Thursday, December 25, 2014

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Merry Christmas From the Housman Family!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Brandon is 22 and is working at a Porsche dealership managing the inventory.  He often shows up in some hot, new car from the dealership that I am trying to convince Mike that I need. :) Obviously he is a well-liked and trusted employee.  In January of this year, Brandon’s heart was captured by a certain young woman. When we met his girlfriend, Sam, we understood why! :)  We all enjoy spending time with her, and we are thankful to have her in our lives.  Ben and Jonny especially enjoy one of Sam’s interests—she’s a race car driver! :)

Emily is 18 and graduated this past June.  She keeps herself very busy running a couple of businesses and managing our dog website.  Last summer, she bought her own Great Pyrenees puppy—Sasha.  She breeds Ragdoll cats and also teaches piano lessons.   Some of her other interests include skating (hockey), hunting, piano, and blogging. 
Benjamin is now 15 and excited to start driving!  He also bought a Great Pyrenees puppy this past summer.  Her name is Miska.  He worked for Mike last summer raising pastured poultry and butchering them for customers.  He is also very involved in our dog business—helping with feeding, walking, training, and grooming dogs.  Ben’s interests include computers, hunting, hockey, making movies, playing violin and piano.
Jonathan our baby is 13!  They grow too fast!  Would you believe he bought a GP puppy this past summer too? :)  Her name is Rosie.  Ben and Jonny’s puppies both came from Michigan.  They will start breeding them next spring.  Jonny also helps with the poultry business and the dog business.  When needed, both boys assist Mike in managing our rental properties which includes cleaning, painting, and sometimes construction work. Jonathan enjoys wood working.  He makes beautiful spoons, butter knives, and spatulas.  He also enjoys playing mandolin and piano, hockey, and hunting.
Mike and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary this year!  We praise God for the wonderful gift of marriage!  God has been so good to us!  Mike stays busy with his many businesses—computer consulting, rental properties, breeding dogs, and selling poultry.  He also enjoys being a county commissioner.  I stay busy homeschooling Ben and Jonny, studying to become an herbalist, cooking for my crew, and managing the home on our busy farm. 
We want you to know that we love and appreciate you, and we pray that you will have a personal relationship with your Savior, Jesus Christ.  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to your family! 

Friday, December 19, 2014

Health Journal - Winter Prep II

There are lots of things we can do for our families to help avoid sickness during cold and flu season.  Some suggest vaccines.  Others avoid big crowds.  Many make use of anti-bacterial soaps and gels.  Our family has never done any of those things, yet we are rarely sick.  So I will share the one secret that I do have about staying healthy in the winter (other than good nutrition) - kefir!

Kefir, which I pronounce "key fur" , but is actually pronounced "keh fear" in Europe,  is a probiotic drink that supplies your gut (immune system) with everything it needs to keep you healthy. We often think that taking a probiotic supplement will do the trick, but our gut has hundreds of bacteria in it and consuming a few of those will not do the job.  But homemade kefir is more than probiotics, it also supplies you with many vitamins and minerals.

I am not talking about store bought kefir here.  There is no comparison to store bought kefir and homemade; homemade is so much better for you!  Homemade kefir is made with grains that look similar to cottage cheese.  These grains are added to milk (raw or pasteurized) and left on the counter to culture for about 24 hours.  Once your milk is cultured you strain out the grains, add them to some fresh milk, and start the process again - and don't forget to drink your kefir! :) 

We have made kefir shakes, as we call them, everyday for years. We add the kefir to our blender along with bananas, other frozen fruit, vanilla, and milk.  The more kefir you add, the more tart it will be.  As you get used to the taste, you can handle more and more of it.

You can learn everything you want to know (and some things you don't want to know :)) about kefir if you google "Dom's Kefir".  He has an incredibly informative website! 

Kefir grains grow and multiply as you use them.  If you need some grains, contact me, and we can figure out how to get you some. :)

Good health is really simple!  More on simple health care to come... :)

Monday, December 1, 2014

Health Journal - Winter Prep

This time of year, I am often asked what I do to prepare my family for cold and flu season.  While there are some herbal treatments that I do stock up on (make), herbal treatments are not what you should be looking to for good health.  Yes, whole food herbal medicines will help you recover without the risk of harmful side effects, but you should give your body more than that.

While I would prefer herbal remedies over drugs any day, they are not the key to maintaining good health - and neither are vitamins!  You must start at the foundation - food!  Food is the daily medicine that will keep your body functioning well and your immune system strong.  Yes, your food is your medicine!!  Without a good diet, you will not be able to avoid illness.  It will haunt you all winter long, week after week. 

Really you have two options.  You can spend time getting sick, running to doctors, and trying to get well or you can spend time preparing healthy food for your family.  Either way you will spend time!  You just need to decide which you prefer. :) 

I try to keep my meals healthy but simple.  I spend enough time growing, harvesting and preserving my food, I am not going spend time preparing gourmet meals too - although somehow my family thinks I feed them gourmet meals. :)  I am not into recipe hunting. I just keep it simple.

One very simple thing you can do is start making breakfast for your family.  Feed them eggs. They are SO nutritious and simple to make.  You can get creative and make a different style of eggs every day if you want.  One day make egg sandwiches, the next scramble them and put cheese on top or try an egg bake.

Just start with breakfast!  Get off the cold cereal and give your body a nutritious, health building meal first thing in the morning!

More on winter prep to come...

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Monday, November 10, 2014

Puppy Review

Here is an email we recently got from a family who got a puppy from us earlier this year.

"Here is Beschutzer at 10 months old. He is a very happy dog. He loves to ride in the backseat of the truck and especially loves going to the cabin up north, where he can play outside all day.
During the week, he gets very excited when we come home after work and always greets us at the door very enthusiastically! If he hears a strange noise, he will sit quietly and listen and pay attention until he knows all is well. We can't go on any walks without someone commenting on what a beautiful, well behaved dog he is. They can't believe that he is still a puppy!
He has been a great addition to our family.
Thank you!

Larry and Denise"

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Growing Fast!!

Our sweet puppies are growing so fast! The black pigment on their noses is slowly coming in.  It usually take a few weeks to get to full color. Their eyes are still closed, as you can see, but they should be opening soon.  Before long they will be getting around really well, and their personalities will start to bloom. :)

Friday, October 31, 2014

Weighing Puppies

In the evenings, we gather the puppies into this bin and take them to get weighed.  The weights are recorded and each puppy is inspected before it goes back into the whelping box.  With large litters, it's important to make sure that they are each getting enough to eat.
Puppy pile!

It's hard to get a clear picture of a puppy getting weighed.  They wiggle a lot - especially when you take them away from their cozy, warm siblings! :)

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Farmwife's Journal - October 27th

I can't remember the last time I wrote a "Farmwife's Journal"! But in case you are wondering, I am still a farm wife and here's my journal entry for today. :)

After finishing school with Ben and Jonny, I was ready to tackle my list of things to do.  One thing
I 've had on my list for weeks is to make Fire Cider, both for our family and for my parents.  I got the recipe from Mountain Rose Herbs and altered it a little.  It's an apple cider vinegar tincture that you use for treatment of just about any illness.  It's potent stuff!  I have not made this exact recipe before, but have made some similar recipes. All I did was combine the following:

1 cup of grated ginger
1 cup of grated horseradish root
1 large onion
20 cloves of garlic (I grated them skins and all with my electric grater)
1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
1 lemon  (I keep lemons whole in the freezer, and then I just grated the whole thing while still frozen)
4 tablespoons of rosemary
2 tablespoons of thyme
and 2 tablespoons of turmeric powder all in a half-gallon jar.  Then I covered the whole works with apple cider vinegar and mixed it up well. (All of the ingredients should be organic.) I put a lid on the jar and put it in a dark place for one month.  When it's done, I'll stain out the pulp using a cloth (squeezing well) and will add as much honey as needed.  Then we'll take it by the tablespoon when we feel we are coming down with something.  I will store it in my refrigerator. It will keep years. 
My Fire Water tincture.
I dug my horseradish, for the above recipe, from my herb garden this afternoon - boy is that potent stuff.  One whiff and your whole head is cleaned out!  Since I had some left over from my Fire Water recipe, I went ahead and made a tincture with that too.  I simply covered the grated horseradish with brandy, capped and labeled the jar, and put in the cupboard.  It will be there for six weeks, and then I will strain it and use it for any head congestion that shows up.  I store my alcohol tinctures in dark bottles (that I usually buy from Mountain Rose Herbs), and keep them in my cupboard.

Along with my kitchen work today, I made a fun treat for Emily and I - pumpkin spice coffee!  A friend brought us a pumpkin pie this past weekend (thank you, Lori!), so we needed some pumpkin coffee to go with it. :) 
Coffee break with my girl.:)

This recipe was inspired by an email I received from the Bulk Herb Store.  I looked at the ingredients and then came up with my own way to make it.  Here's what I did...

Put 8 cups of water in a sauce pan.  Add 2 cinnamon stick, 1 teaspoon of nutmeg, 1 tablespoon of ginger root (chopped up), 1 teaspoon of cloves, and 1 teaspoon of organic orange flavoring.  Bring this to a boil, reduce heat, then cover and simmer for 20 minutes.  Then put 4 tablespoons of ground coffee in a French press.  Once the tea is done, pour it over the grounds, add 1 tablespoon of coconut oil and a tablespoon of brown sugar.  Push down the press and let it sit for 4 minutes and then add cream and enjoy.

Beauty and her puppies are doing really well!  They are beautiful, and she is an amazing mom.  When one group of puppies has been nursing long enough, she will readjust so the puppies fall off the spigots and that way the other group can latch on. :)  God has given these animals amazing instincts, and it is fascinating to watch!  :)

Friday, October 24, 2014

October 2014 Litter

Beauty has labored for about 12 hours and has had a dozen gorgeous puppies!  I was able to be with her when puppies number 11 and 12 were born.  It was pretty exciting!  I sat there and massaged Beauty's head while she had them. So far we have seven boys and five girls - wondering if there is one more yet to come. She's a great mom!  Here are a few pictures.

Here They Come!

Beauty Rose of Housman Farms started having puppies this morning around 3am.  Mike and I watched her last night from our warm, cozy bed via our puppy cam. :)  She had been pretty restless that evening, so we left the camera on all night.  Our children woke up this morning to the familiar sound (coming from our camera) of little puppies whining - they love that sound! :)
At this point, she has had nine beautiful puppies.  So far, they are mostly white.  We have not checked to see what the ratio of boys to girls is yet, as we don't want to bother mom too much.  We did give her an "energy drink" this morning though. :)  Having that many puppies can take a lot of hours, and mom can get pretty tuckered out.
We'll keep you posted on the final count, and try to get some pictures posted soon. :)

Monday, October 20, 2014

Give Your Dog a Bone!

Dog: a domesticated carnivorous mammal.  Yes, your dog is a carnivore!  And carnivores eat raw meat and bones.  It's hard for our domesticated minds to grasp the fact that dogs never used to eat food from cans and bags, but with the growing health problems in this country -both in humans and animals - it's time to take a look at the diet!

When we tell customers to feed their puppies raw meaty bones, they usually say, "I didn't think you could feed dogs bones.  Won't they choke?"  No, your dog won't choke.  Most dogs eat bones like we eat chips - "crunch...crunch" and down the hatch! :)  It's pretty amazing to watch!  The key with feeding bones is that they must be raw.  Cooked bones can splinter and cause problems, but raw bones are very nutritious and good for your dogs teeth.  Just make sure your bones are not too large.    Chicken wings are a fine food for puppies!

In the same way that we must eat what we were designed to eat in order to be healthy, your dog must eat what it was designed to eat to be healthy.  We would not expect a child raised on processed foods to be healthy, so why would we expect that of our animals?  Raw foods are best for everyone! While it may not be possible to feed them raw meat all the time, even supplementing their diet with raw meaty bones will help. 


Thursday, October 16, 2014

Beauty Rose of Housman Farm's is Due Soon!

Beauty is getting big!  It's funny how dogs can hide their pregnancy until about 10 days before their due date, then they suddenly look huge.  We noticed Beauty looking large a couple days ago. :)  She had seven beautiful puppies in her last litter.  Any guesses for this litter?

The gestation period for a Pyr is about 60 days.  Yep, that's it!  A bitch can whelp from up to one day prior to her due date or about three days after. Ladies, don't you wish it was that short for us?  While there are obvious differences -the short gestation and large litters- dogs do experience some of the same things we do when pregnant.  They can feel sick in the early part of pregnancy and not have much of an appetite, and they also lose much of their coat after they whelp, like we lose our hair.

For those of you on our waiting list, we will be sending you a link to our puppy cam after they are whelped so you can watch Beauty's pups with us! :)  We are so excited!! 

Monday, October 6, 2014

Life is School

Some days there are projects that need to get done around here that require me to veer from our regular school schedule.  I am pretty strict about routine, so I don't veer too often, but one day last week the boys got out of doing school.  Actually, life is school, so they really didn't get out of anything - it just felt like they did. :)

I have a couple perennial beds that desperately needed to be redone.  For a couple years now, I have been wanting to dig out the plants in the beds and put in new plants.  Not only were the beds over-grown, I also didn't particularly like the plants in them either.  In the  fall I think about redoing them, but with our school schedule, there is never time to do it.  But this year I decided it was time for a lesson in propagating perennials! :)

In the morning, the boys and I headed out to the garden shed with a gardening book and some coffee - chapter one "Propagating Perennials"!  The first question, "Mom, what does it mean to propagate perennials?"  We learned that and much more - what time of year to propagate, different methods of propagating and tips for a successful transplant.  I had to talk fast in order to keep my boys attention, and I had to keep reminding them that they would have a test on what they learned.  We agreed that if they both got 100%  on the test, I would make them homemade pizza and we'd watch a movie.  That kept their attention! :)

We had a great day!  We dug out the beds, divided plants from other beds and transplanted them to their new locations.  Both the beds that I had been dreaming of redoing were done!  Yeah!  My boys are hard workers. :)  The following morning, I wrote the test.  Would you believe that they both got 100%?  Food is a good motivator for growing boys! LOL  So last Friday we had our pizza and watched a movie.

When you home school, it changes your perspective on everything you do.  It all becomes a learning experience, instead of just another job.  Each day we have the opportunity to impart knowledge, skills, and most importantly truth into our children.  Life is school, so have fun teaching your kids! :)

Thursday, October 2, 2014

And We're Back!

Why hello there!  After taking a needed break from blogging, we've decided to give this a try again!  If anyone even looks at this blog anymore.  ;-P  Now that I (Emily) have graduated, I have all this spare time on my hands (NOT!) so thought I would try freshening up the blog a bit, or even (gasp!) posting.... no promises, though.  ;)  And maybe Mom will post too.  ;-)  It's been a very busy summer and blogging has been pretty low on the list....obviously.  But hopefully we will be posting more often now.  What would you like us to post about the most?  Every day life?  Health?  The dogs?  All of the above?  Leave us a comment and let us know!  We'll be back soon.  :)

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Beauty's Litter!

We are excited to announce that Beauty had a litter of puppies last night!  Her first puppy was born at 7:29, and she had seven puppies.  By 11pm, she was all done.  There are four females and three males.
Mom and puppies are doing very well.  She, like Princess, in an exceptional mother!  We will post more pictures later.
Here's a picture off the web cam of some fat and happy puppies sleeping with momma!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Farm Update

While our family thoroughly enjoyed winter, we are now looking forward to the next season.  This year we played hockey until March 8th, and then tapped our trees the next day - that was a first! :)  But now the pond is melted, most days, and it's time to order chicks, deliver goat kids and lambs, and have puppies.  I love the change of seasons! :)

Well, we are anxiously awaiting a litter of puppies from Beauty.  We did not have an exact date with this litter, so we have been watching her close.  She is getting big! :)  Every morning we put her outside with the other dogs so that she can get sunshine and fresh air.  Then every night we put her in a pen with the puppy cam on her.  Last night she seemed restless.  Maybe today will be the day! :)

Spring is in the air around the farm.  All of our trees are tapped and the sap is beginning to run.  Yeah!  Today we will wash barrels and collect sap for the first time.

Our little greenhouse is brimming with new life.  The seeds have sprouted and the plants are growing. It is always a strange feeling, planting seeds when there is so much snow on the ground, but getting our hands in the dirt again brings hope of warm sunshine. :)

If you are on our waiting list, we will let you know when the puppies arrive! :)

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