Homesteading and neighbors


On a farm, ranch or homestead, believe it or not, it is extremely important to maintain a good relationship with everyone in your neighborhood. A few years ago, a co-worker of mine told me a story about how he had seriously upset a neighbor of his to the extant that the neighbor decided to take revenge. The neighbor shot my co-worker’s three year old colt, and killed it. My co-worker was never able to prove who did it.

A week or two ago, I wrote about how our dogs brought home a lamb that was almost dead. My family saved it’s life and spent 48 hours trying to find out who the lamb belonged to. We located the owner, and he said he didn’t want the lamb back because it would require bottle feeding every two hours around the clock for 48 hours and then 4 hours around the clock for a week plus it needed a daily penicillin shot. It would be very difficult and delicate and time consuming job to bring up the lamb. So, we are keeping the lamb and named him Bucky.


The story is continuing however. If we were in that farmer’s shoes, we would feel the loss of a lamb sorely. So, we looked up the value of the animal online and have now gone over to the farm with money in hand to pay the man for his lamb. He refused payment, but at least this way, he isn’t left feeling like he had a lamb stolen. This will hopefully keep a good relationship with the farmer just in case our dog feels it necessary to bring home any more lambs. I know he was very cheerful with my father when he refused to take my father’s money. It made sure that he knows that we are honest and will do right by any and all of our neighbors.bucky

Keeping good relations with all the neighbors also has it’s perks. If you are willing to go above and beyond in helping them, they will also be more likely to reciprocate the favor. A few years ago, I got a text message from a neighbor while I was driving to the airport to drop my mother off. The text said that they were pretty sure that they had seen my boxer loose on the road. This was a big deal! Being a square headed breed of dog means that if he was out, he would likely be shot on sight by any farmer that saw him. Baran knows how to open doors and I was so tired that I couldn’t remember if I had properly secured the door so that he couldn’t do that. He means the absolute world to me! I couldn’t imagine life with out him. I didn’t want to have to. So, since I was about an hour away and couldn’t go home until I’d dropped my mother off, I texted my closest neighbor. He drove first, down to my house, completely prepared to scour the neighborhood for my missing dog if need be, but he was going to check at my house first. Thankfully, it turned out I had secured things correctly, and my dearly beloved houdini was still inside.



Cheese making class


I don’t know about you, but I’m a cheese fiend. I absolutely love cheese. If I had to buy it, it could get very expensive. Thankfully, some years back, we learned to make our own. We even learned to make lactose free soft cheeses.

This year, I am proud to announce that Homesteadingedu is offering a cheese making course through the continuing education program at Northeastern State University.

If you also love cheese and are in the Northeastern part of Oklahoma or are in Arkansas and would like to come to this class, here is a link for where to find the class:

If you have friends or family on facebook, and you would like to tell them about this class, we also have a facebook page. Here is the link for the event there:

I am very excited about the classes that we have coming down the pike. Hopefully, it won’t be too long and we will also be offering online classes.

I’ll keep you posted.



The rescue lamb

Commando guarding
One of the Anatolian crosses doing what livestock guardian dogs love to do! He watches everything.

We’ve known for a few years that this dog, whose name is Commando, loves sheep. Today, he came home with a surprise. It has been raining heavily in our area for about two days, and Commando disappeared yesterday. When he came home early this morning, my mother spotted him curled up around something white out in the rain. She thought he’d found a puppy treasure and had chosen to come home to eat it in the yard. Rain doesn’t seem to bother him and he does have several warm spots to go to when he wants. But, there he was in the yard with this white thing.

Then, his white thing raised it’s head. Mom started shrieking for dad! Our goats are due in February and she thought that they had miscalculated on one of them and we now had a goat kid brought to us in the yard.


After they brought the baby inside, we noticed two things. First, none of our does were producing colostrum, and secondly, this baby had a very long tail. Yup! Officially a lamb! Not a goat kid! We don’t have sheep right now, so it must have come from a neighbouring farm. We suspect that it was abandoned by it’s mother at birth, and our dog chose to bring it home when he realized that the baby was in trouble. He has lived through several lambing and kidding seasons and has never interfered with the babies.

This poor little lamb was hypothermic and hypoglycemic when he arrived in our yard. Commando and Guerrero were taking turns trying to keep him warm when we found him. rescuelamb1

We’ve given him kid and lamb paste, colostrum, and started warming him by the wood stove. We would have been in so much trouble if we didn’t keep extra supplies on hand year round. You never know when you’ll have a baby show up that needs your help. After a few hours and a few feedings, the baby has started bleating and standing on his own.


I was very impressed by the intelligence level of the dogs that caused them to bring the lamb to us, and not take no for an answer. We’ve already started contacting neighbouring farms, and may yet find this lamb’s owner. In the meantime, I get to raise a lamb again.


Preparing to keep bees

15747597_1133399616778404_937473298537329919_nHave you been considering getting into keeping bees and are in North-eastern Oklahoma? Did you know that winter is actually a great time to start getting ready to keep bees? Homesteadingedu is proud to announce that we are having our first class for beginning bee keeping. If you aren’t in our area, don’t worry, online classes are coming and we will help you too learn to keep bees. The details for this class can be found at:


I’ll keep you all posted on when our online classes will be going live.

Until next time:


Emily McLaughlin



Money on the hoof and in the ground


I’m a strong advocate of David Ramsey’s money system. Especially keeping a emergency fund of at least $1,000. But, what if you exhaust your emergency fund and still have things needing to be paid? Well, one of the things that my family has found to be so helpful about homesteading, is that as long as we raise more than we need, we can always sell something if we need to. For example, we sold some goats at one point to pay some bills that we were beyond our emergency fund to be able to pay. we also raise extra sprouts and other crops because it’s a little extra money in the pocket for us.


Another thing is that if you raise a few extra animals, as in the case of our milk goats, we like to keep an extra doe, even though we don’t want to be milking the one extra, at least until kidding has passed. The unfortunate truth is that birth is risky. We don’t want to lose a doe, and we never have so far. However, we do keep an extra aside each year, bred her, and then when all have successfully kidded, we sell her in milk. That’s money on the hoof for us.