Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Milking Stanchion

If you're going to have a milk goat, you probably will need a milking stanchion, which is really just a fancy French word for an upright bar or post forming a support or barrier. Most of us think of it as a milking stand. The idea is the animal gets up on the stand and puts their head through the two upright bars, which are then closed around the neck to prevent the animal from leaving the area. It also keeps them from moving around too much (but unfortunately, it doesn't prevent kicking if the animal is so prone).


If properly trained, an animal will actually like the milking stanchion because it is a pleasant experience. Most, including mine, get a little treat to eat while they stand on the stanchion and get milked or have their hoofs trimmed or whatever is necessary to perform. (Dance Hall is so sweet, she would just stand anyway, and I've actually done this several times with her while we built our milk stanchion). In the long run, it is safer for the animal and for you.

You can buy a metal stanchion from $200 and upwards, but shipping to most areas will price it out of most people's budget. While wood may not last quite as long, most hold up for years and years before succumbing to wear and tear. I needed a frugal option and after searching on line, I found some plans I liked at Fias Co Farms. Of course, my wood worker husband insisted he could improve on them, and that he did! (Thank you, Molly, for your original plans. They were wonderful even like they are and very helpful!).

The neat thing about my stand is that my husband made it with reclaimed wood! The only thing that cost me any money on this project was the rubber mat that I added. And he put it together in a jiffy, which was good because I really needed it!

You can compare the photos of mine with Molly Nolte's at Fias Co Farms in order to see the changes we made, but it was mostly just a change using one long upright board for the front legs of the stand and on to the neck brace area. He felt this would make it more stable and secure. He sandwiched the brace between two cross members, routing all edges so they wouldn't be sharp or rough (aint' that great!).

In the picture below, you can see the back cross member is thinner looking. That's actually because he notched it.

He added an extra leg for more support underneath. My husband's like that... extra careful. He learned it from his dad.



So once the stand was built, we realized it was way to big for a Nigerian! (Duh... should have known that would have been the case, right?) But I am glad we made it for a regular sized goat because I'm not sure I'll always have Nigerians. We decided a "booster seat" of sorts was in order, along with a little ramp (because although goats are climbers and jumpers, they don't seem to want to do it when I need them to).

Here you can see a combination ramp/milking stool. I milk my Nigerian from behind because it's easier with such small teats. I just pull it back from the milking stanchion a bit and I can easily sit on that little platform. Or if I want to milk from the side, I just move it along side the stand.




Finally, we needed to raise the height of the platform so Dance Hall (the Nigerian) could get her her head through the upright opening. So we made a removable platform specifically for the smaller goats and added more rubber mat material that can be removed and cleaned. It really helps them from slipping around. We had to measure their heads and adjust the size of the neck opening, but if we have larger goats, we can make a small adjustment by adding an extra eye hook or a chain. 


Since I took these pictures, I've added a little feeder on the front for a treat. Milking is going well now and I've started training our Kinder goat, Fiona Bleu, so that she'll be ready when and if she kids. (We took her to be bred this month, but we won't know if she's pregnant until the middle of next month. I'm hoping it took!)  


I've learned a lot in the last month concerning goats... how to do a blood draw, breeding basics, milking, natural udder care... my mind is a whirl with thoughts. Hopefully, I'll get them all out in posts soon for those who are interested. 

Can I just say how wonderful it is to have fresh raw milk again! Truly a blessing!








Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Winners: Whither Thou Goest!

I don't know about you, but I had a great time getting to know Naomi Dathan, author of Wither Thou Goest, I Will Go. Not only was this book a great read from a homesteading point of view, it was very meaningful in terms of seeing a young woman work through the issue of being submissive to her husband's calling and how she embraced it as her own. And it wasn't always easy! Spouses aren't any more perfect than we are and when two people come together, it's always a challenge, but God can use all that "humaness" for His glory and our good!


If you missed the book review and author interview, be sure to check them out. You can download a copy of the eBook at Vyrso, Kindle, Nook, Kobo, Google Books, or iBooks. And don't forget that there will be more to Jem's story in the near future! I for one can hardly wait! 


So without further delay, I'm sure you want to know who won. Our winners for this give-away are:


Shannon Bulla
Sheila N. Clarkson
Carolyn Miller


Congratulations, ladies! I've sent you an email, but if you didn't get it, please email me so we can get your eBook to you as soon as possible!


Monday, February 27, 2012

Barn Hop #51

Welcome to the 51st Homestead Barn Hop, where we link up our homesteading posts to cultivate the homesteading community! So glad you are here this Monday morning!

Last week there were some amazing blogs to visit. No way we can all get to every one of them, but I did get to visit a few. I learned to make lacto fermented mustard for one thing! It smells good, but now I need to give it a try! I'll be making a dressing recipe today with my mustard to test it out. There were also some great tips on not wasting real food... loved that one. And so many more!

I want to give you an update on Kendra's blog, New Life on a Homestead. After nearly two weeks of trying to work through the issue of being hacked, it was finally determined that she is going to have to switch hosts. It still may take some time (and money!), but I will try to keep you updated. Also, Kendra is staying active via facebook and you can follow her there. She's posting some great info despite being so busy trying to solve this horrible issue! Thank you to all of you who have supported her during this time.

I'll be announcing the winner of the three eBooks by Naomi Dathan later today (Lord willing!). Also, it's not too late to link up to Saturday's monthly Preparedness Challenge and get in the drawing from USA Emergency Supply. That give-away ends Friday.
Hopefully, I'll get some posts up this week on goat stuff. I'm swimming in milk and thoughts on the subject! So what's happening at your homestead this week?

Join The Barn Hop!
and Amy @ Homestead Revival...

...invite you to link up and share your homesteading adventures!

1. Write a blog post about what's going on at your homestead or a post on something you're learning or an item of interest that will benefit the homesteading community. Be sure to add the red barn button and link back here so others can join in the fun.

2. Come back here and enter your information in the Linky. Please be sure to link to your actual post (click your title and then copy the URL above) and not your home page so those participating later in the week can find your post easily.

3. If you don't have a blog, leave a comment and tell us what's going on at your homestead!

Please Note: As hostesses of the Homestead Barn Hop, please understand that we reserve the right to remove any links that are not family friendly. While this may be subjective, we will err on the side of caution in order to keep our blogs appropriate for all readers. Thank you for your understanding!









Sunday, February 26, 2012

Sunday Blessing

"Then God said,
 “Let the earth bring forth living creatures 
after their kind: 
cattle and creeping things 
and beasts of the earth 
after their kind”; 
and it was so. 
God made the beasts of the earth 
after their kind, 
and the cattle after their kind, 
and everything that creeps on the ground 
after its kind; 
and God saw that it was good." 
~ Genesis 1:24, 25


"Praise the LORD! 
Praise the LORD from the heavens; 
Praise Him in the heights! 

Let them praise the name of the LORD, 
For He commanded and they were created...

Beasts and all cattle; 
Creeping things and winged fowl;...

Let them praise the name of the LORD,..."
~ Psalm 148:1, 5, 10, 13a

Everything He created gives Him praise! Let us do so with a heart of joy!


Saturday, February 25, 2012

Preparedness Challenge #32

I know this may have sneaked up on some of you since February is a relatively short month, but it's already time for the monthly Preparedness Challenge and the give-away sponsored by USA Emergency Supply! But before I tell you about the give-away this month, I want to remind everyone that I have written many posts on what I believe "being prepared" means.

Because "Prepping" or being a "Prepper" can have lots of connotations and definitions (from being a survivalist to someone who cans and puts up a larder), I think it's important that I periodically point new readers to my posts explaining my stand on this topic. And as a Christian, we must be careful that we don't begin to think that it's our "works" that will save us in a pinch! The Lord determines the number of our days, not our oh-so-smart plans!

So why prep at all? It's way to complicated to put in one paragraph or to repost each time, so I encourage you to read these posts. I've provided a Prepping Basics Index so you don't have to scroll down through every post, but you can jump to each one directly. And hopefully soon I'll have it up on the side bar!



So, back to our wonderful sponsor, USA Emergency Supply, and their awesome prize this month, which includes...


• 2 food storage buckets
• a bag of oxygen absorbers
• 20 5-gallon mylar bags 


All three of these items are excellent for storing dry foods for extended periods of time. If you would like additional information on this topic, visit USA Emergency Supplies site for their article Storage Life of Dried Foods for some great information! 

How I Met The Challenge!

Here's what I did this month in each category (see category definitions near bottom of the post)...

• Food Storage: I added extra oats and wheat to my pantry this month. I want to make sure I don't get too low. I'm now at the point that I can rotate a bag from the co-op, to my freezer, then my freezer to the pantry (in a pail with a gamma seal), and my pantry to actually using it. This is at least a 3 month supply by my estimation. Next would be to go to a year long supply, but I want to shore up some other food areas first!

• Emergency Preparedness: I bought that fire extinguisher that I mentioned last month. And today, I'm off to the store to buy more matches and fire starters for the wood stove and an outdoor fire pit if we need to make one. I do make some of my own starters, but I want to have a lot more - just in case! I plan to make some more homemade ones as well, but I need to find some soy wax.

• Sustainable Living: Before February is out, I'll be attending another beekeeping meeting, but I also ordered my bees for April (two 3# packages with a queen each). However, I'm working on a source for some nucs instead. I bought a honey crisp apple tree, a new Nigerian Dwarf goat already in milk, bred my Kinder goat, and ordered my seeds and potatoes for spring. I also got on two lists for wood chips and spent two afternoons putting leaves through the shredder for mulching in my garden.

Now it's your turn to join the Preparedness Challenge.

Join the Challenge & Enter The Give Away

To be entered in the drawing, leave a comment on something you did this week to be more prepared in terms of food storage, emergencies, or sustainable living (or all three areas!) OR link up your Preparedness Challenge blog post (you only need to comment or post, not both). Posts not related to at least one of the three areas of preparedness will not be counted toward the give-away. Please be sure to clearly state in your comment or post what you did this month to be more prepared (see my example above as one easy way to do this). Again, the three areas we are focusing on include: 


• food storage for life's unexpected events whether related to long term effects from a disaster or a job loss and everything in between

• emergencies for times of power outages, natural disasters, and such

• sustainable living in order to be more independent, both physically and financially, and to live as close to the land as possible given each individual's situation 

Please be respectful of our challenge and only add a post on one of these three preparedness topics ONLY in order to retain the integrity of the link up event. If your post is just a general homesteading post, please save it for the Monday Homestead Barn Hop.

NOTE: This challenge and give-away ends Friday, March 2, at 11:59 p.m. PST.

Be sure to take the Preparedness Challenge picture and add it to your blog so others know you're participating and hopefully they'll join up, too! THANK YOU!!








Thursday, February 23, 2012

Interview With Author Naomi Dathan

As you may already know, Vyrso is offering a lovely give-away for 3 eBooks, right here at Homestead Revival. So today, I'm very excited to welcome Naomi Dathan, author of Whither Thou Goest I Will Go, a homesteading book that is sure to please anyone who ever liked Laura Ingalls Wilder and couldn't get enough! (That would be me!) Let's not waste time, shall we?


Hi Naomi! So glad to have you here. I'm sure everyone would like to know where you got your idea for Whither Thou Goest I Will Go? Why a book in the 1800's about homesteading?

My infatuation with pioneer days began when my teacher Mrs. Mayhew read Little House on The Prairie to our third grade class.  I love history, so I always intended to put myself somewhere in the past in my writing.  But Whither Thou Goest, I Will Go began to take shape in my mind after I read David Laskin’s The Children’s Blizzard.  Something about that brilliantly written history captivated me.  After several times through my dog-eared copy of the book, Jem started to whisper her story in my ear.

Have you always had an interest in homesteading? Do you consider yourself a homesteader in any way? Any pets, a garden, etc.?

I have and do.  Some of my earliest memories are of my grandmother bent over her huge garden and my mother’s canned strawberry preserves lined up on the kitchen counter.  Even in her teens, my sister sewed clothes and breathtakingly beautiful quilts.  I think I always had the expectation that I would be at least a hobby farmer. I even used to check out library books on gardening and keeping livestock. I still feel a yearning when I drive past long acres of green fields, white rail fences and peaceful horses and cows. 

But here I am in a small city, living on a lot that is measured in feet not acres, in an area of town not zoned for chickens.  Still, I have a homesteading heart. My “back forty” is actually about forty square feet of yard behind the garage, but I’ve tucked a revolving clothes pole and a compost pile back there. In summers, I run the length of my fence with my “crops” – tomatoes, peppers, green beans, and squash. And, now that I’ve watched one too many videos about factory farmed chickens, I’ve decided that I will probably disobey zoning laws so I can have guilt-free eggs. I’m mostly vegetarian, so at least my neighbors will be spared having a black Angus steer peering accusingly over the fence at them during their cookouts.


Good for you! I love that you are making the most of your current homestead! Speaking of which, your description of Jem and Seth's sod house was anything but glamorous! What kind of research did you have to do to write a book so rich in homesteading details?

I adore doing research – sometimes more than the actual writing --  so I happily absorbed myself into old journals, historical websites and books.   After a while I felt like I was living more in Nebraska in 1888 than in my real life.  I’m so glad you found it rich in detail, because I felt like I went through culture shock when I finally re-emerged into present-day Ohio.

Your main character, Jem, starts out as a very pampered young lady, but deep down inside she’s a really strong woman. Did you have someone in mind when you created her?

Myself, I’m afraid.  Yes, I can be that bratty.  And when I’m not, I usually want to be.  Her spiritual journey is very much mine, as my husband’s disability and chronic illness forced me to become a dramatically better person than anyone would have guessed I could become.  

On the one hand, I thank God with all my heart for everything that happened to me.   As hard as it was, it was necessary in order for me to become the me I am right now.  I wouldn’t want to give that up.  On the other hand, I like to remind God that now that I’ve reached this stage of maturity, strength and wisdom . . . there’s no need for any more hard times.  I'm satisfied with the work He's done, and I hope he doesn't intend to refine me anymore in the near future!


Let's talk about Seth a minute... I was really surprised that Jem’s husband started out like “the perfect spouse,” wise and of strong character, but through various trials his own weaknesses were exposed. What were your thoughts (or message to readers) when you wrote his responses to adversity?


In my younger days I read maybe thousands of romance novels.  I know the deal:  the woman is in distress, being held captive or in imminent peril of losing her home/farm/child/life.  The man, commonly referred to as the hero, sweeps in, solves her problems, changes her life, protects her.  By the end of the story, she knows that he will never fail her, will be with her until the day she dies, and intuitively understands her emotional and physical needs. 

Fast forward to real marriage, where I acquired one of my very first pieces of actual wisdom:

The hero who rides up on the white steed and provides for all your needs?  That’s God.

The guy you marry?  That’s another human, just like you.  He will cry, lose his temper, be weak at the wrong moment and sometimes fail you.

So I guess that’s my message:  that marriage, real marriage, is a union of two fallible humans.  If you have an idealized expectation of marriage, you will be disappointed.

The danger of romance novels (and the fairy tales they’re based on) is that we, as women, are constantly being tempted with the idea that someone else is responsible for our lives and happiness.   Jem certainly thought that at the beginning of the book.  But, like most of us, she was force to accept that she had accidentally married a human instead of a hero.   Seth, whether at his best or his worst, was one of many factors impacting Jem’s life, but ultimately she was responsible for who she was and how her life played out. That is true for all of us.


Well said, Naomi! And thank you for writing your book that way! I know that every woman ever married will be able to relate to that and those that are yet to be married, need to understand this before they enter a marriage!


The title of the book tells us that Jem must learn to follow her "human" husband, which is basically saying she had to learn to submit even when she didn't want to... something that women have struggled with since the time of Eve! Would you agree? And have you struggled with submission at any time in your life?

Awesome.  You’re not afraid to ask the tough questions, are you?

About five years into my marriage, I was listening to a Christian radio station at work and I heard a discussion of wifely submission.  This was the first I’d ever heard of it.  I wasn’t a Christian growing up and had studied feminist literature in college, so it took some processing.

Finally, I broached the topic with my husband, explained the idea to him, and announced, in true submissive-wife fashion, that this was how things were going to work in our marriage from now on.

I will say two things about it:
(1)     It worked for us.  My husband was very respectful of the concept, and only exerted the husband authority when he felt genuinely led by God.  He never, not once, resorted to petty abuse of authority.  We communicated very well, so we were careful to define when we were invoking the authority thing and when we were just being argumentative, grouchy or intentionally annoying.  When he did invoke it, I went with it.  And even if I hated it at the time, I was always glad later.  God's fingerprints were all over it. 

My husband had frequent, life-threatening infections, which meant he wasn't always able to take the leadership role.  There was often a point when either he or I would have to transfer the authority from him to me, and I became the decision-maker.  We communicated, and it was never an issue for either of us. 

(2)    If I ever remarry, I’m not going to do it again. I’m 45, almost 46, years old.  I kept a dying man alive for many years in spite of all odds and medical predictions while running a house, caring for my children and writing three books.  I wrote another book the month after he died, and I’m writing the sequel to Whither now, while still running my house, paying my bills and caring for two children who are nearly paralyzed with grief.   I know who I am, what God created me to do, and what I need to do next.   I feel completely qualified to run my life.  The only submission I intend to exhibit is the Christian submission that is expected of all followers of Christ, be they male or female.

I’m aware that between these two conflicting statements, I’ve probably managed to draw the indignation of virtually all of your readers.  I can only say, this is my most honest answer at this moment. 

I do appreciate your honesty, Naomi! In truth, if we are submissive to Christ in ALL THINGS, I think submission to our husbands would be a non-issue, right? Lord, make that true of me!!



I understand that you started writing while caring for your terminally ill husband. How did writing help you through that period of your life?

I don’t know if I can explain how it helped me.  It was just necessary. 

To be strictly accurate, I started writing when I was twelve.  Whither was my third book (to be written, not sold), and I’ve been keeping journals since I could write.  If I could find all the stray scraps of journals, notebooks and files (some on floppy disks), I’d have an exhaustive and incredibly boring record of every emotion I’ve experienced since I was about nine.  There is no need to impose that kind of legacy on my heirs though, so hopefully I’ll be able to resist the impulse.


As my husband’s illness progressed, my anguish made its way relentlessly into my fiction.  Although I didn’t plan it this way, all of my books have recurring medical motifs.  You can almost track the progression of my husband’s illness through the stories. 

In Whither, there is a moment when Jem awakens from sitting by Seth’s bedside after his illness, and she is convinced, absolutely sure, that Seth has died.  That is the truest moment in the book for me.  How often did I check my husband’s breathing during the long nights?  How often did I feel the cool of his skin outside the blanket and think he was gone?   

Why was it critical to write that scene?  I don’t know, but I know that every time I go back to it, I feel how essential it was.  How essential it is.
 
Jem grows quite a lot in her faith and trust, as well as her understanding of God as she endures her first year homesteading in Nebraska. How did your faith and trust in God grow during your own trial? And was there a particular scripture passage that spoke to you during that time?

Jem did better than I did.  Her year-long growth spurt took me closer to fifteen years.   My head is even harder than hers, I’m afraid.  But I did learn.  I learned that God loves me . . . and that I don’t understand an awful lot of what He does. 

So, yeah.  It took me fifteen years to learn that.  Imagine what kind of incredible theology I’ll be able to expound on after another fifteen years of trauma!

But those thoughts, as tiny as they are, define me.  He loves me.  I’m a hot mess of selfishness, rebelliousness, irritability and distractibility.  But He loves me.  He wants to hear from me, craves for me to reach for him the way I craved for my babies to reach for me.


So, in the worst of times, and even in the better times (when it’s sometimes harder to remember to seek God), I cling to Philippians 4:6-7:  “Do not worry about anything, but in everything , by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”



Thank you, Naomi! What a pleasure! We don't often get to hear from an author and gain insite into his or her personal life story. I think we just assume they dream up books in the middle of the night! But without a doubt, I can certainly see your heart woven through each chapter of Whither now that I've gotten to know you a bit. Which makes me even more excited to read the next book!!


And Homestead Revival readers, you might also enjoy the bonus content on Naomi's site including a discussion of Seth's failings ("Seth . . . Oh, Seth.  You disappoint.") and the popular quiz, "Are you a Born Homesteader?".  You'll also find an excerpt of Whither on her site if you would like to check out her eBook for free.


Don't forget Vyrso is hosting a give-away for three copies of her eBook right now on Homestead Revival. Just click HERE to enter! The drawing ends Saturday, so don't wait too long!



Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Update: New Life On A Homestead

Well, praise the LORD! Kendra at New Life On A Homestead is back up and running after the very trying experience of having her blog hacked by an automated crawler of some kind. She still doesn't have all the graphics working, a few pages won't load, and she lost a few posts that hadn't been backed up prior to the crawler, but thankfully, she does not have to start from scratch. In time, she'll get the rest sorted out, but it would be awesome if we could send some traffic her way today and let her know we're still around. And for all those who "liked" her on Facebook during this bump in the road, THANK YOU! That is part of what it means to cultivate the homestead community!


By the way... her message to all of you who use a platform that requires backing up... do it daily!

UPDATE at 10:45 on 2/22/12:
Unfortunately, whatever is attacking her site has done it again (after being problem free for 24 hours!). Please pray for Kendra so that this can be resolved. It's very frustrating and time consuming for her. I can only imagine! I'll try to let you know when she gets it resolved.


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Give Away: Whither Thou Goest, I Will Go

I read a lot of "how-to" non-fiction, but once in a while it's really refreshing to read something from a different genre. After a long hard week, it's so relaxing to curl up by the fire or in bed with a good story!

About Vyrso 

Recently I was asked to review an eBook from Vyrso. Now I had not heard of Vyrso, or so I thought, until my contact told me that it was an arm of Logos Software. I was able to easily add a free Vyrso app to my iPhone and download a book in just minutes (maybe seconds!). It can also be added to an Android or iPad.

This was my first book to read in it's entirety on an electronic device. I'm typically a "hold the book in my hands and smell it" kind of a gal. I like pages and pictures (if it's a reference book) as well as the front cover. But I must admit, I loved having the eBook with me whenever I had a few minutes to spare; while waiting at the doctor's office, in line at the drive through bank, etc. Much easier than hauling around a book!

I really can't compare the Vyrso app to a Kindle (or similar device) since I haven't used the Kindle much. My husband has one, but it really didn't inspire me to pick it up and use it. The Vyrso app was different. I found I didn't mind reading on it for the most part. But I confess... I do love my iPhone and that may have made a bit of a difference as well. Being able to adjust things like the size of the font, the color of the background, and a few other things, made it so I could customize it form my preferences. When you close the app, your place is bookmarked so you don't have to hunt down where you left off, but if you need to go the Table of Contents or skip to a chapter, a small icon made it easy to navigate.

About The eBook

Whither Thou Goest, I Will Go, by Naomi Dathan, is THE ultimate homesteading fiction book. If you've ever thought you might like to live off-grid, you were born in the wrong era, or you just wonder what it would have been like to homestead in Nebraska during the 1800's, then this is the book for you! But get ready... you'll experience every emotion you can imagine as you enter Jem Perkins world.

I told my contact that I'm a slow reader and it would take me a while to get through the book. However, I found that I couldn't put my iPhone down once I started reading and a couple of nights, I was up way past my bed time so I could read just one more chapter! It was that good!

Imagine you were raised with every comfort during your time, a bit spoiled (to say the least), and suddenly, your husband says, "Honey, pack the bags. We're moving and going totally off-grid in the back country." I realize some of you would be jumping up and down for joy, but remember... Jem Perkins thinks roughing it is doing without a new dress for a special event!

But Jem doesn't give up so easily. She's got spirit and spunk, even if it is misplaced at times! God works in her heart throughout the story as He uses trials, the hardships of settling an untamed land, and learning to submit both to God and her husband as well as to teach her what's really important in life. Just when you think she's figured it out, her greatest challenge comes with the Children's Blizzard of 1888.

That's all I'm going to tell you... what fun would it be if I told you everything? If you want to read some more reviews, check out the Good Reads! And if you find that you like this... she's working on a sequel!

Update: “Download Whither Thou Goest, I Will Go for VyrsoKindleNook, or Kobo, and start reading!”


Meet Naomi Dathan

Be sure to come back on Thursday as I will be hosting an interview with the author herself! I've been reading up on her and this is one amazing woman! Before being published, Naomi spent 5 years as a caretaker for her chronically-ill husband. To help pay for medical expenses, she took editing jobs, writing assignments, and wrote five novels at her husband's bedside. Despite her efforts, it was Naomi's hope in Christ and the generosity of her community that kept her family afloat.

Last spring, her dreams came true and three of her novels were picked up by publishers. Six months later, her husband passed away, just one month before the launch of her first book, Whither Thou Goest, I Will Go. The hardships of prairie life in the 1800's are not unlike her own. In a way, Naomi's book is a reflection of her own life story; one filled with hope, tragedy, and the assurance that God's story continues, even through the storms.

Enter The Give-Away
I'm going to try something different for this give-away. Since most of you entering will probably be a bit "tech-savvy" (since you probably have an iPhone, iPad, or Droid), I want to try using Punch tab for entries. Just click on the links in the box and you should be good to go. I'd love to hear what you think of Punch tab in the comments section of this post so I can decide if I want to use it in the future.






Monday, February 20, 2012

Your Custom Homestead

I have good news for those of you who are overwhelmed with the idea of homesteading and your not sure where to begin. Urbanites and rural folks alike should take note...

My friend Jill Winger of The Prairie Homestead has just released her new eBook Your Custom Homestead! Homesteading is as unique as each individual who has a dream for his or her home, but that can also make it hard to know where to begin! There's so many things one could do! This is not a "how to" book, but rather a 21 day challenge to work through organizing your thoughts and dreams for your own land whether it's in the middle of an urban center or way out in the country. For example, she'll show you how to:



• Create a homesteading binder to keep your operation running smoothly
• Formulate a homestead mission statement and set goals.
• Follow your homesteading ambitions, even if you live in an area with restrictive homeowner’s associations and covenants.
• Embrace your current location, no matter how “unlikely” it may be.
• Expand your knowledge base and acquire new skills.
• Begin planning for homestead animals and growing seasons.
• And much, much more!


If you're new to homesteading and don't know where to begin, this book will help point you in the right direction so you can determine exactly what you want to achieve given your current situation. If you're an urbanite and think that moving to the country would solve it all, remember, no place is perfect. Each homestead will have it's own pros and cons to deal with. Jill's personal story is woven throughout to give you an idea of her own limitations that she's had to work with, yet she was able to find a solution that worked for her.






You can find out more on Jill's blog AND receive a discount code for 20% off now through February 24th! And if you're still not sure, you can read a chapter now before you buy. So why wait?



Barn Hop #50

Welcome, friends! We have hit the 50 mark and I feel a bit like celebrating! Thank you to everyone in the homesteading community who has linked up or left a comment and helped to cultivate a network of sharing and friendship! YOU have made this Barn Hop work!!


While each of us may have practiced one or two things growing up, few of us actually grew up homesteading at the level we are striving for today. And skills were lost. But through the shared community, we are gaining ground fast and providing a venue for others to join us and learn, including the next generation. 


Again, thank you for being a part of this process. I've learned so much from many of you and have been encouraged by your comments and posts to keep going when things get tough. Like when I killed my bees on accident. Oh, that was a sad day (I grieved for a week!). And when my garden didn't do as well as I would have liked, many of you who were more experienced reminded all of us that sometimes it's just not a great year for plants. Some of you have been so kind as to help me with homesteading questions via email, but often we first met right here at the Barn Hop!   

As the Barn Hop grows, it may not seem so quaint and personal as it did in the beginning. I want to encourage you to find a few blogs you like in the link up and follow them regularly, but visit a new blog here and there as well. You never know... it might be that kindred spirit you've been looking to connect with! 


Join The Barn Hop!
and Amy @ Homestead Revival...

...invite you to link up and share your homesteading adventures!

1. Write a blog post about what's going on at your homestead or a post on something you're learning or an item of interest that will benefit the homesteading community. Be sure to add the red barn button and link back here so others can join in the fun.

2. Come back here and enter your information in the Linky. Please be sure to link to your actual post (click your title and then copy the URL above) and not your home page so those participating later in the week can find your post easily.

3. If you don't have a blog, leave a comment and tell us what's going on at your homestead!

Please Note: As hostesses of the Homestead Barn Hop, please understand that we reserve the right to remove any links that are not family friendly. While this may be subjective, we will err on the side of caution in order to keep our blogs appropriate for all readers. Thank you for your understanding!








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