Wednesday, November 30, 2011


We now have all of the field fence wire stretched and stapled to the posts around the entire perimeter of the corral.

We have also stretched an electric tape around the top, except we need more insulators and the solar charger.
The above picture shows the straw spread on the side of the access to the lower part of the corral. You can also just barely see the Log placed to hold the toe of that bank.
We have New Zealand Flax planted in between every post along this side of the fence.
We now need to install two posts and two gates in order to hold Dancer. We still want to put up 2x6 treated rails, but that can come later. We also need to finish the floor of the stalls and kick boards in one of the stalls.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Our Pond

This is a picture of our pond now. Every year it dries up to a smaller area and the goats and horse eat the fresh lush green grass that grows in the shallow areas in the summer time.  In the fall when the rains start it fills up pretty fast. We have guests to our pond every year also.

As you can barely see in this picture the wild ducks are returning. We can have up to 100 ducks in this pond. Right now the Wood Ducks are in. The other guests that visit us are Mallards and Hooded Mergansers. I really enjoy watching them during the season. What a wonderful site to see when they are playing and splashing in the water. I love to watch them feed also. When they dive, they can stay under water for quite some time.

In the above picture you can see one of the Wood Duck nest boxes the we put up.

There are several on different trees around the pond. Our hope is to give our guests a home to raise their young.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


Well today is rainy and nasty, so what to do? Well we do happen to have an excess of milk (Goat) right now, how about making some more cheese. Today sounds like a Colby Cheese day.
First you have to start with four gallons of milk, poured into a large stock pot. I use a cold pack caner as double boiler, so as to not scorch my milk.
 Normally you would raise the temperature higher to pasteurize, but we pasteurize all of our milk, so this step is unnecessary. The milk is raised to 86 degrees and the Mesophilic starter culture is sprinkled over the surface of the milk and let stand for 3-5 minutes, to re-hydrate.

 At this time I need to tell you, Store you Rennet, Calcium Chloride, and Butter color in the refridgerator. Store your cultures and mold powders in the freezer.
After the re-hydrating mix well with the milk. I use the skimmer with up and down strokes not breaking the surface ( at least 20 strokes). Cover the milk and let this set for an hour at 86 degrees in order to ripen.
You can see in the picture some of the tools used including the skimmer, the curd knife (you can use any long blade, thermometer, and measuring spoons.
 Since I was talking about utensils, the picture below show the graduated spring loaded press screws, to me they were well worth the money spent on them.
While ripening the milk take 3/4 teaspoon of Calcium Chloride and mix with 1/4 cup cool water, also take 1/2 teaspoon of liquid Rennet and mix that with another 1/4 cup of water, not in the same container. The Calcium Chloride helps give the milk a consistent and firm curd, especially goat's milk.
 I prefer to use liquid vegetable rennet rather than the animal rennet made from the stomach of a calf.

Once the milk is ripened, poor the Water/Calcium Chloride into the milk and mix thoroughly with up and down strokes of the skimmer. After this add and mix in the Water/Rennet. The Rennet is what makes the milk curdle. Now is time for the milk to set for 30-45 minutes, mine usually sets in 30 minutes. use the clean break test shown in the following picture. push you finger into the milk curd at an angle and lift, if the break is straight and clean it's time to cut the curds, if not let set for another 15 minutes.

 The curds should be cut into 1/2 inch cubes (as close as you can. I cut one way then again at 90 degrees and then I use the skimmer and move back and forth throughout the curd mass to try to make the cubes.

This is the time to add the butter color, just a few drops in 1/4 cup water and mix gently. then let the curds settle for about 10-15 minutes. This is what gives the Colby in the store the yellow and white colors.

Start applying heat slowly as you stir the curds continue this process and slowly bring the curds and whey up to 104 degrees. Go SLOWLY, this part should take about 45 minutes. I have to continually adjust my heat and constantly stir the curds to keep them from matting. Another warning, Don't stir too vigorously, you will break the curds up and they are ruined, this is from personal experience. During this process the curds are getting firmer and smaller, about the size of a bean.  Once the Mass reaches 104 degrees remove from the heat and let settle for about 5-10 minutes.

After the settling process use a measuring cup (I use a four cup) and carefully remove only whey (the liquid) from the pot until you can see the top of the curds, then start adding the equal amount you removed of 104 degree clean water and stir for two minutes. This is called "cooking the curds". Then let the mass settle for 10-15 minutes. During this time place a piece of cheese cloth into a colander and at the end of the time pour the entire mass through the colander. As you can see in the picture I did not use the cloth as I had, due to poor scheduling let the mass settle for much longer.
Normally save the whey as there are several types of cheese that can be made from the whey or Chickens and pigs love the whey also, and it is nutricious for them.
After straining the curds fill two cheesecloth lined cheese presses, or one larger press, with approximately half the curds in each and press, or all in the one press, at low pressure (10-15 pounds) for one hour. At the end of the hour remove the cheese from the press and re-wrap the cheese, trying to smooth the cloth. This time press for 12 hours at high pressure (I use 50 pounds). The cheese cloth I use in the press is a plastic material, easy to clean and one side is rough to allow drainage the other smooth for a nicer wheel of cheese.
I place the presses onto a cookie sheet to catch the draining whey. While on the subject of presses, there are many types from expensive to very simple homemade ones. I have some good friends that just use 6" PVC pipe and a long turned piece of wood as a follower that they stack weight onto.

When the time is up remove the cheese from the presses and if you like now is the time to trim the corners of the wheels. I do this to make waxing easier. The cheese now needs to dry to the touch from one to three days.
Waxing can be accomplished in several ways, but I use a crock pot I purchased from a thrift store, just dipping one side, let cool and then the other side. build at least three layers of wax on your cheese. I usually place a paper label I make in between the last layer or two.

Age your cheese at a temperature between 50-54 degrees and at 86% humidity for six weeks to two months, it does get better with age. You should turn your cheese over daily at first then every three days and then weekly during the ripening time. I use a refredgerator for aging my cheese, I have kept my cheese for over a year with no undesirable issues. Be sure to watch for signs of mould or other less desirable stuff happening under the wax. and One of the benefits is the great eating awaiting. 
In this picture, a cheese and sausage omlett made with free range eggs from our hens and homemade Monteray Jack cheese, Can you say YUMMM!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

First snow

Well, here it is the middle of November and the first snow of the year. It is really early this year. We usually don't get snow here until after the first of the year. We are at 1500 feet on the coast in Oregon and the winters are generally mild. Just a lot of rain.

This is what it looks like outside here at Grizzly Mountain Gardens.

This is what is looks like inside.

Can you say Ahhhhhhhh.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Calendula Flowers

The Calendula Flower

This medicinal oil is simple to prepare and has so many uses. The gentle, soothing, and healing oil is perfect for cradle cap, diaper rash, chapped or chafed skin, bruises, and sore or inflamed muscles. The oil can be used alone, or incorporated into salves, massage oils, lip balms, ointments, creams, and lotions.

Organic Olive oil
Organic Calendula flowers

1. Place Calendula flowers in a clean, dry glass jar. If using fresh Calendula, wilt for 12 hours to remove most of the moisture (too much moisture will cause the oil to go rancid) before adding to the jar. Pour olive oil into the jar, making sure to cover the flowers by at least 1” of oil so they will have space to expand. Stir well and cap the jar tightly.
2. Place the jar in a warm, sunny windowsill and shake once or more per day.
3. After 4-6 weeks, strain the herbs out using cheesecloth. Pour the infused oil into glass bottles and store in a cool dark place.

Heat Method: I prefer to infuse oils utilizing the solar or folk method described above, but heat can be applied if you need the oil quickly. To prepare, follow step 1 from above, but place the Olive oil and Calendula flowers in an uncovered container. Warm over low heat at approximately 100 degrees F for at least 3-5 hours, the longer the better. A yogurt maker, double boiler, or inside the oven with a pilot light on are all effective ways to heat the oil, just make sure to check the temperature occasionally to ensure that the oil isn’t getting too warm. Once the oil has infused, strain out the herbs using cheesecloth and package the infused oil into glass bottles.

Calendula Salve

A soothing and healing salve. Rub into sore or inflamed muscles, apply to minor cuts, scrapes, insect bites, rashes, diaper rashes, stretch marks, chapped lips, chafed skin, bruises, and other skin irritations.

4 oz Calendula flower infused herbal oil (from above recipe)
½ oz Beeswax
20 drops organic Lavender essential oil (optional)

Coarsely chop the beeswax or use beeswax pastilles. Melt beeswax and Calendula oil over a double boiler. Once melted, remove from burner and stir in the Lavender essential oil. Pour into tins or glass jars. Allow to cool thoroughly before using or placing caps on the jars.

Calendula & Shea Butter Lip Balm

This nourishing lip balm is made from healing ingredients which soothe dry and chapped lips.

1 Tablespoon Shea Butter
3 Tablespoons Calendula Herbal Oil (from above recipe)
1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon Beeswax
10-15 drops essential oil of choice
A few drops of Vitamin E Oil

Coarsely chop the beeswax or use beeswax pastilles. Place beeswax, butter, and oil in a small pot or glass Pyrex measuring cup and gently heat in the top of a double boiler until the beeswax and butters have melted. Once melted, remove from the stovetop and stir in the essential oil and Vitamin E Oil. Immediately pour the mixture into lip balm tubes or small containers. This recipe will make approximately 1.5 oz of lip balm, enough to fill 10 lip balm tubes, 6 of your 1/4 oz plastic jars, or 3 1/2 oz tins or plastic jars.
Calendula officinalis has been used for centuries to heal wounds and skin irritations.

Healing Calendula Spray

A healing spray that can be misted on burns, insect bites, rashes, minor cuts and scrapes, bee stings, inflammations, bug bites, or used as a medicinal and soothing facial toner for acne or other skin irritations.

4 oz organic Calendula Flower Water (Hydrosol)
15 drops organic Lavender essential oil
10 drops Calendula Herbal Extract/Tincture (optional)

Mix all ingredients together and pour into a 4 oz bottle with a mister top. Use as often as desired!

Calendula Compress

A soothing and medicinal treatment that’s effective and simple to prepare. Calendula compresses can be applied to burns, cuts and scrapes, bee stings, bug bites, inflammations, and other skin irritations. They can even be used on animals with minor skin conditions or injured paws.

Pour 1 cup boiling water over fresh or dried Calendula flowers, cover, and allow the mixture to cool to room temperature. Once cooled, strain out flowers and reserve the remaining liquid. Create a compress by soaking a clean cloth in the herbal infusion and placing it on the skin. This process is gentle and may be repeated several times a day.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Pumpkin Spice Bread

Pumpkin Spice BreadMakes 2 loaves or 24 muffins

  • 1 cup butter, preferably from grassfed cows
  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/4 cup whole milk yogurt
  • 1 Tb vanilla extract
  • 1 Tb cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • dash ground ginger
  • dash ground cloves
  • 1 tsp celtic sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup coconut flour
  • 2 cups pumpkin puree, preferably homemade
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup crispy pecans (optional)
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup raisins (optional)

  1. Melt the butter in a small pot over low heat. Turn off heat, add honey, and stir slightly. Allow to cool a bit.
  2. Combine eggs, yogurt, and vanilla in a bowl. Mix well using an immersion blender or hand mixer.
  3. Add butter/honey mixture to egg mixture. If you are using an immersion blender, go ahead and add the spices, salt, and baking soda now as well. Mix thoroughly with the immersion blender. If you are not using an immersion blender, just mix the honey/butter into the egg mixture very well with a hand mixer.
  4. If you are not using an immersion blender, the coconut flour must be sifted. Then whisk in the spices, salt, and baking soda.
  5. Thoroughly mix the coconut flour into the wet ingredients using an immersion blender or hand mixer. Because coconut flour does not contain gluten, there is no worry of overmixing it.
  6. Stir in the pumpkin puree. Then fold in the optional nuts and raisins.
  7. Pour the batter into two buttered loaf pans (mine are 8.5 X 4.5 X 2.5). Alternatively, line two muffin tins with paper cups and then fill with the batter.
  8. Bake loaves for 1 hour and 20-30 minutes at 325 degrees. You may need to cover the loaves with foil partway through if they are getting too dark. Bake muffins for about 40-50 minutes. This is a very moist recipe, so leave it in the oven a few minutes longer than you think to make sure it gets baked thoroughly.
  9. Cool. Serve it plain, with a smear of butter, or even topped with some honey buttercream frosting for a special treat!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


This is our new cart and our new project. It is a Meadow Brook type cart. Gonna take a lot of sanding and painting, but it should be really nice when we are finished. Hope to keep a photo record of our progress.

We are going to strip what we can and sand, sand , sand. Then paint it a glossy black with, hopefully some brass fittings.

I am going to try my hand and tole painting a scene on the back seat. Don and I would like to have some sort of meadow scene I think.

Then do some pen striping in the same places that are striped now in gold and maybe some red and green. Going to be very interesting to say the least.

Hope it turns out like we hope it will. Please stay tuned.

Natural Glass Shower Door Cleaner

Natural Home Solutions: Removing Soap Scum from a Glass Shower Door
Many people, when asked, would define soap scum as that irritating, cloudy residue on their tub or shower door!
Soap scum is a white build-up consisting of minerals from the water, dirt, bacteria, and sloughed-off skin. The very best way to keep soap scum off glass shower doors is to prevent it from happening in the first place by wiping the glass completely dry after every shower.
But who has the time for that?
  1. In a spray bottle, combine a mixture of 2 parts white vinegar and 1 part water.
  2. Leave spray bottle in the shower and spray on the glass after every use.
  3. Allow to air dry. (Note: It is best to use a squeegee if you have one available.)     

  1. Gather the following ingredients:
    • 2 teaspoons borax
    • 1 teaspoon castile soap
    • 3/4 cup white vinegar
    • 1 1/2 cup hot water
    • 10 drops tea tree oil
  2. Combine the ingredients in a spray bottle. Shake to blend.
  3. Spray mixture on glass and allow to penetrate. Follow with a sponge or brush.
  4. Rinse off. Dry.
  1. When the job calls for a more heavy duty scrub here's my favorite soft scrub alternative (Note: It's actually the same one I use to clean my toilets.):
    • 3/4 cup baking soda
    • Enough liquid castile soap to form a paste
    • 5 drops tea tree oil
    • 5 drops of lemon, lemongrass, or sweet orange oil (optional)
  2. Add liquid castile soap to baking soda slowly until paste is formed. Then proceed to add tea tree oil and optional antiseptic essential oils.
  3. Apply scrub to sponge for use on shower doors.
  4. Allow paste to stay on glass for 5-10 minutes. Spray with vinegar and wipe off with sponge.
  5. Rinse off. Dry.
The results of these cleaning methods really are remarkable. See the difference for yourself!
Tips and Notes
-The best time to clean soap scum is right after taking a warm shower. The heat and steam aid in loosening the scum and allow a bit more ease when scrubbing.
-Tea tree oil is a natural fungicide and carries many antiseptic properties. Tea tree oil will kill most of the bacteria found in the soap scum and help prevent growth.
-Dislike the smell of vinegar...fear not! The vinegar smell will fade within a few hours of cleaning.
What are your favorite homemade recipes for cleaning soap scum? Please feel free to share with us!

Homemade Probiotic Deodrant

Homemade Probiotic Deodorant-1 tbsp. cocoa butter
-1 tbsp. coconut oil
-1 tbsp. shea butter
-1 tbsp. beeswax
-2 1/2 tbsp. arrowroot powder
-1 tbsp. baking soda
-1/4 tsp. vitamin E oil (as a preservative)
-15 drops essential oil of your choice
-2 or 3 capsules powdered probiotics
Melt cocoa butter, coconut oil, shea butter, and beeswax over low heat.

Add arrowroot powder and baking soda. Whisk with chopsticks until all powders are dissolved and combined. Remove pot from heat. Add vitamin E oil and essential oils at this time. Allow mixture to cool in pan. Once it is cooled and the consistency of pudding, open capsules of probiotics and add powder to mixture. Stir with spatula quickly to combine.

Add mixture to clean, used deodorant container. Place in refrigerator to cool and harden. After this, product may be stored on counter (Note: Using a shelf stable probiotic such as Bio-Kult will prevent the need for refrigeration). This recipe will fill container and last for 3-4 months. Remember...a little goes a long way!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


I enjoyed the day today by first working on the stall / hay storage. We then went to the fairgrounds to watch and learn a little as Nova was working with Dancer, interesting to say the least. Nova started out by lunging Dancer. Dancer didn't want to get into a lope, but her trot seems to be very smooth. Nova then laced the lunge line through the surcingle (probably misspelled) and worked on driving. Dancer has a little problem with moving straight, but Nova is patient and Dancer is making progress.
Nova worked with Dancer around some flags sewn to a lone line and with a blue tarp type sign, Dancer did wonderful, made me very happy.

After this we went home and again worked on the stall. We ended up getting the roof flashing put up at the front edge of the roof and corner flashing's on the front corners.
We finished the caulking and installing most of the 1x4s on the vertical seams, check it out in the pictures above and below,

I think the first thing tomorrow we will try to get paint on the bare wood on the outside.

Home Made Brownies

Homemade Brownies

Brownie Mix
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • Mix ingredients together and place in a jar or container. When you are ready to make brownies add
  • 1 cup melted butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup walnuts (optional)
  • Mix until well combined. Grease a 9×13 pan. Spread batter evenly and bake at 350 for 22-25 minutes or until done.
  • Sunday, November 6, 2011


    Well, we got Dancer settled in down at the fairgrounds last evening. We went down today and spent some time with her and groomed her. The pictures below are after being brushed good, She was really, really, dirty, as she loves to roll, which she had done quite a lot.

    Dancer is hamming for the camera!

    Dancer really liked the attention, getting brushed and scratched and walked around. She got the dreamy eyes!

    As you can tell we weren't able to remove all of the mud from her chest / tummy.
    Presently the stall/hay storage is completely enclosed at this point.

    We have almost all of the kick boards up in the stall, and I have started filling the floor to raise it, so the rain water doesn't run through.
    There are still some details to complete, like paint and finishing the flashings as well as the 1x4's over the vertical seams.