Milk Kefir

All about Dairy Kefir

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Milk kefir is a fermented milk drink that is usually made with goat’s milk or cow’s milk that is incredibly good for you.  The best way to describe milk kefir is that it’s kind of like a drinkable yogurt, it tastes tangy and a little sour. It is much easier to make than yogurt. Homemade yogurt and kefir are staples in our kitchen, I make them on a weekly basis.

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Guinea Fowl

Guinea fowl on the homestead

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Guinea fowl have a reputation for being loud and going where ever they feel like.   Rightly so, they are constantly making noise and refuse to go into the coop at night.  Despite that, guineas are an essential animal to have on your farm or homestead.  If Guineas are kept right by your house, their noise may be a problem.  We have a large property, so our barn is within walking distance from the house, but not right by the house.  We hear their noise in the distance, but it is just another barn yard noise.  Roosters crowing, cows bellowing and guineas calling.  

why guinea fowl should be a part of your homestead:

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Getting Started Making Hard Cheese

What you need to know before making hard cheese at homeHomestead in the Holler is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

 

One of the biggest benefits of having your own dairy animal, be it goat or cow, is plenty of fresh, raw milk.  An abundance of fresh milk means making dairy products yourself.  Yogurt, kefir, butter and cheese.  Several friends have told me that making hard cheeses sounds difficult and are intimidated by the process.  Not so!

Making hard cheese is really not difficult and quite fun! Once you get started, you will soon want to make all the cheese and may be talking your husband into making your very own cheese cave.  Ahem.

 

Here is what you need to get started making hard cheese.

 

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Homestead Goal: Simplify

Goals on the homestead: SimplifyHomestead in the Holler is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.
At the beginning of every year we make goals that we like to accomplish for the coming year.  Projects to start or complete, financial goals, adding animals, selling animals and so forth.  This year we have a resounding theme: simplify.
When we started our farm, we wanted to try it all.  Do all the things!  Get all of the animals!  We knew we couldn’t do it all, but wanted to see what we did like.  We had experience with poultry, rabbits, dairy goats and gardening. We added pigs, sheep, cattle, dairy cows and meat goats to our farm.  In addition to the garden, we added an orchard.   Now that we’ve had these animals for a while, it’s time to look at which direction to go.  It’s time to simplify.

Wait, simplifying the simple life?

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Cinnamon Apple Dutch Baby

Cinnamon Apply Dutch Baby PancakeHomestead in the Holler is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.
It’s the time of year for apples!  We have planted quite a few apple trees in our orchard, but it will be a couple years yet before we will get a harvest.  Good things come to those who wait.  That’s what I keep telling myself anyway!  Imagine my delight when one of our neighbors stopped by with several boxes of apples!  She had canned apple jelly and applesauce and had apples to spare.  She graciously shared the bounty.
We’ve been enjoying all things apple ever since.  There’s something magical when you combine apples with cinnamon and nutmeg.  Yum!!  One of our favorite apple recipes is a Cinnamon Apple Dutch Baby pancake.  Not only is it big on flavor, it’s a quick breakfast or breakfast for dinner meal.  I make it in my cast iron skillet, which is my favorite way to cook!

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Reality of Homesteading

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As I was milking our Jersey, Spark, the other evening, I was thinking about how this was what I dreamed about for years.  Living off the land, growing our food and getting milk from our own cow.  Life is good!  And then Spark swatted me in the face with her tail.

 

Everyone glosses over the realities of homesteading/farming.  They show the good, happy parts of farm life and skip over the not so great stuff that nobody really wants to hear about.  We’re shown the end result, the glass of milk or a clean basket of eggs, and all the stuff that happens beforehand isn’t mentioned.  But isn’t the end result, the glass of milk and fresh eggs, the point?   Yes, it is and it’s certainly the reward for a job well done. However, there is a romanticized view of homesteading these days. The white picket fence, well behaved animals, a perfectly weeded garden, cooking from scratch and still have time to sit on the porch with a glass of lemonade is what’s often portrayed on the internet.  Getting swatted in the face by a cow’s tail or cleaning out the chicken coop that will really start to stink to high heaven if you don’t clean it, isn’t what you read about.  While I love this life, there are some realities that are part of it; sweat, dirt, bugs and poop.  Lots of poop.

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Missouri Ozarks: What’s Great & What’s Not

Missouri OzarksHomestead in the Holler is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

 

It has now been three years since we purchased our farm in the Missouri Ozarks. What a whirlwind of three years it has been!  We are very grateful to be here and are enjoying our new routine, but like anything, it isn’t perfection either.  When we were making our decision regarding moving to the area, we kept looking for someone writing about their experiences in the area.  There were several blogs and such, but very little information about how people really felt about the area after having spent some time here.

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Why Build With Straw Bales?

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If you are a regular reader, you already know we are in the middle of building a straw bale insulated home.  I often meet people who assume I am therefore some sort of straw bale evangelist.  This always strikes me as odd because I can’t really understand why I would want to push my building choices on someone else.  As an adult, I feel perfectly able to consider the options and weigh which ones fit our desires and needs.  Therefore, I feel most adults are likewise capable of the same.

So, if you have to ask why you would build a straw bale home, please don’t build one!  If you think straw bale homes mean rodents, rotting straw, fire or other similar disasters, please insulate with something that you are comfortable with.  Rest assured that we don’t care and certainly won’t judge your choice harshly!  

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Putting Farm Animals to Work

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Farm animals have an important place on the homestead.  From the backyard homesteader to the full time farmer, producing your own eggs, milk and meat is a fulfilling accomplishment.  We give our farm animals fresh food and water and the best care possible.  But could our farm animals being doing more for us in return?  We need to look at “the pigness of the pig and the chickeness of the chicken” as Joel Salatin puts it.

 

Instead of working against each farm animal’s natural instincts, why not have those instincts work for you instead?

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Goat’s milk yogurt

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My family loves yogurt.  When our goat’s are in milk, I make 1 gallon of yogurt a week and I still can’t keep up with my kid’s appetites!  Who can resist a bowl of thick, creamy goat’s milk yogurt with a bit of fruit mixed in? 

 

Wait, thick and creamy goat’s milk yogurt? 

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