Garlic-Fennel Radish Butter

Radishes! We just harvested a bumper crop of these ruby beauties last week.

Fresh radishes from the garden, going to be turned into a compound radish-butter.

There are few ways I really enjoy eating my radishes: roasted radishes, fermented radish pickles, and this glorious creation: radish butter.

Turn some of your radish crop into this savory and addictive compound radish butter!My radish butter is a spin-off of this great recipe from Grow It Cook It Can It. That one is splendidly delicious too, so if you have fresh fennel and marjoram I encourage you to give her recipe a try.

However, alas!- I was lacking some of those fresh ingredients, so I have come up with my own version. This is a mini-recipe, using only a half a pound of butter, so feel free to double or triple it as you feel is appropriate.

(As a side note, you can save the radish tops as an edible green. I like to dehydrate mine and grind them up into super green powder. Give it a try.)

Garlic-Fennel Radish Butter

  • 1/2 cup salted butter, softened
  • 2-3 radishes, finely minced
  • 1 large garlic clove, finely minced
  • 1/2 tsp dried fennel seed
  • sprinkle of black pepper

Simply prepare & mix up the ingredients. That’s it.

Mix up some fresh ingredients to create deliciously addictive radish butter.

A little spicy, deliciously savory, and strangely addictive.

Store your radish butter in the fridge, or freeze it for a few months at a time to thaw out for later.

Enjoy!

Yummy compound garlic-fennel radish butter!

 

How to Ferment Rhurbarb (+ Probiotic Rhubarb Lemonade Recipe)

Rhubarb pie in the summer

Rhubarb pie made by my mother

Nothing better in the winter

Than rhubarb pie after dinner!

There you go. Now you, too, can sing this song to yourself repeatedly when rhubarb comes into season.

You’re welcome.

However, today, I am not going to talk about rhubarb pie or give you a recipe for one. (Though I might sing about it still.) Rhubarb pie is delicious, but let’s face it. There’s already a gazillion and one recipes for it out there and you don’t need mine too.

What you do need, however, is fermented rhubarb. If that makes you want to gag, you should first read about the awesomeness of fermentation. If you’re still with me, then you need to try this. Honestly, fermented rhubarb doesn’t taste terribly different from regular rhubarb. Besides that, it’s easy to make and it’s good for you. So there. ūüôā

Fermented rhubarb is easy, healthy, and tasty too. Not convinced? Try this easy fermented rhubarb lemonade recipe!

Fermented Rhubarb

  • 4 cups chopped rhubarb
  • 2 Tbsp whey (leftover from cheese or yogurt-making)
  • 1/4 cup raw sugar
  • 1/2 tsp Himalayan salt (I use this one)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Simply mix all ingredients together and put in the fermenting vessel of your choice, leaving about 1″ headspace if you’re fermenting in a jar. Use a weight to ensure that the rhubarb stays beneath the brine. Install an airlock or properly burp your jars each day to allow for the venting of CO2 that builds up during the fermentation process. Allow to sit on the counter at room temperature for 4-7 days, then move to cold storage.

I use a Fermentools kit any time I ferment. It’s one of the least expensive kits out there, and you don’t need special jars or crocks because they fit on top of any wide mouth mason jar. It takes the guesswork out of fermenting for me. Less mistakes= money saved in the long run.

And of course, I promised you a Rhubarb Lemonade recipe too. This is super simple, and should use about half of the fermented rhubarb you just made, leaving you the other half to experiment with or eat straight from the jar. ūüôā

A delicious way to get your daily probiotics- fermented rhubarb lemonade!

Probiotic Rhubarb Lemonade

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cups chopped fermented rhubarb & its juices
  • 3/4 cup lemon juice (preferably fresh squeezed)
  • More water to make a quart
  1. Mix sugar and water in a small saucepan. Heat and stir until sugar dissolves to make a simple syrup. Let cool and chill.
  2. Mix simple syrup and rhubarb in a quart sized mason jar or other container. Add cold water to make a quart total.

And that’s it! You’ve got the good juices from the fermented rhubarb in your lemonade, so you’re getting a dose of probiotics with each sip. I haven’t tried this with a “double brew” technique as you would with kombucha, but if you’re feeling adventurous, give it a go.

Try it? Like it? Let me know how it went for you!

 

The Best Parts of June

Father’s Day: We celebrated with four families at our house on a sunny, humid, Pennsylvanian afternoon. Tim fired up the mud oven and I gloried in the delicious sights and smells of a roaring¬†wood fire and grey smoke drifting across the yard. I prepared sourdough pizza crusts while listening to music turned up loud on my high school stereo that has survived years and multiple moves to come sit on top of our kitchen fridge. The kids played in the grass outside, getting dirty and hot and scraped up like kids do on summer days.

As I carried out unbaked pizzas to my husband on a wooden peel, I thought to myself,¬†there’s not much better than this.

The Best Parts of June

Hot, sticky days under a clear blue sky make me feel alive. Perhaps it’s because they hearken back to a time when I had less responsibility and more dreams. Or maybe it’s the fact that we still get that “school’s out for the summer” feeling when my husband is done teaching. Likely, it’s¬†the combination of more family time and the twitterpation effect of slower days spent together under the sun.

June is when we start to see new¬†crops in the garden, like kale, radishes, and garlic scapes aplenty. It means ripening black raspberries and fresh strawberry picking. It’s when I can really start cooking meals with whatever is fresh and available.

Summer evenings avail themselves for family fishing trips, marshmallow roasting, fires built and lightning bug hunting. The evenings drawl on and the kids stay up late. Just last week, my son fell asleep as we spent time stargazing. My husband carried that big boy up the stairs and tucked him in like a baby.

June means festivals, fairs, and eating more hot dogs and ice cream than we should. It means letting the kids have a little extra money for silly little things like three minute pony rides or a big soft pretzel. We are normally so tight that we can’t indulge in these things, but for some reason summer nudges¬†us and whispers to loosen up a little bit.

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An impromptu beach trip? Check. A picnic at a park? Check. Face painting? Check. I love seeing the kids discover and delight in it all. What else can we squeeze in before the summer days fly away from us?

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Let’s keep this summer thing rolling.

 

 

Water’s Edge (Saturday Song)

As promised a couple of weeks ago, I’m posting another Saturday Song.

I’ll let the music do most of the talking. All you need to know is that this song is an expression of, in my husband’s words, “a narcissist’s dilemma.” Pardon the rough recording. Hope you enjoy, and have a lovely Saturday! ūüôā

Written by Timothy Zieger, (c) 2015.

If you like what you’re hearing, you can follow our music on the web or Facebook.

Purple Soup!

“V, what do you want to do for your birthday this year?” I asked my soon-to-be three year old.

“I want to have a pahty,” she replied. (Naturally.)

“What kind of party?”

“Ummm… a puhple pahty! At a pahk!”

And since then, I’ve heard every day about this purple party at a park that she’s going to have. We’re gonna have purple food, purple drinks, purple plates, and purple clothes. We may just paint the park purple. This thing has prematurely become the stuff of legends.

Lest you think I’m a pinteresty hostess, let me assure you that last year’s ladybug cupcakes looked like unidentifiable monsters, and my son’s train-themed party was entirely devoid of trains, save for the cake. I’m a far cry from Martha Stewart, folks. Luckily,¬†since my kid’s invite lists are largely relegated to family, the attendees are usually pretty forgiving of my “nailed-it!”-worthy attempts at making things cute.

Purple Soup

All that to say, we’ve been playing with all things purple as we count down¬†to our official Puhple Pahk Pahty. Which leads me to our most recent experiment…. purple soup!

My kids were delighted by the color of this soup- and miracle of miracles, they actually ate it too. Moms will be happy to know that it’s naturally colored with an ultra-secret ingredient: purple cauliflower.¬†You can find purple cauliflower at many grocery stores, or if you’re ambitious you could¬†even buy seeds to grow¬†your own.

I adapted this recipe from Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home, an excellent vegetarian cookbook. Even though we aren’t vegetarians, we tend to go meatless several nights a week. It’s nice to have some reliable and creative recipes on hands that don’t rely on meat products.

Note: I used¬†my homemade chicken stock in this recipe. Feel free to adapt according to your family’s preference.

Purple Cauliflower Soup

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 4 cups chopped purple cauliflower, chopped
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp fennel seed or ground fennel
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • chives for garnish
  1. Heat butter in a large pot. Add chopped onion and cook til soft, about 5-10 minutes.
  2. Add chopped potatoes and cook for about 5 more minutes.
  3. Add chicken stock, cauliflower, and spices. Bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until potatoes and cauliflower are fork-tender.
  4. Puree the soup either in a blender or by using an immersion blender. (Which is by far one of my favorite kitchen tools!)
  5. Garnish with chives if desired. Enjoy!

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That’s it! This is a quick, healthy, and relatively cheap meal- you¬†could¬†always make it white if you’re looking to save a buck or two on specialty cauliflower. But for us, the color was at least half the fun of this soup.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve just got to go pull off this puhple pahty! ūüėČ

Let Your Kids Do Real Work

We live in a society that seems to¬†keeps kids separated from the real world and the responsibilities that come therein. We expect that kids will want their toys, their tv, their friends, and their playground much of the time. We also seem to expect that it’s unfair to disengage them from their happy place to ask them to do a job with an adult.

Children should most definitely have a lot of free time to play and explore as they feel led. However, I don’t think that giving them a job¬†is harmful. ¬†I would even go so far as to say that¬†we are doing children¬†a disservice when we don’t let them participate in real, meaningful work.

Let Your Kids Do Real Work

This post contains affiliate links.

What kind of work? 

The kind of work your child can participate in¬†depends on where you live, what your lifestyle is like, and how old your kids are. We tend to have the kids help with a lot of outdoor jobs- planting seeds, egg collecting, filling animal feeders, raking, and the like. My kids are also becoming excellent sous chefs who enjoy chopping vegetables or stirring a pot for me while I’m cooking. There’s also putting away laundry, sweeping the floor, picking up messes, and housework of all kinds.

Job¬†possibilities for children are really endless. Older children could help to contribute to a family business or parent’s jobs. Let them help file documents¬†for you, proofread a student’s paper, answer phone calls, or¬†help with banking and budgeting. Better yet, encourage them to start an entrepreneurial venture of their own!

If you’re stuck for ideas, ask yourself these questions:

  • What could my child do that would be a legitimate help to me?
  • How can I involve my children, even in the most mundane of jobs?
  • What’s the smallest task my young child could complete to feel as though she’s participating?
  • How can I introduce a life skill to my child through working together?

Rainy day rhubarb pie. #rainyday #harvest #foodprep #dessert #kidsinthekitchen

A photo posted by Abigail Zieger (@theyrenotourgoats) on

Disclaimer: We totally are NOT perfect in getting our kids to work with us, nor have we achieved just the right balance between work and play. My kids get in the mud, watch their favorite shows on Amazon Prime, cause trouble, whine about boredom, etc., etc., etc. So don’t get the idea that we have perfectly industrious, hard-working helpers all the time!

Instead of being afraid to make our children lift a finger, we can battle entitlement and encourage strong character by including our children in real-life work.¬†Let’s talk about some of the benefits.

Work gives children needed life skills. During my college career of kitchen work, I watched several high schoolers struggle with operating a vacuum cleaner, or stare at a pot of soup with trepidation. It was apparent that these kids had never been taught basic household modes of operation. By taking the time to teach our children how to dust, scramble an egg, hammer a nail, or help make a budget, we are giving them the life skills they need to become independent, responsible adults.

We cultivate desirable character.¬†¬†Motivation, confidence, steadfastness, responsibility, ingenuity, patience… I don’t know about you, but these traits don’t just fall upon me out of the great blue sky. I’m constantly learning, and one of the best God-given tools to get me to get over my selfish whining¬†is doing hard¬†work.¬†It only makes sense that participating in work- with a good attitude- is¬†good for our children as well.

Work gives¬†children¬†purpose and beats boredom.¬†I find that there’s less time for moping, fighting, and complaints of boredom when I have my kids actively participating in the the day’s duties. Watering the animals and the plants in the morning, helping to prepare a lunch picnic mid-day, wiping out the bathroom sink in the afternoon, stirring a pot or putting away dishes in the evening- all of this keeps them busy doing good things. And there’s still plenty of time for them to play in between!

Work can¬†help to loosen the grip of negative peer dependence.¬†I’ve been slowly reading Sally Clarkson’s¬†The Mission of Motherhood. This lovely book (which deserves it’s own review, really) made a valuable and relevant point. When we teach children how to work, they develop maturity and¬†value as responsible members of society. This can help contribute to freeing them from the feeling that they have to remain juvenile alongside their (perhaps) less industrious friends.

Work allows children to give¬†real contributions to the family.¬†There’s nothing quite like seeing my son’s pride and joy when he¬†really helps Dada build something. Or¬†hearing my kids’ delight while they serve¬†dinner at the table, knowing that they helped to cook it for everyone.

Work gives your family quality time together.¬†I get a thrill every time I see my husband and son out planting something, or when I get to cook alongside my 2 year old. It’s so much fun to spend the time together and get to talk and enjoy each other’s company. We make the best memories when we work together!

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Do you work with your kiddos? What jobs do you give them? What’s your favorite part about it?

You might also like reading:

 

Beneath the Sun (Saturday Song)

I keep promising that I’m going to make our music part of this blog. School’s out, the hubby is home, our home studio is built, and we’re finally at a point that I can start making posting our songs¬†semi-regularly. Hurrah!

We may have a slight obsession with trying to make things¬†ourselves, but homemade music¬†has always been one of our passions and hobbies. We don’t presume by any means that our music is the best out there- we are constantly learning as musicians!

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Most of the recordings I will be sharing are rough, live-takes, and either minimally or completely un-mastered and un-mixed. This one was done in a resonant hallway of a local university, though most of our recordings have been done at home.

So without further ado, we invite you to join us in the process as we¬†share these little “Saturday Song” posts. I can’t promise you one every Saturday, but I hope this is the first of many.

This song, “Beneath the Sun,” was written and played completely by my husband. In his words:

“[This song is a] vignette of a bike-ride’s roadside scene: a lone silver maple brushed by the wind in a field that lay fallow, aged stone walls and fence-posts grown over with wildflowers and grasses, mixed with inspiration from Gilgamesh’s quest beyond the mountains.”

Hope you enjoy! We love your feedback, and (if you feel so led) your shares with friends. If you want more, you can follow our music¬†Facebook page, or our Soundcloud page. ūüôā

Happy Saturday!

My Backyard Grocery Store

I’ve always been mildly obsessed with the idea of doing¬†everything from scratch. Perhaps it was all those hours playing Oregon Trail as a middle schooler. (Anyone from my generation remember that?) Perhaps it was¬†our games of make-believe in which we had to survive for long periods of time with little provision. Perhaps it was my limited girl-scout years during which I dreamed of cooking from scratch over the campfire.

Who knows what inspired my inner wanna-be pioneer woman. Whatever the cause, I’ve often asked myself, “Where would I get this item if I couldn’t just go to the store and buy it?”

My Backyard Grocery Store

In recent years, we’ve been trying more and more to make our backyard provide more of our food than the grocery store does. In reality, we have a long way to go. But we have made some positive strides towards that goal.

Those times, however, that I am able to feed our family almost entirely from our own food production are immensely satisfying to me. An egg frittata made with our hen’s eggs, our goat’s milk, and backyard green onions and asparagus is to me, far more than just a meal. It’s a huge accomplishment, representative of years of skill-learning, homestead establishment, and the fruit of daily labors. I eat that frittata with joy in my heart, knowing that so much work of our hands went into it.

Call me a weirdo, but I get a thrill out of it.

I want to make our backyard even more of a “grocery store” this year. Here’s what we’ve got so far, and what we’d like to do to make it a little closer to self-sufficient.

Produce

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Each year, my husband plants and manages a large garden in which we grow potatoes, tomatoes, squash, peppers, radishes, beets, eggplants, cabbage, carrots, various greens, herbs cucumbers, attempted melons and corn, asparagus, green beans, and I can’t remember what else.

Garden foods that have lasted us almost all year when properly preserved or stored: tomatoes, potatoes, winter squash, green beans, greens, and some dried herbs. Foods we never have enough of: carrots, beets, peppers, and corn. We added some new beds this year to expand the quantity of food we grow.

As far as fruit, we have some old, out-of-shape fruit sources on the property: gnarly apple trees, an overgrown quince, a diseased elderberry, and wild blackberry bushes. Over the past couple of years, my husband has planted several new fruiting trees and shrubs: two apples, two peaches, a self-pollinating cherry, new elderberry from cuttings, blueberries, and raspberries. It will take several years for the fruit tree investment to pay off, but once it does, it will be lovely.

And lest we forget, there’s always foraging and partnerships with neighbors. We get more free greens than we grow, enjoy wild fruits from abandoned roadside trees, and gladly take extra fruits from friends and neighbors who have neither the time nor desire to gather and preserve them. Thank you to them!

Meat/Proteins

eggs

Chickens are a gateway animal, they say, and it’s true. We started with a small flock of birds for egg production, and have expanded this year with several more laying hens. We also acquired a couple of extra roosters¬†in the mix, which will go in the stew pot since we learned to butcher birds last fall.

We also ventured into the world of meat rabbits this¬†winter. To be fair, I’ve never eaten rabbit. But I suppose I’ll learn to! Rabbits, they say, give you the most lean protein per dollar spent on raising them. That’s why they’re a small-time meat production favorite.¬†We currently have six baby rabbits that will be ready for processing in about 6-8 weeks. I’ll be honest- I’m nervous about the process- but I’m grateful for the provision for our family’s food.

We are also fortunate to live on a property bordering a fully stocked trout stream near a great fishing spot. We don’t always get a ton of fish, but it’s really nice when we do. We usually drop our other dinner plans and cook one fresh whenever my hubby returns with a few in his bucket.

As far as plant-based¬†proteins, we happen to have black walnut and chestnut trees on our property, which are both a blessing and a big fat mess when all those nuts start dropping! ūüėČ The chestnut doesn’t have a neighboring tree close by to fertilize it, so we only get a small amount each year, and the walnuts are a pain to process, but hey- at least they’re there. My husband planted three hazelnut shrubs last spring, so we are hoping that those will be a more productive and manageable nut source in a couple years.

Dairy

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We have a goat, of course! (If you’re new to the blog, you’ll have to read the story behind that one.) Our learning curve was steep, however, and I have to say that her milk production is now less than ideal because of our idiocy getting used to the whole process. Add to that the fact that my daughter drinks ALL of her milk every day, and I can’t say that she adds much to our self-sufficiency dreams. Ha-ha.

However, when she was in high production, we had enough to give our family milk for the week and make simple cheeses at the end of it. If we bred her again and did the milking thing right this time, I believe she could really provide most of our milk, cream, butter, and cheese needs. (Gotta love the high butterfat content of Nigerian Dwarf milk.)

Grains

This is one area that I have to say we don’t grow¬†much of our own. We made our own cornmeal last year from our corn (success!) and have experimented with making flour out of curly dock seeds. But when it comes down to it, I just love good old bread. Thankfully, flour is relatively cheap, and a sourdough loaf is a delicious way to spend your pennies. I suppose I could learn to live without…. but fresh bread calls to me in such a way that it would be very difficult to do so!

Canned & Frozen Goods

cannedgoods

We make our own! It’s easy to learn basic canning skills, and though the materials to do so may seem like a bit of an investment, they pay themselves off quickly if you’re preserving a lot. Also, many fruits, vegetables, and cooked meals are easily preserved in the freezer. Best of all, by preserving at home, you can control what goes into your convenience foods. I can pretty much guarantee that your homemade frozen pizza crust or rice casserole will be a heck of a lot healthier than the store-bought version.

I would be amiss if I did not mention (yet again) my new favorite preservation method… fermentation! Hop over to this post if you have no idea what I’m talking about or if it sounds nasty. Fermentation is easy, healthy, and surprisingly addicting.

And that’s pretty much it, folks. Of course, I buy personal items like t.p. and toothpaste from the grocery store- and there’s some of those things I can make at home- but most of them don’t come from the backyard. And I still haven’t gotten into the leaf-toilet-paper thing yet. ūüėČ

What about you? What foods do you source at home instead of from the store?

Meat Eaters Against Treating Poor Animals Like Meat

We, the coalition, Meat Eaters Against Treating Poor Animals Like Meat (hereafter referred to as MEATPALM), are ready to take a stand.

You heard us. We eat meat. But we¬†can’t stomach the idea of you¬†killing an animal yourself. We believe that animals should always be treated like animals–never like meat. The meat on our dinner plate is different.

We have words for you people who choose to butcher your own meat. ¬†Words like: “mean,” cruel,” “heartless,” and “beastly.” How could anyone be so cruel¬†as to raise an animal¬†just to eat it?!?

MEATPALM2

(Amy from A Farmish Kind of Life)

Now, we have nothing against people who get their meat humanely (in a grocery store); eating meat like that is healthy, normal–it’s the people that get their meat from killing animals we can’t stomach.

Chickens who live a happy life in the sun only to end up in the pot are the objects of emotional abuse–there are no two ways about it. How could you earn their trust, their love, only to slaughter them later? No healthy, compassionate person could do a thing like that.¬†No one has the right to take a life like that.

Sure, chicken owners give a good speech. They talk about giving the¬†birds¬†pasture and sunshine, knowing their animals’ health individually, and dispatching them humanely. We all know¬†It’s just a farce to drum up attention. To cover their evil deeds. To hide their bloodlust. Normal¬†people eat chicken nuggets, chicken fingers–not chicken pets.

MEATPALM4

(Jess from The 104 Homestead)

Home-butchers need to realize that animals no longer have to be treated like meat.

Thanks to amazing scientific and societal advances, no one actually¬†needs¬†to butcher an animal for food anymore. You can buy your poultry, pork, and steaks at Walmart, where no animal was harmed and products were manufactured¬†in a sterile environment. We have incredible machines and computer controlled factories now–nobody has¬†to¬†get blood on their hands for food. That was our grandparents’ problem, not ours.

You home-farmers are sick, backwards cavemen. C’mon. We live in the 21st century, people. Animals can just be our friends now, not our food.

MEATPALM1

(Abi from They’re Not Our Goats)

We know this may be hard for you backyard butchers to grasp, but you have to realize that your urge¬†to kill animals for meat is something you can control. It is something 21st century humans have overcome. ¬†Just focus on the meat in the grocery store. It has no hair. No feathers. No happy cluck. It is clean and ready for consumption, sealed in plastic. That’s meat. Think of meat that way and you’ll never have the urge to kill¬†innocent animals again. It’s simple, really.

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We can rest in peace knowing that¬†this¬†chicken wasn’t harmed.

Unlike yours, that you butchered in your backyard. You disgusting person, you.

MEATPALM3

(Patrick of Survival at Home)

¬†“Ground beef” and “pork chops” are okay to buy, cook, and consume, but cows and pigs should not be treated that way.

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(Bonnie of The Not-So-Modern Housewife)

Yes, we, the people of MEATPALM, have come a realization:

If we don’t think about where our meat came from¬†then we can eat it without guilt, shame, or hesitation. We can buy it from a store whenever we want it, we can get it on super sale, and we can toss the scraps without feeling bad.¬†You see, we are modern, refined, cultured individuals. We don’t have to stoop to the level of the butcher, the farmer, or the hunter.

But as for you people who use animals for food?

Shame on you.

MEATPALM- meat eaters against butchering

Like what you’re reading? Make sure to subscribe via email for homestead ideas, freebies, and deals!¬†

In case you were wondering, this post is satire. It’s¬†not meant to be critical of vegetarians, vegans, or omnivores. I respect your individual dietary choices. It’s not meant to suggest that everyone has to or should butcher their own meat. It is meant, however,¬†to point out the problems with the view that it’s okay to eat an animal but it’s not okay to participate in killing it.

Believe it or not, many of the objections I voice in this post are paraphrases or exact quotes of real-life arguments from people I or my fellow HBN bloggers have faced personally. These ideas are wildly untenable for the meat-eater. 

I believe in knowing where my food comes from and in¬†taking part in its production in whatever capacity I am able to. I believe in raising animals compassionately, healthily, and humanely. I believe that meat animals can be a beautiful provision for my family, and I am thankful for them.¬†But most importantly, I value people over differences of opinion. If we disagree, we can still be friends. ūüôā¬†

Many thanks to my friends for donating photos, and to my husband for editing/co-authoring this post!

In My Other Life

I wonder what the neighbors think, I thought as I sat cross-legged in my yard, my hair pinned up in twists on top of my head, foraging a colander full of dandelions for meals. I carried my weedish bounty indoors, then returned outside to climb into the chicken run in my skinny jeans and cute white flats. (How practical.) Then I came inside to do my make-up.

No, I haven’t gone crazy. I’m curling my hair. #nocurlingiron #curlyhair #concert #weirdo

A photo posted by Abigail Zieger (@theyrenotourgoats) on

Now, I’m not generally a make-up girl. But I had a concert to sing in that night, so eyeliner & such¬†was my duty.

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(We got to sing a little of Tchaikovsky’s Pique Dame that night.)¬†

I’m often practicing vocalises or memorizing an aria while I’m milking the goat or shoveling chicken poop. It’s a good time to work on it, ya know?¬†It’s just¬†how things have been going around here- keeping our heads above water with the homestead by day, practicing music by night.

Music has been consuming more and more of our time recently- which has been wonderful! We’ve started¬†taking on more private students, teaching preschool music classes, and looking for more professional performance work.

What’s more, my husband has spent the last two months or so rebuilding our garage and turning half of it into a private studio. We’ve been teaching and recording out this space, and it is really amazing to have a zone completely dedicated to our music making. It’s not quite complete yet, but it’s coming along.¬†

Room in process. #musicstudio #1950s #redcouch #secondhand #painting

A photo posted by Abigail Zieger (@theyrenotourgoats) on

The painting in this picture is one of my father-in-law’s masterpieces, and we are so blessed by his generosity to be able to hang it on our wall.

And, of course, I haven’t been blogging as much because I had another business website to build! You can check it out here if you’d like, and/or support us by giving us a like on Facebook here.¬†ūüėČ

Never fear- I won’t be going anywhere. l love to have dirt under my nails, and all the stage time in the world won’t change that for me.¬†To me, working with my hands and making music go hand in hand. The balance of labor and song make the days pleasant, homey, happy.

I love it.