Monday, December 29, 2014

Beekeeping Basics

I recently had the pleasure of blogging On Cold Creek Homesteads Page..

For anyone interested in the BEEginning Basics of Beekeeping this is a good place to start. A simple write up covering the basics On what it takes to get an apiary up and going!

The Cools

Tuesday, December 23, 2014


cold, rainy , grey..................... no sun on the solar panels for 3 days.**.Hibernating***

Sitting by the cookstove, labeling soap, Making homemade soup and bread, baking,baking,baking  and taking care of a sick little one...

feeling optimistic for the longer days ahead, sun on our backs,  hands in the dirt, and fewer sick days...........

The Cools

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Chicken Sausage Take two

So, last weekend the weather was warm enough to butcher our birds..... Being off The power grid we have very limited freezer space.. With a completely empty freezer to start with, I think we would be able to fit maybe 10 birds in there , which is close to what we butchered.. We decided to make more chicken sausage, A) because its delicious and a change from just regular ol chicken, and B) it takes up way less space....

This year is our second attempt and chicken sausage,, we made it about 3 yrs ago and I am not sure what we did wrong ( maybe we didn't add enough fat or the broth?) but it was dry.. edible, but dry....

Chicken Sausage TAKE TWO:

 So Chicken Sausage involves a little bit of work , but the end product is so worth it.
The General steps are : Debone the meat ( a bit tedious) , run through the meat grinder ( ours is hand crank so we have the little on help, and she loves it! ), add the seasonings and broth, grind again and use stuffer attachment to stuff during the second time grind.

I thought I would share the recipe for anyone interested.. I have to say its REALLY GOOD. This is a country sausage..


-  5lbs of chicken deboned ( about 2 birds) including all that fat ( this will make the sausage moist and not dry)
- 2 Tbsp Salt
-2 Tsp Pepper
- 2 Tsp Ground Sage
- 1 Tsp Ginger
- 1 Tsp Thyme
- 1 Cup cold Chicken Broth ( we added a pint both time we made this (2cups) and it turned out great..

Be sure to add all the fat and the broth, which is what gives it its moisture , since chicken does not have the fat content that pork does..

I give this recipe an A+ and the ingredients are pretty basic so most of them can be found in your kitchen cupboard.


Monday, December 8, 2014

December projects

Well winter is officially almost here.. Its been rather mild here in North west NC, and we have been able to get outside and work on all the things we cant get done in summer .
This Morning was a bit chilly, atleast do chilly to process our chickens. Robb defeathered one bird and quickly came in to warm his hands over the cookstove.. Cold and wet don't mix.. so we decided to wait until next Sunday to do the other nine.. But hey we have dinner for tonight ;)



Robb has been busy Building mating Nucs for the apiary
Mating nucs are tiny 2 frame hives, that we will Put newly reared Virgin Queens in.. The Queens will then mate, start laying eggs about 3 weeks later, and then we will move these frames into a full size hive.
Our plans are to really expand this year.. So he has plans on rearing a lot of queens, which means lots of mating nucs need built before spring!

Today ( instead of processing chickens) we started on Norahs Tree House! This is her Big present from us. We went and purchased some lumber yesterday to get started. She is over the moon about this, and I know she will get so many hours of play and imagination time ( and quiet time) here in her own little space..

I am starting on my HoneyBee Stepping stones for the Back gardens!! I can not wait to see what these look like throughout the pathway.. I am wondering if I should use pigment in some?? If so,, what colors/color combo do you think would look nice?
My plans are to get one or 2 done a week, So by spring I will have enough to place throughout the back garden.

Dreaming of spring here, but keeping busy .

What have you been up to??

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Holidays are Here

Holiday cheer is in full swing here at the Cools.. If Norah had it her way we would have started decorating in October. She is a verrrry excited little girl this time of year!
She is 7 years old, so the Magic Of Christmas is something to Behold. I am not sure how much longer she will believe in Santa, so I am savoring these years with her and sharing in her excitement!!!

What started out as a few homemade salt dough Christmas ornaments turned into a full Blown Factory,, She spent 2 days straight creating and painting. She decided she  wanted to sell some. I figured this was a good way to teach her about giving, so agreed. We sold them for 2.00, she gets .50 shipping is .50 and 1.00 goes towards St. Judes Childrens Hospital. This opened up a great dialog about children who may not be as lucky or fortunate as her this time of year. Those teachable moments come up when you least expect them ;)

I finished Norahs Advent Calendar, I am not a big fan of the Numbers,, I could not find Iron on numbers anywhere, so ended up using a marker paint pen,, Being that it is December 2nd, I really just wanted to get it done. I will probably end up putting some nicer Iron on Numbers , on.
These calendars  can be filled with chocolates, treats or little "notes" with rewards; ex. Popcorn tonight, or Movie time with Mom... :) A great way to countdown to Christmas with the littles in your life.

The Tree is up and decorated. We purchased to strands of LED lights, but could use another strand or 2... This way we can have the Lights on all the time ( being off the grid we need to conserve) 2 strands only use about 9 watts. eventually we will have enough to to put lights outside as well...

I really do love this time of year <3 p="">

The Cools