KW Homestead

Pasture Raised Poultry from Our Family to Yours

Month: May 2014 (page 1 of 2)

jenney tenney photography documents our ochre way!

i’ve mentioned my friend, jenny, before when i wrote about the amazing experience of witnessing her giving birth to her daughter this february.

i wanted to take a moment to show my support for jenny tenney photography, her business that specializes in wedding photography, portraiture, and photography for other important events. she is an amazing photographer and i feel so lucky to have her as a friend… and even luckier for her to take photos of jason and i on our homestead (since we seriously had only 3 good pictures of us together!).

she, her husband, and her new baby visited us recently and we had a great time! here are some of the photos from that special day…


jason by the chicken house

jason by the chicken house

dodger enjoying catnip

dodger enjoying catnip

dear, sweet bridey!

dear, sweet bridey!



as you can see, jenny is a very talented photographer. check out her website or her blog to find out more about her awesome business!


Pan Fried Bluegill with Coconut Curry Sauce

I went fishing at the pond and the water was low and clear. I caught plenty of 12 inch bass, and a handful of nice sized bluegill. The bass were released to eat as many small bluegill as possible and encourage larger ones, but the hand-sized sunnies ended up in the frying pan. After a quick gut and scale, I sprinkled some salt, pepper, cayenne, paprika and curry on the fish and fried them in coconut oil until nice and crispy.

curry bluegill

Coconut Curry Bluegill with Jasmine Rice


I then removed the fish and added a lot more curry powder and some more coconut oil and fried some onion. Next came some green pepper and then a handful of our dried basil and some garlic. After this cooked a bit, I added equal parts coconut milk and chicken stock until I had a little more sauce than I wanted to end up with. I cooked this down until it thickened up a bit, then spooned it over the hot fish and warm jasmine rice. MMM… good.

bluegill curry

Yeah… It was good.

Bluegill, bream, perch, sunfish, or whatever you want to call them are some of the tastiest and sweetest whitefish around. It also helps that the best thing you can do for a bluegill population is to harvest as many as possible so that their growth isn’t stunted. So get out there with some worms and bring some bluegills home!

collecting eggs from broody hens

this video shows my daily, afternoon experience for the last several weeks. what fun it is to finally get to touch our bantam hens, who are much too speedy and cautious for me to catch and hold under normal circumstances!

this video was filmed about a week ago, and since then we’ve had some developments in those nest boxes… but more on this later. in the meantime, watch the video below and check out our technique for collecting eggs from underneath broody hens.


Bolt’s Bush: A Dog’s Best Way to Beat the Heat

Now that summer is rolling in and temperatures are quickly rising into the 90’s during the afternoon, a dog needs a way to stay cool and keep from overheating. While Emma and I can hang out in the carport porch and sip on iced spearmint tea, Bolt, our 1 year old black lab/boxer/? dog has to find other ways to avoid the hot NC sun.

He is somewhat of a wuss when it comes to hot weather and can often be found hogging the floor fan, or nestling right up to the AC vent to stay cool without a second thought for those of us “downwind.” However, when he is outside with us none of these options exist. So he has to be creative…

Take this bush for instance. It sits smack dab in the middle of Bolt’s outdoor area.

A lone bush in our side yard, the area where bolt hangs outside.

A lone bush in our side yard, the area where Bolt hangs out outside.

Notice anything interesting about it? No? Let’s get a closer look…


It’s Bolt! The shade of this bush is the perfect place to beat the NC heat!

Hahahahaha! This bush is Bolt’s preferred hideout from the summer sun, and where he can most often be found when the thermometer dips above 83 degrees. Here he can snooze in the shade, roll in the dirt, and quickly ambush anyone foolish enough to casually walk by his bush (and scare the pants off me as I walk by with headphones in).

This got me thinking about how to make his bush an even better summer getaway and design it specifically for a dog’s summertime needs. Number 1 is shade–and any shrub or bush will do the job–but maybe a plant like rosemary, with anti-insect properties would take this up a notch, not to mention provide great herbs for the kitchen. What about planting some nice geraniums around it to help repel mosquitoes, the vector of heartworms and annoying itchiness. Maybe some pennyroyal, or fleabane to combat fleas, and some chicory in case he feels the need to fight some internal parasites.

I think this would be a really cool permaculture design project, and is definitely something I am going to think more about. Let me know if you know of any other plants that would fit well in a dog’s play area. But for now, you can find Bolt enjoying the shade and solitude of his bush, waiting eagerly for the cooler temperatures of fall, or for us to turn the AC on and bring him inside.

harvesting garlic scapes: get the soup pot ready!

in yesterday’s post, jason mentioned our newest version of our savory venison stew. one of the ingredients that really made the stew a success was our homegrown garlic scapes!

just as we harvested chamomile the other day, we also harvested our garlic scapes. not only are the scapes delicious, but they must be cut in order for the garlic bulbs to grow larger and into the garlic bulbs you imagines when thinking of garlic. jason explains why this in the case in the video below, and shows you how to go about cutting those garlic scapes! enjoy!


Venison Stew with Sweet Potatoes and Garlic Scapes

Tonight we ate dinner out on the porch and watched the fireflies. We ate a version of our savory venison stew, but this time I added a bunch of our freshly cut garlic scapes, and a couple of sweet potatoes from last year’s garden.

venison and sweet potato stew

Venison stew with sweet potatoes and garlic scapes

It was dark out when I took the picture, and we ended up eating out of plastic tuppeware to save on dish use, but it tasted great. The garlic scapes added a great flavor to the broth, and the sweet potatoes were delicious with the tender venison roast. A green pepper, white onion, a healthy splash of red wine, beef broth, and some sage and oregano rounded out the soup, and made for a great meal out in the cool Stokes County air. Yummm!!

harvesting chamomile: aromatic and easy!

we only had a small crop of chamomile this year… mostly because the seeds we planted last year never germinated and stayed in the ground until they came up this year! although our chamomile patch was small, we are still excited to make some chamomile tea out of the flowers.

this video shows just how easy harvesting chamomile can be!


Wood Wool and the Magic of Mulch

I love mulch. It makes me smile when I see a bed or fruit tree covered with a thick layer of mulch. Mulch hold in soil moisture and reduces irrigation needs, protects soil microorganisms from temperature extremes, blocks weeds, and slowly adds organic matter by breaking down and feeding the worms.

We mulch with leaves, sticks, paper plates, coffee grounds, palm fronds, and any other organic material we can find. But recently, we scavenged a bunch of wood wool, or excelsior, and this wood byproduct makes awesome mulch.


It’s basically shredded aspen wood used as packing material, and it’s some of the best mulch we have ever used. It looks good, stays in place, and is easily applied around vegetable plants. We’re in the process of putting it on all of our raised garden beds, and if there is any left over, we may put some around our fruit trees also. I love mulch.

kids wondering… My Pal the Snake!

Join us for this episode of Kids Wondering as we meet a snake friend that we found while digging a hole in the yard!

Be sure to always ask an adult before handling any snakes that you see in your yard… They could be venomous!

We hope you enjoyed this episode of Kids Wondering… Remember, always speak with a trusted adult before picking up your own snake pals!

escaping the scorch in the carport-porch

although this title is goofy, i assure you that our awesome carport is not!

since the weather is steadily warming up and we had a few 90 degree days this week, we have again begun to use our carport like an extra room of the house. last year we did the same but it wasn’t nearly as decked out with awesome places to sit and cool contraptions!

we have a long, wooden handicap ramp that was here when we bought the house. it comes off of the kitchen door and ends nearly at the edge of the carport-porch. there is also a gate that opens from the side of the ramp into the main area of the carport and right beside a door where we have our chicken food and the stairs into the basement. we have hanging baskets attached to the the railing of the ramp with a bunch of cool plants in them.


a view of the carport.

the rest of the carport is one big open space! we have a wooden chest that holds planting equipment and also acts as a seat, an older table where we sometimes do planting or potting, and an awesome patio table that my dad found for us in someone’s junk pile by the side of the road. we’ve also got a handful of comfy seats surrounding the table and a hummingbird feeder directly above. what a view!


our planting and relaxing tables!

plants abound in the carport-porch, as they do in the yard and gardens. there is always a flowering bush in bloom that we can see from our awesome carport and at night we cut on our string of christmas lights… very romantic and dim enough that the bugs don’t flock to the light source!


the snowball bush that we can see from the carport.

since the eaves of the house are wide, you can almost always catch the shade from our relaxing table. i also recently hung a little handmade bird house that my father crafted from the natural hole in a hollow tree and an antique, iron bell that is so loud you would not hear a jet engine over the ringing!

our awesome, iron bell. dinner's ready!

our awesome, iron bell. dinner’s ready!

this is why we love spending time outside in the carport-porch! sometimes we plug in our box fan if it is really hot or to keep the biting insects away and sometimes we plug in our computers and work on posts like this one. other times we sit and watch the sun set over our land and trees, while bolt runs around or hides under his new favorite bush.


watching the sun go down through the trees.

one thing is for sure, though: our carport + two glasses of wine = one amazing, relaxing, and beautiful time!


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