James Hill Goats

Nigerian Dwarf dairy goats for milk, pet or show

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The frozen north?...

Posted by jameshillgoats on February 28, 2015 at 12:30 PM Comments comments (0)


Where would YOU say this picture was taken?  Michigan? Canada?  How about central Louisiana in the heart of the deep south?  This was the scene from our front porch during the artic blast last week! Of course, the schools were closed four days of the week (as was most everything else in our area). Colt enjoyed the unexpected vacation from his studies, but the rest of us were less than pleased with the weather--people and animals alike.
But this is Louisiana after all, so the high temperature for today is expected to be in the 60's with rain forecast to start tonight and continue for four days.  So our muddy snow run-off mess will be messier, with the creeks flooding in low areas.
If you live in Louisiana, you come to expect crazy swings in weather trends, and learn to take it in stride.  We took advantage of our one nice day to spread sand in the chicken coops, and Muffin has been moved to one of our indoor pens and is on kidding watch.  She is due TODAY, and her udder is filled and ligaments softened.  Fingers crossed that she'll kid before I go back to work.  I hate to miss our goat births! 

Where am I again?...

Posted by jameshillgoats on February 24, 2015 at 10:10 PM Comments comments (0)

Let's see...I'll admit I'm getting older, and I forget things sometimes.  But I sure don't remember moving and I haven't rerouted my mail.  So tell me why we're preparing for a SECOND winter storm in the less than a week!!!  More ice, maybe snow...DEFINITELY  a muddy, mushy COLD mess for the next two days. Right here in the heart of the south in good ole Louisiana.  Squeeze had the same reaction as me when I told her the news:  What...more icy slush!?!


 

Finally, time to catch up...

Posted by jameshillgoats on September 10, 2014 at 2:40 AM Comments comments (0)

It's been far too long since we've last posted, and I feel I've fallen out of touch with many of our friends.  Seems the chaos of today's world crept sneaking onto James Hill and thoroughly disrupted our quiet life on the farm.  

Funny, isn't it?  The world starts spinning a little faster every day, and you don't notice it right off.  An added obligation here, a new responsibility there.  One morning you open your eyes to a life spun out of control.  

Then it's time to shake off the craziness of our "modern" world.  To take a moment to enjoy living.  To have a cup of coffee and rock on the porch.  So friends, come on in. Welcome back to James Hill.


A traditional family tea...

Posted by jameshillgoats on May 1, 2014 at 1:20 AM Comments comments (0)

As you might well guess, we here at James Hill are fond of most things old-fashioned...vintage items as well as old-time skills and traditions.  And what better way to combine those things than a high tea?  Most any occasion (or no occasion at all !) is a great excuse to set the table with our favorite thrift store and flea market finds, and enjoy some good food and quality family time.


 

We recently celebrated Colt's 12th birthday with an early "dinner' tea...meat pies, cheddar sage scones, vegetable tray, devil's food cake and Earl Grey tea.  The scones are a favorite in our house, whether made with traditional cheddar cheese or with our own homemade goat milk cheese.  They are delicious, versatile, and quick and easy to make from scratch.  If you would like to try them, I've included the recipe below.

 

Cheddar Sage Scones

2 to 2 1/2 cups self rising flour
Pinch of salt
1/2 to 1 teaspoon dried sage (crumbled fine)
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 stick butter (NOT magarine)
1/2 to 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
enough milk to moisten into soft dough (approx 1/2 cup)

1.  Stir dry ingredients together. 
2.  Work butter into dry ingredients until well crumbled (mixture will resemble corn meal in texture).
3.  Stir in cheese.
4.  Make a "well" in center of mixture.
5.  Pour small amount of milk into "well" and stir into mixture.  Continue to add milk and stir in until dough is soft but not gooey.
6.  Form into a rounded shape and turn out onto floured surface.
7.  Roll or flatten to a depth of about 3/4 to 1 inch.  Cut into 2 inch circles and place on lightly greased cookie sheet.   
8.  Bake in 350 degree oven until lightly browned (scones will sound "hollow" when tapped with utensil). 

This recipe makes 8-10 scones.These are best served warm, and are great with soups or stews.  The basic recipe is very versatile...try adding whole kernel corn, garlic or bacon bits.  Or, omit the cheese, dry mustard and sage, add 1 teaspoon powdered sugar and serve with butter and jam for a delicious brunch treat!

Spring is around the corner...(maybe)

Posted by jameshillgoats on March 3, 2014 at 10:10 AM Comments comments (0)

Just before I sat down to write this entry, I walked out on the porch to watch it snow.  Yes, SNOW!!!  For the forth time this winter...in Louisiana.  I almost postponed this writing for a later date.  But as hard as it is to believe, time is marching on and spring will be here before you know it!


This past Saturday, my son and I took advantage of the 70 degree weather to catch up on our spring chores.  We did some major cutting back of our perenniel herbs, evergreen shrubbery, vining roses and blackberry bushes.  Dug the majority of the weeds from the garden spot, and spread the site with compost to be tilled in later this week.  Cleaned the chicken coops and scattered them with rosemary trimmings to discourage insect and rodent pests.  All in all, a very busy day.  But it was easy to keep in good spirits with reminders of spring popping up, like this double daffodil we transplanted from an old home site a few years ago:




With the exception of kidding and harvest time, early Spring is our busiest time here at James Hill.  Late February/early March is the ideal time for many Louisiana gardening activities.  Fruit and nut-bearing trees need to be planted now, and it's a good time to trim up and fertilize those orchard trees we already have.  Potatoes, onions, and that spring crop of greens need to be planted now to take advantage of the season before summer temps get too hot.  


The Louisiana State University Ag Center has a wealth of information on home gardening, as well as a calendar outlining garden and livestock related activities and offerings for our state.  Visit their website at www.lsuagcenter.com  

New Year's resolution...

Posted by jameshillgoats on January 23, 2014 at 11:35 PM Comments comments (0)

2013 was a very stressful year for our family...we welcomed new members, while we said goodbye to others.  We apologize to our readers.  In trying to keep up with everything life threw our way, we let our blog go to the wayside.

It is a brand new year, and we look forward to the challenges this year will bring!  Our goals are set, and we are making strides (OK...maybe baby steps!) toward reaching them.  One of these goals is to bring a new look and focus to our site so that it more clearly reflects our family's purpose and outlook. 

We will present more in-depth and informative content on goat and chicken care,  recipes and tutorials for cheese, soap and other goat milk products, and LOTS of "upcycle" and DIY projects.  Our web store will be functional with unique product offerings by late spring/early summer.  

So drop us a line, say "Hello", and let us know what you think as we clear a new path into 2014!  


New offerings for local customers...

Posted by jameshillgoats on December 21, 2013 at 1:55 AM Comments comments (0)

Over the last few weeks we have put a good bit of time into fine-tuning our recent retail opportunity. We have updated our packaging and presentation, and are striving to bring unique and memorable merchandise to our customers.  

You know we love all things antique and vintage, and are passionate about reducing our "carbon footprint" through recycling, upcycling and repurposing items.  Going "junking" is a favorite activity for all the members of our family, young and old.  So it just seems natural that vintage and upcycled treasures would make their way into our retail offerings! 

From delicate china teacups to repurposed barnwood shelves, many of our favorite pieces are being offered as individual purchases or packaged with our soaps in unique gift sets.  

Drop by and see us at Serendipity, the upscale flea market on Main Street in Jonesboro, Louisiana.  They are open 10am-6pm Tuesday through Friday, 9am-2pm on Saturday.  And stop back by our blog and check us out on Facebook...we'll be posting "sneak peaks" of fabulous finds and upcycling projects.

Simplicity...

Posted by jameshillgoats on November 10, 2013 at 10:20 PM Comments comments (0)

In today's world it's easy to get caught up in the rush, never taking time to experience the simple beauty in our surroundings.  Take a moment...take a breath...don't "look"... just see.  Below, a single feather from a common guinea fowl.  Beautiful. 


 

Something a little different...

Posted by jameshillgoats on October 24, 2013 at 10:45 PM Comments comments (0)

Recently I purchased several air plants from Tilly's Air Plants, and have been searching for a unique display medium for a smal collection of them.  I finally decided on using an old deer skull that I found in the woods nearby a couple of years ago.  First, we applied three coats of varnish to the skull to give it some color and depth:

 

I only used one coat on the antlers to maintain the contrast between them and the bony part of the skull:


For the base, I "repurposed"  an old piece of cedar porch board.  The grayish color of the wood compliments the darker brown tint of the varnish, and it had just the right weathered, rustic look:

 

Since we are going to display the piece sitting on a surface, hot glue was sufficient to secure the skull to the board.  If we planned to mount the display on the wall, a small screw or two would have been more appropriate.  Air plants require neither soil nor "watering" per se...weekly misting will suffice. This allows the plants themselves to be tucked into the natural openings in the specimen, and secured with a small dot of hot glue.  I'm very pleased at how well it turned out.  Very interesting and unique!



 

Fall is in the air...

Posted by jameshillgoats on October 12, 2013 at 8:00 PM Comments comments (0)

There is a definite snap in the air, even here in the deep South.  Fall is on the way!  Crisp orange and red leaves raked into a pile, ready for jumping in. Warm apple cider with a sprinkle of cinnamon to warm you up when you finish up the evening chores.  Pumpkins and gourds and scarecrows...a riot of color and texture!  

To dress up the house a bit, we always decorate a grapevine wreath for the season.  While wandering a thrift shop and yard sale or two (or three or four...but who's counting?), I found all the materials for this years wreath.  A mass of flowers in fall orange and red, acorns and corn.  A smiling scarecrow.  A showy orange and gold scarf.  Perfect!  And all materials were less than four dollars (including the wreath).  It looks perfect on the split level railing, overlooking the dining area: