In February of 2009, my husband and I bought our first home located on a few acres in Johnson, Vermont. We live here with our dog, Ollie, two cats: Elvis and Atticus, six Nigerian Dwarf goats: May, Chutney, Poppy, Juniper, Willow, and Jokers Wild, and about fifteen laying hens. And to top it all off we welcomed our daughter, Isabel, into the world on January 11th, 2011.

We're slowly updating our 1850's farmhouse while steadily working towards a healthy, meaningful, self-sufficient life together.

This blog details our endeavors along with our successes and failures- all in good fun. Thanks for stopping by, hope to see you again soon!


May and I enjoying some sunshine


Snow has arrived!!

Lovingly Posted by Melissa Tuesday, December 8, 2009

I'm so excited!  We got our first measurable snowfall at our house a couple days ago.  Just a few inches, but its great!  The goats don't seem to care about it either way, although I did find Chutney curled up on a bunch of straw in the barn when I got home from work yesterday.  The chickens had obviously ventured out as I could see plenty of little chicken tracks scattered around the barn.  I wonder how they'll like it when we get a few feet instead of just a few inches.  We'll be snowblowing around the doors to the barn so they can come and go without having to swim through the snow, so it shouldn't be too bad for them.

Kyle's away at his class tonight so that means I get to keep myself busy with house stuff.  His 'away' nights have become my official 'clean the house' night.  Laundry, dusting, sweeping- you name it!- anything that has been building up during the week that I just can't stand to look at anymore.  There's nothing I like less than spending ANY of my weekend cleaning the house- ugh.

For once we didn't have a mountain of laundry to do so I found myself with a little spare time.  I'm making a double-batch of vegetable stock in preparation of all the soups I'm going to be making over the next week or two.  I don't know why I got into the habit of buying pre-made vegetable stock but I decided to finally snap out of it, especially when all it takes is a few onions, carrots, celery, peppercorns, bay leaves, and garlic (well, in our case alot of garlic).  I'm sure that not only will it be cheaper and healthier, but tastier as well.  It just makes me look forward to growing simple things like carrots, celery, and onions in our garden next year.  Look at me, winter has only just begun and I'm looking forward to spring already!  Maybe I'll start some herbs up in the windows...

Here is the recipe for the stock:
2 large yellow onions, peeled and quartered
2 stalks celery, trimmed and quartered
2 carrots, trimmed and quartered
1 cup mushrooms, including stems (I prefer baby portabella mushrooms)
6 parsley sprigs
2 bay leaves
6 peppercorns
at least 2 cloves garlic, peeled (I add a whole bulb when I double this recipe)
3 quarts water
(Note: I didn't have any mushrooms or parsley, but it came out tasty regardless.  Potato water in place of water from the tap is a great addition if you've got it, also if you've got any tomatos or turnips those are great additions as well- stock is my excuse to clean out the fridge when we've got some stuff a little past their prime.)

Combine all ingredients in a stock pot and bring to a boil.  Once it starts boiling reduce the heat to low/medium-low and let it simmer, covered, for two hours.  Strain all the solids out and let cool in jars or your preferred storage container.  I usually freeze ours, just for added peace of mind, but since I'll be using these soon I'm just keeping it in our refridgerator.

If you saute the vegetables a bit before putting in the water it really helps sweeten the stock- I like doing it this way most of the time- but if I'm in a rush I just throw it all in the pot and let it do its thing.

On another note, Kyle's birthday is tomorrow.  I'm so excited to give him his present, I tried to give it to him early this past weekend!  Hah!  But he resisted...amazingly.  I can't wait; I bought him a complete brewing kit so we can start making our own beer, wine, and best of all: HARD CIDER!!  We'll be able to start converting most of that great, home-made, frozen apple cider into some awesome, bottled, hard cider- I can almost taste it now.  I mentioned to Kyle as he was heading out the door that maybe we should just stay up until midnight tonight so I can give him his present as soon as his birthday begins!  I guess we'll see.  Regardless I should take out five gallons of cider to let it thaw out so we can get started right away.  Oh, and I supposed I'd better do some wrapping...hopefully I can find the tape.


  2. My hubby, David, and I used to make our own beer. It was fun AND delicious!

    Would you provide a recipe for your vegetable stock? I have lots of carrots left out in the garden and nothing to use them in.

    Happy birthday to Kyle.

  3. Melissa Says:
  4. Yes, I can't wait to get started making beer as well! We're also hoping to make some wine as well.

    I've included the recipe for my stock and reposted it here. If you think of any great additions let me know! I'd love to try it!

    Thanks, Beth!