Rest in Peace Wilma

It was with a heavy heart we said goodbye to our dear Wilma on Sunday. She had been through a lot in her short little life. It made her a strong (scared and mean) little bird. She was an okay layer and an egg eater, but a part of the family.

We are not sure what happened to her. For a couple days she was very docile and let us pet her, which was very unusual. Then on Sunday she fell of the roost (I don’t know that this is literal).

She taught us a lot about chicken first aid, maggots and friends. She will be missed. (Even if she did try to peck your hands til they bled)

Chicken http://wildflowerfarm.org

The Fry Pan Special

 

chickThey have arrived! Last week actually, (sleepless nights with the little Miss has done a number on my early morning writing time) 100 little chicks came chirping in the mail. The special listed in the catalogue gave the option of 3 free ducks or 5 free exotic chicks. Of course, I picked the ducks, what I didn’t do was specify to send the order when the ducks were available. Instead I just said “Please ship when available.” We ended up with the chicks rather than duck. I must say I am rather disappointed. I refuse to call and complain or even mention to the hatchery that I wanted the ducks. You don’t complain about something that is a free bonus. That’s just stupid (and greedy). We will see how spring plays out, maybe we will pick up a few ducks any way. (Not that we need them.)

The night they arrived Mike had a space in the coop all ready for them and made sure I counted the birds as they went in. 111 little chicks were sent (another reason I won’t call to complain). Since their arrival we have lost 9 so far. A few were brought in to the house in an attempt to save them. It didn’t help this time. I am running out of little chick burial grounds though. We might have to do a shoe box mass grave here pretty soon. They are about a week old now, so hopefully we are almost in the clear for losing them. I’m not going to get my hopes up just yet.

The birds we received in the this order are all cockerels (males) of heavy heritage breeds. This means they will take twice as long to reach their full size butcher size. We won’t be butchering until late fall again this year. Just fine by me! I like to watch the chickens run around and the commercial meat birds (although tasty) just aren’t capable of such entertainment.

The second bird order will arrive at the end of April. This will contain a variety of laying hens that I am particularly excited about, a straight run of Cochins that will be for butcher and laying as well as a couple different breeds of turkeys. As long as we can keep the turkeys alive for the first little while they should make it this year beings the coop is done and we shouldn’t have to worry about the fox (dogs and raccoons too). I sure hope they make it anyways; not only are they expensive chicks but they are really fun to watch too!

We have yet to get guineas ordered for the year. I know we had planned to try again with those too this year but they might be another year off yet. I want to be able to let those “free range” all the time and unless they are full grown I know they don’t stand a chance. If Lucifer couldn’t make it last year no one will until they are adults. I will nurse along the turkeys this year and next year might  be the guineas and peacocks.

A Farm Year

Spring! It's so close!

For me, a year on the farm begins in the spring, not with the calendar year. The spring is a fresh start outside, seedlings in the ground,  there are new babies in all the barns and new lessons to be learned. Looking back over the last “farm year” a lot has happened and a lot was learned.

The key to a perfectly straight fence line is a particular father and brother helping… A LOT! – Pounding Posts

Plans will change more times than I’d like to count before a project will begin and then a few more times before it is complete.- Fencing, Chicken Coop

Rocks look nice in flower beds but are not too fun to move from the pile to the garden. – Of Rocks and Friends

Gutters matter! Without them you will spend day and night sopping water out of the basement and running the sump pump. - How High’s The Water Mama?

Baby chicks die without reason. If caught in time they can be saved with some extra care…sometimes. – Saving Penny

If you bottle your wine too soon it will pop the corks and shoot across the dining room. – Dandelion Wine

Too much excitement the first time in the yard can give a guinea hen a heart attack. – More Than the Heart Could Handle

Screw worm spray kills maggots in open wounds and helps the healing process along. – Wilma Update

Always be sure you know what breed you are buying and it’s one you want on the farm. – The Fatties

Know how kill traps work and don’t test the sensitivity with your hand. -Moving Back to the City

If you want to train a cow, you have to be more stubborn than the cow. Hang on to the rope and watch for the horns.- Lucy

When butchering chickens it is very helpful to have lots of good help and a chicken plucker; even if they are too small. – Butchering Day

We have a the first calf born on the WildFlower Farm. – Elvis is in the Barn

How I put a stop to the chickens eating the eggs with mustard and a chicken brick.

Being a pregnant farmer is an adventure all it’s own. – Tales of the Pregnant Farmer

Having a baby on the farm is quite an adventure too. – All in a Day’s Work

Now it’s spring, once again, bringing the fresh start to a new year. We have 150 chickens, 16 turkeys and 3 ducks on their way! Maybe another calf too. As well as a few surprises to be shared later (very exciting!).

 

 

Elvis Escapes… Again

Oh for heavens sake! One more time and I am going to put a bale of hay in front of the kitchen window and call it good.

Elvis is out again. I don’t even get the post done about him getting out a few times over the past couple days and here he is again!

Elvis

The little boy was covered in his peanut butter and jelly sandwich and now in need of a clean diaper as well. The little miss was upset she had to be on the floor for some stretching time, company was on their way and there’s Elvis just out the kitchen window. As every good mother would do (sarcastic), I dropped everything,  tucked my pants into my barn boots, threw on my oversized flannel and ran out the door.

I grabbed a bucket of grain from the barn and a rope halter and headed towards Elvis. Trying to get a cow back into the corral when he is enjoying the front yard can be a task in itself; trying to do it with two dogs who are less than helpful (to put it very graciously) when it comes to any animal, will make you crazy! But I managed, without too much trouble.

The little guy found a few loose wires in the fence and has very little trouble wiggling through.

Later in the evening, our friends were over and there was Elvis, again.

“Elvis is out.” I said with a sigh. Mike and Josh, went out to put him back with the “herd”.

The next day was the same thing; Elvis is in the front yard, send him back inside the fence and out he comes a little while later.

This morning, there I am making breakfast and here comes Elvis to check things over. Until I can fix the fence this weekend, he has permission to be in the front yard and by the barn. He knows where he is supposed to be and how to get there. When he looks like he might start wandering east he needs to be sent back the other direction. I don’t want him at the neighbors or worse, on the road.

Of course this is the time he takes a second look down the driveway. Out I go, rope in hand, pink bathrobe, and shoes that resemble a ballet slipper rather than a barn boot. He knows the drill by now, but he also likes to keep a little distance between us in hopes for a treat to coax him back. Today I grabbed a fresh bale of hay and tossed it over the fence by where he has been escaping. (If the neighbors could see the things that go on over here, they’d think I was nuts!) Lucy and Wheezy came running; it’s always a fight for the freshest hay. It wasn’t too much later and Elvis wanders over for a quick scratching and through the fence he went to get his share.

I just washed my robe. (sigh) I think it will just stay the way it is with a few stray pieces of hay stuck to it for now, as I’m sure I will be making the trip out again.

I’m just going to put these sign on my amazon wish list. I’m sure it wont be the last time someone gets out and I’d rather they not get run over in the yard. A “watch for cows” sign might be a good warning.

He's friendly but it will get people watching for him anyway

He’s friendly but it will get people watching for him anyway

Or maybe this one.

cow sign 2

 

Spring, Bare Feet, and Farming

Spring! It's so close!

Spring! It’s so close!

Here is it, we made it through winter, spring is here (hopefully) and I am dreaming about this summers work. We made our “Big Project To Do List” for the next few seasons; put together an estimated cost for each project and figured out how much we needed to try and “squirrel away” each month. Let’s just say the lists are long and the budget will be extra tight, but doable.

We have our pasture plans set. We drew up dividing fence lines for inside the main line. The cows will be able to rotate grazing between 4 different pieces daily, to every other day, depending on how things look. This will keep them in nice green grazing all season.

The pile of “barn cleanings” will be moved out to the vegetable garden and orchard plot. Those plots will just be worked this year as soil prep. Turned over every so often and allowed to lie empty and soak in the compost. The vegetables for the season will be grown in the small berry garden for this year; an “eat fresh” garden. It will be much smaller of a garden than I like but it will be something to get my toes in the dirt.

This winter I read “Fields of Plenty” by Michael Ableman. It was not what I was expecting but a very enjoyable read. I was glad to read this:

“”I don’t understand how any farmer can feel the land with shoes on,” he says.”

It just proves I’m not the only one who likes to do my work barefoot. Socks are only worn with boots around here. When my boots come off at the door the socks do too. As soon as most of the snow is gone and it is time to get things going in the garden and yard the boots are usually left at the door. I prefer to feel the ground beneath my feet. Unless I’m in the coop or barn, then I like my polka dot mud boots. Chickens peck the  skin on my feet and as warm as a fresh cow pie is, I’d rather not have it between my toes if I can help it.

I have started to do chores again, not all the time, Mike and I share those for now. I am once again starting over with Lucy. I haven’t been able to work with her for a few months and haven’ been out to visit her much since I handed off the chores. She was doing so well too. I hate starting over, but that’s the way it goes sometimes. This time around it shouldn’t take nearly as long to get her back to “milking calm”… I hope.

Wheezy, may or may not be pregnant. I haven’t been able to pin her down to check. We are going to keep a close eye on her just in case.

Elvis is very friendly, Mike has been working with him when he does chores. Hopefully I can get him halter broke this spring as well.

The new chickens and turkeys are on order, some more layers and a bunch to butcher. The coop is all ready for the new bunch. I am too. We picked out a few different breeds. It will be nice to have some variety out there. The “old” chickens are still laying daily and most will make it through this years butcher, some will be stew birds or canned. Their rowdy behavior is not something I desire around here.

A few more days and the snow will be gone and spring work will be here. I can’t wait!

Somebody “Half-Egged” It Today

I don’t like it when a job is left half done or not done at all. It just seems lazy to me. Do it right and complete the first time, this way time won’t be wasted doing the job over. Unfortunately for a chicken even a job done perfect will need to be repeated. I guess one lovely lady decided to only give half the effort for this days egg laying; she will have to do it again tomorrow no matter the egg she laid today.

IMG_2372

A tiny little quarter sized egg.

 

The Cast Iron in My Kitchen

I use cast iron for almost everything I cook and bake; from skillets and Dutch ovens, to bread pans and muffin “tins”. I would love to find a pie plate but haven’t stumbled upon one yet. For some reason there has been a fair amount of buzz lately about using cast iron, how to take care of it and so on. For that reason I have mixed thoughts about this post- there are plenty of articles out there about the subject already so why add to the long list, on the other hand, why not? I could share something that works great for me and might for you too.

Raisin Bran Muffins from "Apron Strings and Rolling Pins" cookbook.

Raisin Bran Muffins from “Apron Strings and Rolling Pins” cookbook.

I remember years ago grandma using a skillet for something she was making and remember how the pan was so smooth and seasoned. Every piece that I have that was new was textured and I tried for years to use the pans all the time in hopes the texture would wear away. It didn’t no matter how much I used them or how abusive I was to them it was still there. They were also pre-seasoned which I will get into in a minute. I wanted the pans smooth for a couple reasons:
1. Grandma’s pans were smooth so that must be the correct pan form.
2. The one pan I had the was smooth worked just like a non-stick pan. It worked much better than the textured ones as far as that goes.

How did I get the smooth cast iron pans that I was hoping for? A couple ways actually:
1. I buy old pans second hand. The only time I worry about rust on a second hand pan is if there is deep pitting. I these those for the next gal.
2. Enamel coated cast iron pots. The large soup pots and such are enamel coated. They work great but the enamel does chip so they do take a little more care than the uncoated pans.
3. I sand the crap out of the textured new pans. Using a wire bristle attachment and one of Mikes drills I smoothed out the favorite skillets and Dutch oven.

Removing seasoning. Fresh out of the oven.

Removing seasoning. Fresh out of the oven.

To sand the pans I first prepared them by stripping most of the seasoning off. This was done in the oven.
1. Place the cold pan of choice into a cold oven. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees for a little while- long enough to heat the pan through. Then turn the oven on to the “self clean” setting and let the pan bake for a good hour or so. Some pans have smoked, rather unpleasantly and others were too bad. Just be prepared that you may need to open the windows for a little while.
2. Allow the pan to cool completely in the oven. Then give it a good scrubbing. No need to get it perfect but it helps to get most of the top layer off if you can.
3. Now for the fun part. I do a lot of projects in my kitchen that are not kitchen projects and really should be done elsewhere (outside usually), this is not one of those projects! Even I take the pan outside for this step. Take the pan outside. Using an electric drill fitted with a wire bristle brush attachment begin to sand away the bumps. Spend just enough time on each spot to remove the bumps too much time in one spot can give you a little shallow spot. It won’t be noticeable until you really need something to turn out perfect.
4. Once the pan has been smoothed to your liking it’s time to talk seasoning.

Seasoning cast iron pans is not nearly as complicated as some people like to make it. It does take a little time most of which is not hands on, we are talking 5-10 minutes max of hands on the rest is baking time.

I talked with a guy at a flea market once who was selling all sorts of very nice and very over priced seasoned cast iron. He was giving my the whole soapbox preach about how each piece must be hung when stored, never use water on them, soap is so far out of the question it wasn’t even something to joke about  and so on, all because he was so very concerned with the seasoning of the pans. In which his seasoning process was the basic process, just glorified with all sorts of extra jabber. That guy would tip over if he saw how I use and care for my pan collection.

After the initial sanding the pans are given a really good scrubbing with water, soap and steel wool. They are rinsed well and placed in the oven to dry thoroughly so they don’t rust. Which they will start to do much quicker than you would think.

Once dried the seasoning begins. I like to use grape seed oil for seasoning it has virtually no flavor and a really high smoke point (450 degrees +).
1. Simply place a small amount of oil on a lint free cloth (I use flour sack towel rags or cut up t-shirts). Coat the whole pan inside and out with a thin coat of oil. It should be enough to turn the color of the pan but not enough to leave excess oil.
2. Place the cold pan in a cold oven and turn the oven on to 450 degrees. Allow the pan to preheat with the oven. Bake the pan for about an hour. Turn the oven off and allow everything to cool together as well.
3. Repeat steps 1 and 2, two more times.

There you have it a perfectly smooth and seasoned pan. If you choose to sand your pan it should be something that you need to do only once in the lifetime of the pan. You may find that a pan needs to be reseasoned from time to time. Which isn’t that big of a deal either.

Even if I don’t sand a new pan I do strip the “preseasonedness” off and give it my own. Most of the pans you buy that are preseasoned are done so with soy bean oil. Almost all (not all but almost) soy beans are GMO in the states, which means the oil used to season the pans is most likely contains GMOs. Over paranoid? maybe. But that’s ok, I cut back where I can and know that there are some things that will be GMO and for the time being there is nothing I can do about it.

Now for seasoned cast iron pan care. Seasoning the pan essentially creates a bond between the oil and pan. It is not easily scrubbed off. For that reason I do use water on my pans and in the event that I make something like enchilada’s or something extra baked on and messy I use soap too. I have even been known to let them soak. (Gasp!) Really, I do let them soak. Not over night but for a couple hours to make washing them easier. I haven’t lost any of the precious seasoning by doing this, nor did the pan start to rust. A thick coat of oil after the pan has been dried and it sparkles like a well-seasoned pan should.

I also stack my cast iron in the cupboard. One piece on top of the other. We do not have air conditioning in our house and being next to the lake and in northern Minnesota the humidity in the summer can be awful. I still stack my pans and wouldn’t you know they don’t rust. That being said you don’t need to hang each cast iron piece. It’s ok, really. They will be ok.

IMG_2239

The Super Secret Secret to Getting Stuff Done

Quite often when I tell people what I have been up to I give them the short list and as far as I can see, it’s not much. Yet I tend to get a surprised reply of “how do you find the time?’ or “I wish I had that much energy.” Well, let me tell yah, it’s not that I have a never ending supply of energy or that I don’t get tired. There are days that I wonder how I made it home from work. Scary I know. You know you’ve been there too, you know the way and could get there in your sleep and sometimes do.

It’s not a matter of so much cardio and the perfect amount of sleep and all those things that the health magazines tell you. They do help, but there’s more to it than that. It’s motivation. It’s the drive to get up in early morning hours to “get stuff done”. It’s the daily and weekly “to do” list and the need to get it done.

It most certainly is something that everyone can do. The whole “if it were easy everyone would do it” is bologna. It takes practice and the feeling that you want to do it. It’s got nothing to do with difficulty. How difficult is it to fold a load of laundry? For most people it’s a very simple task and still not everyone does it. Those that want things organized and put away do it, (or have their wives do it) not those that sit back and think “gee it sure would be nice if …”.

I have always been busy but I wasn’t always motivated to get things done. There is a difference. So many people race to get here and there and at the end of the day can’t seem to think of a single thing the actually accomplished aside from going to work or picking up groceries. That is where the “to do” lists come in to play.

A good list will keep you on track. At the end of the day you will have a piece of paper with all sorts of things crossed off and can see exactly what you got done and what will have to be added to tomorrows list. You only have to fall behind a couple times on your list to understand that it needs to get done or tomorrow (and possibly days after) will be affected. At that point you have the choice to give up or to decide that you will put in a little more effort.

For my lists I like to have them organized, which sometimes means I write a list and then rewrite it to get the “kitchen stuff” together, the “barn stuff” together and so on. I also include any craft or fun project I want to work on. Everything that I hope to accomplish for the day goes on the list. I need to think about a nap category; that might be nice. This way as you are working on one task you know what the next will be there is no time wasted wandering around trying to remember what you were going to do next or deciding what to do. You already have your plan set. Just get to it!

A good list is like new exercise program. You can print off as many programs as you want but they aren’t going to get you in shape. You still need to do the work to see the results. Your “to do” list is the same way. Write as many as you want, color coded, categorized, sprinkle it with glitter if you want. You just wasted good time glittering a list of things that are actually needing to be done. Good job. Take the time to get organized and then get to work. That sparkly list isn’t going to complete itself.

Motivation is not something that can be taught in a book sense but I do think it can be learned in a working sense. If you start small, make a little list for the day. Get everything on your list done by the end of the day and look back on what you accomplished. Let that feeling of accomplishment drive you to try again tomorrow. You also really have to want to accomplish your list. I mean really want to. Just like anything else, talking is just that, it doesn’t add up to anything but noise. The cliché “actions speak louder than words” although over used, is true.

So now you have your list, your motivated and “I will start tomorrow”. Just toss your list at that point.

Start today.

Sitting on lunch break making your list? Make one for the remainder of the day. Then start writing tomorrow’s if you want. Starting tomorrow really doesn’t work for too many people. You go to bed all motivated and ready to get started. When you wake up, are half asleep, “oh that list thing, I will start later” and so it begins. The next thing you know you are going to bed and haven’t touched the list because you forgot to start “later”. Start now. Diets don’t need to start on a Monday, neither does a “to do” list. Besides the sooner you start the sooner you’re done.

I think I may have perfected my “to do” list/ Daily planner organizing. I will continue to give it a trial run for a while. If it proves effective I will make the print outs available to you. Daily planners with time slots have never done me much good. I don’t make that many appointments in the day (if any). I do have a rather lengthy list that needs to get done. I have managed to come up with a system that keeps everything in it’s category and even includes a meal plan! It’s great!

I remember on Saturday mornings, mom would work and it was up to dad to get things going around the house. We used to ask mom to tell dad to let us sleep in. “Get up! You’re burn’n daylight!” was what I remember him saying. At the time I was not happy about the wake up call. Now, I can’t believe he let us sleep in as late as he did! The amount of time I wasted sleeping in when I could have been doing something, oh boy. I now find that I am telling myself “get out of bed, or you will just waste a day”. It’s still about as well received as it was when dad would say it, but it’s true and so I get up.

At this point I am pretty sure that even though I have the drive, the motivation and a well organized list, I am still running on perpetual motion and coffee. :)

To do list

 

All in a Day’s Work

Go to work, for a long shift, plow snow, do animal chores, haul a little firewood, deliver a baby, make supper. Just a normal Tuesday on the farm.

I know over the years I have unintentionally, we will say “given Mike opportunities” to do things that he never would have guessed he would do. Own a farm, raise his own livestock, tend a garden, deliver his daughter. That’s right, he delivered our little girl last week. The midwife was on her way but baby decided not to wait.

I share a lot of what goes on around here but the stuff that is the most “close to home” I like to keep “close to home”. I want to share this story because I am so amazed and proud of my husband.

I hadn’t been feeling real great Monday night to Tuesday, but by the time it was time for me to go to work Tuesday night I was feeling better, so in I went. I figured it was only a 4 hour shift and not strenuous by any means, there was no reason not to go. I had been there about an hour and a half when I began to feel uncomfortable again. Slight contractions but mostly uncomfortable. A bit later a co-worker asked if I was going to make it through my shift. I had planned to but wasn’t totally sure. A half hour later I headed home, knowing the roads were terrible and the drive would be a slow one. I needed to be able to walk to my car and drive home and if this was labor I didn’t want to be stuck at work. (I can see the hospital from my office window but had no intention of ending up there.)

Mike was working an extra long shift due to the snow we had been getting and wasn’t home when I arrived. I called him to say I was home. Then I called Rebekah, the midwife,

“I think I’m in labor. I know the roads are awful and I would hate to have you come on a false alarm but if you don’t mind, it might be a good idea to head this direction.”

(She was only 1 1/2 hours away. Much closer than when our little boy was born.) She was on her way with her apprentice within 15 minutes and had called a second apprentice to meet her here as well.

I called my dad to see if it was ok that the little boy stayed a bit longer.

“That’s just fine. Call if you need anything; I’ve pulled a lot of calves in my day!”

We had a good laugh. (It’s not the first time I have been likened to a cow. Some might take offense, but hey, if the shoe fits! Haha!)

I decided to try to relax by taking a hot shower. At some point Mike arrived home and checked in to see how I was doing.

“I’m fine.”

He was headed out to plow snow and take care of the animals.

“Flash the porch light if you need something.” (He wouldn’t be able to hear the dinner triangle in the truck.)

When he got back in from chores I headed upstairs. He was getting things from the birth kit (supplies ordered and on hand for home births) ready for when Rebekah arrived. Checking in every little while on me and on the phone with her giving updates.

M:”She said she’s doing good. She hasn’t been able to time contractions yet.”

R:”Has her water broke yet?”

M:”Has your water broke?”

A:”No.”

M:”No.”

R:”Ok, you have some time then.”

A:”My water broke.”

After that I’m not sure how the conversation went. Mike kept checking in and preparing.

M:”Are you doing ok? Going to make it til she gets here in about 45 minutes?”

A:”I’m fine. I will make it… I’m sorry, I know you didn’t want to catch but you’re going to have to.”

M:”I see that. I’m just looking for gloves.”

A:”They are in the… You don’t need gloves!”

M:”Okay!”

Two quick pushes.

M:”Well do you want to know?”  “It’s a girl!”

I held her as he cleaned her up. He called the midwife with the update. We had a half hour or so and used the time to let our parents and siblings know.

The ladies arrived and did their midwife thing and helped clean up. My parents brought up the little boy for a quick visit and brought supper. Mike got that going and the night went on. For how he handled everything, you would think this was just a regular Tuesday night.

I’ve said it before and I will say it again, “Everything works out as God plans it is to be and there is never a dull moment on the farm.”Baby

We are very thankful for Rebekah Knapp for her prenatal care and venturing out to help us on delivery night. A thank you to Molly and Karissa too! All wonderful women to work with.

 

The Book Shelf

One of my hap-hazard book shelves.

One of my hap-hazard book shelves.

I have a ever so slight book problem. I made mention of my cookbook collection a while back, but the book collecting isn’t limited to those. Every time I take up a new interest or just have a question about something I feel the need to get a book. I may do a quick web search to tide me over but eventually the question will end up in a book.

I like to read, but if I sit down to read I need to be able to feel like I am not wasting time. By reading something non-fiction, instructional, reference or something where I am learning something, the guilty feeling of “doing nothing” goes away. I am learning. Not every book I own I buy into the full truth of it, but I usually find some bit of information that is useful. I like to read different views on the same topic at times as well. Looking up the references a book uses can lead to more interesting reading also.

Someday the we are planning a built-in bookshelf that is floor to 12 foot ceiling. When that happens our books are going to be so organized even the library will be jealous! I can hardly wait for that day to come. As of now, we have a few bookshelves that I try to keep somewhat categorized at least but that just doesn’t always work either.

I started a “short” list of some of what’s on my shelf as of now. The cookbooks, I am not ready to admit just how many are actually there; a five shelf case dedicated to cookbooks that is overflowing is where we will leave that. As time goes on and I continue to collect, you can find the running list of my “reference” books here.

The Book Shelf
Some of these fall into multiple categories, in which case I just picked one.

Animals
The Back Yard Cow, Sue Weaver
Storey’s Guide to Raising Beef Cattle, Heather Smith Thomas
Storey’s Guide to Raising Chickens, Gail Damerow
Storey’s Guide to Raising Horses, Heather Smith Thomas
Storey’s Guide to Raising Pigs, Kelly Klober
Storey’s Guide to Raising Poultry, Glenn Drowns
Storey’s Guide to Training Horses, Heather Smith Thomas

Babies and Family
A Christian Guide to Childbirth Handbook, Jennifer Vanderlaan
Beautiful Babies. Kristen Michaelis
Ina May’s Guide to Child Birth, Ina May Gaskin
Smart Martha’s Catholic Guide for Busy Moms, Tami Kiser
Special Delivery, Rahima, Baldwin
What to Expect When You are Expecting, Heidi Murkoff

Food
Artisan Cheese Making at Home, Mary Karlin
Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation, Michael Pollan
Fields of Plenty, Michael Ableman
Home Cheese Making, Ricki Carroll
Natural Wonder Foods,
Wild Fermentation, Sandor Ellix Katz

Gardening and Farming
Carrots Love Tomatoes, Louise Riotte
Complete Guide to Gardening, Better Homes and Gardens
Garden Wisdom and Know-How, from the Editors of Rodale Gardening Books
The Heirloom Life Gardener, Jere and Emilee Gettle
Home Grown Whole Grains, Sara Pitzer
New Garden Book, Better Homes and Gardens
Seed to Seed, Susanne Ashworth

General “How to” and Homesteading
These are good starting points for some fun projects and ideas.
Country Wisdom and Know-How, from the Editors of Storey Books
Encyclopedia of Country Living, Carla Emery
Little House in the Suburbs, Deanna Caswell and Daisy Siskins
The Ultimate Guide to Homesteading, Nicole Faires

Health and Nutrition
Breaking the Vicious Cycle; Intestinal Health Through Diet, Elaine Gloria Gottschall
The Gerson Therapy, Charlotte Gerson and Morton Walker D.P.M.
Natural Relief for Anxiety, Edmond J. Bourne Ph.D
Nourishing Traditions, Sally Fallon
Nourishing Traditions; Book of Baby and Child Care, Sally Fallon

Leather Working
The Stohlman’s Encyclopedia of Saddle Making 1, Al and Ann Stohlman
The Stohlman’s Encyclopedia of Saddle Making 2, Al and Ann Stohlman
The Stohlman’s Encyclopedia of Saddle Making 3, Al and Ann Stohlman
To be continued…There’s more on the shelf.

Other Reading (non-fiction)
The Bible
Montana Women Homesteaders: A field of ones own, Sarah Carter