Old Photos…

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My computer has been telling me for sometime that I am running out of memory…

The reason? Oodles and oodles of photos that I’ve taken since moving to our homestead.

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Over the last 4 years, I’ve taken thousands of pictures just of our chickens alone!

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Since yesterdays downpour didn’t allow me to work in the garden, I decided it was as good a time as any to sort through all those memories…

Little Sis and Baby Chicks

Some of my favorites are of the Littles that hatched last June.

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It was so much fun to watch their antics as momma took them all around the homestead, teaching them about all the things they could eat.

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I used twelve of my favorites to create a calendar, which now hangs on the fridge. It makes a lovely keepsake which we use to keep track of egg production.

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Its hard to believe the babies are almost a year old in June! Time sure flies!

Junior and Red

As I sat looking through all those photos, one question kept coming to mind, “Which ones do I delete?”

The ones that came out blurry, that’s a given…

But what about all the others?

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There are the those that I didn’t consider to be ‘professional enough…’ and then there are those that were not ‘blog worthy.’ However, I still enjoy looking at them all the same.

Little Chick

So again, I ask myself, ‘How can I ever get rid of them?’

I guess I won’t. It’d be like tossing out photos of my family!

My computer is just going to have to keep yelling at me about all my photos!

My memories are more important than my computers!

~ Sheri

A Lofty Goal

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Recommiting myself to have our small farm support itself, I looked at the planting calendar.

What I discovered is that its just short of 15 weeks till the 4 year anniversary of our move to the country!

This got me thinking…

A fellow homesteader I know had given himself the challenge of growing and raising 100% of his food in just 100 days!

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That’s a lofty goal for sure!

Could we do that?

I think so!

We have until July 27th… that gives us 102 days…

Its will be a lot of work!

Already I can see some challenges we are going to have to face…

Our plan is to use the whole northwest end of our property…

The first step will be to decide which veggies to grow…

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No specialty veggies this year! Only what we know we will enjoy! And, only foods that are Whole30* compliant… You can find more on that reasoning here.

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Next, we will have to figure out how to keep our flock out of the garden area.

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The fencing that we used last year, was relocated to the back of the barn to replace broken fencing, and to enlarge their free range area.

We have other challenges to face as well…

With a late snow, and April showers, the original garden has flooded. The area has been too hard or too wet to plant any cool weather veggies.

With last night’s thunderstorm and today’s down pour, even the chickens had the good sense to stay indoors most of the day! Only when it stopped raining, did they come out to get some worms for a bedtime snack.

Even though I didn’t get out to the garden today, tomorrow is supposed to be sunny. Perhaps I will at least get outside to remove the debris from last nights storm…

~ Sheri

*This post contains affiliate links. This means that Country Girl Homestead makes a small commission on items purchased via these links. This income directly offsets the care and maintenance of our farm. Our flock thanks you for supporting Country Girl Homestead.

A Lifetime Gig

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Mornin’ y’all! Sheri here! For those who don’t yet know… Recently, I committed myself to doing The Whole30  because of severe stomach and gallbladder issues.

Well, I just finished my first round of whole 30, and am presently working on what’s called the Reintroduction phase.

What does that mean? Well, I’ll tell ya!

Over the next 10 days, I’ll reintroduce certain foods… beans, gluten and gluten-free grains, and dairy… and I’ll watch for any reactions!

Because of the severe pain I’ve had, I know that doing this for just 30 days will not be enough to heal my digestive system! So, I’m planning on another whole30… or 60, or even 90!

Most likely, because of the progress I’ve had already, I expect this will be a lifetime gig!

I’m okay with that! – Being healthy and pain free is a good thing!

Here’s some of the results I’ve already seen:

  • Day 31: Stepped on the scale and I’m down 8 lbs. That’s the equivalent to 32 sticks of butter. That’s a lot of butter!
  • My ‘skinny jeans’ used to fit snugly. Now, they’re loose and baggy!
  • I have a better handle on what foods cause me pain and discomfort when I eat.
  • I no longer need my expensive stomach meds that had serious side effects!
  • My relationship with food has changed!
  • I enjoy cooking again!
  • I’ve discovered new and interesting ways to prepare my old favorites!
  • I have more energy.
  • I’m sleeping better.
  • I’m not as moody as I used to be!
  • My back pain (degenerative disk disease) isn’t as bad as it used to be! I’m now able to stand for longer periods of time before needing to sit...
  • Where I used to take 2 BP meds… I am glad to report that I am only using 1 BP med! AND before long, Lord willing, I will be off that one as well!

My next step is to turn the whole northwest section of my small farm into a whole 30 compliant garden! More on that tomorrow!

Here’s to better health!

~ Sheri

I’m Not On a Diet…

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What I’m doing is not a quick fix.

Its not even a weight loss program… Although, I could do with losing a few pounds…

No. What I’m on, is the journey of a lifetime! An ambitious, all-important transformation in how I think about food… how I view and think about my body… my life… and what I want out of the time I have left on this earth!

Big changes like this are always hard.

Changing the way I think about food is hard.

My relationship with food is an emotional one. Food is my comfort, my reward… a trusted friend…

I’ve got food habits and traditions that go back to my childhood.

Will I be able to give up foods that for so long have held an emotional bond?

My goal is to improve my health, my sleep, my energy levels, my mood, my body composition, my self confidence… even my quality of life…

Will the food I eat be able to do all these things?

I am told that by eating whole foods, it will initiate a healthy chain reaction through my entire life, giving me a sense of control, freedom, stability and confidence that will inspire me to take on other personal development goals both big and small.

The theory is that by eating healthy, whole foods, I will feel better. And, because I feel better I will want to do more.

I guess I can accept this theory, since when I feel bad, I eat eat junk food. Which makes me feel worse. So I eat more junk food. Its a vicious cycle!

I don’t expect this journey to be easy… I don’t expect to be perfect…

Real change takes time.

I plan to celebrate even the smallest of victories.

I’m going to do this one day, one meal, one bite at a time.

Why?

Because I’m doing it for the most important and worthwhile cause on this earth — me!

Here’s to good health,

~ Sheri

Homemade Bone Broth

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More than a year ago, I had severe stomach pains. By changing my diet to healthy, nutrient dense foods, including homemade bone broth, my digestive health has been allowed to heal.

Homemade bone broth is something that should be part of your daily nourishment! Especially if you are hungering for optimal digestive health.

Its also helps your joint and skin health. Not to mention also keeping your bones and teeth healthy – even on a dairy-free diet.

How to make Homemade Bone Broth

The essential ingredients:

  • 1 large or 2 small chicken carcasses (you’ll want it all – the bones, skin, neck, feet and gizzards!)
  • 4-12 cups of water
  • 1-3 Tbsp of vinegar (apple cider vinegar or red wine vinegar)
  • 1 Tbsp of salt (adjust to your personal taste)

Optional add-ins:

  • 3-4 carrots, coarsely chopped
  • 2-3 celery sticks, coarsely chopped
  • 2-3 onions, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 2-3 whole garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp whole or crushed black peppercorns
  • A few sprigs of rosemary, thyme or parsley

Method of preparation:

  1. Put all the essential ingredients in a large pot or slow cooker.
  2. Don’t forget any optional ingredients you want to add.
  3. Heat on high until the broth starts to boil. Watch that it doesn’t boil over. If you want, remove any foam. It will improve the flavor of your broth.
  4. As soon as the broth starts to boil, reduce the heat to low. You should only see very small bubbles in the center.
  5. Simmer on low heat for at least 6 hours or up to 24 hours.
  6. Once ready, let cool, then strain your broth using a metal mesh colander (and cheesecloth if desired)
  7. Ladle broth into mason jars.
  8. Discard the bones. Keep the veggies if you wish. If you’ve got chickens, they’ll enjoy the treat!

Here’s some helpful hints:

  • This recipe works well with beef bones too! Just use 1-2 lbs of beef bones and any optional add ins and follow the directions as usual.
  • You can keep your homemade bone broth in the fridge up to 4 to 5 days!
  • If you have more broth than you can use in 4-5 days, you can freeze it. Just portion it out into wide mouth mason jars, leaving one inch at the top of each jar to allow for expansion of liquids. This will prevent yours jars from breaking.
  • Another great way to freeze your broth, is to put it in ice cube trays, making it convenient and easy to reheat.
  • You can drink your homemade bone broth by the cup, or use it for preparing sauces, soups and stews.

Enjoy!

Here’s to your health,

~ Sheri

 

Pan-seared Salmon with Julienne Vegetables

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I never really liked seafood.

Growing up, dad was a meat and potatoes, and oodles of noodles kinda guy.

Mom cooked what he liked!

On the few occassions when we did have seafood, it was either tuna out of a can, or those frozen little breaded squares they call fish.

Even more rare, was when mom would open a can of salmon… You know, those cans when you open them up and see the fish spine?!? Ewwwww!

Even though I grew up on dads foods preferences, I’ve never been one to shy away from trying new foods.

So, when we decided to do this whole 30 thing, I was not afraid to try my hand at pan searing some salmon.

I was however, a little apprehensive!

I never cooked salmon before. How would I know when it was cooked properly?!? I was a fish out of water!

Yet, I was undaunted!

I went to the local health food store and picked up some salmon and researched the best way to prepare this pink fish!

I got out my favorite kitchen tools. Prepared some herbed butter, and got to cooking!

I was pleasantly surprised!

Now, although I only used carrots to create the long Julienne strips, you most certainly can use a mix of veggies like the summer squash and zucchini which I’ve included in the recipe! ~ Whatever veggies you use, you’ll need enough to measure out four cups veggies!

Pan-seared Salmon with Julienne Vegetables

Here’s what you need:

  • 2 large carrots
  • 2 medium yellow summer squash
  • 2 medium zucchini
  • 3 Tbsp. butter (if you’re doing the whole 30 like me, make sure its clarified butter or ghee)
  • 2 Tbsp snipped fresh parsley (1 Tbsp if you’re using dried parsley)
  • 2 garlic cloves, pressed
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp ground black pepper
  • 4 skinless salmon fillets (4-6 oz each), about 1 inch thick

How to prepare it:

  1. Peel the carrots. Next, cut carrots, squash and zucchini into long strips using a Juliene Peeler, avoiding seeds. Measure to 4 cups vegetables.
  2. In a Prep Bowl, microwave butter on HIGH 30 seconds or until melted. Stir in parsley, garlic (which you can press with this Garlic Press, my personal favorite), salt and pepper. Reserve 1 Tbsp butter mixture. Using a Basting Brush, brush salmon with the remaining butter mixture.
  3. Heat a Nonstick Grill Pan over medium high heat 5 minutes. Add vegetables and reserved butter, toss to coat, using Teak Wooden Spatula. Cook and stir 2 minutes or until veggies are crisp-tender. Remove from pan and keep warm.
  4. Return pan to heat. Place salmon in pan. Cook for 3 minutes. Turn and cook and additional 3-4 minutes or until salmon flakes easily with a fork.
  5. Serve over veggies.

This recipe will serve 2-4 people – depending on how hungry you are!

Now, I want you to learn from my mistakes! So, here’s a few tips I learned along the way:

  • Salmon fillets are often sold with the skin ON. You can ask at the counter to have it removed. Or, if you’re brave enough to do it yourself, you can place the salmon skin side down on a cutting board. At one end, cut through to the skin using a Chefs Knife. While holding firmly onto the skin, angle the knife and cut the flesh from the skin using a sawing motion.
  • Test for doneness by flaking with a fork at its thickest point. It should be opaque throughout.

Hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I did!

Bon appetit!

Sheri

Ready for Spring!

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It’s been a topsy turvy, rollercoaster ride with the weather, this winter! With temps one day in the 20’s or below, and in the 60’s the next, it’s been hard to plan or get any work done!

Just when I finally figured out what I wanted to do with the pile of pallets in the back of our yard, mother nature decided to dump more snow on us – with the threat of more snow on the weekend!

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I’m so ready for spring!

I’m anxiously awaiting the day when I can get into the garden and plant seeds.

Getting dirt under my fingernails is therapy to this winter weary country girl!

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When I dig into the dirt, feelings of pleasure fill my head as I work the ground. It makes me feel useful and productive!

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I am looking forward to seeing our vegetables grow… and our grocery bill shrinking!

Our plans are for a much larger garden this year! However, I’m not too sure how we will keep our chickens out?!?

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The fencing that used to be around our garden, was used to enlarge our flocks free range area, out behind and around our barn.

Although at first they we’re not sure about being allowed to go into the new area, it has become their favorite spot to hang out! The ground seems to be softer… easier for them to dust bath in.

In choosing the seeds I want to plant, I want to ensure I will have plenty of the foods that will allow me to be successful while following The Whole 30.

And my clients, from my home based business, are even getting excited! I’m creating delicious, healthy meals during cooking demonatrations, giving them healthier options that fit their busy lifestyles!

With all these plans I’ve got, I’m itching to get started. I’m so ready for spring.

Now, if Mother Nature would just cooperate!

Until next time,

~ Sheri