43 items found for ""
- Homemade Apple Pie
This is my favorite apple pie recipe because you pre-cook the apples so you are in control of exactly how crunchy or soft your apples for your filling are. This double-crust apple pie recipe has classic spices so the thinly sliced apples can be the star of this pie. 🤍 Disclaimer: My posts may contain affiliate links to products/services I recommend. I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you if you purchase from these links. The all-American dessert: The Apple Pie. Buttery, sweet, spicy with a little crunch — the apple pie is one of the few desserts that feels festive and hits the spot during the winter holidays and also during the summer for the Fourth of July or summer barbecues. Here I spill the secrets to the perfect classic apple pie recipe. THE SECRET TO THE PERFECT APPLE PIE Granny Smith Apples: I think Granny Smith are the perfect apples to use in desserts because they bring a tartness that balances the added sugar in the dishes. Thin Slices of Apple: This is one of the biggest game-changers of this apple pie for me. Thinly sliced apples gets the texture just right. With big chunks, you don't get the same layered bite of the filling — it's almost too much apple without the subtle spices and sugars. And grated apples is the opposite problem — not enough good apple flavor and crunch in every bite. The Best Homemade Pie Crust: Because this is a double-crust pie, the crust is extra important. From scratch pie crusts can be daunting, but my recipe is very simple and is always flakey, buttery and delicious. Before you start on this recipe, head to my recipe for the best from scratch homemade pie crust. 😏 Shop the post! @nettie_schmidty on LIKEtoKNOW.it Homemade Apple Pie Yields: 1 pie crust Cook Time: 2 hours Instructions: Prepare a double pie crust — head to my recipe for the best from scratch homemade pie crust. Peel, core and thinly slice all the apples. You can hand slice these with a sharp knife or use a mandolin (be very careful and always use the hand shield — I think everyone knows someone who has sliced their fingers with one of these suckers). You are going for about 1/8 inch slices. Put apple slices in a large skillet with lemon zest, lemon juice, brown sugar, granulated sugar, flour, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamon. Toss to coat the apples. (This will look like a ton of apples for one pie, but they will cook down!) Cook the mixture over medium heat for about 20 minutes, stirring often. You can keep the skillet covered when you are not stirring to let those apples release all their juices and mingle with the spices. Taste test the apple slices for texture before removing from heat. You want them to be cooked soft but have a little resistance to add a slight crunch to your pie so it is not too mushy. Stir in the vanilla and let cool to room temperature. NOTE: I usually start this pie in the evening and leave the filling covered on the counter overnight at this point. Add filling to your base pie crust in your pie plate and place second crust on top. Check out these 15 Double Crust Pie Designs from Martha Stewart. I always like the classic lattice crust and it is nearly as hard as it looks. Refrigerate whole pie for 30 minutes while oven pre-heats. Place a baking sheet on the center rack of the oven and preheat to 400°F NOTE: Before placing the pie in the oven, brush the crust with a 50/50 milk and egg mixture (if you don't have milk, just an egg wash will work too). This will make it a nice golden brown with a beautiful shine. Once preheated, place the pie on the preheated baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Turn the oven down to 350°F, pull the pie out and make a pie protector out of foil. Get a piece of foil big enough to cover the whole pie and fold around edges of the pie plate, then fold it in quarters and cut a large circle out of the middle so that the edges of the pie crust will be covered by the foil, but the center will not. Don't get too hung up on the perfect size of the whole, just ensuring the edges are covered so they do not get burned while the middle is getting to the nice golden brown is the goal. Put the pie back in the oven and bake for 45 minutes until crust is a beautiful golden brown. Let cool to room temperature before slicing and serving with vanilla ice cream. (I know, I know... smelling that lovely apple pie for hours on the counter is hard, but if you cut in too early, the filling will not be set and will run everywhere and your beautiful pie slices will fall apart) Check out more recipes my Food & Drink blog section. PIN IT FOR LATER! What is your favorite time of year to eat apple pie? Tell me in the comments.
- Farm Eggs 101 & The Float Test
Whether you have chickens or buy farm eggs from your local farmer's market, you know that golden yolky goodness is hard to beat. Here's how to make sure you know the safety and freshness of those farm eggs and other basic information about pasture-raised eggs. 🤍 Disclaimer: My posts may contain affiliate links to products/services I recommend. I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you if you purchase from these links. Farm Fresh Eggs 101 First some chicken egg basics: you probably know hens lay eggs, but did you know, you do not need a rooster for hens to lay? All hens will lay eggs regardless of if there is a rooster around (think human women ovulating). The difference that comes with having a rooster is that almost all the eggs will be fertilized. If your flock is all hens, none of the eggs will be fertilized. FARM EGG FRESHNESS & SAFETY All eggs are laid with a protective layer on the shell called the "bloom". This protective layer prevents bacteria from getting through the shell into the egg. If you do not wash your eggs immediately, the bloom stays on the egg keeping bacteria from getting into the egg. The bloom will become less effective the longer the egg sits out and more air will get into the egg. You can keep unwashed farm fresh eggs on the counter and they will stay good for about 4 weeks. Remember to wash the eggs directly before cooking. Use the Float Test (detailed below) to check if eggs are still good. If you wash the bloom off the eggs, they must be kept in the refrigerator because they no longer have protection from bacteria entering the shell. Keep washed farm eggs in the fridge for about 2 weeks. Again, use the Float Test to check freshness before using. Once refrigerated (unwashed or not), eggs must stay refrigerated. How To Wash Farm Eggs To wash farm fresh eggs, rinse them under warm water and gently rub the shell with your fingers. Pat dry and either use immediately, or transfer to the fridge. Warm water keeps the shell from taking on bacteria — the water should be roughly 20 degrees warmer than the egg. Do not leave eggs soaking or submerged in water. It is not necessary to wash farm eggs for storage as detailed above in Farm Egg Freshness & Safety, but you do want to ensure you wash them before use to rinse off any bacteria on the shell before cracking the egg. THE FLOAT TEST The Float Test is used to check the freshness of eggs. Whether you raise chickens yourself, purchase farm eggs from a local farmers market or neighbor, keep them unwashed on the counter, or washed in the refrigerator, you will likely want to check the freshness of eggs you have been storing. To Perform the Float Test Place the egg in a container of room temperature water that is deep enough to cover the egg with at least an inch of water. If the egg sinks to the bottom of the container and lays flat on its side, the egg is very fresh. If the egg sinks to the bottom standing up on the tip, it is still good, but should be eaten soon. If the egg floats, it is no longer good. NOTE: If you crack these eggs, they may not be rotten (use your nose to tell) and can still make for good treats for your puppers. Remember to quickly remove your eggs once you have performed the Float Test because you do not want to soak or leave eggs submerged in water too long. Why the Float Test Works The Float Test checks how long an egg has been around (aka the age of the egg) by gauging the amount of air the egg has taken on. As the egg ages, the shell becomes more porous and takes on more air. An egg with enough air to change the buoyancy of it so that it floats is not fresh enough to eat. FERTILIZED vs. UNFERTILIZED EGGS In general, a fertilized egg will come from a flock of chickens that are all hens with no rooster. If a rooster is part of the flock, it is safe to assume almost all the eggs are fertilized. Companies that sell to grocery stores have flocks solely dedicated to egg production, therefor do not have roosters, so you can bet that any eggs you have purchased from a grocery store are not fertilized. If you are getting farm eggs from a neighbor or farmer's market, that may be a different story. So are fertilized chicken eggs safe to eat? The quick answer is yes. If the eggs are removed from the nesting boxes daily and stored according to the method(s) above, it is safe to eat a fertilized egg. The egg will not develop into a chick unless the conditions are correct for it to be incubated at the proper temperature etc. For more information on this, The Happy Chicken Coop goes into more detail in this blog that I found helpful. COLOR OF EGGS 101 Why are farm eggs different colors? It is all about the breed of the hen. There are dozens (if not hundreds) of chicken breeds worldwide. Some lay green eggs, blue eggs, brown, olive, chocolate, speckled, white, and even pink. I like having a mixed flock of hens so that A) our egg basket is always varied and beautiful and B) I can tell which hen is laying what egg. I have also found that some of our breeds are more tolerant of the heat and will keep laying over the summer. Others are more cold-hardy and lay more over the colder winter months. My Ameraucana, Patsy, lays blue eggs all summer long but as soon as the temperature dips, our egg basket starts to be taken over by the brown eggs of our Black Sex Link, Reba, and Black Copper Marans. A note on the color of egg yolks: Different hens will have different color egg yolks as well. All on the spectrum of yellow to gold to orange, egg yolk's color changes due to the hen's diet. A hen with a more varied diet will have darker yolks because of the varied vitamins and minerals they eat with a more robust diet (insects, plants, vegetables, etc.) That is why more commercial store-bought eggs have a more yellow yolk — their diet is less varied, typically fed a grain-based diet. In general, the further a hen gets away from a caged, grain-fed lifestyle, the darker their yolk will become. Full-time pasture-raised hens with a varied diet will, in theory, have the most orange yolks because they have access to a wider vitamin/mineral intake, which in turn means the yolks will have more flavor. FREE-RANGE vs. PASTURE-RAISED Egg labels in stores can be very confusing and the terms are not very regulated. The closest in-store label you will find to farm fresh eggs is "Pasture-Raised Organic" but because there is little to no regulation, it is hard to tell exactly how these hens are being kept. I've listed the terms below in the order of least amount of space (and least humane life) to most amount of space per hen, healthy (and most humane) life for hens. No Label a.k.a. Caged (spending almost entire life inside in a small cage) Cage-Free (typically packed into indoor spaces without much room) Free-Range (some access to outdoors, but typically very little space per hen, still crowded) Pasture-Raised (most space per hen, still little regulation) Neighbors, farmers markets, or getting to know the pasture-raised company you are purchasing eggs from is the best way to get an idea of how the hens are treated and the kind of diet they have. Shop the post! @nettie_schmidty on LIKEtoKNOW.it Find more Homestead tips in the Homestead blog section. PIN IT FOR LATER! Where do you get your farm eggs? Tell me in the comments!
- Lobster Rolls
All shellfish are some of my favorite types of seafood, but lobster and lobster rolls take the cake! This simple recipe is for Connecticut style lobster rolls, served warm with lots of melted butter. 🦞 Disclaimer: My posts may contain affiliate links to products/services I recommend. I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you if you purchase from these links. A lobster roll is a delicious New England style sandwich on a split-top bun (New England style bun) loaded with chopped lobster meat. There are two main variations -- Maine-style and Connecticut-style lobster rolls. Either one is delicious but our family favorite is the Connecticut style! THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CONNECTICUT STYLE AND MAINE STYLE LOBSTER ROLLS As I said, Connecticut lobsters are our family favorite, but I would never turn down a Maine style either. 🙃 Connecticut style is a warm butter lobster roll where the meat is just tossed in melted butter and maybe a squeeze of lemon (the lemon juice is optional). The meat is chopped right after the lobster cools enough to be handled. Maine style lobster rolls are piled high with chilled lobster tossed in mayonnaise, celery and sometimes scallions. The meat is chilled briefly after chopping and tossed in the same amount of mayo as butter for the Connecticut style. If you want to make Maine Lobster Rolls, simply chill the chopped lobster and sub the melted butter with mayo. Both are served on a warm buttered split top bun and best served with kettle cooked potato chips and a cold beer. 🍻 (If you're not a beer drinker, you can see from the pictures that I also love a glass of champagne or prosecco with a lobster roll 😉). WHERE TO GET GOOD LOBSTER (IF YOU AREN'T ON THE EAST COAST) It is oh so easy to find great lobster on the East Coast, but what if you are across the country like us in Texas? There are a couple ways to get good Maine lobster even if you aren't in New England. First there are a number of companies that will ship a live Maine lobster to your door! We have done this a couple times and it is definitely the best meat. We have used Cousins Maine Lobster. If you didn't think ahead in time for all of that, just do some research to find a good seafood shop nearby. If you are near Austin, Quality Seafood Market is our favorite! WHY WE LOVE LOBSTER ROLLS Well first, they are delicious. But the reason we love them so much is for their nostalgia in Clay's family. Clays grandparents used to own a house in Kennebunkport, Maine and they spent summers there often when he was growing up. Now we do a big family vacation with grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins every summer we can. It is even a family tradition to do lobster rolls in Texas over Christmas. I highly recommend planning a trip to the cool and quaint town of Kennebunkport if you have not already been! A little off topic, but just in case you do 😉, here are some of our favorite places and things to do in Kennebunkport, ME: Lobster and blueberry pie at Nunan's Steamers at Cape Pier Drinks at The Ramp (Allagash White Beer is my favorite!) Wine on the patio at Stripers The deck at Federal Jacks Lunch at Arundel Wharf Lunch at The Clam Shack Chowder at Mabel's Drinks at The Colony Pool Deck A picnic at St. Ann's Church Beach day at Goose Rocks Beach Shop the post! @nettie_schmidty on LIKEtoKNOW.it Lobster Roll Recipe Time: 30 minutes Yields: 2 Sandwiches Instructions: Bring a large pot with a steamer basket to a boil. Add whole live lobster or tails to the steamer basket. (If using live lobster, remove the rubber bands around the claws). Cover and steam for 10-12 minutes until the lobster turns bright red. Remove from steamer and let cool while preparing the buns. Butter the inside and outside of the split top buns with 1 tbs butter. Heat a medium skillet over low heat and lay the buns flat on the skillet. Grill both sides of each bun until gold brown. Set aside on plates. Roughly chop the lobster meat into 1-inch(ish) cubes. Melt 3 tbs butter. If using unsalted butter, add a pinch of salt to the ramekin after melting. Toss the chopped lobster meat in the melted butter until coated. Load up the buns with lobster meat and top with a squeeze of lemon. Serve immediately with extra wedges of lemon and kettle cooked potato chips. (Our favorite are Cape Cod Original Potato Chips) Check out more recipes my Food & Drink blog section. PIN IT FOR LATER! What is your favorite family vacation spot? Tell me in the comments!
- Modern Farmhouse Coffee Table Books
Large beautiful coffee table books are my love language... just kidding, but I do love having big books all over the house. You can find them in our bedroom, living room, office, bookcases, and coffee tables and console tables. I believe you can never have too many books. Disclaimer: My posts may contain affiliate links to products/services I recommend. I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you if you purchase from these links. It is no secret that coffee table books are some of my favorite things. I definitely break the old adage and judge these books by their cover 😏 But I also love stacking and styling with books that share our family's interests. You can find books about homesteading, Texas, horses and cowboys and women's empowerment all over my home. Books allow you to show your personality even more than your general décor aesthetic and home style. Style bookshelves and tables with books (or even magazines) that are interesting to you or remind you of something or somewhere you love. Then guests and other family members can learn and be inspired by your taste in these gorgeous oversized books. One thing Clay and I have started doing is collecting books from special places in our lives if they are available. They did not have one where we stayed on our honeymoon, so we brought home a magazine and it is stacked on our living room built-ins. (Fun Fact: We also collect Christmas tree ornaments from trips and vacations). WHERE TO FIND THE BEST COFFEE TABLE BOOKS Pottery Barn has a fantastic selection of curated neutral oversized books. West Elm is great for food-oriented and cookbook collections. And Anthropology is a go-to if you are searching for bright and colorful coffee table books. Amazon and Barnes & Noble are also easy places to find table books (and regular books!). You can even find used oversized books from Amazon if you are on a budget. I also love rifling through lifestyle and cookbook sections at second hand bookstores or Half Priced Books to search through previously-loved books to find some gorgeous winners for less. Check out my eight simple steps to styling your coffee table. And if you are interested in how I style the rest of my modern farmhouse, follow me in the LIKEtoKNOW.it app! 🤍 Shop my favorite white and neutral coffee table below. Shop the post! @nettie_schmidty on LIKEtoKNOW.it MASTERING THE BOOK STACK There are so many gorgeous coffee table books out there that you can always find the perfect size and color that you are looking for. I personally love neutrals and whites for the majority of my stacked books, but a good rule of thumb is to stick to a similar color palette for each stack. I always stack according to size, largest on the bottom, and make sure they are similar dimensions so they fit nicely together. I have a minimum of 3 books per stack, more if they are have thinner spines (like magazines). If I am styling my coffee table or console table, I don't place an object on top of the stack so it shows off the beautiful cover of the top table book. If I am styling a bookshelf or bookcase, I like to place a decorative object or bowl on top of the stack to add more height. Large wooden or ceramic bowls, small vases and candles make for perfect objects to add to the top of stacked books. Magazines are a great way to get "the stack" on a budget, but make sure they are similar sizes and colors so it doesn't come off too cluttered or junky. HIDDEN GEMS OF TABLE BOOKS When you are searching for oversized books and table books to add beauty and a bit of personality to your home, the hidden gems of the table book world are cookbooks and encyclopedias or other reference book series. I have most of my cookbooks in the kitchen, but the extra beautiful ones get a special place in the living room. 🤍 If you are looking to fill a shelf, an encyclopedia set or other special book series make for a beautiful, clean and consistent shelf. My favorites that I have are the World Book Encyclopedia Set and The Old West Time-Life series. Check out more of my home styling tips in my Home & Lifestyle blog section. PIN IT FOR LATER! What is your favorite coffee table book? Tell me in the comments!
- Excerpts from HR: Entry 3
My grandfather, Henry Richard, journaled constantly and going back to read what was going on in his life and on the farm is so special for me. A small twist: he never wrote in a journal -- only in margins of books he was reading. So nothing is in order and you never know what you're going to get. A RANCHER'S JOURNAL | ENTRY #3 Date: November 3, 1975 (1700) Fall weather is here with beautiful days in the seventies and nights near lower fifties. It has been a dry fall, but a couple weeks ago we got a nice 3 1/2" rain on the winter grain which was mostly confined to our area with Dallas receiving no moisture. I have 11 acres of wheat and Rick has almost 20 acres of winter grain -- it is really looking good and I expect to start grazing mine in the near future with special group of cattle. Rick irrigated about half his grain prior to the rain using a homemade pump from old 1962 Ford pickup. The transmission went out for replacement, but the bell housing will also need changed to accommodate and this has proved difficult to find. Good used 4-speed are available from junk yards at almost $75.00; if don't find set soon will purchase another 3-speed which give me several years service. Jeanie and I went to the Rockbrook production sale and was successful in purchasing an excellent 22 month Hereford bull weighing 1140 lbs which is son of John Wayne's senior herd sire Lucky Domino. Rockbrook Ranch & John Wayne ranch own several bulls together. We will plan on selling Jeanie's L.B.J. bull which has left considerably to be desired in his calf crop; heifers are fine, but his bull calves just don't grow off. L.B.J. currently weighs only 1005 lbs with full growth. The first of November we started a new ranch man, Mr. Campbell. He is a retired builder and has good health - 68 yrs old - works hard for 3-4 hours per day and rides tractor all day. Virg is available & able to supervise which makes a seemingly winning combination for us. We will hire heavy work done - work cattle ourselves, and I have hopes this retired idea will work out fine; if not with Mr. Campbell, perhaps another retired married couple with more recent farm exposure. Tonight we are eating out at San Francisco with Earl & Theresa and Charles & Margaret. Jeanie and I enjoy these Wednesday night dine outs very much. - H.R. Teter Jr. FROM THE BOOK The Cowboys, The Old West Time-Life Series by the Editors of Time-Life Books with text by William H. Forbis front inside cover © 1973 This is an incredible and beautiful leather book series. The only ones I can find are used on Amazon or eBay, but they are worth hunting for! HR WISDOM The HR Homestead was named for my grandfather, Henry Richard, who introduced me to the wonderful world of farming. Each day he would sit in his "easy chair", pick up whatever book was sitting on the side table, and write a journal entry in the margins. Enjoy his nuggets of wisdom and get to know the man I admire and try to emulate on our homestead. 🖤 Read more journal entries in the Excerpts from HR blog section. PIN IT FOR LATER! Do you keep a farm journal? Tell me in the comments!
- Sourdough Discard Crackers
These sourdough crackers are a delicious and easy way to use sourdough discard. With just two ingredients and your desired seasoning you have a yummy snack or appetizer addition. Disclaimer: My posts may contain affiliate links to products/services I recommend. I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you if you purchase from these links. Whether you need a way to use up your sourdough discard while making your sourdough starter from scratch, just love homemade crackers, or forgot to feed or make your dough and now you have too much starter (this is often me 😳), this simple recipe is a quick and very easy way to use up a cup of sourdough starter discard. WHAT IS SOURDOUGH STARTER DISCARD? Sourdough discard is another term for unfed sourdough starter. In other words, when the organisms in your sourdough starter are not active. Sourdough starter is a living colony of natural good bacteria and yeast. The bacteria is considered not active when it has fermented or "eaten up" all the flour and water since you last fed it. It cannot be active to ferment the carbs and create the bubbles and alcohol present in an active starter if it does not have any flour to "eat". THE FLOAT TEST An unfed sourdough starter will not have all the bubbles an active starter does and will not pass the float test. The float test is to ensure your starter is active enough to leaven a dough so it will rise properly. To perform the float test, put a tiny bit of the starter in water to see if it floats. If it floats, that indicates there are a ton of bubbles and the bacteria is super healthy and active. Another way to tell if you starter is healthy and active is if it roughly doubles in size after a feeding (wait at about 10-12 hours after feeding to see if it doubles). Learn more about how to take care of your sourdough starter in this blog post. Please note: this section is a bit of a tangent for this recipe -- the starter in this recipe does not need to pass the float test 🙃. CAN I USE ACTIVE STARTER IN PLACE OF UNFED / DISCARD? Ok back to unfed 😊 Generally, if you have a healthy active starter because you just fed or baked bread, yes, you can still use it for a recipe that calls for unfed starter or discard. You just don't let it sit our to bulk ferment and rise. This recipe specifically has no added flour, so your starter wouldn't have anything to "eat" anyways. CRACKER SEASONING These crackers have the hallmark sour flavor of sourdough, but you can season them with whatever else you like. My favorite cracker flavors are below. Italian Herb Crackers: garlic powder, oregano, thyme & basil (dried or finely chopped fresh) Rosemary Garlic Crackers: garlic powder and finely chopped fresh rosemary (you can use a food processor) Everything Bagel Crackers: Trader Joe's Everything but the Bagel Seasoning. Cheddar & Chive Crackers: Finely grated cheddar cheese & finely chopped fresh chive Cracked Black Pepper & Sea Salt Crackers: Freshly cracked pepper & large flakey sea salt Cinnamon Sugar: Cinnamon & granulated sugar for a sweet & sour cracker Shop the post! @nettie_schmidty on LIKEtoKNOW.it SOURDOUGH DISCARD CRACKERS RECIPE Time: 45 minutes Instructions: Preheat oven to 325°F. Mix all ingredients well and spread in thin layer on silicone baking mat on a baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes, remove and cut crackers with a pizza cutter. Return to oven and bake another 20-30 minutes until the crackers are a light golden color. Store in an airtight container for a week. Check out more recipes my Food & Drink blog section. PIN IT FOR LATER! What is your favorite sourdough discard recipe? Tell me in the comments!
- Buying our Livestock Guardian Dog Puppy
This spring we bought our first Livestock Guardian Dog, a 13 week old Great Pyrenees puppy. In this blog, I share my favorite resources I found and what we considered when choosing a breed, breeder, and gender. Disclaimer: My posts may contain affiliate links to products/services I recommend. I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you if you purchase from these links. As with everything on the farm, adding a new animal or starting a new project requires LOTS of research. When we decided we wanted a guardian for our goat herd, there were a lot of decisions to be made. First we had to choose what type of animal guardian we wanted. I outline the options we looked into and why we landed on a Livestock Guardian Dog (LGD) in this post. Once we decided on dog, these are the first questions I wanted to answer to find the actual puppy and where I directed my initial research. How many LGDs do we need? Will we get multiple or one at a time? What gender LGDs are best? What breed do we want? Don't miss my roundup of the best resources I found when doing my research into LGDs and Great Pyrenees puppies. All of them are listed at the bottom of this post! HOW MANY LGDS DO YOU NEED? I found that the number of Livestock Guardian Dogs you need doesn't really depend on the number of animals you have or the amount of land you have, but rather, your predator load and the kinds of predators your have. LGDs work as a team to defend your herd from predators, usually one will move the stock into a safe place and guard them while another dog (or more) will warn, run off, or attack the predator(s). Some people have large predators like bears and mountain lions that may need more guardians and some may simply have a ton of predators around that their stock needs protecting against. For us, we do not have a huge predator load. We don't have a ton of land so there are houses and people nearby, plus our goat pen share a fence with horses (and even a zebra) on two sides. Our main predators are foxes, coyotes and dogs. For this reason, we only need the minimum number of LGDs, two. LGDs need companionship to not be lonely, and like I mentioned before, work as a team to ward off predators. It is HIGHLY recommended that if you get a LGD, you get at least two. Unlike other guardian animals, like llamas and donkeys, LGDs will not be less likely to bond with their charges if you have multiple. It has been bred into these dogs for centuries to bond to and protect stock. SHOULD YOU GET ONE OR MULTIPLE LGDS AT A TIME? There are differing opinions on whether to get two LGDs at a time or one. The argument for two at a time is that they have companionship from the get go and have each other to play with, minimizing the risk that they will play and get too rough with their charges. The downside to two at a time (as puppies) is littermate syndrome. Littermate syndrome is when the puppies pay so much attention to each other early on, that they do not bond with the stock as well, and therefore are not as interested in protecting them. Unlike the name suggests, the puppies do not have to be actual littermates for this to be a concern -- it can happen to any two puppies regardless of whether or not they are related. Another downside -- you are training two puppies at once. Training LGDs is a lot of work, requires a lot of time and a vigilant eye. We decided to get one LGD puppy at a time. This is the first time we are training an LGD and wanted to make sure we do this right and set up the puppy for success. We wanted to focus just on one dog, train him as well as we can and then use him to help us train the next puppy, once he is totally mature (about 18 months to 2 years old). This does mean that he will be the only LGD on our farm for about 18 months so we are intentional about spending time with him and watching him to make sure he is happy and developing well. Because we are a hobby farm and have a small goat herd, we have the time to spend with him. WHAT GENDER COMBINATION FOR LGDS ARE BEST? Again, there is a lot of differing opinions on this topic (as for most livestock related questions). I am outlining what went into our decision, but ultimately, you should do your research, hear arguments from all sides, and make the decision that works best for you and your situation. We are not planning to breed LGDs, so our choices were two females, a fixed male and a female, or two fixed males. After researching online and asking some of my farmer friends, we eliminated two females as an option. Overwhelmingly, people recommended against this as the females are territorial and often get in spats and fights with each other as adults. Two males can also be territorial and get in fights with each other, though this seems less common than two females. We decided we want to ultimately have a male and female. So which one should we get first -- boy or girl? We started with a male puppy so that we can leave him intact for a year or two so he can fully grow and develop to be a healthy big dog. We didn't want to worry about accidental puppies if we had a boy pup growing up with an adult female. So we started with boy, Weller. WHAT BREED LGD TO GET? There are so many amazing Livestock Guardian Dog breeds; some of the most common in America are Great Pyrenees, Anatolian Shepherd, and Maremmas. There really is not a wrong answer to this as long as the dog is 100% LGD. These breeds have instincts bred into them over hundreds of years, so it is super important to get either a pure-bred LGD or ones that are intentionally mixed LGD-to-LGD breeds. For example, a Great Pyrenees-Anatolian mix should still make a fantastic LGD because its full bloodline is passing on the instinct to protect its charges. A Great Pyrenees-Australian Shepherd mix however, is breeding a LGD with a herding dog -- not a suitable mix for a LGD because it has conflicting instincts to chase its stock and guard and protect it. The most common breeds in our area, and therefore the easiest reputable breeders to find, are Great Pyrenees and Anatolian Shepherd. Anatolians are great for large predator loads because they are a bit more aggressive than the other two. Great Pyrenees are famous for being great with people and kids, while still doing their job to protect their stock. We decided on a Great Pyr because we have young nieces and nephews and have family visit a lot. We wanted an LGD that would be safe around children and familiar people. HOW TO FIND A BREEDER Finding a reputable breeder is super important to make sure you are getting a healthy pup that has great genes and is exposed to livestock from their first moments of life. My advice is to ask around to farmers in your are if they know any breeders they suggest; you can also look online and read reviews, but I prefer a recommendation from someone I know and trust. We found the LGD breeder where we got Weller through the farm where we bought our first Nubian goats. Quick Tips: Make sure the puppies are exposed to livestock right after their born and live around working LGDs. BONUS if they live with and around the same type of stock you have (this is especially important if you want them to guard chickens, as this isn't quite as natural of an instinct for them as guarding small hoof stock) It is great if the breeder picks the puppy that fits your needs best instead of letting you pick from the litter. After all, they spend every day with the puppies and know their personalities better than you would after a quick visit. Make sure you like the breeder and feel that she would be willing to answer as many questions as you ask before or after you get your puppy. Good breeders want to make sure their pups are going to good farms, whose owners know what they are doing (or are dedicated to finding out). So that is how we found Weller! He is growing up great and I have no doubt he will make a wonderful guardian for our goats when he is fully mature in about a year. MY FAVORITE RESOURCES FOR LEARNING ABOUT GETTING A LGD PUPPY: Texas A&M AgriLife Research & Extension Center at San Angelo Great Pyrenees as Livestock Guardian Dogs from Well's Providence Other amazing articles from Well's Providence The Training of a Livestock Guardian Dog from The Paleo Mama Training Livestock Guardian Dogs: The Ultimate Guide from For Love of Livestock Keep reading our LGD story; how we chose a guardian for our goat herd. PIN IT FOR LATER! What breed LGD do you have or want? Tell me in the comments.
- Excerpts from HR: Entry 2
My grandfather, Henry Richard, journaled constantly and going back to read what was going on in his life and on the farm is so special for me. A small twist: he never wrote in a journal -- only in margins of books he was reading. So nothing is in order and you never know what you're going to get. A RANCHER'S JOURNAL | ENTRY #2 Date: December 25, 1993 Life is but a long trail ride – leave good memories at every camp – and respect your loved ones by your side – If you leave no good memories when the long trail ride ends, nobody will know you have ridden, not even your friends. - Teter FROM THE BOOK Don't Squat With Yer Spurs On! A Cowboy's Guide To Life by Texas Bix Bender pg 50 © 1992 HR WISDOM The HR Homestead was named for my grandfather, Henry Richard, who introduced me to the wonderful world of farming. Each day he would sit in his "easy chair", pick up whatever book was sitting on the side table, and write a journal entry in the margins. Enjoy his nuggets of wisdom and get to know the man I admire and try to emulate on our homestead. 🖤 Read more journal entries in the Excerpts from HR blog section. PIN IT FOR LATER! Do you keep a farm journal? Tell me in the comments!
- Sourdough French Toast
Sourdough French Toast is one of our favorite weekend breakfasts! It is a perfect recipe to use up the last bit of maybe getting stale bread and is definitely a crowd pleaser. This is a coconut milk french toast recipe so it is also dairy free. 🤍 Disclaimer: My posts may contain affiliate links to products/services I recommend. I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you if you purchase from these links. I know I am not in the majority, but I am not a huge fan of overly sweet things, so traditionally made French Toast has never been one of my favorites. However, this recipe absolutely is. The sourdough compliments the sweet of the maple syrup and makes the overall flavor much more dynamic. I also buy a sugar free maple syrup (whatever they have at the store) but this Organic Maple Syrup and Keto Syrup alternative also have my eye. 😊 This recipe is just as good with a fresh loaf of bread, but I love this recipe for using up the last of a loaf from the weekend before for French Toast. I let the egg and coconut milk mixture soak into the bread a bit longer and you cannot tell at all that the bread was moving toward stale. Make this sourdough loaf recipe and get started! Don't have a sourdough starter yet? Learn how to make your sourdough starter using nothing but water, flour and time! Then head here to learn how to take care of your sourdough starter. MAKE SEASONAL FRENCH TOAST SUMMER: Add some lavender simple syrup to your egg/milk mixture and serve with fresh berries. FALL: Top with this Bourbon Barrel-Aged Maple Syrup and toasted pecans. WINTER: Add ground nutmeg and extra cinnamon to the recipe. If you want to go full Christmas-morning vibes, sub eggnog for the coconut milk. SPRING: Instead of maple syrup, top with blueberry jam (or your favorite jelly/preserves). SOURDOUGH FRENCH TOAST Yields: 4 servings (2 slices for each person) Cook Time: 20 minutes Instructions: Have this loaf of sourdough bread already made. Slice 8 slices of bread about half an inch thick. In a shallow casserole dish, whisk 2 eggs with coconut milk. (You can use any milk, but I have found that coconut milk coats the slices more because it is a bit thicker than other milks.) Whisk in vanilla and cinnamon. Place two slices of bread in the milk mixture to soak while you heat the pan. Flip each slice to coat fully. (If your bread is fresh, they only need to soak about a minute, but if they are on the stale side, I would soak for 4-5 minutes each.) Meanwhile, heat a skillet large enough for two slice over medium heat. Once heated, add half a tablespoon of butter. When the butter is melted and covering the bottom of the pan, place the two slices of bread from the milk mixture in the skillet. Cook for about two minutes until the coating on the bread is a golden brown. Start soaking the next slices of bread once there is room in the casserole dish. Flip each slice to fully coat them. Before flipping the slices in the pan, melt another half tablespoon of butter. Once melted, flip the slices and cook another two minutes until the bread is golden brown. Repeat the steps above to cook the rest of the slices of bread. I like to stack the newly cooked slices on top of the previous ones to keep them warm. Serve immediately with your favorite toppings like berries and maple syrup. Find more recipes in my Food & Drink blog section. PIN IT FOR LATER! What is your favorite topping for french toast? Tell me in the comments.
- Excerpts from HR: Entry 1
My grandfather, Henry Richard, journaled constantly and going back to read what was going on in his life and on the farm is so special for me. A small twist: he never wrote in a journal -- only in margins of books he was reading. So nothing is in order and you never know what you're going to get. A RANCHER'S JOURNAL Date: February 6, 1997 Time: 1900 Becky called to thank me for the Valentine card to all 3 of them. Debbie will be going with her mother 2-15-1997 Abilene to see brother Lenny in musical of sort. "B" and Nettie were planning to come to T-Acres for weekend, but we have plans with Julie's wedding and reception in Cedar Hill, so we will plan to spend the night B + N in Grand Prairie. Diagnosis Murder on so will watch it - not many TV programs Grandma and I like. - Grandpa Teter FROM THE BOOK The Firm by John Grisham pg 112 © 1991 HR WISDOM The HR Homestead was named for my grandfather, Henry Richard, who introduced me to the wonderful world of farming. Each day he would sit in his "easy chair", pick up whatever book was sitting on the side table, and write a journal entry in the margins. Enjoy his nuggets of wisdom and get to know the man I admire and try to emulate on our homestead. 🖤 Read more journal entries in the Excerpts from HR blog section. PIN IT FOR LATER! Do you have diaries or journals from your family? Tell me in the comments!
- Choosing a Guardian for Our Goat Herd
If you have been following me, you know I LOVE my goats. Goats are wonderful for raising, milking, and clearing brush, but are not so great at protecting themselves from predators. That is where guardian animals come in. Read on for how we chose our guardian for the goats. 🐐 Disclaimer: My posts may contain affiliate links to products/services I recommend. I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you if you purchase from these links. Goats are definitely one of my favorite animals to raise, but they are solidly in the "prey" category of the animal kingdom. Depending on where you live, predators for goats can range from foxes and coyotes to bears and mountain lions. Guardian animals will help protect your goat herd (or sheep, alpacas, chickens, etc.) from these predators and others that may be local to your area. WHAT IS A GUARDIAN ANIMAL Guardian animals live with your herd, stock or flock full time as their protectors. A good guardian animal will bond with its charges (your herd/flock) and naturally work to deter predators to keep their charges safe. When a threat is near, guardian animals will send out intimidating warning sounds to deter predators (barking, braying, etc.) and will even attack when necessary if the predator still approaches the herd. CHOOSING A GUARDIAN ANIMAL As with most things in life, when choosing a guardian animal, you have options. The most common guardian animals are dogs, donkeys, or llamas. DONKEYS & LLAMAS From what I have seen, most of the advantages donkeys and llamas are that they live off the same food source as goats and sheep, so they require little maintenance and added feed expense. They also live quite a bit longer than dogs and can protect a herd sometimes more than 15 years. Generally speaking, lone females make the best guardians for llamas and donkeys. They are protective but not aggressive to the smaller stock or babies like some males (even geldings) can be. Getting one donkey or one llama is considered a good idea because if there are multiple, they may bond with each other instead of the stock. One of the downsides of donkeys or llamas is that they are not as effective at fighting off or deterring large predators like mountain lions or a pack of wolves. They are prey animals themselves and can be viewed as a target by those larger predators. Depending on the predators in your area and your predator load, this may or may not be an issue for you. DOGS Livestock Guardian Dogs (LGDs) are specific breeds of dogs, bred specifically to guard animals from predators. There are many Livestock Guardian Dog breeds but some of the most common in America are Great Pyrenees, Anatolian Shepherd, and Maremmas. These breeds have instincts bred into them over hundreds of years, so it is super important to get either a pure-bred LGD or ones that are intentionally mixed LGD-to-LGD breeds. For example, a Great Pyrenees-Anatolian mix should still make a fantastic LGD because its full bloodline is passing on the instinct to protect its charges. A Great Pyrenees-Australian Shepherd mix however, is breeding a LGD with a herding dog -- not a suitable mix for a LGD because it has conflicting instincts to chase its stock and guard and protect it. The advantages of dogs is that they are bred to protect their charges and are not prey animals themselves. You will likely want more than one and they can work as a team to be very successful at deterring and protecting against larger predators or threats that come in packs. Disadvantages as noted above, are that they do not live as long as hooved animals and must be fed. LGDs are all pretty large dogs, so they require quite a bit of food. WHY WE CHOSE A LGD After researching the pros and cons of each guardian animal, we quickly decided we wanted a Livestock Guardian Dog as our guardian. First we eliminated llamas. My grandparents had a llama guardian for our goats when I was growing up and as sweet as it was, I don't know much about caring for llamas and their specific dietary and supplement needs. Yes, I could've done even more research and armed myself to be an expert llama caretaker, but llamas have similar pros and cons to donkeys and donkeys are readily available and easy for us to care for because we already have horses. From there, we decided we would rather have a dog guardian than a donkey. LGDs seem more reliable to me than donkeys because you train them from puppies and they are bred specifically for this purpose. (Plus let's be real, it is hard to resist a little fluffball pup face!) Deciding on an LGD as a guardian animal is just the tip of the iceberg as far as research, decisions, and training goes. Check out my blog on buying our LGD puppy. I cover all the decisions we made to end up bringing home our 13-week old full-blood Great Pyrenees puppy, Weller. Keep reading our LGD story; buying our livestock guardian puppy. PIN IT FOR LATER! What types of guardian animals are your favorites? Tell me in the comments.
- Hand Painting Eggs for Spring Decor
As far as fresh eggs go, I think a multicolored egg basket from a mixed flock is hard to beat for beautiful kitchen décor. But for Easter décor (& spring in general) hand painted eggs make the sweetest additions to centerpieces, coffee table styling and more! Disclaimer: My posts may contain affiliate links to products/services I recommend. I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you if you purchase from these links. Hand painting eggs is a fun and simple activity to do out in the gorgeous spring weather! This quick and relaxing spring craft makes for beautiful décor pieces to sprinkle around your home or gather together in one piece. You could add them to a centerpiece or pile them in a bowl or clear vase all together. Wherever they end up, I love that my happy little flock gets in on our spring décor. STEP 1: GET YOUR SUPPLIES First thing's first, pick your paint colors! I would suggest picking only 3-5 colors including white (unless your eggs are white) to keep a cohesive color scheme. Pick colors that compliment your spring and Easter décor and ones that will look beautiful on your different colored eggs. A note on paint: if you plan to eventually eat the eggs, make sure you use food-safe paint. I would opt for paints that use natural ingredients like Natural Earth Paints (bonus: this company is a certified women-owned business!) If you are unsure if the paint you get/have is food-safe, do not eat the eggs after painting. Other supplies you will need: Paint 🤍 Paint brush 🖌️ Palette 🎨 Cup of water 💧 A sunny day to enjoy your craft! ☀️ STEP 2: PREPARE EGGS Next you'll need to prepare your eggs. Whether you plan to eat them or not, wash the eggs before painting to get any dirt or residue off so the paint will stick. To wash the eggs, run them briefly under warm water and pat dry with a paper towel or absorbent cloth. Mossy Meadow Farm has a great blog about washing farm fresh eggs! If you plan to eat them, hard boil the eggs before painting and then pat dry. We get four different colored eggs from our flock of hens, a light blue, light green, light brown, and speckled brown. I chose to paint an equal number of each color. 😊 Don't have farm fresh eggs? You can use eggs from a local farmers market or ask your neighborhood homesteader -- chances are they have some extra 😉 The main thing to keep in mind is that if you are going to set out your eggs as décor, you want to make sure they have never been refrigerated. Farm fresh eggs can sit out for 4+ weeks and still be good, but once refrigerated, they cannot be left out. STEP 3: HAND PAINT EGGS Now that you have clean eggs and all your supplies, it's time to paint your farm fresh eggs. I chose to do 4 different patterns and painted them on different colored eggs -- but this is totally up to you. 🤍 I suggest at least 3 different patterns so your end product has a variety of designs. Let the eggs dry completely before placing them in a bowl or centerpiece. Shop the post! @nettie_schmidty on LIKEtoKNOW.it DISCOVER MORE SPRING DÉCOR IDEAS FROM SOME OF MY HOMESTEAD FRIENDS! Click the links below to find other spring décor ideas and discover some amazing home & lifestyle blogs. Minimalist Spring Farmhouse Home Tour Spring DIY Wreath Spring Flower Basket DIY Image on Book Stack Thrifted Spring Home Decor DIY Easter Eggs Check out more of my home décor in the Home & Lifestyle blog section. PIN IT FOR LATER! What is your favorite piece of Easter décor to add to your spring home style?