December 21, 2013

Around The Homestead

I haven't done an Around The Homestead post in ages! But it seems like the best way to get back into homestead blogging once again.

My Book - I promise that I'm not going to turn my blog into an ongoing book promotion. I did want to follow up the giveaway with another sincere thanks to everyone who participated, promoted, bought, reviewed my book on Amazon, or simply left a comment to help me celebrate. It's tough because, while I would love for it to do well and maybe generate a little income for our homestead, self-published books, even good ones, rarely do well because few folks know about them. Hence the temptation to promote it all the time. As with all things, word of mouth is best. If you think the book is worthwhile and are willing, there are several ways you can help:
  • Write a review on Amazon, pretty please! These are supposed to be key to selling books. (Would appreciate some on Copies are selling there too).
  • Review it on your blog or website. If you do, let me know! I'm going to start a "What readers say" and will link it to you.
  • Like it on Facebook. Yes, I broke down and made an FB page for it. FB is new for me, but hopefully I'll catch on soon.

In the end, however, my homesteading blog is about homesteading. I'll use Facebook and my author blog Building A Book, for sharing interesting updates and writing about it. I'm going to leave the image of the book in the sidebar, with links for more information and where to buy.

Eggs - I'm getting about 7 or 8 eggs per day now.

Three different breeds, three different colors

I think I've figured out who's laying what. I believe the Speckled Sussex are laying the lightest eggs and the Silver Laced Wyandottes the darkest. The medium brown pullet eggs match the medium brown of my adult Buff Orpingtons. Now I'll know which ones to give a broody hen next summer.

Chickens - We're down to one rooster and 16 hens. We put two cockerels in the freezer and I canned my oldest hens.

Canned chicken with carrot, celery, and onion.

They still had eggs to lay, but I have to remind myself that the goal is not maximum production. My goal is meeting our needs while having happy, healthy chickens. 23 chickens were too many for our set-up. Too much squabbling and fighting. The oldest animals are usually at the top of the pecking order, and so get the most while producing the least. Things have calmed down considerably with less numbers.

Guineas - gone! :( There's a story behind that, which I'll share very soon.


My girls

While the rest of you across the U.S. were getting snow and ice earlier this month, we were getting rain. One thing I've noticed is that my Kiko and Kiko/Nubian or Kiko/Nigerian cross goats go out to forage in light rain. My purebred Nubians and Nigerian stay inside because they don't like to get wet. They'd rather lay around and be served hay all day. Why is this newsworthy? Because in my quest to develop a true homestead goat, finickiness is not an appealing characteristic. I added Kiko to my genetic mix in hopes of adding hardiness to good milk production qualities. Good foraging ability is part of that. If we are going to truly be self-sustaining in feeding our animals from our homestead, then we this is a quality we need.

I've been doing a lot of thinking about all of this, and will have another food self-sufficiency for goats post soon, to share my thoughts.

Indoor Project: Bedroom - the ceiling is almost done and I'll have a photo update on that soon. All we have left to do is the floor! I will say that properly insulating the outer walls and installing energy saving windows has made a big difference in how the whole house retains heat.

Outdoor Project: New Chicken Coop

Corner posts in & foundation begun. The chicken inspector approved the work.

We've just begun on this. It is part of the preliminaries to building our barn! I'll have details about that soon.

Garden - is mostly dormant except for broccoli, kale, and a few collard plants. I also have a small stand of winter wheat.

Frost tipped winter wheat

One thing I've figured out is that if I put an armful of unthreshed wheat into the hay feeder my goats will eat it seed heads, stems, and all. I'm not big on feeding a lot of grain to my goats, but for an easy way to grow and feed our own, this is it! No threshing required!

Parting Shot

Riley & Katy in never-seen-before close proximity

While Riley remains generally displeased about the presence of both Sam and Katy, he nonetheless tolerates Sam. Katy, he has no use for. He hisses, swats, growls, and grumps at her any time she gets within a couple feet of him. When I happened upon the above, I had to get a picture. He was sound asleep on the bed when she jumped up. He either didn't know, or pretended not to know she was there. There was no long term change after naptime was over. Life, and grumping, resumed as usual.

Around The Homestead © December 2013 


Theresa said...

Well, it looks like what might be considered a breather for you two right now....for anyone else, busy, busy busy!
I'm guessing the fowl noise level got out of hand.
The goat observation is interesting. My two little Kinder wethers are much more active and hardy in regards to venturing out compared to the Pygora herd. Maybe they are more bonded to the horses, maybe they just don't care as much about light rain or snow but they both seem healthier and happier for it. I leave their stall area open so they can come and go as they wish day and night as long as the weather isn't too awful. Then they get locked up at night only.

Dani said...

Happy Christmas Leigh.

And may your book sales go from strength to strength.

Renee Nefe said...

it looks as if I need to get your book. ;) I did try a few tricks to try to help promote it. One thing you can do is have folks go to Google and search it, then click on the link for where to buy the book so that that link will be come most popular. We can also search for different topics that are highlighted in the book and click on the book link.
Can't wait for your updates. That canned chicken looks wonderful. I was thinking that I should make my beef broth today (as it is very cold) and get that in the canner. (and out of my freezer as I need the space!)

Willow said...

Love that photo of the eggs in the basket.

Sandy Livesay said...


I have to say, I'm very happy for you on your book :-)

Your goat observation is very interesting. I'm keeping all of your notations about goats in the back of my head. This way when we eventually purchase goats, we will have made a good purchase for our family.

Looking forward to reading and commenting about your book.

Enjoy your weather, it's getting pretty nasty with the ice here.

Laura said...

Great to see what you've done!

Kikos are a great goat - heartier than boers, and as you found out, not finicky! I think you'll be really happy with them.

I no longer have chickens. I have ducks. I'll have to blog about that, but I think I've forgotten how!

Hope you guys have a great Holiday season!

DebbieB said...

Leigh, I have your book, I just haven't had the time to really dig in! After the holidays, I plan to settle in for some lovely reading, and I promise to leave an Amazon review after I'm done.

So much going on around the homestead! I'm eager to hear all the news - such tantalizing tidbits today. :) Laughing at the cat pic - our cats are ALL grumpy with each other, but occasionally "accidentally" sleep together.

Leigh said...

Theresa, it was nice to take a blogging break, I admit it. :)

I would have loved to have had Kinders! I think it's the Pygmy genetics that makes them so hardy.

Dani, and Merry Christmas to you too! The book is doing better than I hoped and the reviews are both humbling and exciting. If the book has something to offer, then I've achieved my goal and hope readers will be willing to share and spread the word.

Renee, those are great ideas! Thank you so much. I hear you about freezer space! I have elderberries I need to defrost and make jelly, yum. :)

Willow, I just love the different colors. They look pretty in egg cartons too. :)

Sandy, thanks! The positive response make all the work worth it. And I have to say you're very wise to do your homework before getting goats!

Laura, please do blog about your ducks!

Debbie, thank you so much. Yes, the cats are always entertaining. :)

Farmer Barb said...

So much news! I am excited about the goings on! I have put some money down on cashmere goat kids, so I hope that they don't tend toward the finicky. It is a very valuable observation. I have noted all the yummies you plant and will be starting that soon.

I need a a tutorial about pressure canning meat. That chicken looks GREAT!!!

Will you be starting the barn now or wait until spring?

Have a Merry Christmas!

DFW said...

Thanks for update. That is going to be one nice coop! And, love your book. I am going to read it on vacation on the 1st, rather than just skip around in it like I've been doing:)

Mama Pea said...

As always, so interesting to see the pics and hear of all that is going on at your place.

And, wow, what an illustration of the difference it makes living in the varied climates of our country! We're so stopped cold (pun intended) in our tracks by our winter weather that we can't imagine doing much of anything outside except the basics. Garden beds? They're out there somewhere but not visible in the least!

Leigh said...

DFW, they real coop test will be whether the chickens like it! And thank you for the kind words about my book. That's always an encouragement. :)

Mama Pea, but at least you don't feel obligated to go do something in the garden, LOL

Unknown said...

Guineas gone? I'm so disappointed. But curious what the story is behind it so I'll wait.....:) We lost our first small group (just 6) to unknown predators and, while 18 is a bit more than we bargained for, they're just too much entertainment to get rid of. Congratulations on the book and I hope you have a lovely holiday.