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Come visit us at the Connecticut Country Store!
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Thought for the moment.....

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A busy day at the store!

We are cleaning up and moving around items to prepare for the new building, John will be preparing the outside tomorrow!  This is really exciting and we've gotten some great new products to share!

We also got an egg incubator today to start attempting to hatch Harriet's eggs :)  I haven't been able to master the temp and humidity yet but I'm hoping to have it down by Friday when she gives me another egg.  Usually at 9:30am on the dot!

The goats were still in a fuss this morning but settled down by this evening.  This is VERY good because they were making all the birds go wild with their yelling and beating the fence!  We are thinking maybe Cricket will wait another year to be a momma, she just isn't interested at all.  We do have a good mate for her if she changes her mind.  We will have to wait and see.

Stay warm and be well!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Babies due April 28th!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

These 2 angels were hooting and holloring this morning for some goat love (I guess Lamancha did not get pregnant the first trip!) so we packed them in and headed to the farm.  Lamancha (Buttercup) was bread with a black and white Lamancha and the sannen/alpine (Cupcake) was bread with a colorful alpine buck yearling.  The due date give or take a week is April 28th.  We are very excited for our grand'kids'.  I'm thinking a baby shower around April Fools would be perfect!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Yeah! We have our cookstove set up!

John and I waited a year to save up the money to buy this and change the chimney to accept a woodstove!  We are so thrilled!  Now we just have to wait for it to get cold again.....

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


We are thankful for all of our friends and family, we are truly blessed!  Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!  Be well!

Monday, November 21, 2011

The week before Thanksgiving

We had a very busy day today cleaning up the yard, moving the turkey pen, tucking in the garden for a long winters nap....  Cleaning up the turkey pen and moving the flight cage was the hardest.  I really enjoyed raising those boys, they were a pleasure.  I've had more than a few people comment about what we do here, raising and slaughtering our own meats.  Many people don't understand that we do this to ensure that we are raising the animals kindly, with care and respect.  We slaughter them quickly and as efficiently as we can.  Tad even played soothing classical music during the day.  We care about these animals and we thank them for feeding us, for fertilizing our lawns, for composting our left-overs.  I cried the morning of the slaughter because even though I know we are doing the best thing we can, it is hard and it will always be a sad day.  We make the decision to raise our own meats or buy from small farms to ensure we are supporting what we feel is right.  That was me on a soap box.  Be well.

We have been decorating wreaths for 2 days now!

Here are just a few we decorated tonight while watching Star Wars from Kaylah's collection!

New and old chicks!

The guineas are starting to get their distinctive looks with the blue/white/red faces that look like a clowns and the beautiful feathering.  We have 2white, 2lavender, and 2pearl.  The whites and the one pearl are females and I think the others are males.  The only way to really tell for sure is the sound they make so its hard.  They are moving into the turkey flight cage today to live for the winter.  We will set them free in the spring and we hope they will do ALOT of bug eating, particularly our large tick and mosquito populations!

These are my 4 new fancy chicken additions!  2 white silkies, 1 black cochin, and 1 blue cochin.  I hope to get better pictures with my dad's camera.  The whites may have colored fertilized eggs, which would mean I would trade them out when the coloreds get old enough - or trade out ozzy if I get a male.  Ozzy is even crazier with all these hens!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Turkey day

This morning was the last for the turkeys.  I cared for them as best I could and tried to give them what they needed with comfort and plenty of food.  I cried while setting up for the day and then left before the processing started.  I feel bad about this but I just wasn't ready to help, I loved those turkeys.  Luckily, I have a lot of great friends and family who processed 10 turkeys - the smallest weighing 34 pounds fully dressed.  I honestly don't know how we are going to fit the big ones in the oven (the biggest was 43 pounds). 

Their size alone demonstrates my need to learn more about what I am doing in raising these birds.  I obviously fed them too much.  They seemed happy, though, and that was my main objective - to raise happy healthy birds.  I guess I just raised them a little too happy on the food!

This afternoon I went to another farm to spruce up my decorative flock for the spring.  I got 2 white silkies and 2 cochins - 1 black, 1 blue.  The silkies might be carrying fertilized eggs of colored silkies and that is what I am hoping for, too.  The cochins are only 3 months old.  The silkies are 6 months old.  Right now everyone is happy about the additions except Harriet who is feeling a little cramped in her very large and nice housing.  My mother always said, "you can't please everyone all of the time!"

I am hoping to post nice pictures of the additions tomorrow.  Be well!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Another fun craft night!

We had a great time at craft night - another open night for us!  We are probably going to start doing 1 specified activity a month and the rest open craft because everyone loves that so much!  Tonight we had chocolate fudge (thank you, Pam) and gingerbread - YUM!  This picture is of a mitten my sister Pam made for me with yarn I spun from llama, alpaca, camel, and angora!  She started working on mitten 2 tonight!  It is SO warm and soft - I LOVE IT!  I will spin my angora into all my fibers now that I know how wonderful it feels!

Meanwhile, back at the farm the goats are enjoying fallen leaves, the guinea's pen was moved to better grass, Harriet the funky chicken continues to lay eggs, the rabbits were forced inside by the rain, and the Turkeys are just getting bigger and bigger.  Sunday is their last day with us and they will be missed.  I have really enjoyed raising them and tried my hardest to give them the best life on a farm I could.  This part of farming is the hardest.

Tonight I am running a glaze fire in the kiln and hope to have nice pieces to show tomorrow.  My glazes are about 2 years old so I'm not sure how things will go for us.  I will post pictures, good or bad.  I'm also working on a video to show people how to made homemade ravioli's and another one to show you how to make cheap and easy granola (recipe already posted here - use the search box on the left of this page)

Thanks for reading our blog!  Be well!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Lamancha Success!

I think things went well for Lamancha (Buttercup) and this spring (in 5 months) we will be proud goat grandparents!  I'm hoping for girls so I can keep them :)  Cricket and Cupcake were not as enthusiastic, so we will have to bring them back to the farm when they are feeling a little more frisky.

Today was a wet and nasty day but we got things done and now I'm going to head out to take one of my nieces and one of my nephews to west african drumming in Willimantic, CT.  It is so much fun, I can't say enough about it!

This weekend I will be going to a local farm to look into adopting some laying hens to keep the store in stock with eggs (we just got eggs in if anyone is looking).  At the end of the weekend I will head to another farm in eastern Connecticut to check out some silkies and frizzles (these are hens) for my fancy collection!

It's a good life!

Be well!

Easy delicious pizza dough recipe

I have no idea where I picked up this recipe, so excuse me if I'm copying!

This makes dough for 4 personal sized pizzas.  We love to make these with the nieces and nephews.  It is SO easy and FUN!

3 cups flour
1 pkg dry yeast (2.25 tsp)
2 Tblsp veg oil
1 tsp salt
1 cup of warm water
a handful of cornmeal is optional

Mix it all together putting in the oil and water last. 

Split the dough into 4 parts and hand them out.  everyone can flatten any way they choose, we hold it on one end and spin it around but that can be messy for young folks.  I have silpat non stick cookie mats I use and they are GREAT.  If you don't have these spread cornmeal under your pizza dough so it doesn't stick.

Cover with whatever ingredients you like - anywhere from cheese and sauce to cinnamon and sugar!

bake at 375 for 20-25 minutes or until browned

We are closing early today!

We are closing our doors at 3:30pm today in order to bring our 'girls' to a larger farm to meet the fathers of what we hope will be precious kids this spring!  We are very excited and nervous!  I will let you know how it goes!  Be well!

Monday, November 14, 2011


Monday is our catchup day.  We run around like fools trying to patch, wash, dry, mend, clip, clean, and muck!  This morning little Harriet the hen went from one nesting box to another testing them out.  She was like Goldilocks sitting in each spot and feeling around and then deciding on another.  Once she chose spot # 1 she promptly layed an egg!  I marked it with a 1 in case she wants to hatch them but by this evening I'm not so sure that is her intention.  I think maybe after a day of being broody she changed her mind!

Meanwhile, my goats have had no thoughts of kids on their minds and its been driving me nuts!  I'm supposed to check for signs of heat then count every 21 days to see if they are in a cycle, then bring them to the farm to get....action....  So this morning I am out back talking to our new wood delivery guy complaining about my goats and he says to me, "You have to stimulate them".  Now I'm thinking...hmmm....I'm not sure I want goat milk THAT bad....Once he realized my confusion he laughed and said - you need a male goat or the scent of a male goat!  oh...ooops!

So, I called my sister-in-law who happened to be going to pick up a stud and took a ride with her.  We picked the mini goat up and he had a very large goat smell.  My sister-in-law was kind enough to take the goat to my house first so the girls could get a sniff and I could get a buck rag.  Well, Buttercup got so rallied up whe nearly knocked Laura to the ground!  YES!  Maybe this is going to work out afterall!

After this adventure, John and I had to go to Oak Leaf Dairy and get hay for the girls and another fully stinking buck rag.  We got there and those goats could curl your nosehairs.  I rubbed them with the cloth and realized THEY ARE HUGE!  They've got to be twice the size of my girls.  So now I'm worried about hooking them up when the girls are ready.  Sometimes, some parts, some moments in farm life are just not for me.

All in all it was a good day.  The turkeys are finishing up their time on the farm, the hens are happy and using their nests, the guineas are getting ready for a much bigger flight cage, the goats are, I pray, going into heat, and the rabbits spent the whole day getting filthy digging tunnels.  OH, I almost forgot, I ran my kiln today - its been 2 years and I'm back at the wheel!  I wonder what the rest of the week will bring!

Be well!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Easy homemade FREE nesting beds for your Bantams!

This is our Bantam chicken house with my new FREE nesting boxes made from scraps in the basement.  Let me tell you how they are made:

First you have to search your basement or garage for a board, 9 screws and washers, a thin piece of wood like some left over trim, and 5 large plant containers - we used some from trees we planted.  If you are local to us, I would be happy to give you some of our left-overs.

This is the set up of how it works.  screw planters to board using washers.  screw thin trim to the front with washers.  This is to hold in the shavings and/or straw when the bird exits the box.
This is a picture of how I screwed the planter to the wood using an old washer.  I brought the planter right up to the board's edge.
Here you can see what it looks like.  I had the board on a stand but that is unneccessary for sucess, its just an add on.
Here is a front view.  You can see the middle container has holes.  This should have no effect.  I like this design because I can powerwash the beds when they get dirty - and THEY WILL!
I hope this is helpful to you!  Be well!

I promise, I am not speaking from a podium, I am trying to explain to people why we've chosen this path :)

Last night John closed the store while I went to pick up my niece and
nephew for an evening of West African drumming. It is so much fun
even though I am terrible at it. The kids are great at it and
sometimes I just stop and watch them. My parents have always been the
adventurous type. Always learning something new. Right now it is
difficult to visit my dad because he is taking 3 college classes at
the local community college. My mother was the same way. I love that
about them and try to challenge myself regularly. We have great
nieces and nephews that are willing to try these challenges with us,
even if its something like trying squirrel stew!

Last night John had our new 1900's cookstove outside burning off the
protective oil wisely administered by its last owners. After the oil
was gone, the stove burned hot with wood John collected and we could
tell it was going to be a great investment. John smiled toward me and
said, "now that's sustainable living"! I had to laugh in response as
I was watching him from the jacuzi with a mass produced brew in my
hand. I guess we aren't totally sustainable.

Along with learning through new adventures, my parents also instilled
in me a desire to learn through reading. I have read a lot of books
on sustainable living, living off grid, farming, etc. A lot of the
accounts are the all or nothing type which makes for better reading
but definately not what I would consider better living. The truth is
all or nothing is not an easy way to go about life. My mother has
always told us 'everything in moderation'. I can't say I've always
followed that advice well, but I try. I will not be the sustainable
living guru that gnaws bark and bathes in cold water or lives on root
cellar scraps during the winter. I want a life worth living, not one
of deprivation. The choices we make will be to sustain our lives as
best we can while still enjoying them.

When John and I first met we talked about what is most important to
us. We agreed it was our families and friends and the time to enjoy
them and eachother. Time, that precious gift that we cannot get more
of and that we can not stop from slipping away. Our goal is to
maximize the quality of the time we have and to do that we must care
for the land that sustains us, care for the people that color our
days, care for the animals that feed us, care for the moments we have
and embrace them. Some friends cannot concieve of giving up the
vacations and TV and Dunkin Donuts and all the comforts we get used
to, but what are all those things if we don't have time to enjoy them?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

November 2011 on the farm

Time is flying by over here in our little quiet corner of Connecticut.  Our farm is growing, our store is growing, our lives are growing.  It amazes me as I write this how much our lives have changed the past few years.  Noone who has known me over the years would expect that I'd spend this morning feeding farm animals, mucking stalls, collecting eggs, and opening the doors of our own store - especially me.  And it is all done with a smile on my face because those are the moments, the times when I am so comfortable with where I am and what I am doing.  I am so blessed to have a partner that wants to share this crazy adventure with me.  A partner willing to work hard, embrace the conservative living, skip the Dunkin Donuts (most days), and live a life the is so full we could never be considered 'poor'.  This is the life.  Be well.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Making your own granola - cheap and delish!

Along with making my own yogurt I like to make the granola that goes along with it!   This is very easy and SO much cheaper than the healthy granola you buy in the store.  I modified this recipe from 'Natural Meals in Minutes' written by Rita Bingham.  The book is great if you like healthy meals but don't want to spend hours slaving over them!  Great lunch box snacks!

What you need:
7 cups of rolled oats
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup of honey
1/2 cup apple juice concentrate
1 tsp of vanilla
1 tsp coconut extract
1/4 cup of water
nuts or seeds to your liking (I'm not a fan in my granola but many are)
1 cup coconut

Mix it all together and spread out on a baking sheet (I use cheesecake springforms because I am clumsy and will spill when mixxing it up between drying times).  Put in oven at 150 degrees or as low as it will go (mine does not run at less than 170).  Bake for 2 hours.  I mix it up every half hour or so until its done.

Warning:  When it is done it will feel soft - DO NOT continue to bake, this is correct and it will harden as it cools.  I once made granola that could break teeth!  If you accidently do that, use it in yogurt or with warm milk or you can try to put it in a bag with a slice of apple to moisten it up.  Or maybe raisins - yum!  If its too soft after it cools - throw it in for another 15-20 minutes.  Put in a sealed container - I use large masson jars.  It makes about a gallon depending on the nuts/seeds you add.

Silky and Cochin Hut 2011

Guineas in their new flight cage!

Easy Bantam Nesting Boxes

Easy Homemade Bread!