Exciting news!

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I had an exciting day today. Today, as a part of preparing for something with Homesteadingedu, we worked on a course that will teach you how to make scrumptious homemade sourdough English muffins from scratch. Then tonight, we are enjoying those with some wonderful Jaimaica jelly, which let me tell you is to die for!

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Don’t these look delicious! Now, the exciting part about this is that March 20th, Homesteadingedu will be launching our website. Yup! That’s right! We will be starting to teach classes and offer mentoring for those of you who really want to learn how to be a little more self sufficient whether you live in the city, or if you live in the country.

We will be teaching classes like cheese making,

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gardening, making jelly, raising all kinds of animals for food, milk, honey and many more classes. There are going to be so many types of classes coming up and you can come join us. This is going to be so cool! We are so excited! So, put it on your calendars and come see us at http://www.new.homesteadingedu.com on March 20, 2017! We hope to see you there!

 

The newest bottle baby

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This is Brisket. As I mentioned two days ago, aside from the lamb and the kids, we’ve acquired a calf. Last November, we had just sent our steer off to the butcher and with all of the new kids arrivals, our does are giving a lot of milk. I was browsing on facebook close to a week ago, when I ran across an ad for a 2 week old bull calf.

Perfect age for bottle feeding! He was at a decent price, so my dad and I drove to the dairy farm that this little guy was born at, and picked him up. He is so small that we brought him home in the back of a pickup truck in a extra large dog crate. He is mostly Holstein with a little bit of Jersey in him. Usually, beef bred is better beef but we won’t turn our noses up on a dairy calf. Especially one with Jersey in it. Those tend to be great eating when they reach two years old. We have found that by two, they are big enough to eat.

 

When you get a bottle calf, if you have goats, you will need to dilute the goats milk because cows milk isn’t quite as rich. Goats milk can scour a calf if given to them as is. (Scour is a bad case of diarrhea and can be deadly.)

The lively homestead

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I know it has been two, nearly three weeks since my last post. I am sorry about that. Life on the homestead got very busy. Two weeks ago, these lovelies came along and have kept us very busy!

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We have 8 goats, a lamb, and a calf now. The babies are all bottle babies which takes up a lot of time, energy and love. We enjoy the vast majority of it though.

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I say vast majority because prior to the does kidding and during immediate kidding season, I can’t say that we enjoy the loss of sleep. But once we are past that and are milk does and loving on these playful little lovebugs, all is well. Even our dogs think they are great!

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Homesteading and neighbors

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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.

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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.

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Cheese making class

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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:

https://secure.touchnet.net/C21156_ustores/web/product_detail.jsp?PRODUCTID=670&SINGLESTORE=true

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:

https://www.facebook.com/events/1717159585261389/

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.

Emily

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The rescue lamb

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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:

https://www.facebook.com/events/629910933858276/

 

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

Until next time:

 

Emily McLaughlin

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