans.
  2. In a large bowl, beat together the eggs, oil, vanilla, and sugar. Fold in the zucchini. Beat in the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon. Gently fold in the blueberries. Transfer to the prepared mini-loaf pans.
  3. Bake 50 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a knife inserted in the center of a loaf comes out clean. Cool 20 minutes in pans, then turn out onto wire racks to cool completely.

TPH Episode 38

Welcome back Homesteaders! Sorry for the absence but I'm finally back! Today we discuss Tiny Houses and Runner Ducks in the Ancestral Animals segment. I also have a book review as well as the usual Gardening by the Moon segment. Enjoy!

Tiny House Links   16 year old builds tiny house

Runner Ducks

Book Review

Navigating the Coming Chaos by Carolyn Baker
· ISBN-10: 1450270875
· ISBN-13: 978-1450270878

TPH Episode 37

Happy Yule everyone! In this episode you will get to enjoy some holiday music and hopefully learn some interesting facts about traditions and songs from times gone by.

The Way To Early Christmas Song by Paul and Storm

The Christmas Song by Calvin Owens

Christmas in the Country by Codie Prevost

The Wassail Song by Jim Goodrich

Carol of the Bells by Inner Splendor Celtic Christmas Music

Christmas in England Wassail Recipe
Ready in: Over 5 hrs ? recipe difficulty 2/5 Difficulty:   2 (1=easiest :: hardest=5)
Serves/Makes:   18


3/4 cup sugar 2 quarts apple juice 1 pint cranberry juice 1 teaspoon aromatic bitters 1 cup rum 2 cinnamon sticks 1 teaspoon whole allspice 1 small orange, studded with cloves


Dissolve sugar in juices in crockpot. Add remaining ingredients. Cook on high for 1 hour. Simmer on low for 4 to 8 hours.


136 calories, 0 grams fat, 27 grams carbohydrates, 0 grams protein per serving. This recipe is low in sodium. This recipe is low in fat.
Show full nutritional data (including Weight Watcher's Points ®, cholesterol, sodium, vitamins, and diabetic exchanges)
This recipe from CDKitchen for Christmas in England Wassail serves/makes 18

Holly and the Ivy by Chuck Stevens

Deck the Halls with Boughs of Holly by Doug Boldt

The 12 Days of Christmas by thehipcola

I Think Monroe Shot Rudolph by Carl Hatmaker

White Christmas by Shauna Burns

TPH Episode 36

Welcome back everyone! Today I have a guest with me, my son Jack! He will be sharing his point view about homesteading and some of his advice for would be homesteaders. We will also take a look at what is recommended for Gardening by the Moon and today's Folktale. Enjoy!

TPH Episode 35

Welcome back Homesteaders to Episode 35! Today I will tell you about some of the basics you need to know if you are considering keeping your flock of chickens. We will also look at the heritage breed Leghorn chicken and as usual there is the Gardening by the Moon segment and a story for Thanksgiving.

Storey’s Guide to Raising Chickens by Gail Damerow ISBN 978-1-60342-470-7

Ancestral Animals

American Brown Leghorn Club Bud Blankenship 5205 Pundt Road Lewisburg, OH  45338  USA Office phone: 937-962-4226 Office email: Personal email:

TPH Episode 34

Happy Halloween Homesteaders! Today we will look at various burial rituals and enjoy a classic halloween story.

Haunted Highways: Spooky Stories, Strange Happenings, Supernatural Sightings by Tom Ogden

TPH Episode 33

Welcome back Homesteaders! This is a shorter than usual episode but hopefully you will enjoy the weather lore in today's show until I get back!

TPH Episode 32

Welcome back to Episode 32! In this episode we will go over the differences in water bath canning and pressure canning and some of the equipment you need for both. You will also be treated to a blog entry written by a Collapse Net member describing their efforts at homesteading and preparing for collapse.

Ball Blue Book: Guide to Preserving

Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving: 400 Delicious and Creative Recipes for Today

TPH Episode 31

Green Phallus

Soil Cube

Alternative Building
Adobe House
Cob House
Cob House Interior
Earthbag House
Strawbale House
Hereford Hogs