We’ve been working hard on finishing up our new goat pasture, which is now inhabited by our goats. But now we’re building a 10×12-foot summer goat cottage (sounds better than goat shed, doesn’t it?). Goats hate rain, getting wet, and even hot summer sun. So to shelter them from the elements, Will’s come up with a great little building, using mostly small, cut off 2x4s, power poles (sawn in half) and $50 worth of on-sale OSB. The gussets that stiffen the rafters are even made of really small scraps of OSB, left over from our house addition and the storage building. I love that! Only tiny, tiny scraps are left from the scraps. Wow! Use EVERYTHING!

The walls are now up and the goats are inspecting it and asking how soon they can use it. Our sweet white doe, Buffy, is VERY pregnant and it looks like we’ll soon increase our little goat herd. Luckily, though, we have had good response to an ad in the Duluth Craig’s List and hope to sell most of our babies to good homes shortly. It doesn’t pay to keep ALL those cute babies or wonderful young does. Soon you’re goat poor and wondering where all the fun of owning goats went.


Of course, after all that work, we end up sore and stiff. I’ve been wishing for a hot tub to soak in, but couldn’t find one I could afford…a fixer upper, of course. But Bill, my oldest son, found one for me and called last fall. The tub is HUGE, but had its plumbing frozen and seriously cracked. But the price was within my budget, for sure…$50. Wow. We hauled it home and stored it under cover all winter. Last week Will and I loaded it on our little trailer and brought it up into the yard where Will had hauled fill in to level a raised spot for it next to the deck. And Saturday night, we filled it with hot water. Well, we did until we found more leaks than Will had fixed! But we didn’t want to waste the hot water, so we jumped in and hunkered down in the bottom to soak. Wonderful! Now all we have to do is a whole lot more plumbing. Eventually, it’ll have wood-fired heat and be filled to the top. How wonderful on our poor old strained backs!


Readers’ questions:

Preserving squash

What is the best method for putting squash up? Freezing, canning, or is there another method?

Daniel Gisler
Moody, Texas

I like canning squash chunks and dehydrating slices. Both methods result in great squash; dehydrating it saves canning jars, plus I also make a powder of it to add to stews and also multi-grain breads. (Don’t tell my family!) — Jackie

Winter feed for chickens

I loved your article on chickens, but I have a question. In the winter, I’ve been told that I have to feed them a “winter mash.” I’ve tried looking it up online and found the ingredients but it’s things I can’t get. What do you do? Do you have to feed them a special processed feed or can I make one at home myself?

Sera Waters
Blountstown, Florida

In the winter I feed the same feed as in the summer, but I also soak some alfalfa leaves or pellets in hot water overnight until it absorbs all the water, then dish it out to the girls. I also give them squash seeds & strings, potato peels, apple peels, carrot pieces, and other root cellar & kitchen scraps. And they do just fine on this “winter mash.” — Jackie

Standard canning jars

I am going to start canning this season and have been buying up jars. I have found large differences in prices and wonder if all jars are equal? The cheaper ones have “Mason” imprinted on them.

Kathie Beard
Durham, North Carolina

Actually, most modern canning jars are about equal (sorry Ball/Kerr). I’ve used about every brand available, and have never had problems with any standard canning jar. Of course, I always look for bargains! — Jackie