Thursday, June 21, 2012

Farm Tour - Last Friday (June 15th)

Last Friday we had three families come for a farm tour.  Lucy decided to go into labor during the tour, and two of the families were still around when she kidded.  That was fun!  We were thankful that Lucy cooperated for the audience. :)

Enjoying Emily's bunnies

Giving Midgit extra milk from mom

Giving the goats a treat
Enjoying the chickens

Collecting eggs

From Emily...
Lucy kidded last Friday! She decided to go DURING Friday on the Farm! I checked on her right when we were starting the farm tour, and she was in labor. So the two of the families on the tour got to see a goat birth.... perfect timing Lucy! =) It was such a fun experience for them! Lucy surprised us with TWINS. Guess she did have two stuffed in there! Yeah! She is a GREAT mom, both babies are doing fabulous. There was a little trouble getting the second one out... it's legs were back instead of forward, so it was pretty long and hard for Lucy. But the kid was fine and everything went well. A boy and a girl.  We named them Frisky and Fronsie. :)

Watching Lucy kid

Lucy and her first baby (behind her)



Thursday, June 14, 2012

Health Journal - Chamomile

For the past few weeks, I have been harvesting chamomile.  It is one of the first herbs to start growing in the spring.  Since it reseeds itself so easily, I find it in almost every corner of my herb garden.  So I grab my hand shovel and bucket and wander around collecting all the little chamomile plants I can find.  Then I transplant the chamomile in a nice row.  It's my solution to a chaotic herb garden - which I cannot stand! :)  The plants may look wilty for a day, but they soon recover and grow amazingly fast.
A small portion of my chamomile, collected for drying.
My German chamomile has daisy-like flowers with yellow clusters surrounded by white petals.  It grows to be about 3 feet tall.  Once the flowers are fully open, I harvest it by cutting about six inches off the stems. 

Then I scatter the chamomile on old window screens that are stacked in my garden shed. (I bought the screens from an antique store for a dollar each.)  My garden shed gets nice and warm during the day which helps the chamomile to dry quickly.  Once the stems and flowers are dry, I put them into my food processor and chop them up.
Mike, my handy husband, made me this nice rack for drying herbs.  It's made out of old window screens. 

Here is a picture of what the finished product looks like.

My chamomile will bloom again after I cut it.  So I go back and cut more.  I do this until I have as much as I want, and then I just let it go to seed for next year. 

Chamomile makes a wonderful tea.  It can help you sleep and help relieve a belly ache. It is soothing and relaxing to nerves, aids in digestion, and regulates menstrual flow.  It is also soothing to a child who is teething or overly emotional.  Topically, it will reduce inflammation, clear up infection, soften skin, and heal wounds.  A chamomile bath will relieve sore muscles and inhaling the steam will open clogged sinuses.  Here are a couple of my favorite chamomile recipes:

Insomnia/Tummy Ache Tincture

I like to make this tincture once a year to have on hand for my children or anyone else that may need it.  I even take it if I am having trouble sleeping.  It is also a nice remedy for a child that is feverish and uncomfortable.  It will help calm them so they can sleep.

Here is how you make it:
I combine equal parts of chamomile, catnip (leaf and flower), lemon balm, and mullein. (By the way, I have all these herbs growing on my property if you need them.)  I put these in a quart jar and cover the herbs with glycerin.  If you have too many herbs, you may run out of room for the glycerin, so don't fill the jar too full!  Then line your crock pot with a towel, fill it with water and place the jar in the water.  You want the water to cover as much of the jar as possible without immersing it.  Put your crock pot on low (you don't want to boil your herbs) and leave the jar in it for 3 days. You will have to add water often.  Once the 3 days are up, line a colander with a towel and strain out the herbs.  Squeeze as much glycerin out as possible.  Then bottle your tincture and don't forget to label it.  I keep my glycerin tinctures in the refrigerator.  It should last a year or two.

Herbal Highlight Booster

Chamomile make a great highlighter for blond hair.  Simply combine 2 tablespoons of sunflower petals, 2 tablespoons of chamomile, and 1 tablespoon of lemon peel.  Boil 3 1/2 cups of water.  Add herbs and steep for 30 minutes.  Strain into a storage container (old shampoo bottle) and keep in the shower.  This will keep for a few weeks.  Pour herbal highlighter over clean, wet hair.  Squeeze out the excess.  Do not rinse.  Style as usual.  I make and sell Herbal Highlight Boosters at our market for blond, brown/black, and red hair.
Herbal Highlight Booster for Brown/Black hair

Chamomile also makes a great tea.  Drinking a cup before bed will calm you down and help you sleep better.  Simply add a teaspoon of chamomile to a cup of boiling water and steep for 5- 20 minutes (depending on how strong you like it).

Other than a possible allergic reaction (if you are also sensitive to ragweed), chamomile is one of the safest herbs to use and a great remedy for children.  Use freely.  I will have bags of it for sale at our market.  It's top quality stuff! :)

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Spring Recitals

Since this is my blog, I guess I can brag a little about my kids...right? :)  They all did an awesome job on their recital pieces, and I just HAD to post the videos, that way the grandparents can see them too.  Jonny had his mandolin recital last Thursday night, and the piano recital was on Friday night.  So proud of them!! :)

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

If You Guessed Triplets......

The three newest additions to Housman Farms ...  triplet goat kids! were right!!!  :-)

Millie kidded yesterday (also on her due date.. right on time!!!!!)  She had, yes, TRIPLETS!  (Which is what I voted, too. :))  This is exciting, our first pair of goat triplets to be born on the farm.  =D  We have always had either twins or quads. Millie had them while we were gone at church.  ='(  Of course I was really mad about that.... before we left I checked her and I KNEW she was going to go, but it was graduation Sunday at church and I didn't want to miss it since one of my good friends is graduating!  So I begged Millie to wait until I got home, and I think she tried to because they appeared to just have been born when I got back, they were still all sopping wet.  But I missed the birth.  :(  Oh well, we still have 4 girls left to go this month so.... :) 
Millie had one buck and two does.  They are absolutely precious!  The buck is brown and SO adorable.  He is a BIG boy, about 10 pounds!!!!
Isn't he precious!?!?!?!

So now I have to find him a pet/4-H home within a couple weeks or else he goes to the butcher lady.... but I've never had a buckling go to the butcher lady yet. :)  So, he'll be for sale shortly.... he's so adorable!  :)

Then there is the two does. One, like her brother is a BIG girl, she's about 10 pounds also. The other doe is absolutely TINY.  It's the strangest thing.  She weighs 4 pounds. WOW.  While taking care of them this morning, I mentioned to Jonny that she looks like a little midget-goat.  And the name stuck! 
This is Midget.

Miss Midget

Here's a photo to put in perspective how TINY she is.  She's next to her sister.

Midget vs. her Sister... she is so teeny!

Her sister is (over) twice as big as her!  We are hoping she will make it OK.  She could nurse fine with help last night, but was REALLY hungry this morning and I don't think she got anything all night. :(  So I offered her a bottle and she sucked down almost 2 cups of milk! 
Bottle Feeding

She's such a cutie, we are all hoping she'll be fine.  I'm feeding her every hour or so.  Yaay!  Time to be goat nurse.  =)  (And yes, I'm in my "element" being goat nurse.)  And last feeding I offered the other buck and doe the bottle too, and they were both really hungry.  I have a feeling Millie isn't letting them nurse enough, or they just aren't getting it.  So I think my number of bottle goats just increased by two. =)  Of course I don't mind. :)

The other doeling is SO cute, too.  She is very fluffy and I love her markings. SOOOO adorable!!!

The big-little doe :)

Having a snack

Midget and the buckling.  (We are still deciding on names for the other buck and doe)

So, call us to sign up for a tour this Friday and see the baby goat kids! :)

Next up is Lucy!  This will be Lucy's first time and we are all guessing a single, although she's got a pretty big belly.  But Lucy herself is pretty small. :)  She could have twins packed away in there, but we're guessing just one.... 
Here is Lucy.  Isn't she beautiful? Lucy is every one's favorite. :)

She is due tomorrow.

Then Blondie is due on the 14th, Bonnie is due on the 14th, and Claire is due on the 21st.  It will be an exciting month!  =) 
....especially when it's all over and Jonny and I are milking 6 goats, three of which have never been milked before. 

Oh. My.

Until the next goat kids arrive,
Emily  :D

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Strawberry Rhubarb Sauce

This morning for breakfast we had strawberry rhubarb sauce on our waffles. Yum, yum! You can also have it on pancakes, toast, ice cream, in yogurt, or just by itself! =) I'll be making it this summer and selling it on Fridays. Stop by and get some! :)

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Goat Watch: Update

Millie is getting GINOURMOUS.  (And no, I'm not really sure if that's a word or not.)  But either way, she's huge!!!  =)   Most of the votes on our pole are going for triplets (9 so far)!  Looks like we have four for twins and just one for a single.  But just so ya'll know, though, her having quads isn't unlikely either!  She had quads two years ago.  :)  We'll see!  She is due on the 8th this month, so the time is drawing near!

Just a picture of the big ol' momma.