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Friday, May 16, 2014

Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Goats

Disclaimer: Grandma Bonnie's Closet was not compensated for the review of this book. I received a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest opinion. The opinions in this post are all my own.

Have you ever thought about raising goats for milk, meat or just as a pet? I have had that dream for some time now. We have been making plans to purchase two Nigerian dwarf goats. I have never raised goats before and I did not want to jump into this project without doing thorough research on the subject of raising dairy goats. While looking into all the information online I came across the book titled, "How To Raise Goats Everything You Need To Know" By Carol Amundson. I immediately begged for requested a review copy from Voyageur Press
I am so thrilled to tell you this book is very comprehensive in dealing with the subject of raising goats. The first chapter describes each type of goat and their breed. Its is important to research all the available breeds and their types so you might be able to choose the best goat breed for your needs. I myself am interested in a small dairy goat. I have no need for a meat goat. I am not interested in fiber goats. I just want goats for their milk. Well maybe also their pet qualities. The book has helped me decide what my needs are and made it easy for me to choose the best breed for my situation. So, after choosing a breed of goat the chapter goes on to give a quick peek into the physical and behavioral view of goats in general. There are several charts included on the parts of a goat. And also a chart on body condition scoring. 
This will come in useful when I inspect my goats for purchase. Its nice to know I won't just be picking a goat because of its pretty coat or striking blue eyes. Knowing a little about what a good body condition is and what to watch out for is very important when purchasing a goat. Next, in chapter two I read about preparing your goat farm. The topics included animal diseases, management systems, dead animal disposal, auctions, breeders, acquiring your goats, housing, fencing and much more.
Chapter three Breeding Your Goats was fascinating. I am looking forward to having some kids and the fresh milk resulting from their birth. Very exciting indeed. There is so much more great goat information in this book. From milking a goat, handling goats milk, meat goats, fiber from fiber goats, goats as pets and even showing goats. I would highly recommend this book to anyone wanting to start raising goats on their own.

When we do purchase our very own goats we will be one step closer to living the sustainable lifestyle we are working tward. 
Have you ever raised goats? What type of goat would you be interested in owning? 

Saturday, May 3, 2014

The Encyclopedia Of Country Living

Disclaimer: Grandma Bonnie's Closet was not compensated for the review of this book. I received a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest opinion. The opinions in this post are all my own.

Being on a mission to turn our family into a sustainable homestead that is earth friendly and  Eco-conscious I have been looking for suitable educational resources to help us on our journey. When I came across a description of the book "The Encyclopedia Of Country Living" I knew it would be a wonderful resource to learn from. 
Thanks to Sasquatch books for allowing Grandma Bonnie's Closet to review "The Encyclopedia Of Country Living" By  Carla Emery. 
I have been reading and reading and did not want to put this book down. I can hardly describe my fascination with this book. The day I received the copy in the mail I sat down with the intention to flip through a few pages and get a feel for the organization of the book. That was a mistake because I could not put the book down. I forgot to make dinner. My husband, (poor dear) came home to no dinner. I scarcely looked up from my book to apologize for not fixing dinner. I did eventually pull myself away from the magnetic pages of the book and fixed us a fresh green salad for our late dinner. I then promised my husband I would limit my reading to one section at a time while I finish this book. 
Here is just a little about "The Encyclopedia Of Country Living" to give you an idea of the contents included in this book. 
The book contains over 1 million words and is 928 pages long. It is divided into 11 chapters, organized into 125 sections, with over 500 topics covered. It contains over 2000 recipes and 1,500 mail-order sources. 
There are so many interesting topics in this book it is hard to choose which information I want to share with you. I will share with you just a few of the many topics I want to study and learn more about from this book. From the first chapter Oddments, I am very fascinated in "Making an Ice Cave". I think it would be very useful to be able to keep ice in the case of a grid down situation. Another skill I would like to try my hand at is "Building a Mud Oven", It starts out by saying, "If you have clay soil this is a natural. Start by building a dome-shaped frame of willow branches and sticks about 2 feet wide and 3 feet long. Cover your branch canopy..." (You will have to read the book to get the rest of the directions on this DIY project.)
The Mud Oven is a project that I am going to start working on as I have an entire back yard of clay! I will share it with you when I am finished. 
Chapter 2, Introduction to Plants is fairly comprehensive. If its about plants, made of plants or useful for plants you can find it in this section. From DIY cleaning products, planning a garden, seed saving, seed storage, vegetable propagation, root cutting , resources for seed catalogs, greenhouse design and so much more I can't possibly list every topic in this chapter. So, let us just skip to Chapter 7 Food Preservation. From drying, canning, root cellars and making vinegar this is a very interesting look into food preservation. Probably the most important section to read in this chapter is the Twelve Life-Saving Canning Rules. Keep in mind I am a canning enthusiast so the canning rules are very important to me. 
I will have to skip the sections on animals, livestock, building a barn, growing your own coffee and more, but I do believe you have got a good idea on the contents of this book. 
What I like about this book is that the instructions and explanations are clearly written. The illustrations, charts, and resources are clear and easy to understand. 
 The Encyclopedia Of Country living is definitely a book I think everyone should own. No matter where you live you will find some very useful information that may just come in handy someday. Well, off I go with a glass of lemonade to enjoy another chapter in this fascinating book.

In The Garden

Not so much going on in my garden yet. Even the cold weather plants are struggling. I am guessing the garden soil has not warmed up enough yet. It sure is going to be a short growing season if this keeps up. Even the hardy pea seedling are struggling to grow.
I plan to plant my tomato seedlings next week after Mothers Day. Hopefully that will be past the last frost in this area. Pooh Bear and Little Roo are coming for a visit this week. I am looking forward to their visit. They should keep me very busy. I will share some pictures of their visit if I don't get too busy. Well, I wish you all a great week in your garden. Happy gardening.