Monthly Archives: July 2013

Homemade Wipes For Milking


I like homemade stuff. I like homemade food. I like homemade crafty stuff. I just like it.

I like the way it makes me feel. I make about 90 % of what we use. I do not make our clothes (the kids are SO happy about that), and I go back and forth on making our shampoo. I make it…then I end up cheating on my shampoo for another…sorry shampoo. You just aren’t the same. 

The wipe solution that I make for milking is actually the same recipe as the one that I make for the baby. Except I use it on the teats of the animals before I milk, and I use it on the baby’s tush after he goes stinky.

I use most of my products from Mountain Rose Herbs because I trust their quality.


My Homemade Wipe Solution is simple. I usually make a big batch..enough to fill the two little shoe-box totes at the house for the baby, and the one tote for the “teat” wipes at the barn. I also make a tad extra to keep in a mason jar just in case some of them need moistened as times goes by (see pic at the top). 

Homemade Wipes (for milking animals or baby)

  • 2 Tbsp. per quart –Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap (I get mine from Amazon, you can get yours whereever you want)
  • 3 gels per quart- Vitamin E gel caps (I go back and forth where I get mine)
  • 1 Tbsp. per quart Aloe Vera Gel (Mountain Rose Herbs)
  • 1 Tbsp. per quart Witch Hazel (Mountain Rose Herbs)
  • 1 Tb. per quart Sweet Almond Oil (Mountain Rose Herbs)
  • 1 quart water (per quart made)

As I have said before…I am an eyeballer..these are approximate measurements so make it how you see fit. These measurements will make about 1 quart of wipe solution. I make way more at a time.

To make the wipes:

  1. Separate a roll of paper towels single file into your container (I use a tote style shoe-box- see pic below).
  2. In a sauce pan heat water to a boil. Turn off heat.
  3. Mix in all ingredients and allow to cool.
  4. Stir a few times while cooling.
  5. Pour over paper towels in tote…flip stack over several times to coat it all.

Note: The solution does not have to be room temp to pour over paper towels just not hot. Hot + Plastic = Melt


Like I said, I use these for the baby…and to wipe down Audrey our goat before I milk her (and Agnus our cow too when she is in milk).

 To use for milking:

  1. Wipe down the animals teats and under belly thoroughly with a wipe.
  2. Using a spray bottle with water in it rinse the teats and underbelly.
  3. Pat dry and you are ready to milk.

To use for the baby:

Use as you would use commercial baby wipes, except feel great about the fact that you are not putting toxins into your child’s system 🙂

These are easy, and economical.

You could go even further by using eco-friendly reusable material in place of the paper towels…but that is my “cheat” area. I am just not ready for reusable toilet paper and paper towels in my life….sorry.

So, there ya have it. 


Got milk?  


Posted by on July 31, 2013 in DIY, Farm Life


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Easy and Natural Homemade “Shampoo” For Animals


This is Audrey. She is our cantankerous Nubian. 

She is older, grumpy, and very…um….selective about who, what, and when she wants things.

Isn’t it funny how animals each have very distinct personalities?

Well, Audrey ain’t scared to let everyone know what she thinks. 

We milk her…some of us with more luck than others.

She stands great for me.

🙂 I sometimes like to gloat about it.

I am a stay at home mama of six. I gloat when I find something to gloat about. It keeps me sane.

It’s not that she is mean with the others. She isn’t. She is just like a cantankerous old fogey. 

She only wants milked at a certain time of the day. No joke. We milk in the evening because it is easier for our schedule to divide it up that way. The light in the barn must be just right or Audrey ain’t happy.

She also HATES it outside. She refuses to go into the pasture. If you try to make her go into the pasture she will fight to get back into the barn and into her pen.

We allow the cattle free roam in and out of the barn. The goats, however get to go out throughout the day, but go into their pens in the barn at night to sleep.

Audrey prefers to stay in her pen. Always. Until time to milk. 

She is lazy I think. 

And cantankerous. Definitely cantankerous. I like that word. Cantankerous. Cantankerous. Cantankerous. It’s the bomb diggity.

Anyway, I am always voted Audrey’s bather…it’s an esteemed title…okay, it’s not esteemed. It is only because I am the Goat Whisperer. I am. Just ask Audrey.

I guess I would really be called “The Goat Singer”, although it doesn’t really have the same ring to it. When she starts getting cranky I sing to her. The family makes fun of me for it, but you know what…it works. She is particularly fond of “Footloose”. Ain’t kiddin.

I am all about using products that are cheap, natural, and work well. Goat bath products aren’t an exception. 

I do realize that you can probably find a retailer for Organic All Natural Goat Shampoo that smells like orange blossoms or some other fruity pleasure online for about $45 a pop, however…I am cheap. Cheap. Cheap. Cheap. Not to mention, I do not believe Audrey cares about smelling like fruit. Just sayin.

So, what do I use?

Olive oil, and vinegar.

Think salad.

I first just wet her down with warm water, and brush her to remove any hairs..or other “unsightly stuck-ons”. 

After that I use my spray bottle filled with a vinegar mixture (3/4 vinegar 1/4 water), and I spray her down. I brush her again to make sure it “sinks in”.

Then I use a water spray bottle to rinse her.

I pat her dry with an old barn towel, and I rub her down with a little olive oil. Not a lot. Just a little. A little goes A LONG WAY! It has really helped her coat. When we first got her she looked pretty rough. But her coat is nice and shiny now.

This “shampoo” works well on any of our livestock. Dogs, cats (she loves it..not), etc. 

If you prefer a “fruity” smell, you can also use some lemon juice, or add some lemon, orange, or grapefruit essential oil to the vinegar spray. I don’t, because they all do not mind lounging in poo…so I figure the scent is not a major concern for them. 

After they are clean..I use my Natural Fly Spray For Livestock to keep the flies at bay. 


Me…previously singing….milking in all my finery…aka “homestead bun”, and old barn clothes. No makeup of course….thanks to my unscheduled, impromptu photo session courtesy of my son, Brent. Thanks bub.

See how she is not fighting me:-)  

Come back tomorrow, and I will share another just how we prepare to milk, including our homemade “teat wipes”. 



Posted by on July 30, 2013 in Farm Life, Natural Living


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Weekend Project: A Potting Bench From Pallets


It was a busy weekend…seems like it always is. 

Not to mention busy all week long, but I am not complaining..there is something that can be said about being busy.

We did accomplish a few things. You know how it goes…you make a list that has about a million to-do items, and consider it an accomplishment to cross a few off the list.

One thing that we did get done is an item that has been on my “honey-do” list for quite a while. It took a little…persuading….ahem…but Chad (hubby) helped me get a potting bench put together from old pallets. 

It turned out pretty good..if I do say so myself. The kids helped me paint it, and it is now at home on my back deck.

As usual..we didn’t really draw any plans…I just looked at a few potting benches that you can buy, and we made it our own 🙂

I like it. It will come in handy around here. 

I also had a big job ahead of me this weekend in the kitchen.

Canning, freezing, and the like.

Yep..squirreling away the bounty…


We had someone give us some cucumbers (a little far gone..but they were free, so I gladly took them). 

Anytime I get “overgrown” cucumbers I make relish with them.

The relish is good on meatloaf sandwiches, or whatever else floats your boat. 

Dilly Relish

  • a few overgrown cukes
  • 1/2-1 small onion, diced
  • white vinegar
  • canning salt
  • fresh dill
  • black peppercorns

To make the relish:

Dice the cukes up in small pieces. Add to a bowl.

Add the diced onion. 

Take canning jars and add the veggie mixture to the jars to fill.

Fill the jars 3/4 way full with the vinegar, add some fresh dill, 1 tsp. salt (for a qt.), and a few peppercorns.

Top off with water. You can refrigerate to use fresh, or hot bath them to preserve them.

I don’t have exact measurements. This is a made up recipe. I am a eye-baller. It’s just how I roll. If you have any questions, feel free to ask me.

In addition to the massive cucumbers, you can probably see that I got some peppers.

I pickled them. Alyssa (my 13 year old daughter) loves them pickled.

Our peaches, blueberries, and cherries came in as well.

I canned the peaches…


The blueberries, and sour cherries I just froze so that went pretty quick. 

Like always I struggle to “be okay” with what we accomplished… I am the Queen of Unrealistic Expectations…just ask my hubby 😉

We did get some things accomplished though, and I am thankful for that. 

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Posted by on July 29, 2013 in DIY, Preserving Foods


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Preserving Blackberries, New Pet Bunnies, and More


It has been a busy week on the farm. In addition to our normal duties, we have had “extra” chores popping up here and there.

Our blackberries have come on…with a fierceness….that’s a good thing. We like to eat them. However, that is one more thing for the to-do list. So we have been picking…picking. 

As I have said previously, our garden is …sad…this year. It has just been one of those years. I have high hopes for our fall garden, however.

We have managed to get a few peppers, a few tomatoes, and there are some green ones on there Praise the Lord…but everything else is at a stand still. 

I have been squirreling away everything that is offered to me from family; beets and potatoes (Thanks Granny!), and beans,  cucumbers, and more peppers (thanks Popaw Larry!).

In addition to that, the Mennonites locally have me a bushel of peaches coming, along with 40 lb. of blueberries, and 40 lb. of cherries. Yay!

I have been picking blackberries everyday this week…I have been flash freezing them and putting them into jars. But, I am going to dry some, as well as make preserves. 

To flash freeze berries (or anything else) just place it one a single layer on a cookie sheet in the freezer until solid. After they are solid, place them into your jar, and label. Place back into the freezer and that’s it …..easy. 

You can put them into Ziploc bags if you like. I am just cheap. I have jars. So ..I use jars. 

One thing that the kids are Super excited about is we got two new pet bunnies. They are cute as can be…


The white and tan bunny the kids named “Ally”, and the darker bunny the kids named “Paisley”. They are precious. 

The other rabbits we raise are meat bunnies. They are Californians (white with red eyes)…I think that they look possessed…so I am okay with eating them.

 So..bunnies, and berries. Berries and bunnies. It’s been fun. In fact we are picking more berries today.

This is our massive blackberry plants. We planted 100 Triple Crown Blackberry plants three years ago. These blackberries are THE BEST! We did a lot of research before deciding on this variety They are HUGE, sweet, and thorn-less. Their seeds are very small too. The dog is Max, our Great Pyrenees. He loves blackberries as treats 🙂


We also did get some herb plant markers finished. There was a million to choose from…of course Kyla the 8 year old wanted some that looked like bugs..I wasn’t digging those..the boys didn’t care they said. (go figure).

After trying to decide what type of plant markers to make ….The older girls picked out the rock type. I was fine with that because they were easy (not to mention free).  We used a white paint marker and they drew on them, and wrote the name of the herb. Not anything spectacular, but it will look decent when the plants come in. 

This is an example:



So, that’s is our week…nothing fancy. 

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Posted by on July 26, 2013 in Farm Life, Preserving Foods


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Natural Fly Spray For Livestock


I love my cows. 

Agnus, the Holstein closest to the camera, is my girl.

She is the sweetest cow ever, a little bossy..but sweet.


Matilda is the one beside her. She was a bottle baby we got at two weeks of age in early March, 2012. Agnus was in milk at the time, and adopted her.

Matilda is supposed to be a full blood Holstein (per the guy we got her from), however she looks like she has something else in her…maybe Angus?? Not sure. 

Agnus is due to calf in September (Yay!)…and Matilda is not quite ready to be bred. I will be glad to get my raw milk again! We have the goat in milk, but with a large family…it doesn’t go that far. Agnus, on the other hand gives us a lot of milk…plus feeds her calf!

I try to baby my girls. They give to us, so I try to give in return by giving them a good life.

But, the flies are crazy. Not wanting to put poison on them, I use this:


You will need:

  • Spray bottle
  • apple cider vinegar
  • about 20 drops of citronella essential oil 

Fill spray bottle with apple cider vinegar, and add the essential oil. Shake, and it is ready to spray.

You can also add about 5-10 drops of eucalyptus essential oil as well if you like.  I have done it both ways.

I use this on the goats, dog, and chickens as well.

Not sure if it work on fleas, but seems to. We don’t use flea meds and they have had no fleas even though they are outside dogs. ?? It’s natural, so I say what the hay…and squirt them. 

This stuff is natural enough that I do not mind spraying the animals and then picking up the baby. I even let the kids help spray them as well.  Image



Posted by on July 25, 2013 in Farm Life, Natural Living


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A New Addition to the Farm, “The Tick Terminators”….Guinea Keets


We have new babies here on the farm 🙂 They were not hatched here, but we adopted them yesterday. Six little Guinea keets.

These cute little guys (or gals) are my new secret weapon against ticks. Okay,,it’s not THAT secret, but it sounds way more awesome…so bare with me. 

The ticks are rampant around here. I find them everywhere! I do not like them, or the potential problems that they can bring. So..I am preparing. It makes me feel in control. I have a problem with control…however in this is okay. 🙂


My grandparents have had Guinea forever. I just never quite took an interest until lately. Unless you count the four adult Guineas we were given about four years ago who took one look around and flew away. Not kidding. It was a total…”These people are crazy, and we are outta here!”. It was a smack in the face. I loved them the whole twenty minutes  that they were here. I never recovered. 

I believe they are about five miles down the road at another farm, they glare at me when I drive by. And, I shout “Fickle Fowl!”  Okay, I don’t shout it…but I do think it. Strongly. 

Guineas, or “Guinea Fowl” if you wanna be proper, are originally from Africa. They are a awesome addition to a farm, or homestead. In addition to their tick terminating skills, they also ward off SNAKES!! They hate snakes! I love it.

They are my new best friends. Maria -N- Guineas = B.F.F.

They (obviously) are babies right now, but I will prepare them for battle. It is my duty to my  family, my animals, my farm, and my country…okay maybe not “technically” the country..but someone somewhere else may care too….so it sounds good. 

Guineas like to roost high in trees at night, and eat weeds, bugs, and of course TICKS! Yay me! 

I am told that if I raise them from keets and hand feed them treats that they will be tame and stay. Please love me little keets. Eat my ticks. I heart you. 

So…we will see how it goes. If they fly away down the road one day…it’s on. 




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Posted by on July 24, 2013 in Farm Life


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Easy DIY Rustic Shelf From an Old Chair


I LOVE primitive decor.

I heart it…I truly do.

It hearts me back…I just know it.

However, it does not heart my budget.

Actually…thanks to Obama World…nothing hearts my budget anymore…SIGH…but I won’t start getting all political on ya!

Anyway…I have been eyeballing this cute shelf from a nearby primitives shop. It is super cute, and it wanted me to take it home. But….it was $55!!! 

So….I decided I would make one myself. 

It surprisingly was pretty easy, and it turned out pretty well (if I do say so myself) …and the best part was it was FREE. 

I love free.

Especially when I can use power tools and as a bonus freak my husband out as I walk toward the house pulling a wagon full of them 🙂

We have been married long enough he knows to be a little nervous about that. Ya just never know what I have decided that I can do.:-) Haha

Well ….I took an old chair…sawed the legs off….sawed half of the seat of and sanded the whole thing.

I drew some sad lookin stars on the top of the chair, but that is the beauty of primitives,,,it still works.

To cut out the stars I took a saw (that I have no idea what the name of it is but it pokes in and out …lol…sorry not a carpenter..and hubby is at work…). I sanded the stars too.

Next I took some leftover antique white paint and slapped a coat on it.

I let it dry, and took some wax stain that I had and rubbed some on here and there, and sanded some ares for “wear”.

I let it set overnight, and wah-la. I have me a free shelf that in my opinion looks pretty darn close to the $55 one!

Hubby thinks it is “fine”.. but ..”doesn’t get why I wanna hang a chair on the wall” but…he has no decorative taste so I don’t care 🙂

I like it.



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Posted by on July 23, 2013 in DIY


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