Happy Fourth of July!

This won’t be a really long post. We just wanted to wish everyone a belated Happy 4th and briefly share how we celebrated. We took time in the morning to speak with our 6 and 7 year olds about why we celebrate our Independence Day. Then we loaded up the truck and headed over to my in-laws’ hotel, Sierra Suites in Daytona Beach.

There we smoked some chicken for family, friends, and guests.

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We also smoked and grilled some of our famous chicken sausage. Others attending the celebration brought other yummy food like key lime pie, pasta and potato salad, strawberry tarts, macaroni and cheese, corn and black bean salad, and a really neat veggie pizza variation. It was a real treat and everyone had a full belly.

Being that we were on the beach with several little ones, I didn’t bring my camera. I apologize that we had to use the phone for photos. As it grew dark, we enjoyed fireworks and I do have to note it has been quite a few years since I’ve seen so many fireworks in this area. People celebrate where we live pretty patriotically in the traditional sense of blowing up a plethora of fireworks, but Daytona was lit up last night. Before the city started its scheduled show the beach’s sky–from all directions–was aflame with bright greens, reds, blues, and swirls of light. The whistles of other firecrackers got the biggest reaction from my son, who could not contain giggles of excitement. Riding home, was just as exciting of a show as on the beach. Fireworks were going off everywhere. I haven’t seen so many in Daytona for a long time.

We had a blast and from our farm to you, we hope you enjoyed yesterday as well. Happy Fourth of July and thank you to every man and woman who has contributed and continues to contribute to protecting our freedoms in the land of the brave.

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Growing up on the Homestead

My husband grew up in close proximity with Amish communities. He was exposed to good food and understanding where food actually comes from. He did not personally work a farm the way that we do now as a family. I grew up with a family dog and store-bought food. We did grow our own vegetables and dabble in herbal medicine, but that was it.

The choice to switch to a homesteading lifestyle was based on our children. We wanted them to eat well, learn empathy, and work hard. When my children talk about their home life in school, the common reactions I hear from other adults range from “That’s amazing” to “That sounds like… a lot.”

It is a lot. And it is nonstop. My daughter failed one of her first small social studies assessments because she argued that people do make their own food today, not “long ago.” The teacher told her that people do not make their own food, they buy it at the store. My daughter was pretty adamant that the teacher was completely wrong. We both had to explain that the general population buys eggs, chicken, and other dairy products from the grocery store. Not everyone makes it or trades with other farms. Despite the fascination or harsh judgements made by other people, our children are growing into–we hope–healthy and enlightened individuals.

Talking about homesteading life often sounds less desirable than it truly is. There are bad days. There are horrendous days. There are scary days. There are breakdown and cry all day while you’re still working days. But most days are good, happy, and fulfilling.

I am going to showcase a compilation of what homesteading life looks like on the best of days because I feel those don’t get talked about enough.

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Homesteading is dandelion wishes.

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Homesteading is finding the occasional fairy egg.

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Homesteading is when new animals stop by your property just to say hi (not our cat).

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Homesteading is hugging a 6 hour old goat.

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Homesteading is homemade remedies and bad handwriting.

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Homesteading is fresh and rejuvenating.

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Homesteading is full of 4 in the morning surprises.

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Homesteading is about more than one family sharing space.

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Homesteading is good food.

I didn’t grow up on a homestead, but we’re very thankful for the opportunity for our children to live this way. They help every way they can. There is a lot of hard work, but there is plenty for them to thoroughly enjoy as well.

Copper Bottom Craft Distillery

Hi, everyone!

I’m going to write about something a little bit different. Normally I write about the basics of homesteading; the ups and downs, the circle of life on the farm, family, and recipes. Today I am going to share our experience over at Copper Bottom Craft Distillery. Trying to be as self-sufficient as possible, we have grown a fond admiration of anyone else focusing on homemade, quality goods. Copper Bottom Craft Distillery is a local family owned distillery. They’re not industrialized. Everything is made on site and one can taste the attention to detail.

The spirits produced at this distillery are: Copper Bottom Silver Run, Copper Bottom Vodka, and Copper Bottom Gold Rum.

I’m going to be honest. I don’t drink. It is a very rare occasion that my husband, or myself drink. It’s not the taste. I just don’t drink. And everything–and I do mean everything anymore–gives me a headache, even if I had just one glass. All of the spirits produced at this distillery have no unneccessary additives. It’s the spirit, and nothing else. I use vodka for tinctures and liked the idea of having a high quality, yet affordable bottle to use for my herbal medicine cabinet. The drink itself is so smooth, the smoothest we’ve had.

My personal favorite is the Copper Bottom Gold Rum. I like whiskey and this batch is matured in once used whiskey barrels. The taste is pleasant and smooth. The hint of whiskey is a great addition.

Out of curiosity–seriously, I was experimenting–I had more to drink than I should have. I drank enough to have trouble with the stairs. Our children were being watched, it was just my husband and me, the timing to see how I would feel in the morning was perfect.

I was more than a little tipsy, but I had no traces of a headache the next morning. In fact, I woke up and was ready to go about my normal day. My only guess is that the lack of added sugars, dyes, and flavors are the reasons why I didn’t have a headache. We do plan on buying more in the future, definitely for vodka as I’m sure I’ll use it up in tinctures before we finish drinking the rum.

We highly recommend this business if you’re looking for a smooth spirit without the added crap you find in bigger brands. Check out their website, or find them on Facebook. They do tours as well. We met them at the Port Orange Pavilion Market and we just stopped by unannounced and they had no hesitation in giving us a tour. Really awesome place and they know their product well.

If you are in the Daytona Beach or Holly Hill area of Florida, it’s worth checking it out. We love it and will be returning customers.

Cheers!

Happy Father’s Day!

Hello, everyone!

We just wanted to take a moment to wish all of the dads and daddy figures out there a happy Father’s Day! Your role in raising children into contributing, happy, and healthy members of society is paramount and your children love you!

We celebrated by taking my father and husband to Disney.

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We went to Animal Kingdom to enjoy rides, dinner at Tiffin’s, and meet Scrooge McDuck! Scrooge is a new permanent addition to the park and one of my dad’s favorite Disney characters, being that we are from heavy Scottish ancestry (my red hair is not natural though). We were very fortunate to be there early enough to avoid any unbearably long lines to meet Scrooge.

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We also got to meet Daisy.

We were unable to acquire FastPasses for any of the new Pandora rides, but we have ridden them before so it was not so much of a loss. Out of all the rides, the Safari was probably the best. We got to see a lot of animals up close and personal. The zebras actually followed us for a bit, probably thinking we had hay.

We went to Tiffin’s for dinner. The food and service at this place is normally pretty fantastic. This particular time, the food was just wrong. The service from management was ridiculously great though in the event and one bad visit isn’t enough for me not to recommend this place. We still had a great time there so the visit wasn’t entirely bad. The kids especially enjoyed getting to go to one of their favorite parks with their grandparents as well.

Happy Father’s Day! We love and are grateful for all that you do.

Fiona Turns Six!

Hi, everyone!

So June 6 was my husband’s birthday and June 7 was my daughter’s birthday. We celebrated their birthdays on June 10 on the farm.

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My mother baked a cheesecake for my husband.

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My mother made my daughter a chocolate cake. Fi insisted on having strawberry flowers and my mother delivered some pretty delicious and awesome looking cakes. Fi is excited about being six because that means she doesn’t need a booster seat in the car anymore.

All the two birthday people really wanted was to eat food and have people over. So we invited a bunch of family and friends over and made food! We tried to be as farm to table as possible.

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We smoked chicken that came straight from the farm.

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We also smoked some chicken sausage that we processed on site. We had Polish, Italian, and spicy sausages.

We had a lot of people visit who have not been exposed to farm animals before. Guests enjoyed getting to meet some of our goats and other animals. All of the kids played on the play set. Nonstop. I don’t understand how they pushed for as long as they did.

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After playing, we did cake and presents. And after that, they played some more, much to my surprise; it was a hot day.

When my daughter was asked what she enjoyed the most she replied that seeing all of her friends was the most fun.

Everyone got along and everyone enjoyed themselves. That was the most important.

I know it’s a short post, but I’m going to end it with wishing both my husband and my daughter a very happy birthday.