A Day with the Animals

We just wanted to share with you one of our days with the animals of HTF.  This is what life is supposed to be like!

Nothing better than happy piggies!
Hay Hay looking as majestic as ever
The queen of the property
Me and my buddy Angus!
One of our girls looking for a snack.
They love feeding time!
Got them eating from my hands

Still wont let me ride them! LOL


Hope ya’ll enjoyed!  We absolutely love life on the homestead!

FREE Mulch!!

Well, its that time of year again.  The leaves are falling and they are EVERYWHERE!  We didn’t Rake up Our leaves until We moved to Hidden Truth Farm.   We have come to realize the value of Our leaves as We need mulch on Our little farm.  Now We try to re-purpose most everything including Our leaves for mulch.  This is the best time of the year to maximize on covering Our plants, even those in the greenhouse.  They all need a little blanket of leaves as mulch to keep them warm & cozy.

Brian & I spent the weekend gathering Our leaves.  It was a bit of a challenge I’ll admit as We had to compete with the wind.  I think We picked the windiest weekend to collect leaves.   The job is done!  Now Our plants benefit from a blanket of fresh leaves to keep them nice & warm.   We also put plastic on the greenhouse to protect the plants from these cold cold nights.  During the day We are still having to use a fan to keep them cool since it is getting between 80 ~ 100 degrees inside the greenhouse during the day.  We don’t want to burn up Our next croft of goodies with the increased heat inside the greenhouse.

As you can see we had a lot of leaves on the property and honestly there were so many we couldn’t get them all up.  But we picked up enough to add quite a bit to Our compost for the garden which will be turned over in January.  This will give the bugs and whatever else wants to root around in the compost pile time to help reduce it all into a rich organic nutrient fertilizer for next years crop.

Fall is going to turn into winter before We know it.  Always trying to stay ahead of the seasons so We can have Our crops ready to roll out.  Every season allows for the opportunity to plant & store Your delicious return.  Winter crops are no exception!  If You love the dark leafy green veggies, winter is a great month to plant and harvest those delicious vegetables.   The soil needs to be ready as cold weather doesn’t allow for error.

Happy planting Everyone!

~ Angela


Saltine Cracker Brittle

This weekend I was at Kerr Lake with My Love & his fishing club.  I needed to come up with something for these guys to snack on while getting their fishing gear together for the 2 day tournament.  I have found pure goodness with this treat!!  This recipe is something inexpensive to make & oh so Delicious.  You probably have all the ingredients in your pantry.

Ingredients

About 40  saltine crackers enough to line your Cookie Sheet.
1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 cups Semi-Sweet Chocolate Mini Morsels
3/4 cup chopped pecans (optional)

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line your cookie sheet with aluminum foil then add the saltine crackers.

In a microwavable bowl melt 2 sticks of butter for 2 minutes.  Then add brown sugar cook for another 2 minutes, stir often.  Pour over crackers.  Place in 350 degree oven & cook for 17 ~ 20 minutes.  This will bubble but don’t burn.

Remove from oven & sprinkle chocolate chips over the top and let sit a couple of minutes to melt, then spread crackers with the melted chocolate.  Top with 3/4 cup chopped pecans if desired.

Place in refrigerator for 1 hour to chill, once completely cool, break into pieces.  I stored individual servings in containers for the guys to take out on the lake.
TIP: Spoon the butter & brown sugar mixture onto the saltine crackers to make the mixture cover evenly. The butter may separate, that’s OK. Pour what’s left on the crackers.
Huge Thanks to tablespoon.com


~ Angela, Enjoy

Re-Purposed Metal Artwork

We purchased this metal artwork at a flea market in Charlotte while visiting one of Our favorite families, The Clark’s.  What an AWESOME find.   We picked up this piece for $20.00, added some lace to the back of the frame.   It was an easy project (because We did it together).   Measured out the lace and got to work with the hot glue gun.   Brian had some excess black chain from yet another project in the shop.   He used 2 screws to attach the chain to the metal frame and  2 small hooks to the inside of the window frame.   Once complete We placed it in Our bedroom window to give Us a little privacy without blocking the whole window.  Boom!  Done.  ~ Angela ~

Not Your Average Window Covering

The first time we saw the homestead, one of the aspects of it we fell in love with was the amount of windows the home had.  There is nothing better than natural light pouring into the house or a cool breeze filling the rooms.  When we began deciding how we were going to dress them, we wanted to give each room its own individual flair.  Angela is not a big fan of curtains so she wanted to come up with more creative ways to liven up the rooms.  The main living room was the first one we wanted to finish and I must say the idea she came up with was perfect!

The design itself is pretty simple but I found out quick the most important thing for me was gong to be making sure my measurements and cuts were perfect.  Our goal for these was to have the coverings fit perfectly inside the frame of the windows without having to drill any holes or add supports.  That meant I had to adjust the old rule of measure twice and cut once, measure 34 times before I cut!  Guess what, it worked!  Check out these great DIY Window coverings that will make any room look awesome.

One thing we have really focused on when we moved out here to the homestead is repurposing.  Whether its by composing or tearing apart old furniture and making it something new, we wanted to be very conscious about  not letting anything go to waste.  We had some old 2 x 12’s laying around from our old greenhouse and I have a Table Saw so let the cutting begin.  We went with 1″ thick for the wood, it would be substantial enough but not be too gaudy.  After I dawned my protective gear I let the sawdust fly.

Gotta make sure to wear your PPE!

After all the pieces were cut we assembled the frames, taking each one inside to ensure we had the proper fit before we put the fabric on.  I must say I was pretty proud of myself, I only had to trim one of the 12 pieces we cut.  Once we got them together it was time to put on the fabric.

I do love my table saw

Angela came across a great find at JoAnne’s with the fabric.  She found exactly what she wanted on the 40% off rack, had a 30% coupon, apparently if you do a little break dancing they will knock off another 20% so she got it for about 47 cents.  Ok, just kidding, but she did get it for a steal.  With Staple Gun in hand we went to work on attaching the fabric to the frames.

I have one gorgeous assistant

It’s amazing how quickly your hands will get tired squeezing a staple gun.  We have a joke around HTF that if we don’t use at least 100 staples in a project we didn’t do it right.  Well, no worries about that with this one.  Oh, and the DIY Island Top we build makes a perfect craft table too.  Bonus!

Looking good

After we finished the last one and worked the staple gun cramp our of our hands it was install time.  There is nothing more rewarding than building something yourself and having it turn out better than what you hoped.

Perfect Fit

When we installed the last one, we stood back in the middle of the room, looked around, high fived each other on another awesome DIY project completed then begun to plan the next one.  If we didn’t have a list of projects to do I believe we would be lost!

All done

Material and Tool List

6 – 45 ¼” 1 x 2 board

6 – 39” 1 x 2 board

Kabillion ¾” Staples

Staple Gun

5 yards Fabric

2” Deck Screw

 

Hope everyone enjoyed this.  We had a blast building them as we always do with projects.  Stay tuned for more Hidden Truth Farms DIY adventures!


 

 

Easiest Quiche Dish Ever!

Hello everyone Fall is here! Hope this new blog post finds y’all doing well. I recently ran across this recipe for Quiche; I have to say it was the easiest thing I’ve made in a while. Check out the recipe below with instructions.

Light & Fluffy Spinach Quiche

1/2 cup light mayonnaise
1/2 cup milk
4 eggs, lightly beaten
8 ounces shredded Cheddar cheese
1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 (9 inch) unbaked pie shell

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a Baking Sheet with foil.
In a large bowl, whisk together mayonnaise & milk until smooth. Whisk in eggs. Layer spinach, cheese, and onion in pie shell, making several layers of each.
~ Here’s where I added some bacon, but you can add whatever you like. Make it your own!
Pour in egg mixture. Place quiche on prepared cookie sheet. Cover quiche with foil.
Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes. Remove cover, and bake 10 to 15 minutes, or until top is golden brown and filling is set.

*Special Thank You to Kristin Joni for this awesome recipe!

~ Angela, Enjoy


 

 

 

DIY – Homemade Chicken Stock

Hello everyone hope this summer is finding you all keeping yourselves & your chickens cool!  I know lately with these extremely hot days our egg production has deceased but that’s a subject for another day.  Today I had to make some homemade chicken stock.  I’ve used most of my reserves, so into the kitchen I go.   After I cleaned the garden…Boy that was a chore!  Today my #1 goal for today was to get the garden cleaned out of weeds & dead plants no longer producing to allow for the next round of plants.  Got our seedlings maturing waiting for the day we can put them into the freshly turned soil.

So, I came into the house to prepare tonight’s  dinner & realized I have no more chicken stock.  I pulled some chicken out this morning to make Baked Chicken with Rice & Broccoli.  I always pull out more than is needed for this small family, now to make some chicken stock.  Here is my very simple recipe for making homemade chicken stock.  I guarantee this recipe is Easy Peasy!   Start with cleaning, skinning & cooking the 4 chicken thighs, 2 carrots (peeled & sliced), 1/2 chopped onion & 1/4 cup of parsley, 1/4 tablespoon of crushed garlic.   All goes into the huge pot full of water (about 6-8 cups) ready to boil.  Bring the chicken mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer & simmer for about 2 hours.

Get your sterile mason jars ready to pour your homemade delicious chicken stock & ready to store.   Now  you are ready for your next recipe that calls for fresh chicken stock.   No reason to buy store bought chicken stock in this house.  Saving $$ this is one of  our personal goals.   This recipe yields about 6-8 pint jars of  yummy homemade chicken stock.  Once the mason jar lid “pops” they are safe to place in the pantry, the freezer or frig, depending on how often it will be used.  I know I run through this stuff as if it were liquid gold.  I put chicken stock in just about every thing that requires water to cook.  This adds so much more flavor to our menu.   Thanks to all reading our pots.  We love sharing our little short cuts in life & our path to being self – sustainable.   Angela


Back Porch Hydroponics – Part 1

From the moment Angela and I decided to pull up our suburban stakes and embrace the homesteading lifestyle, one of the projects we wanted to do was set up a hydroponics system.  I have been fascinated by them since the first time I saw a system online and researched the benefits of growing plants in a water based system.  We have watched thousands of videos, seen some of the most elaborate set up’s you could possibly dream of and some ingenious DIY cost effective systems.  Although we have plans for a more permanent hydroponics system with even the potential of integrating fish to make it a true aquaponic’s operation, we decided to start small, work out the kinks and then progress from there.

With all of the variations you can go with, we chose to go with a variation of the Floating Mat System.  We wanted something which would be cost effective, easy to set up and maintain but yet capable of producing an abundance of veggies in a short period of time.  Here’s how we did it!

There are countless mediums you can use with the floating mat system, we decided to go with 4 18-Gallon Rubbermaid Totes due to their compact size and the depth needed to allow room for the roots to grow.  One of the concerns you will face with hydroponic systems is algae growth.  Since we went with the floating mat system, we do not have pumps aerating the water.  So to assist in slowing this down, we chose to utilize the black totes which will block the UV rays from affecting the water.  About a month or so ago Angela had ordered some Hydroponic Soilless Pots in anticipation of our system.  While looking for a good medium for the pots we came across the Extra Large Foam Noodles and immediately knew this is what we needed.  The inside diameter of the noodle was the perfect size for the pots and would provide enough buoyancy to keep the pots from being submerged once the plants began to mature.

We cut the noodles into roughly 1 inch pieces, allowing enough of the cup to be exposed to the water and afford the roots ample room to grow.  Obviously this system is not one you would use for your root type vegetables such as carrots and radishes,  but is perfect for the leafy goodness of lettuces and such.  We went through our sees and decided on Rocky Top Lettuce Mix, Roughwood Improved Green Glaze Collards, Ridgeline Organic Romaine Lettuce and European Mesclun Salad to start off our hydroponics planting session.  Once all of the disks were cut, we filled each of the cups roughly 2/3 with Premier Peat Moss added our seeds and covered to the top of the pot.

 

Now comes the moment of truth!  We guesstimated on how big we felt the plants were going to get, so for the 3 lettuce containers we went with 9 pots in each and for the collards we went with 6.  Planting hydroponics is somewhat like planting in a traditional garden.  You have the option to do a direct seed into the ground or to start your plants inside and plant once they are ready to transplant.  For our first crop we went with the seeds directly into the hydroponics system.  One of the wonderful aspects of growing hydroponically is the quick turn around from seed to harvest.  If all goes well, we will have harvest-able crops within 5 weeks, which means starting at about week 3 we will start our next round in the house allowing the seedlings to begin growing and then transfer them to the totes as we harvest.  If all goes as planned we will quickly be over run with lettuce and collards. To maintain good nutrients and pH balance within the totes, we are armed with a Hydroponic Nutrient TDS Meter and Blue Gold Hydro Organic Liquid Mineral & Nutrient  to ensure our crops stay extremely happy!

Well, there you have it.  Hidden Truth Farms is officially in the hydroponics business!  Be on the look out for updates over the next couple weeks to see our progress.



 

Benefits of Bone Broth

Bone broth is an easy way to help our bodies naturally. Adding bone broth to your daily routine will help heal the body from inside.

The benefits of adding bone broth  into your diet are:

  1. To promote Joint Health
  2. Aid in Better Digestion, helps Leaky Gut Syndrome
  3. Bone Broth is Rich in Minerals
  4. Improved Immune System
  5. Can also Protects against cold & flu

Bone broth isn’t just your regular stock made after a few hours of simmering a chicken carcass. For beef broth simmer 48 hours and chicken broth simmer 24 hours. This simmering causes the bones and ligaments to release healing compounds like collagen, proline, glycine and glutamine that have the power to transform your health from the inside. Bone broths contain minerals in forms that your body can easily absorb: calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, & sulphur.  Several studies have supported the benefits of bone broth in our diet.

Bone Broth

The bone broth recipe is thick & gelatinous, filled with minerals and healing properties that many cultures have believed in for thousands of years.

Ingredients

  • 4 lbs beef/chicken bones
  • 12 cups water
  • 2 T apple cider vinegar
  • 1 medium onion, roughly diced
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped carrots
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 1 t black peppercorns

Instructions

  • Place uncooked or cooked beef or chicken bones in a large crock pot and cover with water.  Add the vinegar , let sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes.
  • Roughly chop the vegetables and add to the crock pot.
  • For beef bone broth, simmer for 48 hours, for chicken bone broth, simmer for 24 hours.
  • Allow to bone broth cool slightly & strain.  Pour broth into a sterile glass mason jar.  Refrigerate for 4-6 hours or overnight.  This will allow the fat to rise to the top and solidify.
  • Scrape the fat off the top with a spoon & discard.  This will leave you with a gelatinous bone broth when cold.
  • Store in a glass mason jar or freeze until ready to use.  When ready to use, slowly warm the broth over a low heat to bring it back to a liquid consistency.

Bone broth can be a part of your daily routine, drink 1 cup per day or by adding the bone broth while preparing your meals as if using beef/chicken stock.

~ Angela

 

It’s Wild Blackberry Pickin Time

Yum…It’s Blackberry Pickin’ Time!

Yup around here the blackberry bushes are loaded with wild blackberries right now.  This morning as I went for my morning walk I saw several blackberry bushes just waiting for someone to come along and pluck the ripe berries from their vines.  It’s a bit tricky though, most of the blackberry bushes are heavily guarded by these nasty thorn spiked weeds that stand tall & proud to guard those juicy berries.  I came up to the house grabbed my boots, Berry Picker Scoop &  Berry Basket and Colander , headed back down to the awaiting bushes.  All the while thinking about what I’m going to do with all those berries.  After about 30 minutes of picking I came back to the house rinsed my berries in the berry basket & colander,  let them dry a bit and placed the berries on a cookie sheet lined with my Silicone Baking Sheet Mat to allow them to flash freeze without sticking together. Once these babies are frozen they are much easier to use in my favorite recipes.  My daughter, Tatianna loves to bake I asked her to make some of her delicious blackberry lemon scones, recipe below.  I don’t know about your part of the country,  but here in North Carolina it’s super humid right now, while she bakes I decided to mix up a pitcher of Blackberry Mojitos that recipe follows as well.

It can be a bit treacherous of course these bushes are strategically placed just out of reach.  Watch out for hidden dangers like over grown drainage ditches to creepy crawlers in the grass and weeds.  But once you come away with your bounty of blackberries the work is most certainly worth the adventure.

Blackberry Lemon Scones

Ingredients

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/3 cup butter, cut into pieces
grated zest of a lemon
1 large egg
3/4 cup milk, use more if needed
a big handful of blackberries

Directions

Preheat oven to 425F.  In a bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.  Add the butter and blend it with a fork, whisk, pastry blender or your fingers (or do it all in the food processor, if you have one), leaving some lumps no bigger than a pea.

Crack the egg into a measuring cup and add milk to make it a cup.  Stir it together with a fork and add to the flour mixture; stir with a spatula until just barely combined.  Add the berries and stir a couple more times, then drop the sticky dough in large spoonfuls onto a silicone baking sheet mat.  Sprinkle the tops with coarse sugar, if you like.

Bake for about 20 minutes, or less if you made small scones, until golden.

Recipe courtesy of dinnerwithjulie

Blackberry Mojitos

Ingredients

Serves: 2 servings

2 tbsp fresh mint leaves
2 tbsp granulated sugar
4 oz rum
½ lime, quartered
2 tbsp fresh blackberry juice (I pressed the blackberries through a strainer to get the juice)
Club soda
2 mojito glasses or 2 tall glasses

Directions

Place 1 tbsp mint leaves into each mojito glass.  Pour 1 tbsp of the blackberry juice into each glass. Squeeze a little of 2 lime quarters into each glass.  Then drop the lime quarters into the glasses.
Pour 1 tbsp sugar into each glass.  Press with a muddler.  Add 2 oz of rum to each glass.  Add ice to each glass until it is ¾ full.  Top off with club soda, shake,  then add the mixture back to the glasses.

Recipe courtesy of thisgalcooks

~ Angela