Saturday, December 24, 2016

The Gift Of Imagination

2 nights ago I did something I believe most parents can relate too. Raise your hand if you ever get the last minute “ I didn’t get my kid enough stuff” anxiety.. I hate it, it goes against everything we believe and live by, but I still get that feeling every year. We do keep it simple at Christmas, alteast compared to a majority of americans, but she does get here share of stuff.
So , 2 nights ago…. I got in my car and drove AN HOUR one way to the store,, and not just any store,, wait for it…………. The corporate monster.. Walmart.
NOW here is where I defend myself
The Defendant calls Jaime Cool to the stand:
Walmart is all we have, literally… If you follow my blog you are familiar with just how removed we are from civilization. To recap: I have to drive 12 miles of gravel to get to a paved rd. after about 40 minutes I hit a town of 500 ( a crossroads with a gas station, a small mountain  school of 300.. k-8) a post office that’s open like 3 hours a day, and a small medical center ( thank god for that) and that’s it… another 10-15 minutes brings me to town. A town of about 18,000.. and we don’t have much in the way of stores.. your fast food restaurants, big lots, a bunch of different grocery stores, and Walmart,, a big ass Walmart….
I am not a regular Walmart shopper, I do go in for thread and fabric from time to time ( as we don’t have a fabric store, that’s 56 miles away, about 1.5 hours) or those things I cant find anywhere else,, a gun , a canoe, a trampoline ( haha, I haven’t bought any of those things, but you get it,, they have everything) . All my food shopping ( what we don’t grow and can,, snacks , sugar , flour, coffee milk etc) is done at Aldo and Big lots, my 2 favorite stores
Only one problem  Aldi and Biglots, nor any other store in town had one I was looking for
2 specific,, MY LITTLE PONIES..
My daughter has been obsessed with my little ponies for more than a short phase. More like 2 YEARS. She brushes their hair every morning, they go to school with her every day … they have been in the creek , in the dirt, in the bathtub, have eaten dinner with us, gone to town with us,, they are almost family, haha

Ok so here I am 7 o clock at night, and  I Pull in to a SEA OF CARS. Now this is no small parking lot,, and it WAS. FULL.. of last minute crazed Christmas shoppers
“what in the hell am I doing here???” I ask myself. And then I go in..
anndddddd it’s a mad house.. full of people buying stuff..
and here I am buying stuff..
and wondering why Im here buying ….. stuff…..
Ive always enjoyed christmas for the decorating, baking, handmade gifts, making memories…. Yes the stuff has always been part of it,, but not my favorite part..

Straight ahead, to not pass go , do not collect 200 dollars,,, get to the pony aisle STAT!
I get to the pony aisle,,  it looks like a tornado hit the pony aisle.. good lord..
So ok, this should be easy, pick a 2 ponies.. I am pretty sure I stood there for 20 minutes looking.
She really wanted the pony with the beauty shop etc,, but you spend 11.00 more for a bunch of plastic crap that I am just gonna end up stepping on in 24 hours… KEEP IT SIMPLE, I tell myself…
I find 2 ponies ( that she doesn’t have and has asked for)
I head to check out and get the hell outta there, haha,, back to the forest, back to the gravel rd, back to the quiet….

So fastforward to the next day. Norah spent they day outside playing with the chickens..
Chasing them, trapping them,talking to them…. I would peek outside or do my usual “call” to make sure she was ok and still in the yard ( she likes to sneak off into the woods and down to the creek without asking sometimes). I cleaned the house and did inside chores… around late afternoon she called me outside to show me what she had been doing
A sled of water and a chicken fort, of course !

Now this isn't out of the ordinary for Miss Norah. She is always building something outside, creating , using her imagination. But I guess it just struck a chord with me because I was in such a tiz to get her more STUFF 2 nights earlier...

I don't know why I felt compelled to write this. This is  not intended to be a judgmental post, nor is it written to make you feel guilty about all that stuff you bought..

Lets face it,, Our kids will wake up Christmas Morning so excited and tear into all That stuff we bought, there will be smiling, giggling, excitement and memories.. and it makes it all worth it,,,

But don't forget to leave a little room for the best  gift you can give a child........

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from our Homestead to yours!!

The Cools

Friday, December 2, 2016

Hello December!

Its very hard to believe the December is here. The weather has been unusually warm ( and dry, so so dry, but we did finally get some rain the other evening)
I am picking the last of the broccoli, there is lettuce, radish, beets, kale and chard going in the greenhouse, the neverending woodpile is just that. Never Ending....;)
I am starting to can some potatoes. I do not have a root cellar or any cold storage. so around this time of year I begin the inevitable chore of canning whats left and starting to grow eyes ....canned potatoes make amazing Fried taters!
oh and if you happened to just scroll by and didn't notice,, Ill post another picture ;)

Happy Birthday to me! My husband and daughter got me 2 American Guinea hogs for my Birthday! They will eventually become food for our family, so I am trying not to get too attached ( which has proven to be nearly impossible) considering their adorable demeanor...
A wonderful addition to Bee Kind Family Farm.

I hope you are enjoying the slower pace of winter, we surely are. While there is always something to be done, its not nearly as hectic and a much needed break from the craziness that is spring and summer.

The Cool Family

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Late Summer Foraging


With life on the homestead slowing down a bit, and the temperatures a little more tolerable, we have been able to get out into the woods and do some wild foraging,
The days have been filled with Elderberry Jam making, elderberry drying ( for elderberry syrup this winter) , Baking persimmon Cake in the sun oven , and storing away some chicken of the woods mushrooms in the freezer for this winter .
We just had a good rain ( after about a month of dry!) So I might venture back out and forage some more if time allows..

What's growing in your neck of the woods??

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Homemade Chevre

Homemade Chevre, I'm addicted to making it! Its so easy and the end result is unmatched. I was a bit skeptical about my cheese making abilities, how time and instruction intensive it was to make it, and how just taking a half gallon of milk, sprinkling some culture in it and letting it sit could transform this milk (which is good in an of itself) to this goat cheese that is just as good as my local markets ( ok maybe not as good, I have to give those women credit, they know their cheese )
The only big challenge is finding raw goats milk, If you don't have goats or live in an area where farming is prevelant , this can be a challenge. Luckily a neighboring farmer has more than he needed at was happy to start bartering for some of our Honey . This works out perfect, although having our own goats would mean fresh goat cheese cheese all the time..I'm talking to my husband about that now ;) hehe

you can find very easy Chevre Making directions on the link below! I ordered my butter Muslin and Culture from them. If you live close to a bigger town you could probably find a supplier. This was just easiest for me. The butter Muslin is a bit pricey, but I wash mine an reuse it!

Friday, August 19, 2016

Exhaling and updating

Well after an insanely busy summer, we are at the Beach for a week of R & R.. I am so sorry I haven't blogged, but Ive been exhausted at the end of each day at the homestead, I just didn't have it in me...
So here I am ocean view, coffee in hand, and ready to tell you a bit about the last 2 months?!?!? wow it has been a while since Ive blogged. I cant believe fall is almost here!

Farm Tour  

So this year we were part of the High Country Farm tour put on by Blue Ridge woman in Agriculture. An amazing organization that is dedicated to strengthening the High Country's local food system by supporting women and their families with resources, education, and skills related to sustainable food and agriculture.


Every year they put on a farm tour for a number of counties. You pay around 20.00 a carload, map out the farms you want to see in that county, and then drive from farm to farm for a tour. Its pretty cool..

We had so much fun doing the farm tour and had a really great turn out!! I couldnt find the pictures of the actual tour in my files, but here are some photos of us getting ready and making sure everything looks nice ;)

Summer Honey Harvest

Expectation for our summer flow were low. After a very rainy spring, which started out nice, but turned into a 2 week cold and rainy event, which killed our Spring Honey flow ( the bees stayed inside and ate the spring honey they had brought in, since they weren't able to go out and forage), we braced ourselves for a similar event for summer. We figured this year would just be a bad year for honey and we would except the disappointment with bigger hopes for next year.
We were WRONG! We endep up pulling aroun 1000 POUNDS!!! a far far cry from our anticipated disappointment! the honey a floweth! I am so happy for My husband most of all, who worked endlessly in the beeyard making this happen. ( yes assistance in the bee yard increases honey flow) and bringing us from  a horrible loss of around 30 hives (back down to 35 hives coming into the spring from 65 hives going into last fall) and bringing our fall hive count to around 85 as of right now.

How does your garden grow??



Bountiful INDEED! I was a bit worried about our tomatoes this year. Many of of my plants fell over ( and they were extremely tall, things get tall here in the holler). While i did have some staked, I never got around to staking all of them with the tall stakes they needed . Add a pretty bad storm with a 65 mph gust of wind and you can guess what happened..
But the bounty was incredible, I put up around 10 quarts of tomatoes, and about 42 pints of salsa.. The canning will resume when i get home. :)

Coffeys General Store



SO as many of you know that follow my blog, we recently purchased a 120 year old General store in the middle of the Pisgah National forest. And while its 12 Miles of gravel in any directions to arrive at this destination, our first month open has been a success!
The store is located in Edgemont a sleepy isolated town with about 8-10 full time residents. Located In the Grandfather District of the Pisgah National Forest and right Wilson Creek ( a designated Wild and Scenic River). Our cliental include but are not limited too, Kayakers, campers, hikers, swimmers , and old timers that just want to comeback and reminisce.  Its a weekend Gig! so works perfect with our homesteading life! I will have time to keep up on the gardens, housework, bottling and labeling of honey, etc..
My daughter has had a rough summer >insert sarcasm here< swimming in the creek, eating icecream, and even busking/ playing here fiddle to support her icecream habit.

We are on our last day at the beach. Every year this is a much needed week for us. Could we go without it? sure.. but a recharge is always nice.. When we get home this week, we  will be extracting honey,, canning more bounty, planting our fall garden, feeding some of our hives, doing a full inspection, starting to split a entire seasons worth of firewood ( yeah we are really behind), and getting back into the groove of Homestead life...

I hope everyone has had an amazing summer!!!

The cool Family

Monday, June 20, 2016

21 days of homegrown food

Hello! So I am really really trying to keep this blog going but its just so busy. planting, weeding, harvesting , weeding, butchering chickens, beekeeping,  harvesting honey,
selling at the market, opening a 150 yr old general store, participating and being on the Local Farm tour have kept us busy to say the LEAST.. its been a complete whirlwind...
I figured I could atleast leave you with some pretty pictures! I started an album on my facebook page, called 100 days of homegrown food posting a daily bounty for 100 days... I leave you with the first 21 :)