Recipe: Cinnamon Coffee Cake Chocolate Chip Muffins

Family, Food & Drink, Recipe, Surprises

It’s been a busy time at the homestead, with preparations for Christmas, ongoing volunteer work, kids’ activities and much much more (including my full-time job), but I always love an excuse to bake. This time, it was for my eldest son’s school holiday party, taking place today. [click to read on…]


Bringing Our Baby Goats Home


dulcie-in-crateAfter two frustrating delays, we were afraid to even believe we’d ever get our baby goats. But it’s been a whirlwind week full of lots of bleating and, finally, first-hand experience.

We had to drive 1 1/2 hours on the dreaded Interstate to meet the breeder in the parking lot of a farm and ranch store. Of course, we were running late, as I was trying to squeeze too much in and attended our property owners’ association’s annual members meeting — where I planned to advocate for laying hens in keeping with my big campaign. I had to duck out before it was finished (who knew it would go 2 hours+?), handing off my survey print-outs and post-it notes to an ally.

Turning to the matter at hand, I drove near the quite high speed limit the whole way, fingers gripping the steering wheel as I managed the ever-changing lanes being shaped by construction crews. To give you a sense of this experience, keep in mind that the reduced speed limit in the frequent construction sections was 60 mph. All along the way, I glanced in the rear-view mirror regularly, constantly fearful that the dog kennels we’d strapped in would fly off and cause a multi-car collision.

When we finally arrived and found the truck carrying our precious cargo, the transition was swift, as the breeder and her family members seemed eager to be on their way — understandable since we were running late, after all. And there we were — responsible for two new baby goats, which turned out to be much smaller than I’d expected. The feeling was not unlike leaving the hospital with a new baby in a car seat, where you halfway want to ask the nurses if they’re certain they want to let you leave with this tiny creature — because you have absolutely no idea what you’re doing. [click to read on…]


Getting our Goat(s)

Livestock, Wild (And Not So Wild) Life

Maybe it goes without saying that I was thrilled when the breeder reached out to me and said she thought she’d identified a doeling that would be good for our situation — our situation being that we were looking for a “family milker,” as it’s called in the parlance.

She sent pictures and we fell in love with this little girl — one of quadruplets — and we determined to take her brother, as a wether, as well (a wether being a “fixed” male). We came up with names, and we prepared to welcome them into the Caird Creek Wildlife Sanctuary and Farm.


The day before we were planning to set off to pick them up (about a 3-hour drive each way), I got a message from the breeder: “Pamela, I have some very bad news….” [click to read on…]


Embarking on a Goat-Raising Adventure

Food & Drink, Livestock

The fight for legalizing chickens continues, though I’ve taken a bit of a campaign hiatus while summer activities caught me up in their clutches. I have to say I’m thrilled that — here in Central Texas anyway — school started this week.

And as we get into the new school year routine, we’re introducing another fun addition to the schedule — goat kid care. I’ve been thinking goaty thoughts since before we even moved here, and then I took that milking class (which actually discouraged me, because it reminded me of all the things we weren’t ready for). But, now, it’s finally time to take the step.

[click to read on…]


The Homemade Ice Cream Contest — With Recipe

Food & Drink, Kitchen Gardening, Recipe

13558969_10154291867443735_893099404995619577_oSpoiler alert: I did not win. Did not even place. But, wow, what an experience. And the things I’ve learned about homemade ice cream along the way… Well, that’s why I’m writing this post.

As the days here in Central Texas have crept ever-upward into double digits, I’ve contentedly puttered around in the kitchen, conjuring up delicious (and sometimes even healthful) desserts on my homemade ice cream machine.

What started out as Honey Vanilla and Salted Butter Caramel soon progressed to Pear Vanilla Sorbet, Buttermilk Basil (Weight Watchers) Sherbet, Blackberry Sorbet, Sweet CreamChocolate and Vanilla. I’m not kidding — I seriously made ALL of these since mid-June when I purchased a dedicated ice cream maker at Costco. (No wonder my Weight Watchers effort has stalled in recent weeks!)

Along the way, I’ve developed a bit of confidence, maybe even swagger. So when I learned that the (first ever, but extremely promising) Independence Day Spectacular festival put on by our local newspaper would be holding a homemade ice cream contest, I was intrigued. [click to read on…]


Hope, Hope, Hope, Hope…

Kitchen Gardening, Nature, Photography

I almost hesitate to say it, for fear of jinxing it somehow, but this has absolutely been my most successful year in the garden thus far. Who knew how much difference a fence, dogs keeping deer away and two additional raised beds would make?

Well, I did, of course, and now I have no one to blame but myself (and weather and pests and equipment malfunctions) when things go wrong — as they inevitably do. The potatoes, for example, once growing so prodigiously, completely died off after our seemingly endless rains turned to a seasonally-appropriate hot spell. Well, that and the fact that I had to send the irrigation controller for repair after it apparently got wet. Hm. [click to read on…]