20 years of researching has led me to the conclusion that you can homestead on truly any size property. You just have to have GREAT organizational skills on smaller properties to streamline what you want to accomplish. Here is a link to homesteading.com and 15 homesteading ideas for your property. https://homesteading.com/homestead-farm-design-ideas/
Download the 2019 Yavapai County Planting Schedule 2019 Yavapai County Planting Schedule (150 downloads)
Over the last 20 years, I have been able to streamline how we store and use our seeds for our gardens. Check out the quick video below!
Luke 2:12 – This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger. —
Since my children were little, Larry and I have been teaching our children about giving (year round) rather than receiving.
Tonight we hosted a Christmas caroling evening with some of our homeschool peeps. What a blast that we had, even if we couldn’t sing in key!
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Basic Goat Facts
What do goats eat? Hay is the general name for a number of dried grasses and legumes such as alfalfa and clover. Commonly used plants for hay include types of grasses such as Ryegrass, Timothy, Bluegrass & Orchard grass. Legume hays such as alfalfa and clover tend to be higher in protein. Feeding goats a mixed grass hay and other greens may be best as alfalfa can be too rich and may cause health problems. We feed our goats a mixture of alfalfa, alfalfa pellets, sweet grain, Chaffhaye (which is a naturally fermented alfalfa hay), soaked beet pulp, wheat/Austrian pea fodder, black oil sunflower seeds, fresh carrots and lettuce/chard and in the summer, weeds from our garden. We also have a mineral block out for them. We limit our corn and other straight grains to prevent belly aches.
This is just a partial list of what is poisonous to a goat: Avocado leaves, Foxglove, Black Walnut, Holly trees/bushes, Lilacs, Milkweed, Mountain Laurel, Nightshades (tomato plants leaves), Oleander, Rhubarb and Cherry leaves, Azalea, Red Maples, Lily of the Valley
Breeding your goats: Many goats breeds are seasonal breeders. They will go into heat in the fall (from August – December) We generally breed in mid-September for a February kidding season. Most goats’ gestation is about 145-150 days. We keep track of when our males and females breed so that we know approximate birth dates and can be home during a birthing to assist if needed.
Goats have horns! We have our babies disbudded at 10 days old using a heat dissbudder and wether any males with a bander that we aren’t using for our breeding program. Find someone trustworthy to do this!! Horns do get stuck in fences. And disbudding can be dangerous if you do not know what you are doing.
Male goats are stinky!!! While in rut and around females in their breeding season, male goats have a “beautiful” smell, will urinate on themselves among other interesting actions and will call out to you and his ladies… Be careful, because you will look like a goat to him. Does seem to love it. But be warned it is extremely hard to get their stench out of your clothes and takes a good scrub to get the smell off of your skin. I have a single outfit that I wear when working with our males and I toss it at the end of the season. Males will knock down fences or anything in their path to get to the ladies. A males needs at least a 5 foot fence to prevent jumping over over for a “play-date”. My males do live with my females during off-breeding season.
Although there are many different breeds of goats, our homestead chose to have Nubian Dairy goats. We milk twice a day, first thing in the morning and in the evening. We use their milk for drinking, baking, making butter, cheese, and yogurt. You must have at least 2 goats as they are herd animals and need companionship or they can get depressed and lonely. We both hand milk and use a manual milking machine from www.henrymilker.com.
You can purchase mix breeds of dairy/meat goats, full bred goats or registered purebreds goats. Our goats are all registered. The only real difference is that registered goats have proven bloodlines. This prevents inbreeding and gives healthier generations of goats for better milking lines. We carefully select our goats for their linage and breed accordingly. This allows us to pick and choose who is breeding with whom. We currently have 3 bucks and 10 does on our homestead as well as several wethers. We plan on adding a new lines from Colorado to our herd in the spring as well.
Major Goat Diseases – CAE – Caprine Arthritis Encephalitis (CAE) is a virus that affects goats in multiple ways. Most often characterized by big knees, the virus also does irreparable damage to the lungs as well and affects the immune system leaving the goat defenseless against most common ailments. Can spread via milk from mama to babies and in saliva.
CL – Caseous Lymphadenitis (CL), also known in some parts of the world as “cheesy gland”, is a disease that affects a goats lymphatic system, most often characterized by an external abscess – lump. CL manifests itself either internally, externally, or both and is very contagious to all other goats as well as humans. The size of the abscess is largely dependent upon the immune system and overall health of the goat. An abscess that is allowed to rupture will contaminate the ground for many years and infect other goats that come into contact. Likewise, a goat with internal CL can cough out the bacteria and spread it to other goats as well. There is not a vaccination that cures or prevents CL or CAE in goats. These two diseases are ones that goat breeders try to keep out of their herd.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A GOAT WHEN PURCHASING
- General = Are they friendly? Do they interact with other goats, humans, dogs, etc? Check teeth, joints, chests, hips and lymph system. Check hooves. Check for lumps, runny nose and eyes? Is their general health good?
- Does – Are their teats uniform? Breeding history? Did they lose any kids? Did you have to assist in birthing? Were they good moms? How much milk were you receiving? If a doe has already been milked, ask if you can put her up on a stand. Does she kick?
- Bucks – who you want to use for breeding. Is there a record of babies sired? Check that their testicles are uniform.
- If purchasing a kid – Are both parents on site? Can you interact with the parents to see their personalities and mannerisms? Have they been disbudded? Or are the polled (born hornless)?
COMMON BREEDS OF DAIRY GOATS IN THE US – Mac Mendell, Undergraduate Student, Dept. of Animal Sciences
Nubians have very long floppy ears that should extend about 1 inch beyond the muzzle. They can be any color and should have a convex (Roman) nose. Nubians are one of the larger breeds of goats with a height requirement of 30 inches weighing around 135 pounds. This breed of goat tends to produce somewhat less milk than other breeds, but their milk tends to be higher in protein and butter fat content than other breeds. They tend to be a little bit more stubborn than other dairy goats and make a distinctive sound. Even Nubian kids sound like they are complaining. This is probably the most popular breed of dairy goat in the US. Most Nubian goats in the US derive from English lines developed by crossing English dairy goats with Afrhican and Indiana lop-eared breeds. [ADGA averages for 2010 lactations: 1835 lbs milk, 4.6% fat, and 3.7% protein] Nubians can withstand hotter climates. Nubians can more fleshy than most dairy goats and are used for meat as well as milk.
LaManchas have ears that are so small that it looks like they don’t have ears at all and can be any color. The breed originated in Oregon from crosses of short-eared goats with Nubians. They have a straight nose and are a small breed. LaMancha does are required to be 28 inches in height and a weight of around 130 pounds. The LaMancha sound is typical of other goats. LaManchas are usually more calm and docile than other breeds. They are recognized to be a very productive breed of goats. [ADGA averages for 2010 lactations: 2246 lbs milk, 3.9% fat, and 3.1% protein]
Alpines (French Alpines, British Alpines, and Rock Alpines) can be almost any color, except solid white and light brown with white markings (characteristics of the Toggenburg breed). This breed originated in the French Alps and was first imported to the US in 1920. Their face should be straight and they have erect ears. They are a medium-large breed with a requirement of does to be 30 inches in height and around 135 pounds. They are popular with dairies due to the amount of milk they produce and they are recognized as the leading dairy goat breed for milk production. [ADGA averages for 2010 lactations: 2396 lbs milk, 3.3% fat, and 2.8% protein]
Oberhaslis (Swiss Alpines prior to 1978) have very specific color standards. They are a bay color known as Chamoise, with a black dorsal stripe, udder, belly, and black below the knees. They should also have a nearly black head. Another acceptable color would be all black, but this is only acceptable for does. They have erect ears and are considered a medium-small breed. Oberhaslis does are required to be 28 inches in height and weight around 120 pounds. They produce a moderately high amount of milk and milk components. [ADGA averages for 2010 lactations: 2256 lbs milk, 3.5% fat, and 2.9% protein]
Toggenburgs have very specific color requirements. They range in color from light fawn to dark chocolate and have white ears and white on their lower legs. The side of the tail and two stripes down the face must also be white. They have erect ears and they grow a shaggier coat than other dairy goat breeds. They have the smallest height requirement of 26 inches and weight around 120 pounds, but most of the Toggenburgs are moderate in size. The Toggenburgs are the oldest registered breed of any kind of livestock. They tend to be more spirited and less docile than other breeds. Toggs, as they are nicknamed, rank in the middle of breeds for average milk production, but one holds the all-time records! [ADGA averages for 2010 lactations: 2047 lbs milk, 3.0% fat, and 2.7% protein]
Saanens are usually pure white or light cream, but white is preferred. Their ears should be a medium size and carried erect, preferably pointing forward. They have short fine hair and often have a fringe over the spine and thighs. They have a straight or dished face. They originated in Switzerland, but now represent the second most popular breed of dairy goat in the US. The Saanens are the largest of all breeds with a required height of 30 inches and weighing around 135 pounds. They usually have a large udder capacity and are popular with dairies due to the quality of milk they produce. [ADGA averages for 2010 lactations: 2545 lbs milk, 3.2% fat, and 2.8% protein]
Nigerian Dwarf is a miniature breed of dairy goats. The balanced proportions of the Nigerian Dwarf give it an appearance similar to the larger, Swiss breeds of dairy goats. Shorter height is the primary breed characteristic of the Nigerian Dwarf, with does measuring no more than 22 ½ inches at the withers. They are known for their high quality milk, often with exceptionally high butterfat content. Their medium length ears are erect. The face is either straight or slightly dished. The coat is of medium length and straight. They are the only dairy breed known to occasionally have blue eyes. [ADGA averages for 2010 lactations: 729 lbs milk, 6.1% fat, and 4.4% protein]
A common meat goat – Boer goat is primarily a meat goat with several adaptations to the region in which it was developed. It is a horned breed with lop ears and showing a variety of color patterns. The Boer goat is being used very effectively in South Africa in combination with cattle due to its browsing ability and limited impact on the grass cover. Producing weaning rates in excess of 160% the Boer goat doe is a low maintenance animal that has sufficient milk to rear a kid that is early maturing. The mature Boer Goat buck weighs between 240-300 lbs and ewes between 200-225 lbs. They can be bread with the dairy lines above.
From the website: http://piedmontdairygoats.com/Education.html
Every year, we plant potatoes in our garden. I hated harvesting and felt like I was digging and digging and digging forever to get them out of the ground. Guess what?!?! For the last 3 years, we have been making potato towers using left over fencing, straw and potting soil and it works WONDERS!
Start with a spare piece of field fencing. Make a ring out of it. Next, line the bottom with about 6 inches of straw. Start making the straw into a birds nest. Add 16 quarts or so of potting soil into the center and continue to build up the side with straw.
On top of the soil, add 12 small planting potatoes (preferably with eye growth already) around the outside. Cover those potatoes with 16 more quarts of potting soil and add additional straw to the sides. The straw keeps the soil and the moisture inside the ring. Continue this same layering of soil and potatoes until you run out of potatoes. On the final top layer of potatoes, you can put a few in the center, cover with soil and then several inches of straw.
When watering, water the top of the tower until water seems out the bottom. After several weeks, you will see green plants beginning to grow out the sides and top of the tower. Do not worry! That is your potato plant. You can use a similar method win sweet potatoes too.
I will revisit my potatoes in about a month or so in the blog so that you can see the progress!
I get an annual physical as does Larry and although I am a short-round, I am in GREAT health. I haven’t had a cold in years. This last winter proved me wrong. I got a terrible sinus infection in December 2013 that didn’t seem to ever shake away.
In January of 2014, I took one of the kiddlings into the doctor’s office because they had a terrible cold as well. In the process, the doctor noticed that my neck was swollen and asked if I had any thyroid issues. “Nope,” I replied, “just this nasty sinus infection.”
Little did I know, this was leading to a surgery and removal of a very large tumor in March. … less than 6 weeks from start to finish, I saw a specialist, had blood work, an ultrasound, surgery and now recovery. It was a whirlwind of events, but as a family, we will survive. I ended up with a 7cm long non-cancerous tumor covering the right lobe of my thyroid.
During all of this time, (and for a long time before this anyhow) my sister and I had both been researching more natural ways to heal and live. Essential Oils were the way to go. 3 Days after my surgery, I signed up for Young Living Essential Oils. I got my first shipment, starter kit and home oil diffuser.
I have been so impressed at the products (and there is even some oils for thyroid health too!!!) We have already placed a second order and have a 3rd ready for April.
I had no idea that there were oils that work as a pain relief or for scars (been putting Frankincense on my neck and am already seeing the difference). There are oils to help with colds and coughs and to bring your attitude up and also to relax your body. Last night, I woke up at 4 am and couldn’t go back to sleep… a little lavender in my difusser did the trick and Lar’s and my bedroom and bathroom smelled so great when I work up this morning as it still lingered in the air.
The first night, I gave my little boys the Peace and Calm – They both slept through the night with no nightmares for the first time in MONTHS! (actually one of them slept SO sound that he wet his bed!) I am SO excited to get this going and research more and more of this natural way of healing.
Last week, I posted how we were under a possible smoke evacuation for the Doce fire in Prescott, Arizona. It was a crazy situation. The fire was only about 10 miles from our home and smoke was filling the valley.
Then that fire was 100% contained, and the flames were down (except for a small flareup on the side of the mountain last night that we could see from the house again.) The firemen and hotshots got everything under control with no injuries, no structures burned.
Then, we got word that there were several lightning strikes and that there was a small fire in Yarnell, Yes, just a SMALL fire!. I remember reading the paper to my hubby on the way to Prescott on Sunday morning to drop Griffen off to catch his scout camp ride and that the Yarnell fire was at 200 acres. After returning home, I jumped back on the computer and saw that it was at over 1500 acres and that there were firemen trapped. I called my dad. Next thing I knew, there were reported deaths. My heart dropped. My dad got choked up.
I called my dear friend Stacey. She and I have grown close over the last several years. Her brother was a friend of Larry’s in high school. She and her hubby, John, homeschool as well. She let me know that the Parker family had lost their son. NO! I have known the Parkers for 20 years! Like father, like son, both AMAZING FIREMEN, Both heroes in our community’s eyes!
Then I saw a fellow alumni from CVHS, Cassidy, brother to another firefighter posted a message that Jesse Steed (Federwisch) was gone. Jesse and I weren’t close in high school as a matter of fact, I was never really accepted into the popular group after moving here in 8th grade. I was an outsider.
But Jesse was always kind to me. He was a joke-ster. He played soccer. He was really good at soccer! We were in the same class at Chino Valley high school, class of 1995. I have been reading facebook posts and blog posts from friends. And the tears continue to stream. He grew to an amazing man (a marine, a husband, a father, brother and a great friend to many).
Yesterday the list came out. I will mourn these great heroes as will hundreds of thousands of others all across our country. So many we knew or were customers in the shop. We have seen them around our community. How do you mourn for so many? How do you grasp that “MANY” someones are gone doing what they love? That is exactly how I have to see it. The passed away doing something that they loved. And we will remember these fine men for that. Pray for their families. Or better yet, tell a police man or a fireman THANK YOU! They put their lives on the line everyday to protect us! Godspeed to all of these fine men. Thank you for your service.
Your last alarm sounded.
Ashcraft, Andrew – Age: 29
Caldwell, Robert – Age: 23
Carter, Travis – Age: 31
Deford, Dustin – Age: 24
MacKenzie, Christopher – Age: 30
Marsh, Eric – Age: 43
McKee, Grant – Age: 21
Misner, Sean – Age: 26
Norris, Scott – Age: 28
Parker, Wade – Age: 22
Percin, John – Age: 24
Rose, Anthony – Age: 23
Steed, Jesse – Age: 36
Thurston, Joe – Age: 32
Turbyfill, Travis – Age: 27
Warneke, William – Age: 25
Whitted, Clayton – Age: 28
Woyjeck, Kevin – Age: 21
Zuppiger, Garret – Age: 27
John 15:13 says “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends”
Thank you Carrie Z for reminding me of this scripture!
I wanted to post an apology for this week. I don’t know if it has been on your local news, but there is a forest fire (The Doce Fire in Prescott, AZ) less than 10 miles from our home. We were actually on a possible smoke evacuation watch because of the air quality.
So this morning, because the winds hadn’t picked back up and the smoke was still at a minimal, we decided to venture to the pool. There were only a few other families there so it was much easier for the boys. The water was a bit chilly so here we are enjoying the warm June sun in northern Arizona. By afternoon it was smoke filled again in our area, eyes were itchy and everyone took GREAT NAPS! (hey, 5 of 7 sleeping, I am a proud mama!)
My new Children’s books is finally out on the market.
It is on Amazon.com for both print and Kindle.The book will be exclusive to Amazon for several months and then I will move it over to BN (In October)
Meet Reagan. She wants to help her Mama make cookies. This book includes a short how-to story to help mom make cookies. Author, artist and mom, Kris Mazy has compiled 12 of her family’s favorite cookie recipes from Kris’ childhood. They are the same recipes that her grandmother made 30 years ago when she was just a little girl. Cookie Recipes Include Peanut Chocolate Chip Cookies, Lemon Cookies, Zucchini Cookie Bars, No Bake Missouri Cookies, Everything but the Kitchen Sink Cookies, Peanut Butter Blossoms, Oatmeal Raisin Craisin Cookies, No-Bake Peanut Butter Bars, Crinkle Crackles, Animal Cookies & Royal Icing, Chocolate Cut-outs, Chewy Gingerbread Cookies,