Category Archives: Homesteading

Loose Minerals for Livestock

I have been working with the local feed store trying to get loose minerals for Cookie cow and the calf. They’ve both been licking the ground lately and since I know I haven’t dropped molasses there, I figured it was time to fill the loose mineral feeder. (Licking up dirt is a tell tale sign that their bodies are craving minerals)
The feed stores out her don’t carry dairy cow minerals, just goat minerals. From what I’ve read, goats have much higher selenium needs than dairy cows do and an overdose of selenium can stop the heart… so what to do… READ and READ, well at least that’s what I did.
Apparently it takes a very large overdose to hurt your cows and the greater amount in goat minerals is not so much that it will kill you cow. If dairy minerals are available, they are much better suited for your milking girl, but so far Cookie is doing just fine on the goat minerals and thankfully she’s stopped licking the ground!

What do you do when loose minerals aren’t available for your animals needs?

Comments welcome!

Deicing the Livestock Tanks

Cookie cow and the other furry kids have a nice size water tank with a drain plug for weekly scrubbing. (For those of you who don’t live in the desert, the sun is quite the algae builder!) Winter’s are cold in the mountains of Arizona and temperatures can drop down below zero at night. When fluke cold snaps hit in the early fall, I have been seen out at the water tank with an axe breaking up the ice so the livestock could get to the water. It’s then that I typically pull out the heavy duty extension cord and hook up the deicer for the livestock tank.

This is one of those items that no livestock owner should be without, that is unless you live in Florida or Hawaii… or Phoenix, but for those of us with winter weather, a water tank deicer is imperative. Most units are thermostatically controlled and only kick on when freezing temperatures warrant the need. I slide the large tank up close to the fence and tuck the cord for the deicer through the fence at the lip of the tank. This keeps the calves from playing with the cord and either unplugging it, or worse, chewing through the insulation to the wires. Guards can be purchased if you need to keep a plastic bucket of water from freezing, but I am always nervous about a heating element and plastic. If a stock tank is too costly, go to your local hardware store and purchase a large 35 gallon metal garbage can or two. It would likely require daily filling, but would offer your furry kids a clean source of fresh water.

Do you have an electric free trick to keep an ice free livestock tank? If so I’d love to hear some of the ideas out there!!!

Happy Homesteading!

Amazing Homemade Bread

Simple No Knead Homemade Bread Recipe

Simple No Knead Homemade Bread Recipe


A few years ago I found this recipe in an issue of Mother Earth News and have been hooked ever since. I’m not a big fan of sour breads, so I make it the day I want to bake it, but if you like sour bread, you can let it ripen in the refrigerator for a few days and you’ll have that nice sour bite. The recipe is so simple…

Homemade No Knead Bread

A simple recipe for homemade no knead bread

3 cups luke warm water
1 1/2 tablespoon yeast
1 1/2 tablespoon salt
6 1/2 cup flour

Put away the ol’ Kitchen Aid because this is a NO KNEAD bread!!!! Mix all ingredients thoroughly and let rise for 2 hours. Once risen, punch down and refrigerate until one half hour before your ready to bake. At baking time, preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Pull out the dough onto your lightly floured counter, form into two loaves. Sprinkle corn meal onto a large baking sheet and then place your loaves onto the sheet. With a sharp knife, make some slits into the top of your loaves and let rise for 20 minutes.

Before placing your loaves in the oven, place another pan beneath the rack that your bread will bake on. I use a 9×9 pan and fill it about half way with water. Slide your cookie sheet onto the rack above and set the timer for 30 minutes. Your loaves should be a nice golden brown and firm to the touch when ready. I brush the loaves with butter just after I pull them from the oven to soften up the crust a bit.

Here’s the link to the entire article if you’d like to see all the fun they have with this dough!

I wanted to share this with you because I’m baking it today myself… it goes great with a ham and lentil soup!

Home Made Ice Cream… Nuff Said!

I remember being about seven or eight years old and my Dad pulled out the giant (well, it was giant to me at the time) wooden bucket. He went into the kitchen and filled this tall metal cylinder with cream, sugar, egg, vanilla and some white powder stuff which I later learned was Arrow Root. He then slid a paddle into the cylinder and set the tube into the center of the wooden bucket. Grabbing a five gallon pail he went out onto the front porch and packed it full of snow. When he returned, we all packed layers of snow and rock salt around the cylinder until the wooden bucket was full. Dad locked the turning mechanism on top of the wooden bucket and had us kids take turns turning the big crank handle. 

I remember feeling like my arms would simply fall off before the ice cream would be ready. I’d try to talk my brother into another turn, but he was three years younger and didn’t want to crank the handle any more… after what seemed like HOURS.. DAYS… finally – the ice cream would be ready and it tasted so much better than the stuff in the thin cardboard box at the store!

When we saw this item available for the store, we had to order some in. I love rustic look of the wooden bucket and the fact that it’s electric and not a crank handle makes it even better!!! My son now knows the joys of home made ice cream and can’t complain about the jello arm to his friends! You can click on the photo for more information on the product.

The Dog Ate My….. Cheese?

Jerri comes by weekly and picks up five to eight gallons of milk from our Cookie cow to make cheese for both households. Our homestead works too many jobs and she doesn’t have milk cows, so the arrangement works out well. She picks up the milk, makes colby or cheddar cheese and we share the bounty, providing both homesteads with a great food source. So, a few days ago she made this amazing wheel of cheddar cheese. It was about four inches thick and about seven inches wide at the center of the wheel. She was so excited about how well it had turned out that she called bragging and explained that I could swing by and pick up some in a day or two when it was finished drying.
Well, this morning (the typical drop off cheese / pick up milk day) the phone starts ringing and I figure it was milk swap time. I answer it to hear… 
“I’m so bummed….Do you remember the old adage ‘The dog ate my homework?'”
“What?” I asked trying to follow the conversation..
“You know… the dog ate my homework…. well, I have a new one for you… the dog ate my cheese!” She says, thinking this will clarify things for me. My silence must have hinting to my ongoing confusion, so she continued, “I went into the kitchen to cut and wrap up the cheese so I could bring you some when I picked up milk and all I found was the cheese cloth on the tile floor. So, I’m looking everywhere wondering ‘where is the cheese?’… I can’t image that the dog ate an entire wheel of cheese!” She explains. 
Now lights are starting to go off… the cheddar cheese that she’d bragged about a couple of days ago. Well, I start laughing because all I hear in my head is that old lady saying ‘WHERE’S THE BEEF?’ in the Wendy’s commercials from the eighties.
Jerri continues her story over the phone, “So, I’m looking all over the house wondering where’s the cheese… looking for some sort of evidence… tiny cheese crumbles… anything. Finally, I look over to the couch and see the leg blanket crumpled up in the corner. Now I know I had folded it up on top of the couch last night. I walked over and lifted the blanket off the couch and here’s this small hidden chunk of chewed on cheese!”
Now I’m really laughing! The dog was saving it for a snack!
Jerri sighs and then continues into the phone, “So, I won’t be bringing cheese over today, but I do need more milk.”
Ah, life on a homestead. Could have been worse I suppose… she could have been thawing rib-eye steaks! Here’s the picture she sent just a few minutes ago… a recreation of the events!!! See the cheese piece by the stuffed donkey… LOL